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January 08, 2003 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-08

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Wednesday
January 8, 2003
michigandaily.com ,
sportsdesk@umich.edu

SPORTS

8

Cagers rolling
into matchup
with Badgers
By Naweed Sikora
Daily Sports Editor
Seven games ago, anyone who believed the
Michigan basketball team was going to be above
.500 heading into Big Ten play was watching the
wrong team.
But after the team's win over IUPUI Saturday,
that outlandish prediction became an unbelievable
reality, as the Wolverines (7-6) picked up their sev-
enth-straight victory to.
move above the :500
mark. A resurgence of CRISLER ARENA
confidence seems to have Who: Michigan (0-0 Big
transformed the Wolver- Ten, 7-6 overall) vs. Wis-
ines into a completely new consin (10-2)
group of players, full of When: 8 p.m.
energy and passion. Latest: The Wolverines put
But is this emotion the conference's longest
enough to carry them current win streak on the
through an arduous confer- line as Big Ten play opens
ence schedule, beginning against the Badgers.
with Wisconsin (10-2) tonight at Crisler Arena? Are
the young Wolverines experienced enough to handle
the mental rigors of facing Big Ten opponents?
"When you think of the Big Ten, you think of size,
power, strength and experience," Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker said. "This conference exudes those
attributes and players. We may not have all those
things right now, but I like where we are going to be.
It is going to be a long haul in the league, but we are
going to get better from it, and it is going to serve us
well at some point."
The winning streak has been noteworthy, but
Amaker and the Wolverines know that in order to
continue their success, they must continue to buckle
down and improve on all aspects of the game, espe-
cially as the talent level of the competition rises.
Their success this conference season, beginning
with Wisconsin tonight, hinges on keeping players
healthy, dealing with foul trouble and handling
matchup problems that result from a lack of depth.
Health has already become a concern with the
knee injury to junior Bernard Robinson that could
force him to miss up to two weeks. Robinson prac-
ticed Monday, but remained unsure as to whether he
would be able to play tonight..
"Bernard has been a catch-all for us," Amaker
said. "He has been very versatile and without his
skills we suffered. We are ltoking at playing five
Berenson joins

Blue 'afraid' after two
embarrassing defeats

By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer
It's the question that each member of
the Michigan women's basketball team
dreads having to answer. The Wolver-
ines thought that a tough but successful
nonconference schedule would silence
the critics, but the team was only walk-
ing into a trap. Now, after the Wolver-
ines dropped their first two Big Ten
games in blowout fashion, the critics hre
asking, "Is this a repeat of last year?"
"I'm not fond of the question,"
Michigan coach Sue Guevara said.
"But I'm going to be honest. I went
into the lockerroom and said 'I'm
going to say what you're thinking. Here
we go again."'
If the Wolverines are headed down
that road again, they had better buckle
up. Last year's path contained a 6-10
Big Ten record and a second-round
exit in the -Big Ten Tournament after a
10-1 start.
Michigan's 98-70 loss to No. 10
Minnesota Jan. 2, while disappointing,
still seemed excusable. The Wolverines
innocently wandered into the Golden
Gophers' home at exactly the wrong
time. Minnesota shot 60.7 percent from
the field, including 9-of-15 from
behind the 3-point arc. It was an
offense that refused to be stopped, and
Michigan happened to be the victim of
the day.
Sunday's game against upstart Illi-
nois gave Michigan fans a reason to
start raising eyebrows. The Wolverines
played their worst game of the year,
committing 29 turnovers and shooting
just 38.6 percent from the field. At one
point in the first half, Michigan went
7:44 without scoring, letting the Illini

take a 46-21 lead into halftime. iThe
Wolverines were never closer than 20
the rest of the game.
The immediate future does not look
much brighter either. Michigan will be
traveling to West Lafayette Sunday to
face No. 6 Purdue, a perennial power-
house. Purdue beat Michigan three
times last season, with one of those vic-
tories coming in the quarterfinals of the
Big Ten Tournament. Led by Naismith
Award candidate Shereka Wright, the
Boilermakers look to be a handful once
again this year.
But Michigan may have to worry
about more than just its opponents.
Each game for the athletes will be just
as much a battle against themselves as
anyone else.
History is working against the
Wolverines, and that fact can play terri-
ble tricks on a player's mind during
crunch time.
"They still believe," Guevara said,
"But they're hurting, and they're afraid.
So we have to conquer our own fear,
and that we have to do in practice."
Problems that the Wolverines had
seemingly settled early in the year are
now coming back to haunt them. The
Wolverines have committed 49
turnovers the past two games, a telling
sign that their freshmen backcourt may
'not be as tested as hoped.
The Wolverines have also struggled
from the free-throw line, a part of their
inside game that is normally solid. Sun-
day's mark of 50 percent was the lowest
it's been all season.
"It's every game at a time in the Big
Ten," senior co-captain Raina Goodlow
said. "And we know that. We still have
to fight. It's just the second game in the
Big Ten."

RYAN WEINER/Daily
Michigan swingman Lester Abram may have to play an increased role - including guarding Big Ten Player of
the Year candidate Kirk Penney - if junior Bernard Robinson cannot play against Wisconsin tonight.

freshmen out of the nine guys we play. I think in
terms of (freshman Daniel Horton), Bernard has
been an asset to all of our players, and Daniel has
been one of the biggest beneficiaries."
Meanwhile, a lack of depth has made health an
even more important factor.
"I think (staying healthy) is vital," Amaker said.
"We are not very deep. At the beginning of the year
we thought that was an asset, but it never material-
ized. With one or two injuries, it can really decimate
your ball club. That is out of our control."
Perimeter defense suffered against IUPUI because
of no depth, and both Horton and freshman Lester
Abram need to step up if they want to control Wiscon-
sin's guard tandem of Devin Harris and Kirk Penney.
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryafrhasthe Badgers playing
Bo, receives fi

a high level of basketball, as they begin their defense
of their co-Big Ten championship.
"The biggest thing we had to do was replace a sen-
ior point guard, but Devin Harris has done a great job
of playing strictly point for us," Ryan said.
Lone senior Penney has answered the call as well,
averaging more than 16 points and five rebounds a
game for the Badgers. Preventing these two from
penetrating will be the key to staying out of foul
trouble for the Wolverines.
If Penney is able to get inside and attack Michi-
gan's big men, it will make for a difficult situation
for Michigan.
Last season, Michigan split with Wisconsin, win-
ning at Crisler Arena 64-53 early on, but losing 74-
54 at the Kohl Center in Madison.
st bobblehead

0

By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Writer
After a 17-year NHL career and
an 18-year collegiate coaching
career that has included two nation-
al championships, Red Berenson
has finally made it big.
Yes, he has his own bobblehead.
And yes, you can get one.
The recent bobblehead phenome-
non that started with ESPN com-
mercials smashing them on the
ground with wooden bats - and
that most recently arrived at Pis-
tons' games almost weekly - has
now spread to'Yost Ice Arena.

At the Wolverines' game Friday
against Western Michigan, the first
1,000 fans that enter Yost will be
able to pick up one of these dolls
for free.
The gates will open at 6 p.m. The
remainder of the 2,000 dolls that
were made may be purchased $15.
That is, with the exception of 45
special dolls that were autographed
by Berenson himself, which can
also be purchased at Friday's game
for $40. And for those that cannot
make Friday's game, five other
autographed dolls will be auctioned
off at mgoblue.com beginning on
Saturday.

"Usually when somebody has a
bobblehead, they don't look like
that actual athlete, so I'm wonder-
ing if it looks like him," said
freshman Danny Richmond,
who had yet to see the doll pic-
tured here (see right). "It'd be
a pretty cool thing to have.
"You know you're pretty
good when you have your own
bobblehead."
The athletic department's
marketing team - which
organized a Bo Schembechler
bobblehead giveaway for last
season's Ohio State game -
had talked about the idea for
months, and Berenson said it G
was OK, but he had no input
in the marketing or design of
the doll
"It wasn't my idea, let's put it that
way," Berenson said.
But Berenson agreed that $40
was a little shallow for an auto-
graphed doll.
"They probably cost $40 to make
them," Berenson said.
When asked which Wolverine
would make the best bobblehead,

IRE

each player had his own idea. Rich-
mond felt that an Eric Nystrom bob-
blehead would look good next to the
Bobby Nystrom bobblehead -
from Eric's father's days in
es the NHL - that Nystrom
a has in his house.
Nystrom, however, feels
that housemate and fellow
Michigan forward Jason
Ryznar would look the
best.
"Ryznar for sure," Nys-
trom said. "He's a big,
goofy guy."
Ryznar is unsure how a
Nystrom bobblehead would
turn out.
"He's got kind of a uni-
brow, so I don't know if that
would look good," Ryznar said.
Captain Jed Ortmeyer - who
was selected by a few of the players
because of his leadership qualities
- thought that his friend and line-
mate John Shouneyia would make
the best one.
"Maybe they could have him in his
car with some Prada gear on," Ort-
meyer said.

TONY DING/Daily
Freshman Mie Burlin and her Michigan teammates are desperate for a victory after
the Wolverines were handed back-to-back losses by Minnesota and Illinois.
Relaxed and refreshed,
'M' returns to action

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D

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- no not have severe asthma.
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- Study-related physical exams, ECG's,
study medication at no charge

By Melanie Kebler
Daily Sports Writer
Talk about a transition.
Just one week ago, the Michigan
women's swimming and diving team
was training in Honolulu in sunny, 75-
degree weather. But then, last Saturday,
the team returned to three inches of
snow and below-freezing temperatures
in Ann Arbor.
The Wolverines also return to the sec-
ond half of their dual meet season this
weekend after going more than a month
without competing.
Michigan coach Jim Ric.hardson
wasn't too worried about how his team
handled the break.
"I think we took care of the transition
into final exams and winter break and
then back to school well," he said. "We
look good physically right now."
Richardson attributes much of the
team's fitness to the dry-land training it
did while in Hawaii, along with getting
up early to surf and spending plenty of
time in the pool.
After the long hiatus from serious
competition, Michigan is ready to jump
back into its dual meet schedule. Up
next is Toledo, which visits Canham
Natatorium Friday.
Although Richardson said he has
been informed that some of Toledo's
swimmers are injured, he still isn't too
concerned about whether the Wolver-
ines will come away with a win. For

6

CANHAM NATATORIUM
Who: Michigan vs. Toledo
When: 5 p.m.
Latest: After spending winter break sunning
and swimming in Hawaii, the Wolverines are
back in Ann Arbor for their first true competi-
tion of the winter season.
most college swimmers, dual meets
aren't so much a competition between
teams as a chance to hone one's individ-
ual skills and qualify for the NCAA
Championships.
"I don't ever look at a meet as 'We
gotta' win this.' We're about trying to
swim faster," Richardson said, describ-
ing his team as "process and perform-
ance oriented."
Michigan definitely showed its speed
during the first half of the season.
Senior Erin Abbey and junior Anne
Weilbacher - the team's two captains
- have both "destroyed" their previous
lifetime best times in the 200-yard
backstroke and 200-yard butterfly,
respectively, according to Richardson.
Both swimmers picked up NCAA con-
sideration times at the Nike Cup in
Chapel Hill, N.C. earlier this year. Their
long distance-swimming teammates
Amy McCullough and Emily-Clare
Fenn also turned in consideration times
at that meet in the 1,650-meter event.
"We're focused right now," Richard-
son said. "I'm really excited to watch
this team through the rest of the season."

6
6

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RCA )~ RER

- Up to $ 240 for completion of the

I

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