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January 10, 2003 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-10

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January 10, 2003



Michigan hopes to let good
times roll against Penn State

'M' faces Broncos
without Werner


By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer
The trade winds have shifted around Crisler Arena
and have brought with them a new way of thinking
and playing.
After last Saturday's 84-79 win over IUPUI in
which Michigan (1-0 Big Ten, 8-6
overall) struggled to put away an
inferior opponent, coach Tommy CRISLER
Amaker admitted that it was the type
of game that the team might have Who:Michiga
lost in the past. Ten, 86 overa
Then, to continue the trend of Sta4pm
breaking old habits, the Wolverines Latest:After V
climbed back from a seemingly insur- emotional vict
mountable 15-point deficit with less consin, Michig
than six minutes remaining to beat match its long
the Badgers, who were beginning streak since1
their defense of the Big Ten title.
"It was a great comeback from a team that was
really (searching) for a reason to come back - if
you were to (take a) deeper look into it," Amaker
said of the Wisconsin victory.
Michigan is also on an eight-game winning streak
and is playing the type of basketball that fans
expected when Amaker joined the Wolverines last
year. The winning streak is the program's longest
since the 1996-97 season, the same year that Michi-
gan captured the NIT Championship.
The winning streak and Wednesday's win "show
that we have a lot of character," freshman Daniel


Horton said. "When we started 0-6 a lot of people
were doubting us and saying that it is the same old
Michigan team - but it is not.
"We are a totally different team from years past
and right now we are showing it. We believe in what
coach Amaker is teaching us. They tell us if you play
hard and give effort, that we have enough talent to
win games, and right now that is what
we are doing."
ARENA Michigan (1-0 Big Ten, 8-6 overall)
is looking to continue its recent trend
(1-0 Big and prove that it has turned over a
vs. Penn new leaf tomorrow against Penn State
(0-1, 5-7).
dnesday's The Nittany Lions entered their Big
y over wis- Ten opener on a five-game winning
n could streak against the likes of Bucknell and
t winning Robert Morris, but fell to Indiana by 13
93-94. points Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, senior LaVell Blanchard
has been the Wolverines' best performer during the
current stretch, and is fourth in the conference in
scoring. Blanchard is averaging close to a double-
double over the past eight games with 19.8 points
and eight rebounds per-game in 31.1 minutes.
"We struggle and get into trouble when we don't
have LaVell doing the things that he is capable of
doing," Amaker said. "We try to do other things or
make up for other things, and we aren't good enough
to do (that)."
If the Wolverines are able to get LaVell involved
the way Amaker needs him to be, they should be

Cagers searching for first conf

By Gennaro Fice
Daily Sports Writer
In 2002, the Michigan women's basketball team pro-
duced an impressive 9-2 nonconference
record, earned a No. 25 ranking, and
looked to be ready for the grueling Big MACKEY
Ten season. But so far, 2003 is a com- Who: Michig
pletely different story. After tipping off Ten, 9-4 over
January with two blowout Big Ten losses, due (0-1, 11
the Wolverines have dropped out of the When: 2 p.m.
top 25, and have quickly found them- Latest The w
selves in the conference cellar. So much hope to avoid<
for ringing in the New Year. ference starta
After Michigan dropped its home Arena in Purdu
opener against Illinois, 89-59, coach Sue
Guevara commented on her team's demise.
"1 was shocked and stunned with how we played in
the first half," Guevara said. "I was embarrassed. I've
never seen that Michigan team play. We were a much
better basketball team in December."

With a game Sunday at No. 7 Purdue (0-1 Big Ten,
11-2 overall) in the hostile setting of Mackey Arena,
the Wolverines (0-2, 9-4) have no time to dwell on their
two-game skid.

an (0-2 Big
rall) vs. Pur-
an 0-3 con-
at Mackey
ue's confer-

"A big strength for Purdue is their
crowd," Guevara said. "Mackey Arena is a
very tough place to play. Their crowd really
appreciates a good basketball game."
With Purdue's impressive array of talent,
handling the crowd is just the first step
toward knocking off the Boilermakers.
Junior Shareka Wright, who currently leads
the team in scoring (18.9 points per game)
and rebounding (6.6 boards per game),
paces Purdue's high-octane offense.
"They have a very nice player in Shareka
Guevara said. "She can just hurt you in so

Freshman Graham Brown drives hard to the hoop
during Michigan's 66-65 victory over Wisconsin
able to come away with a notch in the win column
this weekend. Their nine-game winning streak
would become the longest for the them since the
1993-94 season, when Jalen Rose and Juwan
Howard were playing in Ann Arbor.
'ernence victory
say one of their biggest strengths is their team attitude.
They really do know how to pull it out."
Guevara said Purdue is a very disciplined team that
takes exceptional care of the ball and leads the Big Ten
in turnover ratio. This is an area in which Michigan has
struggled lately, turning the ball over 49 times in the
last two games.
"The No. 1 thing we have to key on is limiting our
turnovers, really taking a value in the basketball," Gue-
vara said.
The Wolverines will need a big game from junior
Stephanie Gandy. Michigan is 7-1 when Gandy hits
double figures, but a meager 2-3 when she does not.
Although playing one of the best teams in the coun-
try after losing two straight games can be intimidating,
it is essential that the Wolverines don't let these outside
factors effect their play.
"Every game is going to be tough, but if we go into
that game, 'Oh god;here we go, we're going in to play
Purdue, we've already lost two games in a row,' then
you know what, don't make the trip," Guevara said.

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Writer
Bobbleheads aside, this weekend
against Western Michigan will be
taken very seriously by the Michigan
hockey team.
And it just got more serious given
that defenseman Eric Werner has been
declared ineligible for this weekend's
series. Michigan coach Red Berenson
said Werner did nothing wrong, but the
Big Ten - Michigan hockey athletes
must meet NCAA, Big Ten, CCHA and
school regulations - wanted to ask
some questions of him. There was no
comment as to what the questioning
was about. Berenson has already sus-
pended sophomore Milan Gajic for two
games this season due to academic rea-
sons, but said that this suspension was
just for precautionary measures. Wern-
er, who has 13 points (four goals and
nine assists) on the season, will be
replaced by Reilly Olson in the lineup.
Whether it has been fractured bones
in the hand (forwards John Shouneyia
and Michael Woodford), a torn MCL
(captain Jed Ortmeyer) or the World
Junior Championships (forwards Eric
Nystrom and Dwight Helminen), the
Wolverines' top squad has yet to play an
entire 60 minutes together this season.
And given that the toughest portion of
the schedule is staring the Wolverines in
the face, they will need everyone for the
stretch run.
"We definitely have some things to
work on," Ortmeyer said. "We need to
tighten up in our own zone. In the sec-
ond half, we're going to be playing
some better teams, and we've been giv-
ing up too many chances."
Even though this home-and-home
weekend against the Broncos will have
gimmicks - the first 1,000 fans at
tonight's game will get bobblehead dolls
of Michigan coach Red Berenson and
in Kalamazoo, fans will try to "Black-
Out" the Wolverines with black t-shirts
and Thunderstix - these are vital
games for the two teams,
The Pairwise Rankings - consid-
ered to be the next best thing to the
official rankings in the eyes of the
NCAA selection committee - have
successfully projected the teams in

Who: Michigan (8-3-1 CCHA, 14-5-1 overall)
vs. Western Michigan (6-6.0, 8-11-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. today, 7:05 p.m. tomorrow
Latest: Red Berenson bobblehead night kicks
off a pivotal home-and-home series for the
Wolverines who sit in third place in the CCHA.
the last four NCAA tournaments and
currently have Michigan as the ninth-
ranked team in the nation. The
Wolverines are the highest CCHA
team ranked, though they are current-
ly third in the conference. First place
Ferris State and second place Ohio
State are No. 10 and 13, respectively.
"What really matters is that you take
care of things on the ice because the
Pairwise Rankings take so many things
into consideration that are out of your
control," Berenson said. "You'd go
crazy trying to figure all this out, and
you can't position yourself any better
than just by winning the games."
Winning, as simplistic as it sounds,
is all Michigan needs to do, as there is
no room for error. The Wolverines
play four teams ranked in the Pair-
wise's top 30 (Ferris State, Ohio State,
Nebraska-Omaha and the Broncos) in
the next two months. With schools
like Northern Michigan (No. 17) and
Notre Dame (No. 20) - which have
already beaten Michigan - on the
outside looking in and waiting for a
team to slip up, the Wolverines cannot
afford to drop to "bubble-team" status
because the losses earlier this season
will most certainly come back to
haunt them.
"It's tougher to stay at the top because
everyone's gunning for you," Ortmeyer
said. "Teams look and they see that
they're playing the No. 1 or No. 2 team,
and you're going to get their best game
day-in and day-out. When you're work-
ing your way up, you'll get on a roll, and
that's when you can make a run at it."
But pre-postseason rankings are just
that, and the Wolverines know that since
the power to change them is out of their
hands, there's only one thing they can do.
"I feel like we can move up, but we
can't really have too much control"of
that other than just going out and play-
ing games," Ortmeyer said.


many ways."
Perennially one of the nation's best teams, Purdue
exudes confidence.
"They know how to win," Guevara said. "I would


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