The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - 9A
Flippin provides spark for 'M' off bench
By Stephanie Wright "Becky has an uncanny knack for getting the basket-
Daily Sports Editor ball to open people in the open floor," Burnett said. "But
she had never been asked to call a lot of plays before.
Becky Flippin isn't starting anymore. But that hasn't Now, she has to be verbal."
stopped her from contributing. Complicating the situation further was Flippin's size.
In Michigan's 11 nonconference games - all of which Burnett found that when the 5-foot-6 guard was in the
she started - Flippin made just 30 percent starting lineup, opposing teams posted her
of her 3-point attempts. But after coach TONIGHT up to exploit her small stature. Both Burnett
Cheryl Burnett sat Flippin for the Wolver- and Flippin believe her size doesn't have to
ines' first Big Ten game on Dec. 30, it took Michigan vs be a disadvantage; Flippin can make up for
the guard just one more game to get com- No 23 PennState it with her speed and athleticism.
fortable in her new role and begin to heat up 2p1ri. Teams wouldn't game plan for Flippin if
from downtown. CiK she wasn't a starter, so Burnett decided to
Against Northwestern on Jan. 6, Flippin bring her off the bench.
drained five 3-pointers en route to a career- "At first it was a change I had to get used
While Flippin makes noise with her 3-point shooting,
she's still a quiet person. Her coaches and teammates say
it's simply inherent to her personality. And she's equally
humble. Even after her best games, the freshman answers
questions about her performance by giving all the credit
to her teammates. That team-first mentality continues to
"Becky won't talk about herself," Burnett said. "Isn't
that a wonderful quality? She's really too nice."
Burnett acknowledges Flippin's reserved demeanor but
still wants the guard to be more demanding when run-
ning plays. Flippin said she has consciously worked on
becoming more vocal throughout the season - both in
terms of talking more and just being louder. Her coaches
have started to notice a change.
"It's amazing making this statement, because all sea-
son we've said how we've got to get her to talk more,"
Burnett said. "But Becky's the one we can hear now.
She's doing a much better job."
But Flippin - the most team-oriented player on
an unselfish team - is not content with just her own
improvement as long as Michigan (1-8 Big Ten, 5-15
overall) continues to lose.
"She's happy that she's playing well, but it's not enough
unless we're winning," freshman co-captain Krista Clem-
ent said. "Becky's still not satisfied."
high 17 points. And she hasn't cooled off since. Through
nine conference games - of which she has started just
one - Flippin leads the Big Ten in 3-point field goal
percentage, connecting on 54.2 percent of her shots from
beyond the arc.
But Flippin's transition to college basketball wasn't
quite as smooth as her move from starter to role player.
As Michigan's starting point guard at the beginning of
the season, Flippin had to adjust to Burnett's structured
offense after being used in a system in which she could
create opportunities for her teammates.
said. "But it's a role I want to take. I wanted
to stay a threat on the team."
So, instead of pouting because she wasn't starting,
Flippin began to show off the skill she had kept quiet
about until then.
Flippin said she has always been confident in her 3-
point shooting ability. But Burnett believes Flippin can be
even more reliable from outside. At a practice this week,
Burnett said the freshman drilled 20 triples in a row and
is capable of carrying that touch into games, making her
an even bigger offensive threat.
Freshman Becky Flippin leads the Big Ten In 3-point percentage.
By Ryan Sosin
Daily Sports Writer
The merry-go-round of Michigan
injuries continued to spin yesterday.
Just as senior David Moss jumped back
onto the ice, fellow senior forward
Jason Ryznar underwent surgery for a
broken finger that will keep him out for
at least a month.
Ryznar had his right index finger
operated on early yesterday morning, a
procedure Michigan hockey coach Red
Berenson said was successful. The fin-
ger was broken during Saturday's 3-1
victory over Northern Michigan, when
Ryznar blocked a shot during the Wild-
cats' 5-on-3 power play.
"He went down just like he's sup-
posed to," Berenson said. "But his hand
was tight on his stick. If it weren't - if
it had been the other hand - then it
just would have bruised it."
The injury couldn't have come at
a worse time for Ryznar - who had
been playing the best hockey of his
collegiate career. Two weeks ago in
Columbus, Ryznar surpassed his career
high in points for a season and tied his
career best in a points in game where
he tallied a goal and two assists in the
second game of the weekend.
* Ryznar was hoping to continue his stel-
lar play against Michigan State, a team
he has always had good fortune against.
In his Wolverine debut, he contributed
on all three Michigan goals in the Cold
War game against the Spartans. This sea-
son, Ryznar has an assist in both CCHA
games against Michigan State.
"I talked to him late last night before
(Ryznar) went to bed," Moss said. "I
told him to get better quick because
he's playing that well.
"He was a little down, but that's
expected I guess."
Berenson said Ryznar being down is
" SIGNING DAY
Continued from page SA
brings wonderful size and athletic ability.
He's smart. He's tough. There are a num-
ber of places he can play, and I think his
greatest upside is as a receiver. But we'll
also give him an opportunity to do some
things at quarterback."
With Chad Henne entrenched at quar-
terback, the Wolverines are set at the
position for a few years. Bass and the
Wolverines' sole quarterback recruit,
Jason Forcier, are more mobile than recent
Michigan quarterbacks and might be used
for a change of pace. Current backup
quarterback Clayton Richard is playing
baseball in the spring and will miss spring
practice. But Carr hopes that he returns to
the lineup in the fall.
To protect Henne and his backups, Carr
signed five new offensive linemen, but it
will take time before any of them mature
"I don't envision any of (the offensive
line recruits) coming in and starting,"
Carr said. "They will have an opportunity
to have a backup role to see who comes
in and who picks things up the quickest.
Most of them, from a physical standpoint,
are not ready to compete as starters in the
In an effort to prepare for the loss of
senior tight end Tim Massaquoi and junior
tight end Tyler Ecker after next year, Carr
signed Carson Butler from Detroit Renais-
sance High School. When Carr attended a
game between Renaissance and Detroit
,Rogers, he was impressed that Butler
* WOME'S TENNIS
DaCosta looks for fourth honor
By Daniel Bromwich
Daily Sports Writer
All-Big Ten Conference honors for four straight years.
It is a feat that only one woman in Michigan tennis history,
Sarah Cygniak (1994-1997), has been able to accomplish.
This year, senior Michelle DaCosta has a chance to put an
exclamation mark on her career by achieving this rare distinction.
"It really means a lot to me," DaCosta said. "It's a very presti-
gious award, and I'm going to have to work very hard to get it."
Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt thinks that DaCosta - who was
named a co-captain of the team along with senior Leanne Ruth-
erford - has a good chance to do it.
"This is a huge challenge for her," Ritt said. "Playing at No.
1, she has to face the other teams' best player each match, which
is a tremendously tough job. But she has the consistency and the
mentality to do it."
DaCosta has already made a place for herself in the Michi-
gan record books. She is currently 13th in career singles wins
with 64, and she could move up that list quickly this season. She
is only the second player in Michigan history to qualify for the
NCAA tournament in both singles and doubles.
DaCosta is currently ranked No. 44 in the nation in singles
and plays with sophomore Kara Delicata on Michigan's No. 1
"I think that the key is consistency," DaCosta said. "I just try
to play at a consistently high level all season, and I think that will
give me the results I want."
Right now, DaCosta stands to be remembered as one of
the best tennis players Michigan has seen. But Ritt thinks that
DaCosta can be even better.
"We are going to continue to try to develop her weapons,"
Ritt said. "She's the best defensive player I've ever coached, but
she's even better when she's on the attack and uses her weapons
to assault her opponent."
DaCosta seems to excel in all areas of life. She is an outstand-
ing student who has been named Academic All-Big Ten for two
consecutive years, and she is completing a double major in cogni-
tive science and biology, with hopes of entering medical school.
With all her individual accomplishments and challenges, it
would be easy for DaCosta to turn her focus inwards. But the
subject she enjoys talking about the most is her devotion to the
Michigan tennis program.
"The area I think that I've changed the most in since I came
here is my devotion to the program," DaCosta said. "I really
think of it as an honor to be competing for Michigan, and that's
the main thing I'm trying to instill in the younger players on the
team: The devotion to the program as a whole."
Ritt is continuously impressed by DaCosta and says that
coaching DaCosta is just plain fun.
"She is exceptionally focused and mature and was able to
make the transition to college very easily," Ritt said. "She has
continued to work hard and improve throughout her years here.
There are things she can do on the court that are just impossible
for a coach to teach."
For the past four years, Ritt has not had an exceptional amount
of work to do in coaching DaCosta. But her toughest job is yet
to come. DaCosta will graduate at the end of this year, leaving a
big hole on the team.
"She's going to be incredibly tough to replace on and off the
court," Ritt said. "It's asking a lot of somebody for them to come
in here and do what Michelle has done for us. It's unrealistic for
us to even think that a freshman will be able to come in and fill
Senior Jason Ryznar will sit at least a month after breaking his finger on Saturday.
all part of the different steps of being
"You're disappointed, then mad,
then you end up saying, 'OK.' We've
all been injured," he said.
With Ryznar joining sophomores
David Rohlfs and Mike Brown as injured
scratches, the Michigan penalty kill will
continue to have to adapt. Berenson said
he wasn't worried about having fewer
than eight penalty killers on his bench,
calling the usually full arsenal "a luxury."
Aside from the regular penalty killers,
Michigan hopes to get some fresh blood
out on the penalty kill - players who
wouldn't ordinarily get the chance.
"I'm hoping guys like Charlie Hen-
derson - who kills penalties every
day in practice - and possibly Reilly
Olson can also contribute (on the pen-
alty kill)," Berenson said.
Thankfully for Michigan - which
is already forced to play a defenseman
at forward because of injuries - Moss
began skating after being out last week-
end with a groin injury. He may not be
100 percent yet, but he says he's healthy
enough to play. Berenson echoed those
sentiments yesterday, following Moss's
first skate with the team in nearly a
"(Moss) looks okay," Berenson said.
"He's rusty (because) he's been out
for over a week. I think by Friday he
should be ready."
The decision hasn't been finalized
as to whether he will play at center or
on the wing, but, with senior Michael
Woodford able to play both positions as
well, how Moss's groin feels through-
out the week and weekend will decide
where he plays against the Spartans.
Unlike when Michigan State beat
the Wolverines in the Great Lakes
Invitational - a game in which the
Wolverines were without four players
who were playing in the World Junior
Championship - Michigan's defense
is completely healthy.
"Ironically," Berenson said, "all the
players who are out (with injuries) are
looking for a iummer internship?
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