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January 23, 2004 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-23

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Friday
January 23, 2004
sports.michigandaily.com
} sports@michigandaily.com

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9

'M' anxious
for win at
Penn State
By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Writer
After losing three straight games to fall to 1-3
and ninth place in the Big Ten, Michigan's high pre-
season expectations of
going to the NCAA
Tournament may be
fading away.
Penn State just wish- M an ft
es it had expectations. Penn State
When the Wolverines Tlne~ Tl7pm.
(1-3 Big Ten, 10-5
overall) take on the Nit-
tany Lions (2-2, 8-7) at EirN:::
the Bryce Jordan Cen- _
ter in State College on
Saturday, both teams will be desperate for a win,
but for completely different reasons.
Michigan needs a victory to get its postseason
prospects back on track. The Wolverines are now
ranked 55th in the Ratings Percentage Index -
which assists the NCAA in selecting tournament at-
large berths - after being ranked in the top 30 for
the majority of their non-conference schedule. With
the Big Ten being as weak as it has been in years,
Michigan will likely need to win eight of its final
12 games and win one or two conference tourna-
ment games to assure itself an announcement selec-
tion Sunday.
But coach Tommy Amaker has not hit the panic
button yet.
"think we recognize it's a long horse race,"~
Amaker said. "I think we've seen a lot of interesting
things already in this conference."
One of the interesting things so far this Big Ten
season was Penn State's initial 2-0 start. It started
its conference schedule by defeating Minnesota and
Ohio State at home. The Nittany Lions finished 7-
21 in each of the past two seasons, causing them to
bring in Ed DeChellis to resurrect the program. The
Pennsylvania native led East Tennessee State Uni-
versity to the NCAA Tournament for the first time
in a decade last season.
But before DeChellis can return to the Big
Dance, he first has to bring confidence to a pro-
gram that lost its two leading scorers to graduation
and Aaron Johnson to surgery. The sophomore for-

Pool jumper lifts
Blue over Badgers

TONY DING/Daily
During Michigan's second loss of its current three-game skid, sophomore Daniel Horton battles for possession
against Michigan State. The Wolverines hope they can turn things around in State College this weekend.

By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer
Just one game removed from a
67-33 loss at Michigan State in
which the Wolverines scored just 13
points in the second half, it wouldn't
have been a surprise if the Michigan
women's basketball team experi-
enced some sort of hangover on the
road at Wisconsin.
Instead, the biggest surprise came
with 31 seconds left on the clock,
when junior forward Tabitha Pool
gave Michigan a 61-60 lead and -
following two game-icing free
throws by senior Jennifer Smith -
an all-important Big Ten victory on
the road. This came despite the fact
that Pool had shot a horrid 3-for-18
before the final basket.
"Tabitha Pool played an incredi-
bly high game in terms of her inten-
sity, her competitive spirit, her
leadership and her confidence,"
Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett
said. "Certainly at the end when she
hit the big shot, as coaches we're so
happy that that pays off for our
team."
The Wolverines had to battle back
from a five-point deficit with just
under two-and-a-half minutes
remaining. Michigan managed three
defensive stops, allowing Pool to hit
her 18-footer for the lead. Wiscon-
sin's Stephanie Rich then missed an
open layup at the other end of the
floor, and the Badgers fouled Smith
with just one second left.
"This team is committed to play-
ing hard," Burnett said. "We termed
it 'the will to win.' That's the thing
we can control - our approach to
stepping on the court and being
competitive. It took every ounce of
competitiveness."
But Pool had her fair share of
help. After Michigan surrendered a
six-point halftime lead when Wis-
consin began the second half with a
14-2 run, Smith almost single-hand-
edly kept the Wolverines in the
game.
The center did most of her dam-
age just after the 12-minute mark
when Wisconsin's top two post play-
ers - Emily Ashbaugh and Lello
Gebisa - each picked up their third
fouls within a six-second span.
Smith capitalized, scoring Michi-
gan's next eight points.
Smith finished with a game-high
32 points on 10-for-14 shooting
from the floor and an impressive 12-
for-12 at the free throw line.

The Wolverines already had an
obstacle to overcome by the time
they arrived in Madison yesterday
morning. Sophomore forward Niki
Reams did not even dress for last
night's game after coming down
with flu-like symptoms.
Freshman Kelly Helvey made her
tenth start of the season in Reams'
place and set out immediately to
make use of her time on the court.
Helvey scored Michigan's second
basket of the game and fired up four
of the team's first six shots.
"I think she's very confident step-
ping into that starting role simply
because she's been there," Burnett
said.
"We really don't overstress who
starts and who doesn't, so we're pre-
pared for that in practice."
Helvey finished the game with
seven points on 3-for-8 shooting and
five rebounds. Her contribution was
a positive sign for a team that has
had trouble finding any kind of
scoring from players other than
Smith, Pool and senior Stephanie
Gandy.
"I hate any kind of distractions,"
Burnett said. "Not to have one of
your starters in is a pretty major dis-
traction, but our players stepped up
to the challenge."
YESTERDAY'S GAME
Michigan (63)
FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A 0-T A F PTS
Pool 40 4-19 2-2 2-8 6 3 11
Helvey 29 3-8 0-0 0-5 1 4 7
Smith 39 10-14 12-12 1-6 2 3 32
Hauser-Price 27 1-1 0-0 1-3 5 1 2
Gandy 38 4-11 2-3 3-5 1 2 11
Andrews 6 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 1 0
Carney 13 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 1 0
Burlin 7 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
McPhilamy 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 200 22-54 16.1711-36 18 16 63
FG%:.407. FT%: .941. 3-point FG: 3-19, .158 (Pool
1-10, Helvey 1-4, Gandy 1-4, Burlin 0-1). Blocks: 2
(Hauser-Price, Helvey). Steals: 12 (Pool 5, Gandy 3,
Helvey, Smith, Andrews, Carney). Turnovers: 15
(Gandy 4, Hauser-Price 3, Pool 2, Helvey 2, Smith 2,
Carney, Team). Technical fouls: none.
WISCONSIN (60)

ward has been out since a detached retina in his
right eye was treated in October.
"I don't think our guys expected a whole lot,"
DeChellis said. "We lost our two leading scorers
from last year, and we lost another guy, and then I
think players want to lower their expectations. And
all we've talked about is raising expectations."
The expectations are starting to rise. The Nittany
Lions came into the conference season with a win-
ning record for the first time in three years, and
their 2-0 start was their best since 1996. But they
lost to Michigan State and then were demolished by
Illinois, 80-37 - shooting 5-for-37 from the field
in the second half of that game.
"We're a very, very young team, we're very inex-
perienced and we're not very deep," DeChellis said.

"We' re not a lot of things, but we try to compete
and we try to convince each guy to play to their
strengths."
With Penn State returning home, where it won its
first two conference games, Michigan is going to
have to play well in a game it must win. To win
eight of its final 12, the Wolverines need to win on
Saturday and on Wednesday at home against Iowa
before the schedule gets tougher with matchups
against Illinois and Purdue.
"We'll evaluate our upcoming opponent and see
what we can get ready for, but every game we play
- and we haven't won one in a while - is a very
important game, so that game will take on a life of
its own in that regard, and we'll see if we can get a
victory." Amaker said.

Icers. optimistic for CCHA return

By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writer
One of the biggest disappointments
of last year's hockey season was a trip
to Kalamazoo, where Michigan blew a
two-goal lead and dropped a 4-3 con-
test to Western Michigan after disman-
tling the Broncos 10-3 at Yost Ice
Arena the night before.
This season, Michigan returns to
conference play - after playing an
exhibition with the U.S. National Team
Development Program Under-18 team
last Saturday - to take on the hottest
team in the CCHA. Western Michigan
(9-6-2 CCHA, 13-9-3 overall) has won
seven of its last nine conference
games, to surge from eighth place into
a tie for second.
"We know we're going into a tough
building," Michigan coach Red Beren-
son said. "We're going to play the best
Western Michigan team we've played
in the last five years. This will be a big
test for Michigan."
The biggest concern is whether
the Wolverines can return to form
after taking on a lower caliber team
last week, as Team USA is com-
posed of high school students. Two
weeks ago, Michigan (9-4-1,14-7-1)
swept Ohio State in perhaps its best
series of the season. Berenson will
be able to tell early on if his team
will return to form.
"I think the first period is going to
be key for our team," Berenson said.
"We want to make sure we get into the
CCHA tempo, and we've looked good
in practice, so I don't think we'll be far
off the mark."
Last week's game against Team
USA was the Wolverines' last break
from conference play until the end of
the regular season. After playing so
well against the Buckeyes, there is the
chance that the Wolverines could lose
their momentum. But forward Dwight
Helminen is confident that this won't

be the case and, if anything, the break
in conference play was a chance to
recharge the team's batteries.
"We had a little break
to recharge for the stretch
run - we have seven TifIS
weekends in a row,"
Helminen said. "I think Mi
the team is excited to
return to league play, and Tme: 75
I don't think (the exhibi- {:ti
tion) is going to be a I.asc
problem for us."
Even if the exhibition
won't cause a poor out-
ing, simply playing away from Yost
could hurt the Wolverines. The road
has not been kind to Michigan this
season. The Wolverines have com-

piled a mediocre 3-4-1 record, with
losses in Oxford, Big Rapids, East
Lansing and Columbus.

NEED MORE
SPORTS? CHECK
OUT PAGE 5 FOR
WATER POLO AND
WOMEN'S
SWIMMING
COVERAGE*

Gebisa, L.
Gebisa, E.
Ashbaugh
Rich
Josephson
Evans
Wilson
Bakke
Totals

MIN
24
27
25
39
38
16
21
10
200

FG
M-A
0-3
0-6
6-8
5-13
5-10
0-1
1-4
1-1
18.46

FTI
M-A
0-0
0-0
4-6
3-4
4-4
3-6
4-6
0-0
18&26£

REB
0-T
0-3
2-5
1-4
1-6
1-3
0-1
2-5
1-3
8-30

A
2
2
0
3
1
2
2
0
129

F PTS
5 0
1 0
4 16
3 16
0 17
0 3
2 6
0 2
15 60

WEEEN

Tonight's game will be
the first road trip since
winter break, and Helmi-
nen believes all the road
problems are behind
them.
"The young guys
know what to expect on
the road (now), and we
older guys needed to
show them how to play
on the road," Helminen

FG%:.391.FT%:.692. 3-point FG: 6-11, .545
(Josephson 3-4, Rich 3-6, Gebisa, E. 0-1). Blocks: 3
(Ashbaugh 2, Gebisa, L.). Steals: 7 (Rich 4, Ash-
baugh, Josephson, Evans). Turnovers: 16 (Gebisa, E.
4, Bakke 4, Rich 3, Gebisa, L. 3, Ashbaugh, Joseph-
son). Technical Fouls: none.
Michigan ..............35 28 - 63
Wisconsin.............29 31- 60

At: Kohl Center
Attendance: 5,737

said. "I think they have the road men-
tality down. On the road, it comes
down to hits, winning the battles, spe-
cial teams and burying your chances."

JEFF LEHNERT/Daily
Junior forward Milan Gajic and the Wolverines hope that last week's exhibition
game against Team USA won't affect the team's performace this weekend.

I I '1

D*4011

fq

L

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