December , 2002
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By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer
At the beinning of this season, when Michigan
coach Tomnmy Amaker began talk of laying a foun-
dation for the rebuilding basketball program, no
one could have envisioned that the project would
require this many bricks.
Saturday, for the fourth straight game, the
Wolverines were dismal shooting the ball, finishing
at 36.5 percent from the field and 12-for-21 from
the free-throw line en route to a 56-52 loss at
Crisler Arena to Western Michigan (3-1).
The performance from the floor for Michigan (0-
4) was actually an improvement over the Paradise
Jam tournament, as the Wolverines raised their sea-
son shooting percentage to 35.5.
The Wolverines also turned the ball over 21
times, leaving the offense to scratch and claw its
way to any points.
"I think you look at two stats: free-throw shoot-
ing and turnovers - that's the difference in the
game," Amaker said. "To shoot that poorly from the
free-throw line and turn the ball over 21 times,
we're not going to beat too many teams with those
kind of numbers."
Even with the offensive ineptitude, the Wolver-
ines were in a position to pull out a come-from-
behind victory over the Broncos.
Michigan trailed 52-45 with just over a minute
remaining in the game, but pulled within two and
had possession of the ball with nine seconds left.
Senior guard Gavin Groninger drove into the lane
and kicked a pass out to forward LaVell Blanchard
in the left corner.
Blanchard was open enough to get a potential
game-winning 3-pointer off, but the shot rattled
around in the cylinder and popped out, allowing
Western Michigan guard Robby Collum to grab the
ball and the victory.
See BRONCOS, Page 5B
SANTA CLARA, CALIF.
By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Writer
It takes months of practice and hard work to build a
championship team. It can take as little as two minutes
to destroy one.
Such was the case for the Michigan women's soccer
team on Saturday as it fell 3-1ito No. 6 seed Santa
Clara (19-4-1) in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA
Tournament, ending its season.
With 10:32 remaining in the first half, the Broncos
won a corner kick. Aly Wagn-
er, last year's National Player MICHIGAN 1
of the Year, sent the ball into
the box and it found the head SANTA CLARA 3
of senior midfielder Devvyn
Hawkins, who redirected it into the Wolverines' goal.
Michigan had little time to think about what went
wrong because Santa Clara struck again two minutes
later. Junior Veronica Zepeda collected a loose ball in
the Michigan half of the field and then proceeded to
blow by three defenders before finishing off the play
with a left foot shot to the near post. The Wolverines
(16-7-1) would never recover.
"The turning point (of the game) was the first goal,"
Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher said. "We were
playing well, and then they scored and then they scored
(another) one right away."
"I don't think that we were lacking (intensity),"
Michigan senior defender Andrea Kayal added. "I think
that scoring made them more focused on getting anoth-
er one and really got them going."
It was evident that the Broncos were hungry for
another goal because instead of sitting on the 2-0 lead
and playing more defensively, Santa Clara began to
apply even more pressure offensively.
"Their best defense was their offense," Rademacher
said. "They sent their outside backs forward, and that
(forced) our wing players to track back. So a lot of
times we had one forward up front who needed to hold
the ball against a very good defense"'
The continued pressure paid off for Santa Clara,
which would eventually go on to outshoot the Wolver-
ines 19-6. At the 82:35 mark, Zepeda created more
havoc for the Wolverines' defense when she was tripped
inside the Michigan box. Wagner converted the penalty
kick and pushed the score to 3-0, putting the game out
of the Wolverines reach. Kate Morgan scored Michi-
gan's lone goal off a corner kick from defender Amy
Sullivant at the 85:23 mark, but it was too little too late.
"Santa Clara played their best game to date, but they
are the (defending) national champs," Rademacher
said. "They are an unbelievable team with unbelievable
players. They were on their game."
Although the loss means that the season is over,
the Wolverines will not be hanging their heads. By
reaching the quarterfinals, this year's team went far-
ther in the NCAA Tournament than any other team in
Michigan history. It dominated on both sides of the
ball, outscoring opponents 45-20 and recording an
astounding 10 shutouts, including three in the NCAA
"I couldn't be prouder (of the team)," Rademacher
said. "The biggest characteristic of our team is that we
are fighters. We play hard to the end."
Michigan will have to replace six seniors, including
Big Ten Player of the Year Abby Crumpton and fellow
All-Big Ten first teamer Amy Sullivant next year.
"We have a strong class coming in and a strong sup-
porting cast," Rademacher said. "Every team goes in a
cycle, we'll certainly have a different team next year
than the one this year, but they will find their identity."
After an 0-4 start, including Saturday's 56-52 loss to Western Michigan, LaVell Blanchard and the rest of the Wolverines are
searching for answers.
Harrell readfor increased role
By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer
Graham Brown and the Wolverines finally out rebounded
a team, but it was Western Michigan and they still lost.
Michigan freshman Sherrod Har-
rell could have been on the other
bench when the Wolverines faced
Western Michigan on Saturday. Har-
rell, a Kalamazoo native, passed up
the chance to play for the Broncos on
scholarship, to walk on for the Michi-
gan basketball team.
Being a freshman and a walk-on
was two strikes against Harrell.
With the dismissal of Avery Queen
from the Michigan basketball team,
coach Tommy Amaker has only one
scholarship player at the point guard
position - freshman Daniel Horton.
While the blue-chip recruit has
shown flashes of brilliance in his first
few games as a Wolverine, he is still
The loss of Queen also hurts
because he was projected to backu p
Horton at the point. Enter Harrell,
who will now be forced to contribute
minutes immediately so that Horton
can sit for a few minutes each
"I think that with the situation we
are in right now, I thought (Harrell)
did an admirable job of coming in
and spelling Horton and giving us
quality minutes and taking care of the
basketball and try to get us into
things and defending," Amaker said.
"I was very pleased with how he per-
formed for us and we anticipate that
we are going to need more of that
See POINT, Page 5B
Icers avenge 2002 Frozen Four defeat
By Courtney Lewis
Daily Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota attacked
Michigan's net from beginning to end yesterday,
outshooting the Wolverines 39-33, but it was an
accidental shot that put
the game out of reach MICHIGAN 3
for the Gophers.
Trailing 2-1 with MINNESOTA 1
less than a minute to
go, Minnesota was deep in its offensive zone
when a pass back to the point missed its mark
and slid the length of the rink into the Gophers'
own empty net..
Sophomore defenseman Brandon Rogers was
credited with the goal, which secured Michigan's
3-1 victory. Rogers called the tally the "luckiest"
goal he has ever scored.
"It's the first time I've ever scored without
taking a shot," Rogers said, adding that he didn't
realize at the time that he was the last Wolverine
to touch the puck.
"I was just so excited - we saw it go in the
net and it gave us a 3-1 cushion - that we were
going to close out the game with 40 seconds left.
So we were all just pretty happy about that."
"No question," Berenson said. "It's the biggest
win of our year so far, because it was the
strongest opponent in a great environment, in a
well-played game in a game that we were on our
heals a lot."
Freshman Danny Richmond opened the scor-
ing 6:33 into the first period on a Michigan
The defenseman's hard shot from the left cir-
cle sailed wide, but moments later he got the
puck back in almost the same spot. He rifled
his second chance by Minnesota goaltender
Michigan took advantage of its opportunities
all afternoon, as it came out of the second period
with a 2-1 lead despite being outshot 16-7.
Minnesota's Keith Ballard knotted the score at
one early in the period.
Left winger Thomas Vanek got the puck on
the right side of the crease, skated behind the
net and banged a wrap-around shot off Michi-
gan goaltender Al Montoya's right pad. The
puck caromed to Ballard, who was waiting on
the right side of the crease and sent it into the
Less than three minutes later, sophomore for-
ward Dwight Helminen put the Wolverines
Michigan's zone and raced in on Weber, bury-
ing a little wrister.
Montoya held off the Gophers the rest of the
game finishing with 38 saves, including several
in the closing minutes, and the Wolverines
turned it on in the last period. The Wolverines
outshot the Gophers 16-11 in the third.
"We had a good team period in the third peri-
od," Rogers said. "We played good systems and
we played road hockey - what we want to do to
close out a team."
This was Michigan's first chance to face Min-
nesota since falling to the Gophers in last year's
Frozen Four, and that made the win even sweeter
for the Wolverines.
"We could see their banner hanging up at the
end of the rink that said 2002 National Cham-
pions, and we hated that feeling to end our sea-
son last year on a losing note," Rogers said.
"So to come back this year and be able to play
them again, we wanted to beat them ... get
But the Wolverines have put last year behind
them and Rogers said that this game was "a
turning point" of this season.
"It's a defining moment for our team,"