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November 16, 2005 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-16

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Dierdorf back in action I RACNTEDAY

By Ian Robinison
Daily Sports Writer
She's back and better than ever.
After a stress fracture in her hip sidelined her for
the past 11 months, sophomore Katie Dierdorf saw
her first action of the season when she entered Friday
night's game against Temple late in the first half.
Just 33 seconds after getting on the floor, she made
her presence known. Receiving a pass in the post,
Dierdorf attempted a lay-up and drew a foul.
"I forgot what my free throw routine was," Dierdorf
said. "My first shot was a little off. Once I made the
second one, I calmed down and just started to play."
The sophomore hit 2-of-2 from the field in her seven
second-half minutes to finish the game with five points.
In Saturday night's 80-52 victory over St. Francis
(Pa.), she scored a career-high 13 points.
Having Dierdorf available gives Michigan coach
Cheryl Burnett another player that can help the team
all over the court.
The 6-foot forward was in the starting lineup on
Saturday night for the first time since she injured her-
self against Western Michigan last December. She
scored seven of her 13 points from the free throw line,
collected three rebounds and blocked two shots in 20
minutes of play.
"I am big on total productivity (in all facets of the
game)," Burnett said. "(She) is an extremely produc-
tive basketball player on all levels."
Her five-point performance on Friday night was the
culmination of almost one year's worth of determina-
tion to get back on the court.
A stress fracture like the one she suffered can take
anywhere from six to 10 months to fully heal. She

had to use crutches for many months but continued
to work her way back. She worked out in the pool and
rode the stationary bike before she could resume run-
ning. Once recovered, the injury will not leave any
lasting effects on the St. Louis native.
She was cleared to begin running just three weeks
ago, once her hip finally mended. Since then, she has
done whatever possible to get back into shape.
After retuning to practice, she participated in pre-
game warmups for the team's two exhibition games
this season but did not play.
"It felt great to run on the floor with everybody
instead of walking over and sitting on the bench,"
Dierdorf said.
Her progress in practice allowed her to get into the
rotation immediately.
"Our plan was to start her slow and see how she
would progress," Burnett said. "She progressed quick-
ly and that culminated in a great weekend for her."
Dierdorf feels noticeably stronger since returning
from the stress fracture.
"I'm feeling stronger than I did before because I had
11 months of weight lifting," Dierdorf said. "Posting
up and boxing out seem to be a lot easier now."
The added muscle has already paid dividends - all
of Dierdorf's field goals over the weekend were scored
in the paint.
Throughout her recovery, her teammates kept her
incorporated as part of the team despite her injury.
"They did a good job of keeping me a part of
things," Dierdorf said. "They could have isolated me.
(Instead, they) made me feel just like I was out there
playing with them."
Now, she doesn't have to just feel like part of the
team. She can actually help the team on the court.


Continued from page 9

guys to get experience," defensive
tackle Gabe Watson said after the
Iowa game. "We'll be healthy at
some point. Only time will tell if
it's better for us or not better for
us. Guys have really stepped up and
done good jobs at their positions for
us. That is all that you can ask for."
And now might be that time when
the team is fully healthy. Barringer
saw some snaps against Northwest-
ern three weeks ago, and he start-
ed against Indiana last Saturday.
Junior Brandent Englemon, who
also missed significant time due to
injury, is back in the starting lineup,
and the secondary appears to be at
full strength.
"I think every guy that is human-
ly capable of playing will play, and
you can't worry about anybody who
can't play," Carr said about this
week's showdown.
Just in time to take on one of the
best set of wide receivers in the con-
ference in the biggest game of the
Continued from page 9
down toward the Michigan bench,
Smith found himself in a foot race. Still,
he attempted to recover the ball, diving
over the Northern Michigan player and
winding up crumpled in the Michigan
Smith attributes his improvement to
his time in practice. There, he continued
to improve on his ball-handling skills,
shooting and knowledge of the offense.
Smith also points to the counsel and
example set by Horton as a reason for
his early success.
"In practice, it helps me a lot to play
against Daniel," Smith said. "It makes
you that much better because, to me,
he might be the best point guard in the
nation. Playing against him makes you
that much better."
But Smith didn't always exude the
quiet confidence that he's gained since
playing in two exhibition games.
During his sophomore year at West-
land John Glenn High School, Smith
suffered a fractured ankle that limited
his playing time and altered his progres-
sion as a player.
"It was just a matter of getting my
weight back down and playing like I did
my freshman year," Smith said.
He recovered from that setback and
transferred to Romulus High School -
which he led to the Class A state cham-
pionship game his senior year while
averaging 15 points per game.
Coming to Michigan, the 6-foot-
3 point guard credits his teammates,
especially Horton, for keeping his con-
fidence high and continually encourag-
ing him.
"Everybody's a leader but it just so
happens that (Horton) plays the same
position as me," Smith said. "I look up
to him and everything he does. He's
been through the same things that I've
been through and more."
With the all the support behind Smith
and his marked development during
this early stage of the season, it won't
be much longer before he steps into the

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