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December 10, 2003 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-10

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 10, 2003 -15

From juniors to Ann Arbor:
Cook, Dest stick together

Women's hoops still
searching for road win

By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Writer
While freshmen on top football and basketball
teams are usually athletes who come to campuses
after four years of playing for their high school and
dominating inferior opponents, the path that col-
lege ice hockey players take is vastly different.
College hockey players almost always play for
a junior team growing up, not their high school.
And, much like in the college process, they are
recruited to play for junior teams and often
leave home to play.
Take Tim Cook and Jason Dest. The two fresh-
man defensemen are from Montclair, N.J., and
Fraser, respectively, but, in their quest to improve
as hockey players, they have spent the last two
years in Omaha, Neb., playing for the River City
Lancers of the U. S. Hockey League.
Cook and Dest lived across the street from each
other, and from juniors to Michigan, have become
best friends.
"We're real tight," said Cook, who spent his first
two years of high school at The Hotchkiss School
in Connecticut with teammate Brandon Rogers.
"We've been rookies twice together now - in
Omaha two years ago and now here. It's brought us
real close."
After the last two years, the two also were able to
give their new roommates a heads-up about what to
expect.
"(Dest) sleeps all time ... I know it's that way
with all a lot of people in college, but it's a differ-
ent level with him," Cook said. "On Sundays, I
don't think he's up until five or six in the night. It's
pretty crazy."

Dest added: "(Roommate Mike Brown) always
gets mad about how much I sleep. I take naps all
the time, and he sometimes has trouble sleeping. I
think he's a little jealous."
While Cook doesn't have that problem, there is
something he can do to annoy his teammates.
"I like to listen to rap, so they make fun of me a
lot about that," Cook said. "It's more country and
rock in the lockerroom. If I try to play some rap
music, I'll hear about it pretty quick."
The two know each other well enough, and,
while they have spent the fall term getting to
know the other freshmen, they also have been
working hard on the ice and rapidly improving
their play.
Associate coach Mel Pearson says defenseman
"is the toughest position in college hockey to come
in as a freshman and play," noting that while for-
wards can blend in, defensemen's mistakes are
often glaring and easy to notice.
But after some struggles early in the season, the
pair has come on strong of late. In fact, the coaches
have been so pleased with the defense that they
moved Eric Werner up to wing against Michigan
State so that all seven defensemen can play.
While the move was made to allow Werner's
offensive skills and creativity with the puck to help
out Michigan's struggling offense, the coaching
staff would have gone another direction if it didn't
have confidence in its rookies.
"We're pleasantly surprised how well they have
played," Pearson said. "They are improving much
more rapidly than we expected."
Cook and Dest aren't the only Lancers to play
college hockey. The man who single-handedly gave
the Spartans a chance in last weekend's games with

FILE IPHOTO
Michigan freshman Jason Dest spent the last two
years in Omaha, Neb. with teammate Tim Cook.
Michigan, freshman goaltender Dominic Vicari,
was also a Lancer.
Vicari stopped 65 of 66 shots to split the series
and all but locked up the starting spot at goal.
It came as no surprise to Dest that Vicari played
so well. In fact, he thinks the sight of Cook and
him on the ice may have been the reason.
"I think it had a little to do with it," Dest said.
"Obviously the two schools have a big rivalry, and
now we're part of it. When Dominic's got a big
game on the line, he stays focused and really gets
the job done.
"It was fun to play him. We definitely gave
each other a hard time on the ice. During the
game it was a lot more serious though. But
when the game was over we went back to mess-
ing around like usual."
After seeing one ex-teammate last weekend,
Cook and Dest will get a chance to visit their home
away from home the last two years when Michigan
visits Nebraska-Omaha this weekend.

By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer
Rewind to Saturday, Nov. 15 at
Crisler Arena. Cheryl Burnett makes
her official debut as head coach of the
Michigan women's basketball team in
a victory over Miami (Ohio) in the
first round of the Preseason Women's
National Invitational Tournament. The
future looks so bright.
Now fast-forward nine games and
29 days later to last Sunday. After an
82-66 loss to Creighton, the Wolver-
ines sit at 5-5 on the year, and things
don't look as bright as they once did.
Michigan now has until Saturday,
when it travels to South Orange, N.J.,
for a game against Big East foe Seton
Hall. The six-day stretch is the longest
without a game for the Wolverines so
far this season, and it gives players and
coaches some time to sit back and
evaluate what's been working and what
downright stinks.
"I feel like we haven't been doing
what needs to be done out there," jun-
ior forward Tabitha Pool said. "We do
it in practice, but when we get out in
the game, it's like another team."
The Wolverines have shown flashes
of brilliance, but in other stretches
have looked somewhat uninspired.
Creighton somehow managed to win
by 16 points, for instance, even
though the Wolverines shot a
respectable 46.2 percent from the
field. Much of that could be due to
the fact that Michigan turned the ball
over 24 times.
A growing concern as the year
wears on may be the team's increas-
ing dependency on senior center Jen-
nifer Smith. She leads the Wolverines

in virtually every major category,
including points per game (23.9),
field-goal percentage (55.8),
rebounds per game (7.9) and minutes
played (35.3). In last week's matchup
against Charlotte, Smith scored 17 of
Michigan's final 19 points - an
impressive feat for Smith, but the
consequences are troublesome when
she isn't dominating.
And Smith has had a hard time get-
ting help when she has needed it. In
last weekend's losses to Drake and
Creighton, Smith was held to 17 and
21 points, respectively, after scoring a
career-high 37 points in a 72-65 win
over Charlotte at Crisler Arena on
Dec. 3. Senior forward Stephanie
Gandy and Pool were the only other
Wolverines who scored in double dig-
its the entire weekend, each notching
16 points against the Blue Jays.
The friendly confines of Crisler
appear to be the only place the Wolver-
ines can win. Four of Michigan's five
wins have come at home, and the fifth
win technically came at a neutral site
in Dallas against Texas-Arlington.
Conversely, all but one of its losses
came on the road, most recently at
Drake and Creighton.
"We've lost against some teams I've
never heard of," Pool said. "It's not that
we're tired, we're just not doing the
things we need to do to win."
The Wolverines will play just three
games before the Big Ten season starts
on Jan. 1 at Minnesota, giving them a
much-needed rest.
"Instead of worrying about other
teams, we get to work on our game and
get better," Pool said. "That's going to
help on our days off, actually getting to
work on the team."

Brown outswims past gold-medal winner

By Anne Ulble
Daily Sports Writer
Imagine getting the chance to compete against
Olympic athletes - those heroes you've watched on
television and posted pictures of up in your room.
Now, imagine beating one of them.
This past weekend, Michigan freshman Lindsey
Smith got that chance. Displaying her potential as
an Olympic-caliber swimmer at the U.S. Open in
Federal Way, Wash., Smith beat two-time 2000
Olympic gold winner Brooke Bennett in the 200-
meter freestyle and qualified for the U.S. Olympic
trials in 2004.
This past weekend, three members of the Michi-
gan women's swimming team traveled to the West
Coast for a three-day meet to compete at one of the
most elite swimming competitions in the world.
The competition included 1,000 swimmers and
about a dozen U.S. Olympians. Other countries in
attendance were Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and
the Netherlands.
"There was definitely a strong international flavor

in addition to a greater number of U.S. swimmers,"
head coach Jim Richardson said. "The times were
also much faster on the women's side than they have
been in the past few years."
Joining Smith as the competing Wolverines were
senior Sara Johnson and freshman Susan Gilliam.
After arriving a day late to the meet due to academic
priorities, Gilliam managed to finish 15th and 38th
in the 200- and 800-meter freestyle, respectively.
Johnson followed in her teammates' successful path,
placing 17th and 21st in the 200- and 100-meter
freestyle respectively.
"I was happy with my performance this week-
end," Gilliam said. "I haven't rested or shaved, so
my times were pretty good for this point in the sea-
son. It was also definitely more difficult to swim
without the rest of the team at the meet. It's a lot
easier to swim faster when you have the team to
look to for support."
Richardson, who was planning on bringing more
of his athletes to Washington, used this meet as a
chance for his swimmers to make their Olympic trial
standards and have an opportunity to race, since they

won't have a competition for the next four weeks.
"We could have taken up to 12 swimmers, but we
gave each girl a choice between this meet and the
Eastern Michigan Invitational," Richardson said. "A
majority of the team couldn't travel because of
exams and study time."
In Ypsilanti, the Wolverines concluded their week-
end invitational finishing first out of nine teams with
a total of 1,010 points. Michigan outscored host
Eastern Michigan by 166 points.
"Overall, I'd say it was a successful weekend for
our team at both meet sites," Richardson said. "It
will send us into a great training session over the hol-
iday break."
The Wolverines are scheduled to travel to
Honolulu on Dec. 26 as part of their annual win-
ter training trip. Along with swim practice and
rigorous dryland time, Richardson plans on
including surfing, kayaking and running on the
beach into the team's training. Michigan will
also be racing in the Rainbow Invitational on
Jan. 2 before returning to Ann Arbor to com-
mence its Big Ten schedule.

REMEMBER THE MOMENT
HELP COMMEMORATE THE WOLVERINES'
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP.

NOW AVAILABLE: Full-size
posters of the Daily's Nov.24 front
page, just after Michigan vanquished
Ohio tate in their 100th matchup.
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