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February 06, 2004 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-06

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a

Friday
February 6,2004
sports.michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily.com

iPORTS

10

4

Pur-d'oh

0

Second-half collapse
produces 'M' defeat

Gandy determined to
keep positive outlook

0

By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer
As Michigan women's basketball
coach Cheryl Burnett put it after the
game, the Wolverines were plagued
by an old problem Pu I E L6
and a new prob-
lem in their 76-64
loss to No. 6 Purdue last night at
Crisler Arena.
Michigan's tendency to come out flat
in the second half is slowly becoming
an all-out trend - last night's perform-
ance was just part of the pattern.
But the unexpected happened when
the Wolverines couldn't drain their
shots at the free throw line. Michigan
entered the game shooting 72 percent
from the line on the season, but they
shot just 45 percent from the stripe last
night on 9-for-20 shooting.
The Wolverines trailed by just six at
halftime, even though they had already
missed seven free throws. They had a
slight advantage in the first half, as two
of Purdue's post players - Carol Dun-
can and Emily Heikes - and National
Player of the Year Candidate Shereka
Wright were all in foul trouble.
But Michigan failed to capitalize.
Senior center Jennifer Smith mustered
just two points in the first half, thanks
in part to the Boilermakers' strategy to
face-guard her in the post and restrict
the entry pass.

Smith finished with 17 points, but
most of those came late in the second
half when the game was already decided.
"We talked about Jen just getting four
shots in the first half," Burnett said. "I
really believe that there's an easy count-
er, but we didn't adjust well to what we
needed to do to get her the ball."
Purdue made its share of adjustments
at halftime, starting the second frame by
hitting 10 of its first 13 shots. The Boil-
ermakers opened up a 24-point lead by
midway through the second half.
"We got more aggressive," Purdue
coach Kristy Curry said. "To start the
game, Wright didn't touch the ball the
first four possessions. That's just not
smart. She's a Kodak All-American
and we got her the ball quicker the
second half."
Wright led all scorers with 22 points
on 7-for-12 shooting and 8-for-9 from
the line. Wright was able to maneuver
at will through Michigan's defense.
"She's a tough matchup," senior for-
ward Stephanie Gandy said. "I think we
went away from playing our team
defense and that's when she went on a
tear. She's a real tough player."
Michigan was without its top defend-
er, sophomore Niki Reams, who sat out
with an injury to her left foot. This was
the second game Reams has missed this
season.
"With us not having any depth -
especially having zero depth at the post

By Megan Kolodgy
Daily Sports Writer

Stephanie Gandy makes it a prior-
ity to maintain an attitude that if the
team must get knocked down, it will
at the very least go down fighting.
After all, she is a captain.
So although it might appear incon-
sequential that Michigan trimmed a
24-point-second-half deficit into a
12-point loss, that fight might serve
dividends the rest of this season.
Her team is currently 3-7 in the
conference after last night's loss to
Purdue, and the schedule doesn't get
any easier entering the home stretch.
The Wolverines still must face No. 5
Penn State and No. 20 Michigan
State.
Gandy and her co-captain, Jen-
nifer Smith, have seen what can
happen when the Wolverines take on
a negative outlook in dire circum-
stances.
"I try not to let anyone get down
because one apple rolls the whole
bunch," Gandy said.
She is a vocal leader, but not in
the eloquent, verbose sense. Gandy's
words are brief but powerful, and her
teammates recognize and appreciate
her efforts to lead by example.
"I think she's a great emotional
leader," junior Sierra Hauser-Price
said. "You can see that on the court,

but she's even like that in the locker-
room, and she's like that all the
time."
Despite inconsistent shooting and
suffering some humbling losses,
Gandy insists the team's morale isn't
shaken.
"Our team's confidence is really
high right now because we've been
doing well in practice and stuff,"
Gandy said. "We're not letting the
losses get us down at all. I just think
our main goal is to come out as a
team and just focus and play hard."
Still, it can be difficult to focus on
the team's performance when Gandy
herself is having trouble getting
things started on the floor. She
scored just two points against Ohio
State last Thursday and although she
led the team in scoring last night (18
points), Gandy did it on 7-of-22
shooting from the floor.
"I think that's the captain's job,"
Gandy said of motivating the team.
"It's not supposed to be easy."
Although fans might be skeptical,
Gandy maintains high goals for the
2004 season.
"I think we hold each other togeth-
er as a team, and we take it game by
game," Gandy said. "We know we
have a lot of season left, and we have
the Big Ten Tournament and the
NCAA Tournament. I just think we
have to come out and execute."

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Purdue's Beth Jones blocks Tabitha Pool during the Boilermakers' 76-64 victory.
positions - it's really created a lot of with 1:46 remaining.
issues for us not having (Reams)," Bur- "Without Niki out there, it's kind of
nett said. "But our players every time hard for me to play because we're so
have really risen to the challenge." much alike," Helvey said. "She's gets
One of those players the Wolverines me going on the bench and I feed off
have turned to in Reams' absence has her even when she's not playing. But
been freshman Kelly Helvey. She when she's not on the court, we have a
scored nine points before fouling out lot of weaknesses."

Horton, Cagers look to break through against Purdue

By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Editor

The key to Michigan basketball's breakthrough season last
year was the team's 78-67 victory in late February at then-No.
24 Purdue. It gave the Wolverines their first win over a ranked
opponent in two years, and a brief taste of sole possession of
first place in the Big Ten.
Daniel Horton scored a career-high 31 points in that game
to highlight his sparkling freshman season. Just a month later,
he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
"He was as much a part of (the success) as anyone," coach
Tommy Amaker said.
The Boilermakers storm into Crisler Arena tomorrow after-
noon for their only meeting with Michigan this season. The
current Wolverines depend on a big win to keep some of their
goals for the season, like winning the conference and making
the NCAA Tournament, within reach. And Horton will again

be key to that success. The sophomore's averaging 12 points
per game - three less than last year.
"He hasn't played as well as he's capable of playing,"
Amaker said. "We know that it's a growth process. It takes
time and he's going to have to fight through it."
Horton's made just 35 percent of his shots this season -
although that's down only two percent from last season's mark.
Freshmen Dion Harris and Courtney Sims's arrival has
contributed to Horton's scoring decline.
"Last year, if my shot didn't fall a couple of times, I had
some leeway to where I could just keep shooting and get out
of it," Horton said. "But this year, with the guys that we have,
it's not in the team's best interest for me to keep firing it up
there if I'm not making any."
The sophomore has to defend better players this year.
Amaker said that he held Horton back on defense last season
because of the guard's importance on offense.
Now, the Wolverines' added depth has freed up Horton to

try and shut down some potent offensive players. Last week
he helped hold Iowa's Jeff Horner to three points.
"Daniel took that as a big challenge"Amaker said.
Horton's increased focus on defense has led to foul trouble
at times, and could be draining some of the energy he grew
used to having on the other end of the floor last year.
Tomorrow, Horton and the Wolverines will need a full tank
against an experienced Boilermaker team that is known for its
high-pressure, man-to-man defense.
Senior Kenneth Lowe, Purdue's leading scorer, has missed
the last two games with a sprained elbow. His status for tomor-
row is unknown. Without Lowe, Purdue lost to Ohio State last
weekend but rebounded and routed Penn State on Wednesday.
The Boilermakers could be the team to help Horton recap-
ture his freshman scoring magic.
"His confidence is still there," senior Bernard Robinson
said. "A lot of people have been putting him down, but there's
a lot of season to go. He'll be A-OK. Trust me."

I

R nY W INER/Dily
Through 18 games, Daniel Horton has struggled to produce.

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