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January 07, 2005 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-07

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Friday
January 7, 2005
sports.michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily.com

f"PORTS

8

Inconsistent
play sinks
Blue n loss
By Stephanie Wright
Daily Sports Writer
EVANSTON - It started, and then it stopped. At
times it went back and forth - the two teams trading
baskets as they raced up and down the court. Some-
times, no one would score for minutes at a time.
But at the end of a streaky game, it was the steady
shooting of the home team that made the difference.
Despite leading throughout
most of the game, the Michigan MIC 5I9
women's basketball team lost toNC W= N=
Northwestern, 66-59, last night.
And while a run of sloppy play by the Wolverines in
the game's final minutes contributed to the loss, the
Wildcats were able to come back in the second half
and win by hitting shot after shot.
"They had a very good streak at the end, and
we had a not so good one," Michigan coach Cher-
yl Burnett said. "And that makes the difference in
the ballgame."
Trailing 53-49 with just over four minutes remain-
ing in the game, Northwestern center Sarah Kwasinski
nailed a jump shot to close the Wolverines' lead to two.
Michigan forwards Tabitha Pool and Jessica Starling
hit free throws to keep it close. But Kwasinski drained
a shot from well beyond the arc with one minute left
that not only ignited the crowd, but also, essentially,
put the game away.
The Wolverines allowed Northwestern (1-2Big Ten,
4-12 overall) to score 19 points in the last five minutes of
the game, while being held to just eight. A big factor in
the scoring differential was the Wildcats' ability to get
to the foul line and make free throws. Guard Samantha
McComb hit six shots from the charity stripe in the last
three minutes of the game, two of which came with six
seconds left on the clock.
Michigan (0-3, 4-10) got off to a fast start, led by
Pool, who followed up a beautiful jumper by draining

Flippin masterful

in loss to
By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Writer
EVANSTON - At 5-foot-5, freshman Becky
Flippin was the smallest player on the court in
last night's game against Northwestern. But her
impact was anything but tiny. The point guard
stepped up big off the bench, scoring a career- and
game-high 17 points in 28 minutes of action.
"She had a great performance," Michigan
coach Cheryl Burnett said. "It was definitely
her best performance of
the year."
Taking advantage of her
teammates' strong dribble
penetration in the first half, 80
Flippin wasted no time
establishing her outside
shooting presence. Soon
after entering the game, she took a beautiful
crosscourt pass from freshman captain Krista
Clement and swished a triple.
"It was all my teammates," Flippin said.
"They got me open."
Flippin's hot hand continued throughout
the game, as she finished 6-for-8 from the
field, including five 3-pointers. Her touch from
beyond the arc seemed to energize the rest of
Flippin's play, and her aggressive drives through
the lane in the second half set up solid scoring
opportunities for the Wolverines. With Michi-
gan nursing a 48-47 lead with just under seven
minutes to play in the game, Flippin weaved
her way between the taller Wildcats and scored
on an impressive lefty lay-up. Soon after, she
drove the lane and dished to freshman Ta' Shia
Walker for a wide open jump shot, one of her
team-high four assists.
"We've asked Becky to create and dribble
penetrate," Burnett said. "And she did a great
job of that."
Flippin's play was even more impressive
considering her struggles of late. After begin-

Wildcats
ning the season in the starting lineup, Flippin
has come off the bench in the Wolverines'
last three contests. Initially, the move had an
adverse effect on Flippin's production: She
hadn't scored in Michigan's last two games.
But against the Wildcats, Flippin showed off
her enormous potential.
"Becky is always a great shooter and a great
penetrator," Clement said. "It's so fun to see her
coming into her game and playing how Becky
Flippin plays."
DEFENSIVE INCONSISTENCY: At times, the Wol-
verines' defense seemed impregnable. Michi-
gan's man-to-man intensity brought about a
number of Northwestern scoring droughts. The
Wildcats couldn't find the bucket for a six-min-
ute stretch in the first half and had two separate
five-minute scoreless runs in the second half.
But when the Wildcats got going, they ran all
over Michigan. Northwestern's hottest shoot-
ing came at the worst possible time for the Wol-
verines, and the Wildcats poured in 15 points
in the last four minutes to pull away.
"We just have to come out and play the
whole entire game," Flippin said. "We can't let
little things get to us."
SMALL BUT LoUD: Northwestern's Welsh-
Ryan Arena had the feel of a high school
gym, as the upper levels were curtained off.
While the crowd numbered in the low hun-
dreds (an official attendance estimate was not
released), the few fans at the game made their
presence felt. After senior captain Tabitha
Pool threw up an air ball midway through
the first half, a small but rowdy group of fans
serenaded her with chants of "air ball," and
they later renewed the chant whenever Pool
touched the ball. When Northwestern pulled
ahead near the end, the crowd added insult
to injury by taunting the Wolverines with
chants of "Texas Longhorns," mocking the
Michigan football team's 38-37 defeat in the
Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

ALPsANERsddIADOs,/Daiy
Senior Tabitha Pool had 16 points and 1.2 rebounds against Northwestern, but missed key shots down the stretch.

a 3-point shot to give her team a 7-2 lead two minutes
into the game. But Pool did not score again until there
was just 1:30 remaining in the half.
Pool finished the game with 16 points and 12
rebounds but missed key shots down the stretch.
"Defensively, it probably wasn't one of Tabitha's
best performances," Burnett said. "Offensively, teams
are really going to try to take her away from us early.
Late in the game, we were able to come back to her,
and she really got some pretty good looks at the end. It
didn't show up (in the scoring column), but it's still the
looks we want to get."
Both teams struggled to score for long stretches

during the first half. The Wildcats were held scoreless
for six minutes, and the Wolverines for four. Michigan
shot 12-for-23 from the field, including 6-for-11 from
beyond the arc but committed 14 turnovers and led
by just two points at the half. Their up-and-down play
was epitomized by forward Kelly Helvey, who drove to
the basket and hit a lay-up on one possession and then
turned the ball over on the next.
"We as a coaching staff are talking about (how) we
can't do a lot to analyze what defense the other team is
in or staying in because we're not possessing the ball
long enough," Burnett said. "We're turning it over.
Thus, frustration."

While others go down,
two smglen step up

IN ICE HOCKEY
Icers reunite for critical series

By Eric Amblnder
Daily Sports Writer
Maybe the recent string of injuries was a
good thing after all.
With forward Graham Brown, wing Les-
ter Abram and guard Daniel Horton injured,
several players have been given
opportunities to play larger roles TOM
for the Michigan men's basketball
team. Sophomore John Andrews Michigan
and freshman Ron Coleman have
both shown dramatic improve- 8
ment since entering the starting Crisk
lineup. -
Andrews played just 11 min-
utes last season but has already started six
games this year in place of Abram. Andrews
did not attempt a field goal against No. 14 Iowa
on Wednesday but converted four free throw
attempts - all with under one minute remain-
ing in the game - to help seal the 65-63 win.
"One of the keys of the game was John
Andrews and his free throws down the stretch,"
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. "He's a
tough player. I had lots of confidence when he
stepped up to the line."
Coleman, after converting just three of his
first 22 shot attempts this season, has been
key in Michigan's recent offensive revival, and
has been developing into a legitimate 3-point
threat. He's averaging 10.2 points per game as
a starter over the past four contests. The guard
hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Michigan
an early lead, and with Michigan up 52-47 late
in the second half, he forced a turnover and fin-
ished the play with a lay-up on the other end.

0
ni
3p
ler

Even though the bucket was his first since the
opening minutes, Coleman was on the floor in
the final moments when the game was in doubt
- a testament to the confidence Amaker has
in the freshman.
NOr ThIS TIME: After a 14-point halftime lead
was cut to one by Iowa, it appeared as if the
Wolverines would fold.
IRROW The Hawkeyes trailed 48-
47 with 11:42 remaining in
vs. Fairfield the second half, but, with each
Iowa push, Michigan (1-0
.m. Big Ten, 9-5 overall) coun-
Arena tered with either a momen-
tum-reversing charge, tip-in,
offensive rebound or big block
- signs of a maturing ballclub. Iowa never
led in the second half.
"Games like this you lose when you stop
being aggressive," Horton said. "Coach made
some great play calls and allowed us to keep
being aggressive."
Despite executing late in the second half,
Michigan committed 14 turnovers and did not
register an assist in the period, yet was still able
to overcome Iowa's attack.
"I would have preferred that we would have
been able to keep them off better than we did,"
Amaker said. "You can learn a lot from a game
like this, especially when you win."
Although the Wolverines were outscored
33-21 in the second half, key rebounding kept
the Hawkeyes from ever taking the lead in the
final 20 minutes.
"The difference in the game for us was
rebounding, especially on the defensive boards,
but also offensively," Iowa coach Steve Alford

Sophomore John Andrews has seen extensive
playing time in Lester Abram's absence.
said. "When you are not hitting your shots,
you don't get a lot of assists and have to rely
on defense."
UP NExr: The Wolverines take a quick
breather from conference play and battle Fair-
field (3-1 MAAC, 6-6) at 8 p.m. tomorrow.
Michigan defeated the Stags 66-43 last season
at Madison Square Garden behind 17 points
from Horton. Fairfield returns four starters
from a year ago, including guard Kudjo Soga-
dzi, who scored 11 points in just 21 minutes
against the Wolverines last season. In their
first game of the year, the Stags were edged by
then-No. 14 Mississippi State 53-49 and played
competitively in losses at Saint Joseph's and No.
24 George Washington. Junior Chris Hunter is
expected to start after suffering an ankle injury
against Iowa, while Horton is expected to play
extensive minutes off the bench.

By Ian Herbert
Daily Sports Writer
The Western Michigan hockey team has players that lead
the CCHA in a handful of different categories, including
goals, assists, points and saves.
So in any other week, the focus for No.4 Michigan (11-1-0
CCHA, 14-5-1 overall) might be stopping the
Broncos (4-7-1, 9-8-1) during the weekend's
home-and-home series. But for most of this THIS W
week, the focus has not been on Broncos star Michi
forward Brent Walton - who leads the league Westem
in both points (30) and goals (14) - or even 7:35 p.
on the Michigan players who were at practice and ton
preparing to stop the prolific scorer. Yost IceA
Instead, most of the spotlight has been LawsonA
moved to the Michigan players who have been _
absent from practice: goalie Al Montoya,
defenseman Matt Hunwick and forwards Mike Brown, T.J.
Hensick and Kevin Porter. These five Wolverines spent the
last two weeks representing the United States in the World
Junior Championships in Grand Forks, N.D.
"It's not just about those guys," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "I mean, that's all we've talked about the last
couple of days, but it's about how we play and how Western
plays."
But how Michigan plays will be determined, in part, by
how well the five players from the junior team can make
the transition back into the Wolverine lineup. The Junior
team played seven games in 11 days over Winter break
- five more than Michigan played in that period. Fatigue
is certainly a factor, but Berenson said that all of the par-
ticipants looked good in practice yesterday and added that
all of them would play over the weekend.
"The games are important, and they want to play in the
games," Berenson said. "So they can take some time off
early next week. They'll get Sunday and Monday and maybe
Tuesday (off)."
Berenson has delayed resting the World Junior partici-
pants in previous years. He said that inserting the players

t]
ig
M
)m
Ai
Ar

into the lineup as quickly as possible has worked well for
both the tired players and the team. Porter said he was, in
fact, fatigued, but Montoya - who played in the same tour-
nament in Finland last year - said the difference between
this year and last year was night and day.
"It's basically likewe haven't really left," Montoya said.
"We leave there and we practice today, and then we play
_ _ _ tomorrow. It's the same thing we've been
doing the past couple of weeks.
EEKEND "Last year was a totally different story. I
an vs. couldn't even see straight last year. I was so
4ichigan tired. I was worn out from traveling. But now
. today we're here, and it's like we never even left."
orrow Berenson had nothing but praise for Bron-
rena, Fri. cos goalie Daniel Bellissimo and Western
ena, Sat. Michigan's forwards. Michigan will have to
focus on Walton, who averages 1.67 points per
game, but he is not the only threat the Wol-
verines will have to contend with. Three Broncos forwards
have scored more than 90 career points - Walton (93),
Vince Bellissimo (93) and Pat Dwyer (92).
"Every week, we play against a team that has leading scor-
ers or leading lines or a strong power play or a great goalie,"
Berenson said. "So it's not like we're going to change a lot
for every team. But we have to respect who they are and who
is on the ice against us."
On the other hand, Berenson acknowledges that specific
tactics many teams use against Michigan are ineffective.
"If you talk to most of the coaches in this league about
how to beat Michigan, they're all going to come up with a
game plan that centers around, 'Well you gotta play physi-
cal, and you gotta keep Michigan off-balance, and you gotta
keep them off their game,' and so on," Berenson said. "And
we know that. We've known that for 20 years. Doesn't work.
But that's their game plan. They're not going to try to out-
skate us or out-shoot us.'
Last year, the Western Michigan series was highlighted
by physical play and hostility. Four players were ejected for
fighting as the Wolverines swept the series, 4-1,7-0. All four
could be on the ice this weekend.

A

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University Musical Society
Half-Price Student Ticket Sale

Saturday
January 0
10 am ai pNI
Hill Auditorium

For one day only at the beginning of each semester MS offers HtALF-PR~ICE TICKETS to
students. This extremely popular event dr'aws hundreds of students every year - last year,
students saved ove $104,000 by purchasing tickets at the HalIf Price StudentTIcket Sales.
Some perfomances have a limited number of tickets available, so get there earlyl
How does the HalWPrice Sale work? lit' easy' Just make your way to Hill Auditorium t
Saturday morning and wait in line to receive a sequentially numberd order form. Fill it cout
by I pam with the number of tickets you and your friends would like to purchase for each
event. Turn it in and be on your way. Pay when you pick up your ickets at the Michigan
I Pr'c Itc i drnrp is tb~tl (,Pt rhpp n ti4rt c to wfD 1 Whv i dra MeDltd.the

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