February 4, 2004
Reams emerges as
fourth scoring threat
Tigers get serious, Drew
gets out, L.A. gets nasty
By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer
Sophomore Niki Reams finally
made some noise for the Michigan
women's basketball team on the
offensive end last weekend at Illi-
nois. Reams scored 12 of Michi-
gan's 78 points, as the team
produced its best offensive output
since its first game of the season
against Miami (Ohio) when it
scored 79 points.
It's exactly what the Wolverines
thought they needed from Reams,
the player that has done everything
but score. Unfortunately, Reams
picked the wrong time to pitch in on
the offensive side.
Michigan left any form of a defen-
sive game plan at home and let Illi-
nois - the 10th place team in the
Big Ten standings - light up the
scoreboard for 94 points on 56.5
percent shooting. Illinois forward
Angelina Williams racked up 31
points on the Wolverines, mostly on
uncontested transition layups. The
Fighting Illini's guard combo of
Tiffanie Guthrie and Erin Wigley put
up 17 and 15 points, respectively. It
was a complete defensive collapse
on the part of the Wolverines.
"We're not a team that takes any
pride in someone scoring that many
points and shooting that kind of per-
centage," Michigan coach Cheryl
Reams got the daunting assign-
By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer
ment of guarding Penn State's Kelly
Mazzante on Jan. 15. And she did a
respectable job, holding Mazzante
- the Big Ten's leading scorer - to
17 points, even as Mazzante was
closing in on the Big Ten's career
Reams obviously can't shoulder
all the blame for Sunday's less-than-
stellar defensive performance, but
she's not free from all of that blame,
"Every game I try to play 100
percent defense," Reams said. "My
offense will come from my
Her offensive contribution is a
positive sign for a team in the midst
of a three-game losing streak.
Reams was the first Wolverine not
named Stephanie Gandy, Tabitha
Pool or Jennifer Smith to score in
double figures since a Nov. 29 win
over Texas-Arlington, when Reams
scored 15 points. In fact, sophomore
Rachael Carney and junior Sierra
Hauser-Price are the only other
Wolverines to score in double fig-
ures in a game.
"I want to do what's best for the
team, and if that involves me shoot-
ing the ball more, I'm going to do
that for the team," Reams said.
But Sunday's game showed that
her offensive output might not be the
most important contribution Reams
can make. The best way to classify
her is as a hustle player. She is third
on the team in rebounds, second in
Niki Reams blows past Indiana's Jenny DeMuth during Michigan's victory over the
Hoosiers earlier this year.
Goin' to Work
I couldn't avoid it. I tried to.
Believe me, I did. But when it came
right down to it, there was no way not
to mention the Detroit Tigers' signing
of catcher Ivan Rodriguez in this
I'll get to some of the other stuff in a
minute ... but first things first.
I don't know how it happened, or
why (though I suspect the $40-million
contract had something to do with it),
but the Tigers, fresh off a 119-loss sea-
son, signed the MVP of the National
League Championship Series.
Help, I've fallen and I can't get up.
Apparently the 119 losses finally
provided the wake-up call that Tigers'
owner Mike Ilitch needed to stop
addressing all of his checks to the Red
Wings and throw some money into his
dead-to-the-world baseball team.
Or maybe he realized that the Red
Wings and the rest of the NHL could
be on strike next year, so he transferred
the payroll money over to TigerTown.
Whatever the reason, all of a sud-
den, this offseason has turned into a
real-life version of when Ebenezer
Scrooge wakes up at the end of "A
Christmas Carol" - instead of pinch-
ing pennies, Ilitch appears to be run-
ning around Comerica Park throwing
money at any free agent that will lis-
Rodriguez heard him, and the Tigers
secured themselves one of the greatest
catchers in the history of baseball.-
And as if Tigers fans aren't dancing
in the streets already, Rodriguez threw
this little nugget into the mix during
the press conference announcing his
signing on Monday.
"We're going to see this organiza-
tion, this Detroit Tigers team, in the
playoffs very soon."
Now that's going out on a limb.
The guess here is, though, that
Rodriguez will be joined out on that
limb by every true Tigers fan that has
become so frustrated with this fran-
chise over the past decade or so.
Rodriguez is the first huge name to
come play in Detroit since Juan Gon-
As of Monday, he appeared as happy
to be here as any player since current
Tigers' manager Alan Trammell played
for the club.
So, whether or not the Tigers are
playoff contenders this season, Ilitch
and his franchise have finally and mer-
cifully restored some excitement in a
city that - when it's been given good
teams to rally around -has shown
itself to be one of the best, most
knowledgeable baseball cities in the
country. That enthusiasm has been lost
during year after year of sub-.500 ball.
Monday's signing appears to be the
biggest step the Tigers have made in
years to begin cleaning up the stink of
defeat in Detroit.
OK, while we're in baseball, let's get
the Drew Henson ballyhoo out of the
way, as well. After playing 501 minor
league and a whopping eight major
league games, Henson has opted to
forfeit the last $12 million of his con-
tract with the New York Yankees, and
will pursue an NFL career.
It's been speculated since Henson
first started bombing in the Yankees'
minor league system that this was
going to happen.
Now, it finally has, and there's only
one thing I can think: His football
career cannot possibly be as bad as his
I know Henson loved baseball. I also
am aware that he is, statistically, he's
the state's all-time high school leader
in runs scored, hits, doubles, home
runs, RBIs and walks.
But when he got to Michigan, and
tried to pull double-duty in the minor
leagues, it was becoming increasingly
See BURKE, Page 14
offensive rebounds and has 23 steals
on the year. She even leads the team
in assists while spending much of
her time down in the lane.
Reams will need to bring all of
that hustle to the table if the Wolver-
ines stand any chance in the coming
weeks. Three of their next four
games come against teams ranked in
the top 20, and a repeat against Illi-
nois won't cut it.
"Can we defend better? Yes," Bur-
nett said. "Do we need work harder?
Yes. Do we need to block out better?
Yes. But we're trying to do the right
to continue doubling their fun
Every point counts for the Michigan women's
But the one point that is the most coveted is
referred to as the "doubles point."
For each dual match, the team that wins two of
three doubles matches wins the doubles point.
After the doubles competition, six singles match-
es are played, with a point being awarded to the
winner of each. The team that wins the best of
seven total points wins the dual match.
Though the doubles point only accounts for
one point of a possible seven, it often means the
difference between winning and losing.
"(The doubles point) has a big impact on
momentum," senior Kim Plaushines said. "It's
such a confidence builder, getting that doubles
In Michigan's most recent victory over Notre
Dame, the competition came down to the Wolver-
ines winning the doubles point, and they edged
out the Fighting Irish, 4-3. Plaushines and her
doubles partner, sophomore Debra Streifler,
sealed the deal by taking the doubles point with
their victory at the No. 3 position.
The current scoring system has not always been
used, however. Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt
explained that for years, dual matches were nine-
point competitions, with each victory (in both dou-
bles and singles) counting for one point. Doubles
See NETTERS, Page 13
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