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March 04, 2004 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-04

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10A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 4, 2004

Last chance

Mchia to open Big
Ten Tournament play
pesky. I nois
By Eric Ambinder
Daily Sports Writer
It seems as though the Michigan women's basketball
team has short-term memory.
Tonight, the second season begins in Indianapolis -
the Big Ten Tournament.
X Forget that the Wolverines
lost to first-round opponent Illi- TONIGHT
nois in Champagne on Feb. 1.
Forget that they shot 3-of-22
from long-range, and gave up
94 points to the Fighting Illini T:3Q nm.
- a season high. lnhwnapolisw
Forget a 6-10 conference FOXSettimir
record.
"I think we can definitely go
all the way," said guard Sierra Hauser-Price about Michi-
gan's odds in the Big Ten Tournament. "Everybody starts
0-0, so everybody has a chance."
The Wolverines have beaten Illinois in the first round of
- the Big Ten Tournament the past two seasons by an aver-
age of 22 points.
But the Illini have dominated during the regular season
the past three years. Illinois has defeated Michigan in each
of the last four attempts by an average of 17 points.
Heading into the Big Ten Tournament, Illinois and Michi-
gan are at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum.
The Wolverines have won two Big Ten games in a row
for just the second time this season. Their latest win came
against No. 12 Minnesota. The Fighting Illini have lost
four consecutive games.
So how can the Wolverines prepare for a match-up that
has been so unpredictable in years past?
By being predictable.
Coach Burnett prepared for tonight as if it were any
other game.
"I treat the tournament basically the same as I treat
every game," Burnett said. "There are some emotional dif-
ferences, but strategically and in the starting lineups, I
don't see any changes."
The Wolverines will continue to use the same offensive
and defensive strategies they have used all year - get the
ball to first-team All-Conference center Jennifer Smith in
the post on offense and eliminate dribble penetration and
transition buckets on defense. Smith scored 31 points
against Illinois earlier in the season, but the Wolverines
were continually beaten down the court by a fast-paced
Illini squad.
"In our loss to Illinois (this season), it wasn't our
offense (that hurt us)," senior Stephanie Gandy said. "It
was defense. (Illinois) had too many fast break points. As
a team, we need to play better defense."
The major key to Michigan's late-season push has been
defense. The Wolverines have held their past two opponents
to an average of just 51 points, and the- team finally seems

WOMEN'S SWIMMING
'Pool rat' B
By Anne Uible
Daily Sports Writer
Doug Boyd is a swimming profes-
sional. His resume is packed with
achievements that could trump the
accomplishments of many head
coaches around the country. It makes
it difficult to understand why he's
currently the volunteer coach for the
Michigan women's swimming team.
After two years with the Wolverines,
it's even harder to believe that Boyd
puts in the same hours as head coach
Jim Richardson, and doesn't get paid.
"I came to Michigan to learn about
the team's training style and to help
(Richardson) learn about how I
coach sprinters," Boyd said. "While
coaching and traveling with the
team, I also give private swim les-
sons and conduct clinics for people
around the area."
According to Boyd, his swimming
career began as a "pool rat" in New
York. In 1983 he attended Indiana
and swam under the legendary James
"Doc" Counsilman. While there,
Boyd had one of the world's top-100

oyd chips:
fastest times in the 100-yard
freestyle.
After graduating, he took up his
first coaching job as the graduate
assistant for the Hoosiers.
In 1991, he accepted the head
coaching position for the men's and
women's swimming teams at UC San
Diego. Boyd led the Tritons to top-
three finishes in 13 of 16 NCAA
championships. He produced 16 indi-
vidual NCAA champions, three
NCAA Swimmers of the Year and 69
All-Americans.
He was also named the Division III
Coach of the Year in 1998.
In 1999, Boyd left UC San Diego
and began coaching at Rice, where he
led the Owls to the most successful
three years in school history. Boyd
left suddenly after his third season as
head coach.
"Rice wasn't the right fit for me
and for what I wanted to do," Boyd
said. "So I took a few months to
gather myself together and decided
Michigan was the best option for me
at this point in time."
Richardson encouraged Boyd to

in for Blue
come help the Wolverines, although
he didn't have a salary position for
him.
"It's impossible to only have two
coaches for a team this size,"
Richardson said. "It's not fair to the
athletes, especially for an individual
sport such as swimming."
Boyd has become a familiar fixture
at Canham Natatorium. While prima-
rily working with the sprinters, Boyd
helps the entire team with starts and
weight training. Once in a while,
he'll even get in the pool and do, a
workout with them.
"I swam competitively until I was
27," Boyd said. "And I guess I
haven't got it out of my skin yet."
With Michigan's swim season
coming to a close in three weeks,
Boyd is unsure of his future plans
with the Wolverines.
"Working with the team has been
a great experience," Boyd said. "But
with this job, I'm sort of year-to-
year. I'm always in search of a new
challenge, so now I'm just waiting
for opportunities as they present
themselves."

a

MEWSoaGAcnrCi
AftrWOyears, Gatti contributing

By Ian Herbert
Daily Sports Writer

RYAN WEINER/Daily
Michigan center Jennifer Smith goes up for a rebound in the
Wolverines' loss to Michigan State on Feb. 12.
to be adjusting to Burnett's unique trap-style defense.
If Michigan defeats Illinois tonight, it will face No. 6
Purdue on Friday - the team that has knocked them out
of the Big Ten Tournament the past two seasons.
But don't expect the Wolverines to look toward tomor-
row; they try not to look too far ahead.
"We only go one game at a time," Burnett said. "That's
our vision, not our goal. I've always coached that way. We
will pack for five days, but we will play one game at'a
time."
FIRST-TIME FIRST-TEAM
The media selected senior Jennifer Smith to the first-.
team All-Big Ten team on Monday. She is the first
Wolverine to be selected to the first team since 2000.
Junior Tabitha Pool also received an honorable mention
honor.
PPG.RPG.
Jennifer Smith, C, Michigan 21.5 7,3
Lindsay Whalen, G, Minnesota. 20.7.5.0
Kelly Mazzante, G, Penn State 20.6. 4.0
Tanisha Wright, G, Penn State 24.7 4.5
Shereka Wright, F, Purdue 20.4 6.0

It's been a tough couple of years for
men's gymnastics captain Chris Gatti.
The redshirt junior competed last week
for the first time in almost two years.
Gatti injured his left wrist at the
beginning of last season, and the sur-
gery to shorten his ulna by seven mil-
limeters forced him to spend a year
on the bench. Gatti returned this sea-
son, having been elected captain by
his peers for the second straight year.
But his plans to compete were cut
short when he began having problems
with his right elbow. He had surgery
in December to clear bone and carti-
lage chips out of his elbow and he has
been working to come back since.
"He's slowly been training and try-
ing to get back into the season," assis-
tant coach Lou Levine said. "This
isn't a sport where you can take time
off and then just come back and be
ready. So he had to build back up and
get back into routines to be ready."
For Gatti, the elbow problem came
as a big surprise. He began feeling
numbness and locking in the joint at
the end of November and had surgery
just a couple weeks later. The setback
was hard to take.

"Last year wasn't as hard because I
knew that the surgery that I had was
pretty extensive and I knew it would
keep me out for a while," Gatti said.
"So I accepted that pretty easily. But
hearing that I needed elbow surgery
in December was another shock. It
was real disappointing. I had been sit-
ting out for so long."
Last week was the first time in the
last two years that the team captain was
able to lead by example in a competi-
tion. He turned in no top-five perform-
ances. Because of the injuries, Gatti
has had to find other ways to lead.
"He leads by how hard he works,"
Levine said. "He's a quiet guy, but
when he speaks everybody listens,
and last year he couldn't really lead
by example. But now he really can
lead by competing well and working
out hard."
Gatti admitted that being injured
was a change for him too. He had to
take charge in different ways and learn
to be more vocal.
"It's definitely tough (being cap-
tain and not being able to compete),"
Gatti said. "You are put into a posi-
tion where you want to be a leader by
example. It's hard sitting on the side-
lines and not being able to compete
and hit your routine."

But the captain's long recovery
process is nearing an end.
He has been practicing at full
strength for a couple of months, and
last week at Oklahoma, he competed
for the first time since the 2002
NCAA Championships.
"I felt good," Gatti said. "I didn't
have real difficult sets, but I did the
skills that I wanted and did everything
pretty cleanly, so I was pleased. It was
a good start."
Gatti looks to add difficulty and
compete in the parallel bars and high
bar again this weekend when the No.
6 Wolverines travel to Iowa. He is
optimistic about the team as it heads
into the last month of the season.
"We just came off Spring. Break
training, which was a hard week of
training," Gatti said. "It was a really
good week in terms of improvements
and I think the team is really starting
to come together just in time for when
we need it. NCAAs is just five weeks
away. So if we can gear up and peak
for that, we'll be all set."
Gatti will have to wait and see
whether he will be in the lineup for
the postseason. But just being able
to compete and practice at full
strength is a pleasant change for the
captain.

4

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