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December 08, 2003 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-08

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - December 8, 2003 - 7B

Weilbacher heads tankers' effort

By Anne Ulbie
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's swim-
ming and diving team rarely has the
chance to swim in meets close to
Ann Arbor. Last year, the Wolver-
ines had just two home meets, mak-
ing it difficult for the swimmers to
attend classes regularly and be fully
rested for their races.
"It's nice to be able to compete
during the day and sleep in our own
beds at night," senior captain Anne
Weilbacher said. "It's tough having
to stay in hotels before big meets."
The majority of the team partici-
pated in the Eastern Michigan Uni-
versity Invitational at the Michael
H. Jones Natatorium this weekend,
while four of their teammates swam
in the U.S. Open Long Course Meet
in Federal Way, Wash.
"We were planning on having more
girls go to Washington," assistant
coach Stefanie Kerska said. "But a
lot of them felt they couldn't make
the trip because of their studies."
In Ypsilanti, the Wolverines con-
cluded their two-day meet, finishing
in first place out of nine teams with
a total of 1,010 points. Michigan
outscored second-place host Eastern
Michigan by 166 points. The team

swam through three sessions of
competition beginning on Friday
night, continuing on Saturday morn-
ing and concluding in the evening
session that night.
"I'm really satisfied with how
they did this weekend," Kerska said.
"It's not easy coming into a long
meet like this, especially in the mid-
dle of a pretty heavy study time."
Michigan easily captured the
team title by winning 14 of the 16
events. The Wolverines dominated
the invitational primarily by win-
ning all four scheduled relays.
These combined races accounted for
160 points toward the team's final
score. Leading Michigan in individ-
ual events were senior Kelli Stein
and freshman Kaitlyn Brady, who
won two events apiece. Weilbacher,
the senior captain, claimed three
individual titles this weekend, which
included the 200- and 100-yard but-
terfly and the 50-yard freestyle.
"Weilbacher has a knack for
swimming fast when she needs to,"
Kerska said. "She really knows how
to get up and compete well."
In one of the most exciting events
of the weekend, Weilbacher posted
not just one of her personal best
times, but also a NCAA considera-
tion time in her 100-yard butterfly

race with a time of 53.83 - more
than four seconds faster than the
second-place finisher.
"I was happy with my race," Weil-
bacher said. "Invitationals are dif-
ferent from other meets. We get
more time between races and many
of us wear special-made suits,
which make a big difference."
The full-body suits that many
sprinters have converted to have
changed the sport of swimming
entirely. Becoming more water-
dynamic, swimmers are able to cut
their times down significantly. This
new style of suit has just become
implemented at all levels of swim-
ming within the past five years.
"The suits help us work with the
small technicalities of our sport,"
Weilbacher said. "They are pretty
much designed for my body type
and have been one of the reasons
I've been swimming faster."
The Wolverines don't have any
competition scheduled for the
remainder of the 2003 year, but they
will be continuing their winter
training in Hawaii over the holiday
break. Michigan will compete in the
Rainbow Invitational in Honolulu
on Jan. 3 before returning to Ann
Arbor for the start of the Big Ten

Jennifer Smith (left), Sierra Hauser-Price and Stephanie Gandy receive direction from coach Cheryl Burnett while freshman
Kelly Helvey watches on. Burnett's coaching was not enough this weekend in two losses to Drake and Creighton.
Smith's 21 not enough for Blue

By Megan Kolodgy
Daily Sports Writer

Not even Jennifer Smith could save
them this time. Smith, the 6-foot-4 cap-
tain who has put up 30 or more points
in her last two home games, was held to
21 by Creighton's ___HGAN____
Blue Jays yester-_
day in Omaha. The
Michigan women's basketball team fin-
ished off a grueling run of seven games
in 19 days with a disappointing 15-point
road loss at the hands of Drake on Fri-
day and an 82-66 defeat by Creighton.
The Blue Jays' 82 points were the most
the Wolverines have allowed any oppo-
nent so far this year.
"I'm not making any excuses, but
we've been feeling like an NBA team
with our schedule lately," coach Cheryl
Burnett said.
The weary, road-worn Wolverines
struggled against a voracious full-court
defense that Michigan just could not
shake, as evidenced by its nine
turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the
first half, setting the pace for the
remainder of the contest. They finished
off the game with 24 turnovers.
Burnett was forced to reach deep into
her bench to compensate for running
several players, including Smith, for the
full 40 minutes in several earlier con-
tests. Sophomore Lauren Andrews, who

has played for an average of a little less
than six minutes per game, remained on
the court for a season-high 28 minutes.
In the final two minutes of the game,
sophomore Rachael Carney, completely
cold, took the floor and quickly nailed a
trifecta for the Wolverines.
"We wanted to spread the time out a
little bit," Burnett said. "We played
seven games in the last 19 days, and I
don't know who we would be able to
ask to play that much in that many
Michigan's lone saving grace was its
free throws. Creighton's tight defense
allowed for many opportunities to step
to the line, and for the most part, the
Wolverines were able to capitalize.
They shot an impressive 80 percent
from the charity stripe, and oftentimes,
it was these points that appeared to put
them in position to overtake the Jays.
But appearances were certainly
deceiving in this case, and the Wolver-
ines were never able to make a defini-
tive run for the entire stretch of the
game. By the end of the first half, they
were hanging by the skin of their teeth,
trailing Creighton by nine.
One of the bright spots for Michigan
in this dreary matchup was captain
Stephanie Gandy's 16 points on 7-of-9
shooting. Gandy, who spent some time
on the bench during Michigan's last
road trip to Dallas, fought her way back

into the starting lineup.
It was the more dire statistics, how-
ever, that were the deciding factors in
this game. Junior Tabitha Pool, despite
her 16-point contribution, led the team
with five turnovers and had just one
assist. Freshman Kelly Helvey went 1-
of-7 from the field and 0-of-3 from
beyond the arc. Helvey took 25 shots
through the first eight games of the
season, but took 19 this past weekend.
The freshman has seen her time on the
court increase slightly as a result of a
somewhat slow recovery from a hip
pointer she suffered and also out of
Burnett's desire to give her starters a
bit of time to rest. The Wolverines'
46.2-percent field goal percentage was
an improvement over their 33.3 percent
performance against Drake.
Michigan has dropped four of five on
the road, missing the comforts of Crisler
Arena, where they have won 80 percent
of their games. The Wolverines are
looking forward to having nearly an
entire week to practice for their next
"The players have been completely
overloaded lately" Burnett said. "With
this being their final academic week of
the semester, they're also overloaded
with obligations for school. Our last day
off, we spent the day traveling to Texas,
so having almost a week to prepare for
our next game is a welcome change."

Though the Wolverines could not compete at home, they found the next best thing: Competing in neighboring Ypsilanti. The
Wolverines were the top team at this weekend's Eastern Michigan University invitational.

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