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November 24, 2004 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-24

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0I

Wednesday
November 24, 2004
sports. michigan daily. com
sports@michigandaily.com

SPORTS

8

al

Lights out for
Blue in NCAAs

Drastic statement
needed for Pistons

By Anne Ulble
Daily Sports Writer
BLOOMINGTON - The Michigan
men's soccer team isn't used to playing
under the lights. And when they shone
down brightly on
Armstrong FieldMCHA
last night, the Wol-
verines ended up
just a little bit short.
Michigan's tumultuous season con-
cluded last night in a 1-0 loss to No.
2-seed Indiana in the second round of
NCAA tournament play.
"We'd heard the rumors that playing
under the lights in Bloomington was
special," Michigan coach Steve Burns
said. "And it was everything we thought
it was going to be."
"I am extremely proud of the way this
team has played all year long. Five years
ago when this program started, I didn't
have this vision in my mind of playing
in the NCAA second round, and to see
these guys play as they did is a testament
to a rising program. Michigan didn't
lose this game, we just ran out time."
The Hoosiers' (15-4-1) winning goal
was scored by forward Kevin Robson
at 86:10. Robson broke away from his
defender and was able to get the ball past
Michigan goalie Peter Dzubay.
"He caught me leaning a little to my

right," Dzubay said. "He shot it and it
took a nice little skip and it went right
underneath me. I guess this just was not
my night."
The defense played tougher than it
had in previous games, and Dzubay
realized this right from the beginning of
the game.
"Our defense played wonderful
tonight," Dzubay said. "I thought I was
going to come in here and make 10-12
saves and have a big night, but they were
ready for this game. We played with
heart and energy the whole year, and
especially in this game."
The Wolverines (11-8-4) opened the
first half with a similar aggressiveness to
that of their first-round win over Akron.
They outshot the Hoosiers 3-2 and col-
lected 11 fouls by the end of the half.
Most of the fight during the game was
found in the midfield, where the players
became the most aggressive. Hoosier
Danny O'Rourke - one of Indiana's two
Hermaan Trophy candidates - caused
the Wolverines the most difficulty.
"One of our philosophies is to con-
trol the midfield," Burns said. "We
haven't had an answer to Danny for
four years and he's a difference maker
on their team."
One problem with trying to gain an
advantage in the midfield was that the
field itself was extremely slippery due

-AUGOMEZ/ /Day
Senior Karl Lopata jumps over a tackle during Michigan's 2-1 victory over Akron. The
Wolverines lost to Indiana last night, 1-0.

to a steady misting that refused to let up
throughout most of the game. The wet-
ness of the field caused the players to fall
after most quick turns and fakes. The
conditions also enabled the ball to roll
more quickly on the grass and hindered
many of the passes and shots that the
players made.

The Wolverines concluded a season
packed with injuries and emotionally-
charged games. And while it seemed like
they had just started to hit their stride in
the past two games during the NCAA
tournament, like the theme of the game
last night, they just ran out of time.

0 ICE HOCKE Y
High-ranked foes await i Showcase
By Ian Herbert State)," sophomore T.J. Hensick said. we'll wait and see how it plays out this year, but if you
Daily Sports Writer "If we put three solid periods together, it's going to look at this tournament, it's amazing the road records of

BOB HUNT
Unleashed
y early a week later, I'm sure
you've all heard just about every-
thing you've ever wanted to hear
about what happened at the Palace of
Auburn Hills last Friday night. Now that
the players and fans are being suspended,
charged or sued over what occurred,
there's a lot of blame being thrown
around.
But the question I have is: Where's the
punishment for the Pistons organization?
The team that hosted Friday's melee
should be accountable, too.
Yes, it is obvious that both the players
and fans involved were to blame. Just
because Ron Artest was hit with a cup of
beer, that doesn't mean that you can exude
primordial rage upon everyone around
you. No matter what former NBA player
and ESPN commentator Tim Legler said
afterwards about how "every player in the
league would have done the same thing,"
it's clearly crossing the line. The same
goes for Stephen Jackson going crazy and
hitting everything in sight behind Artest.
The fans who threw things and, in an
act of even more stupidity, ran onto the
court should be punished as well. Which
makes me think, who in the world would
throw a $7 beer? I don't care what you're
throwing at, that's just plain dumb.
But the group that's going to come
away from this fiasco almost scot free
is the Pistons and Palace management,
even though they are just as much to
blame. During the eight weeks of cover-
age ESPN has devoted to this (or at least
it seems like eight weeks), how many
security officers have you seen break up
fights? Were they taking the night off?
With all the recent problems with fans
attacking players in recent years com-
bined with the Pistons' fans reputation
(remember the O, Canada! incident?),
the Palace should have had at least some
officers ready to diffuse any possible
situation. I mean, I didn't really see any
officers help the Pacers players off the
court when they were being deluged with
everyone's leftover concessions.
The Pistons should have just been
thankful that most of the people
who attended the game had already

left. If Artest had jumped into a
full crowd, things could have really
gone wrong.
At U.S. Cellular Field - the home of
the Chicago White Sox, where umpires
and base coaches have been attacked
by fans - serious measures have been
taken. There, fans can't even enter a level
where they don't have a ticket, and a line
of security officers awaits anyone who
wants to run on the field between innings.
While the Pacers' season has been
ruined, the Pistons will go on with their
season relatively unharmed, with Ben
Wallace receiving just a six-game suspen-
sion. Considering that both teams are to
blame, this is unfair.
I realize that you can't suspend Pistons
players or force the team to forfeit games
because that would hurt people who were
not involved. But a severe message needs
to be sent.
Like forcing the Pistons to play two
games behind closed doors. No fans -
just media, support personnel and a few
people to keep the scoreboard running. A
few million would be lost by the Pistons
in the process.
What, you say? Have you lost you
mind?
Not really, considering this exact thing
happened just two weeks ago.
The Italian soccer club AS Roma had
to play the first of two games in the Euro-
pean Champions League, Europe's top .
club competition, in an empty stadium as
a punishment for a fan throwing a coin
at a referee and injuring him. Roma was
also forced to take a 3-0 forfeit for the
match.
And that's the fourth time soccer a
team in Italy has had to play behind
closed doors, sending a message to the
fans and hurting a team's pockets. FIFA,
the international soccer governing body,
is thinking of doing the same to the
Spanish national team, whose fans racial-
ly abused their visitors from England.
Although you may think that's too
severe, it would make a statement that no
other punishment could. It would tell fans
that their unruly behavior could hurt their
favorite team. If that was a legitimate
threat, I'd bet you wouldn't see any fans
running onto the court again.
As the NBA is attempting to globalize
its game, it should really borrow from its
potential future markets in making a bold
statement.
It's a move that surely wouldn't be
forgotten.

.1
f

Rankings don't get any closer than this.
When the Michigan hockey team goes on the road
this weekend for the College Hockey Showcase, the top-
ranked Wolverines (7-1-0 CCHA, 9-2-1 overall) will take
on No. 2 Wisconsin (7-3-0 WCHA, 9-3-0) and No. 3
Minnesota (6-2-0, 8-3-0).
This is the 12th year in a row that these teams - along
with Michigan State - have played each other in the four-
team showcase. When Joel Maturi was the assistant ath-
letic director at Wisconsin, he came to Michigan coach
Red Berenson and tried to set up a series between the two
teams. What they agreed upon was the Showcase, which
alternates venues every year. This year the Wolverines
and the Spartans travel to Minnesota and Wisconsin for
a two-game road trip.
"It's going to be (two) solid, hard-fought games, just
like last weekend (when Michigan played Michigan

come down to the last 10 minutes. And I think I'll take
our team over their teams."
This week is actually a normal week of practice for
the Wolverines. Even though it's Thanksgiving weekend,
the games are still on Friday (Minnesota) and Saturday
(Wisconsin), and the team still leaves for the road trip
tomorrow, just like any other Thursday.
Thanksgiving will be a fairly laid-back day for the
Wolverines. They will meet up at Cottage Inn in Ann
Arbor for a midday lunch before getting on the bus for the
10-hour trip to Minnesota. Hensick said that he wasn't
sure if there was going to be a turkey, but Berenson said
that they will have a real Thanksgiving team dinner when
they get to Minneapolis.
"The visiting teams have done well at this tourna-
ment for some reason," Berenson said. "Don't ask me
why. Whether it's the home team enjoying Thanksgiv-
ing too much or being distracted, I don't know. Now,

all these teams."
The visiting team in the Michigan-Minnesota series
has won each of the last six Showcase meetings. With
Wisconsin, it's not quite as lopsided, but the visiting team
between the Wolverines and the Badgers has still gone
3-2-1 over the last six years. Berenson complained that
the holiday traffic is a problem for this tournament, but
added that he likes the dates of the Showcase.
"We enjoy the competition," Berenson said. "And I
think the fact that these are Big Ten schools, and there's
some history now in the tournament (helps)."
Even though neither game this weekend is a CCHA
matchup, Michigan's players and coaches stressed the
importance of nonconference competition - especially
in the eyes of the national media.
"(Our goal) is always to win, but I think, more impor-
tantly, it's to put 60 minutes together," Hensick said. "We
haven't put a 60 minute game together yet."

Cagers fighting history in New York

Bob Hunt can be reached at
bobhunt@umich.edu.

By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's basketball team
has a chance to carve out its own little
piece of history, beginning tonight in
the semifinals of the Preseason NIT in
New York. The only problem is that
history - and everything else - is
going to work against it.
The Wolverines will try and accom-
plish an unprecedented National
Invitational Tournament double cham-

pionship by winning the Preseason
NIT after capturing the Postseason
NIT title the season before. It's a feat
that has never been accomplished in
NCAA history. In fact, just two other
teams ever got to this point.
St. John's won the postseason
tournament in 1989 and advanced to
the semifinals in the preseason tour-
nament later that year. Minnesota
accomplished the same thing in 1993.
But both teams fell short of the pre-
season title.

"I'm excited to be playing against
Arizona," junior guard Daniel Horton
said. "But I'm more excited to have a
chance to make history. And that's one
thing we have a chance to do when we
go to New York."
But Michigan has more
than just history standing }
in front of it. It first has to
deal with No. 18 Arizona
-the most successful
school in Preseason NIT
history. The Wildcats (2-1)
are aiming for their fourth
Preseason NIT title. Id
"Arizona's going to be a Carde
very quick and fast team,"a
Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker said. "I think Arizona was
one of the nation's leading scoring
teams last year."
The Wildcats averaged 87 points
per game last year, first in the Pac-10.
They've scored 80 points in both of
their victories so far this year, led by
their starting five, each of whom aver-
ages more than 10 points per game in
this young season. Guard Salim Stou-
damire leads the way with a fat 19
points per game.
But the only thing more frightening
for Michigan than the Wildcats may
be a set of angry Wildcats.
Arizona was upset at Virginia on
Sunday, 78-60, in its tune-up for the
NIT. The Wildcats opened up the sea-
son ranked No. 10 in the nation, and
will be hoping to use the NIT as a way

to regain some of that national spotlight
that they're so used to playing under.
"We know what we're facing," soph-
omore guard Dion Harris said. "It's all
about us just playing and how we've.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
0, Canada: M' goes
up north for recruit

been playing
w ,h
orn Squae
n EESPN2

together - just playing
hard. I think we'll have
a good game."
The two schools
have squared off once
before in the Preseason
NIT. Arizona downed
Michigan 86-79 in the
semifinals of the 1995
Preseason NIT. The
Wildcats boast a 6-2
overall edge over the
Wolverines.

By Matt Venegoni
Daily Sports Writer
For the Michigan women's basket-
ball team to be a top program, it needs
to bring in impact players who have the
choice of any school in the country. Last
Thursday, Michigan added a fifth and
final signee to its 2004-2005 recruiting
class - 6-foot-3 forward Stephany Skrba

But whether Michigan gets past
Arizona or not is only half of the chal-
lenge. Either No. 1 Wake Forest or
Providence will await the Wolverines
in the championship or consolation
game.
Wake Forest just captured the top
spot in the nation with convincing
wins over Virginia Commonwealth
(81-67) and George Washington (97-
76) in the first two rounds of the Pre-
season NIT, and Providence features
one of the best players in the country
in forward Ryan Gomes.
"If we're able to go in and pull out
two victories and win the tournament,
that builds our resume," Horton said.
"You can't knock a team who has had
to beat Arizona and either Wake For-
est or Providence."

from Richmond Hill,
Ontario.
"We worked very
hard on Stephany
Skrba," Michigan
coach Cheryl Burnett
said. "We call her a
statement player; 120

., ®z
°

schools contacted her and she cut her
schools to four and we made the cut."
Skrba becomes the fourth forward in
the class and is considered by many to be
the No. I women's basketball high school
player in Canada.
The coaches have not determined how
they are going to use Skrba's abilities, but
they do believe she has the versatility and
agility to play both the small and power
forward positions.
Burnett and the rest of the staff worked
extremely hard on Skrba and have been
waiting on her to sign since the team's
first four recruits signed Nov. 11.
"She is a player that could really
choose where she wanted to go," Burnett
said. "We look at her as one of the top

five players in the country for what we
want to do."
Skrba is averaging more than 30 points
per game as a senior, but she is also an
honor student at Langstaff Secondary
School - exactly the type of student-
athlete the coaching staff is looking for.
"When you are the University of
Michigan and have some of the best aca-
demics in the world, the facilities, the
academic center, we just have a great
dream to sell," Burnett said.
Besides excelling on her school team,
Skrba was one of the key members of
the Canadian Junior (Under-18) National
Team that earned a bronze medal at the
2004 FIBA Americas Under-18 World
Championship qualifying tournament
this past summer.
FREE POwNrs: Going into the game on
Monday, the Michigan coaching staff
was worried about the two defenses
that Washington was going to use - a
switching man and 1-3-1 zone.
"We haven't seen a lot of either, and I
thought that our players did a wonderful
job, especially in the second half," Bur-
nett said.
In the first half of Michigan's 75-68
win, the Wolverines committed 15 turn-
overs while adjusting to the new defens-
es. The second half was a different story.
Michigan was able to attack the hoop and
draw fouls against the Huskies. While
the team did not shoot particularly well
from the line - making just 57.7 percent
- it was enough to seal the win.
"They were in the bonus awfully early
and were able to take advantage of it,"
Washington coach June Daugherty said.
"Honestly, we were just not moving our
feet against the pressure of dribble pen-
etration and giving up too easily in the

Arizona guard Salim Stoudamire, left, is averaging 19 points per game.

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