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January 05, 2005 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-05

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The Michigan Daily - SportsWednesday - January 5, 2005 - 3B

'M' fades in second half

By Matt Venegoni
Daily Sports Writer
With more than a minute to go in Sunday's wom-
en's basketball game against Michigan State, Michigan
freshman forward Ta'Shia Walker brought the ball to
the 3-point line with the Wolverines trailing 68-60.
After executing a perfect ball fake, she drove down the
line for what should have been an easy jumper. But the
shot rimmed out, and Michigan State took possession.
This offensive series was indicative of the whole
game for Michigan in its 70-60 loss to No. 10 Michigan
State. The Wolverines created opportunities and for a
half, gave the Spartans all they could handle, but ulti-
mately were outplayed.
"We didn't want to just compete, we wanted to get
this one," Burnett said. "There are no moral victories.
You either win or you lose."
Heading into halftime, Michigan State held a slim
35-34 lead over Michigan. The young Wolverines
matched the Spartans point for point in a first half that
saw 10 lead changes and three ties. Walker and fresh-
man guard Jessica Starling spurred Michigan (0-2 Big
Ten, 4-9 overall), combining for 18 points before half-
time. Starling emerged as the third scoring option -
behind senior forward Tabitha Pool and Walker - the
Wolverines were looking for during the nonconference
games.
"I came to play, and I took it upon myself that we do
need a third scorer," Starling said.
In fact, she even said that if she would have taken
Michigan's earlier opponents as seriously as she did
Michigan State (1-0 Big Ten, 12-1), the outcomes may
have been different.
"I think we would have won more ballgames," Star-
ling said.
Led by Starling's three 3-pointers, the Wolverines
were able to keep the game close by connecting on 7
of 13 from beyond the arc in the first half. Michigan's
shooting stifled Michigan State's zone defense.
"I thought, in the first half, we might have played as

well against a zone as we have all season," Michigan .>f
coach Cheryl Burnett said. "We have not seen a lot of
matchup zone, but we really played well against that in .3 n
the first half."
But Michigan could not keep that momentum in the
beginning of the second half. The Wolverines were
held scoreless in the first five minutes of the half, and
Michigan State outscored Michigan 17-4 in the opening
eight minutes of the second stanza.
"We get everyone's best game," Michigan State coach
Joanne McCallie said. "I'm proud that our team could
handle a very average-to-poor first half for us and come
back out and re-focus." 4
Re-focusing helped Michigan State stretch its lead
to as much as to 17 points with 7:23 left. Junior guard--
Lindsay Bowen had 16 points; and junior forward Liz $'
Shimek added 13 points and 14 rebounds to lead the
charge for Michigan State.
Throughout the second half, Michigan's hot 3-point
shooting cooled, and the Wolverines settled for deep -n
threes to try to get back in the game.
"Our dribble penetrators do not understand yet how n
to penetrate versus a zone," Burnett said. "We went a
little bit too much to the open three, and we weren't
going to the line and getting rebounds."
But the Wolverines did not surrender the game easily
to the Spartans. Michigan made 3-pointers on four of
five possessions after Michigan State took a 64-48 lead
with 6:07 left. Freshman guard Krista Clement began
the 3-point barrage with one from the right side. The
Wolverines continued to fire away with two in a row:
from Starling, and when Pool nailed a three from the
top of the key, cut Michigan State's lead to 66-60.
But the experienced Spartans weathered the hot
shooting. Michigan State clamped down on defense and
held Michigan scoreless in the last 3:24 of the game.
"We made some defensive adjustments during our late
run where we needed a stop, but there were a couple pos-
sessions where we gave up some really easy opportuni-
ties that when you are trying to get back into a game you ALEXANDER DZIADOSZ/Daily
can't do," Burnett said. Jessica Starling hit five 3-pointers en route to her 15 points. In Starling's first two Big Ten games she has averaged 15.5 points.
Spartans continue dominance in rivalry

By Jack Herman
Daily Sports Writer
On Sunday, 4,123 fans filled Crisler Arena for
the women's basketball game between Michi-
gan and Michigan State - the season's largest
attendance mark. Unfortunately for the Wolver-
ines, many of those fans were
sporting Spartan green - just
another sign of how one-sided
the rivalry has been.
With its 70-60 victory, No. $0
10 Michigan State extended
its current win streak against
Michigan to five and has taken
seven of the last 10. The triumph also puts
another tally in the overall win column, leaving
the Spartans with a 46-14 all-time advantage.
Although Michigan State has dominated
the Wolverines, the Spartans say they still
get geared up when they see Michigan on the
schedule - even when the game is sandwiched
between games against powerhouses No. 11
Connecticut and No. 9 Ohio State, as it was this
time around.
"It's interesting to have a rivalry game after

Connecticut because that's kind of funny,"
Michigan State coach Joanne McCallie said.
"You've got all this energy going nine different
ways, it was an interesting setup."
As for Michigan, the games against Michigan
State seem to bring out the best in the team. But
even its best is not good enough. Last year, the
Wolverines took a 17-point lead into halftime
before eventually falling 59-54. And this year,
Michigan was down by just one going into half-
time against a Spartan squad that was 4-0 on
the road, including two road wins against teams
ranked in the top-10.
"When the crowd came in and was doing that
green and white cheer, I loved that," Michigan
freshman Ta'Shia Walker said. "They got me real-
ly excited. I knew it was going to be a good one.
INJURY WOES: Michigan started the season
with a small bench. It became even smaller over
the break.
During, the Wolverines' loss to Western
Michigan on Dec. 14, freshman forward Katie
Dierdorf injured her left hip, placing her out
indefinitely, and most likely for the remainder
of the season.
Dierdorf emerged as a scoring threat dur-

ing the team's.79-62 loss to Eastern Michigan.
After bucketing just 10 points total in her first
six games, Dierdorf provided a much-needed
inside presence in the game against the Eagles,
scoring 11 points. This performance earned
Dierdorf a starting role, and she did not disap-
point. She put in 10 points against IUPUI and
had eight in her 11 minutes versus the Broncos
before the injury.
With freshman Ta'Shia Walker back in a
starting spot after Dierdorf's injury, the Wol-
verines' bench looked very weak against Illi-
nois and Michigan State. It scored just three
points against Illinois and was held scoreless
against the Spartans.
"We'll really miss her," Michigan coach
Cheryl Burnett said of Dierdorf.
NOTES: Michigan made just one of four free throws
against Michigan State ... The Wolverines forced just
11 turnovers, three fewer than any other game this
season ... Michigan grabbed 26 rebounds, its lowest
total this year ... Michigan senior Tabitha Pool com-
mitted seven turnovers, an individual season high for
the team ... Freshman Jessica Starling's 15 points
make her just the third Wolverine to lead the team in
scoring this season, along with Walker and Pool.

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