March 5, 2003
SPORTeORid g TSaSiS
... .. .. .. . ......... .
his last season count
Cagers look to stay
in Big Ten title hunt
By Courtney Lewis
Daily Sports Editor
Coach Red Berenson always says
that if you don't notice a defenseman
on the ice during a game, it probably
means he is doing his job. With his
quiet demeanor and focus on protect-
ing his own zone, Mike Roemensky
hasn't attracted much attention, but he
has become one of Michigan's most
"There's no doubt, he is a core guy
for us," said assistant coach Billy Pow-
ers, who works mainly with the
defense. "We're putting a lot on his
shoulders in terms of playing against
the other teams' best players, playing a
lot of quality minutes (and) hard
penalty killing minutes."
Roemensky has eight points (two
goals and six assists) and his plus-14
ties him for second on the team in
plus-minus rating. He is even starting
to earn some recognition across the
league, as he was named CCHA
Defensive Player of the Week on Feb.
24 after he finished plus-five in Michi-
gan's sweep of Nebraska-Omaha.
It has been quite a turnaround from
his junior year.
After damaging ankle ligaments
early last season, the White Lake
Township native never got comfortable
and notched just two points while reg-
istering a minus-eight rating. He said
that season "was really tough to deal
with" and getting his confidence back
has been the difference-maker in his
season of redemption.
Although he'll readily admit he's not
a vocal leader on the team, Roemen-
sky is the lone senior among a youth-
ful defensive corps, and he relished the
opportunity to take on a bigger role
after star defenseman Mike Komisarek
left for the pros last summer.
"It is definitely motivation," Roe-
mensky said. "Last year we had guys
like Komisarek that we were counting
on every night, and now that he's gone,
they're looking at me, as a senior, to be
a leader and to be a dominant player
out there, and that's what I'm trying to
Roemensky would like to contin-
ue his hockey career after college,.
and Powers thinks that senior
urgency has factored into his strong
"You're playing for an opportunity
to play beyond Michigan, and he's.
undrafted ....so I think deep down Roe
knows if he wants to have a chance,
Senior defenseman Mike Roemensky has been playing some of the best hockey of
his career down the stretch of his senior season at Michigan.
not only to have his best year at Michi-
gan, but to give himself an opportunity
somewhere, he needs to play like that
every night," Powers said.
The end of Roemensky's Michigan
career is fast approaching, and he said
he's well aware of it.
"I'm not dwelling on it; I'm just try-
ing to make sure I'm realizing it on
game nights - that the opportunities
are here and I've got to take advantage
of them," Roemensky said.
By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer
After Illinois handed the Michigan
basketball team its first home loss of
the season on Saturday, the Wolver-
ines need to right their ship to
ensure that they have a bye in next
week's Big Ten Tourna-
ment. Michigan (9-5 Big .. :
Ten, 16-11 overall)j
could also use a win to 5i ?
stop to its two-game los- Mi
Fortunately for the
Wolverines, tonight's sry....:tA
matchup is against the E
worst team in the Big g
Ten, Penn State (1-13, 6-
19). The Nittany Lions' lone confer-
ence win came against Wisconsin at
home Feb. 19, when they were able
to shut down the Badgers' Kirk Pen-
ney, who was a dismal 2-for-10 from
Senior point guard Brandon
Watkins, who averages 14.5 points a
game in the conference, leads the
"I think Watkins, after starting for
the last two years he's been playing
solid for us," Penn State coach Jerry
Dunn said. "He's a young man who is
a very good athlete with excellent
quickness and good feet. We try to use
that to our advantage on the court."
After a bad loss at Northwestern,
Penn State is guaranteed to finish
last in the conference. But even
though the team was out of the hunt
for the regular season title almost a
month ago, Dunn's Lions are still
concerned with the task at hand -
finishing out the regular season.
"We obviously are faced with
another challenge with Michigan
and Indiana this week," Dunn said.
Tonight the Wolverines will face a
tired but determined Penn State
team. The long road trips from State
College have been hard on the Lions
this season, and some of their play-
ers are a little worse for the wear.
One of those players is freshman
DeForrest Riley. A versatile 6-foot-6
guard/forward, Riley has been limit-
ed in action over the last two games
because of fatigue. Dunn said the
travel is often harder on the younger
players because their bodies are not
as developed. If Riley does not start,
Penn State, an offensively-limited
team that scores just over 60 points a
game, loses a scorer who averages
more than eight points a contest.
"Our sole concentra-
----tion right now is on the
f Wolverines, we've got to
get some rest for a guy
like Riley, but we'll see
how the next few days
go," Dunn said yester-
' e er day. "We'll have to find
lus ~ someone else to put in
the starting lineup."
While Riley has suf-
fered from fatigue recently, Michi-
gan coach Tommy Amaker's young
freshmen are ready to go. With
three freshman starters, including
freshman point guard Daniel Hor-
ton, the Wolverines have relied
heavily on their freshman all sea-
son. Almost every team in the Big
Ten has its freshman star. From
Indiana's Bracey Wright to Illinois'
Dee Brown, young stars have been
contributing around the league all
"I think that most teams have
relied heavily on a lot of young play-
ers, there is no question about that,"
Amaker said. "We've seen that and
talked about that all year. I think
(fatigue) depends on a particular
player and the circumstances of the
team and basically where your team
is right now."
Freshmen assess first colleglate campaign
By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer
Many moons ago, when the Michigan women's
basketball team's record stood at 0-0, coach Sue Gue-
vara was nearly giddy about the options she would
have off the bench this year. Five incoming freshmen
were expected to inject some life into a Michigan
team that needed new blood.
No one doubted that the Wolverines had a signifi-
cant amount of depth this year, but there is -one prob-
lem that has loomed as a shadow over the entire
season. All five of Michigan's freshmen are guards.
This recruiting enigma arose when a look down last
year's roster revealed no returning ballhandlers.
For the position they were forced into, it's hard to
blame the freshmen completely for the 3-13 Big Ten
record. Despite a fair amount of trials and tribulations,
the young guns seem to have grown up enough to
the michigan daily
comfortably fit into the system.
"We've all done pretty well as a class, but
there's definitely room for improvement," fresh-
man Rachael Carney said. "There's definitely a
promising future ahead."
Carney earned the starting point guard role on Jan.
12 against Purdue and has held onto it ever since. She
rose from obscurity at the end of the bench to sweep
the job away from fellow freshmen Mie Burlin and
Lauren Andrews, who had recorded a majority of the
minutes at the position prior to Carney's emergence.
At the other guard spot, freshman Niki Reams has
changed from a consistent player to an impact player.
She has scored in double digits in two of her last three
games, and is very capable of compiling the nitty-grit-
ty stats, such as her nine rebounds in Indiana, or her
six assists on Sunday against Minnesota.
There's no doubt that the future of the Wolverines
resides in the backcourt. Their play in tomorrow's Big
Ten Tournament game against Illinois may provide the
perfect barometer for what next year could hold. Both
Carney and Reams carry with them valuable state
championship experience form high school. It's no
Big Ten Tournament experience, but it's a start.
"I don't think it will be totally new for them," Gue-
vara said. "That type of atmosphere has been there.
And I think the way they see how people like (junior
Jennifer Smith) handle it will help too."
Without getting lost in the spectacle a major confer-
ence tournament creates, this young class has to
remember its opponent in Illinois comes from early in
the Big Ten schedule, when the freshmen were fresh,
and the rest of the team was in disarray after a 32-
point blowout on its own home court.
"I will definitely use past games and experiences to
help," Carney said. "Basically you-just have to take
one game at a time. Even though it's a big deal and a
big tournament, it's just another game."
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