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November 22, 2005 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-22

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November 22, 2005
sports. michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily. com




Back home,
Sims eager
to terrorize
By Scott Bell
Daily Sports Writer
With five minutes left and the Wolverines up by
20 points, Courtney Sims was just looking to put an
exclamation point on the season opener against Cen-
tral Michigan.
What he got was a reason
to get ribbed in the locker TONIGHT
room - and an incentive to
make up for it. Michigan at
The junior was the bene-
factor of Michigan's sev- Tune: 7:05 p.m.
enth steal of the game. As
he received the pass, there Agganis Arena
was nothing but open hard-
wood between him and the
hoop. But as he went up to
emphatically dunk the ball in hopes of igniting the
Crisler Arena crowd, the ball slipped out of his hand,
over the backboard and struck the shot clock.
"I was trying to do a LeBron James breakaway
dunk, but it kind of slipped," Sims said. "Next time,
I'm just going to go up and dunk it with two hands."
The gaffe was one of the few mistakes Sims Made
during Friday's 87-60 victory. His embarrassment
fueled him to close the game strong, which is exactly
what he did.
After Eddie Spencer converted on a three-point
play for the Chippewas, Michigan tried getting the
ball down low to their 6-foot-1l center. Sims capi-
talized on his size advantage and quickly made an
inside shot before the final media timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, Sims converted a
Jerret Smith steal and subsequent pass into a dunk
- this time with two hands. Following a Dion Har-
ris 3-pointer, Sims connected on two more straight
trips. He received another pass deep in the paint, and
after faking to his right, he turned to his left and put
in a jumpshot. Sims's contribution to the 11-0 Michi-
gan run in the two-minute span culminated with his
last bucket, another wide-open shot under the hoop
following a Smith pass.
When the reserves came in following the dead
ball, the crowd's attention had shifted from Sims's
missed dunk to his 4-for-4 shooting tirade that put
the game out of reach. He ended the game as the
team's leading scorer, scoring 20 points on a 9-for-
10 performance from the field.
"The confidence is always there," Sims said. "I
was just anxious to play this first regular-season
game and get off to a good start after last year."
Today, Sims and his teammates hope to react sim-
ilarly from another embarrassing incident. The Wol-
verines have the opportunity to bounce back after

Fardig friends
foresee feast on
fierce foes
By Mark Giannotto
Daily Sports Writer
Thanksgiving break presents an interesting predicament for the
No. 1 Michigan hockey team.
On the one hand, it's a time when players on the team can enjoy the
company of their respective families, just like any other student.
On the other hand, the Wolverines will face the stiffest test of their
young season this weekend in the College Hockey Showcase.
How can a player relax when No. 6 Minnesota and No. 2 Wisconsin
loom on the horizon?
Add in the fact that nine Michigan players are from outside the
state of Michigan, and you have a precarious situation that could
make or break the weekend.
Freshman goalie Billy Sauer's family is bringing Thanksgiving to
him because he can't go home to upstate New York.
"I'm having dinner with the rest of my family over at a family
friend's house," Sauer said. "My family is going to be in Ann Arbor
for the two games this weekend."
Many of the Wolverines from out of state hail from Canada. North
of the border, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of
October, so the Canadian players on the team don't have the same
scheduling conflict as their American teammates.
"I'm going home with my roommate (freshman Tim Miller) on
Thanksgiving night," freshman Andrew Cogliano said. "I'm not
paying too much attention to the holiday because I'm not American.
It's going to be a good time because you get a good meal before the
The coaching staff makes sure that each player on the team is with
someone on Thanksgiving.
"We're lucky that we have so many players from Michigan on our
team," assistant coach Billy Powers said. "What ends up happening
is that our kids and our local parents are really nice and take one or
two of the guys back with them to their house. We don't have to make
outside arrangements because the families around here are willing to
open their doors to our kids."
The players embrace the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving
any way they can. Even if it isn't with their families, they make due
with what they have.
"A bunch of us are going to a friend's house," junior Tim Cook said.
"He puts dinner out for us, and we're going to watch some football
and just hang out."
There is a concern throughout the locker room about the intensity
level the team will come out with on Friday night against Minnesota.
The relaxing Thanksgiving mood threatens to have some effect on
the skaters.
"We might be real good or real rusty when the puck drops on Fri-
day," coach Red Berenson said. "I really don't know."
To combat the sluggishness that might occur after a night of feast-
ing, the coaching staff has planned a practice for Thursday morning,
in addition to a morning skate on Friday.
"The good thing is that the other teams are going through the
holiday thing, too," Powers said. "But we're used to it. This isn't
the first time we've played in this tournament. Thursday is the
one day where most people are spending time with their families,
and these kids will get the opportunity to be in that environment.
The Friday skate is a way to get the food out of their system from
Thursday afternoon."




Junior Courtney Sims put up 20 points In Friday's win over Central Michigan at Crisier Arena.

home losses to mid-major Boston University in each
of the last two years. After a 61-60 win over Michi-
gan during the 2003 season, the Terriers proved their
first victory wasn't a fluke when they picked up a
63-52 victory last December.
"They're a good team," Sims said. "They're well
coached - they played Duke well (a 64-47 loss on
the road), so they're a tough team. It's going to be
tough to beat them at home."
Boston will be christening its new basketball
arena tonight. Although a sea of red and white will
be visible as the Terrier fanbase tries to propel its
team to a home opening victory, Agannis Arena will
not only be filled with Boston fans.
That's because today will not just be a statement
game for Sims, but it will also be a homecoming
for the Boston native. Sims expects a lot of family
and friends to come and support him in his cause to
topple the Terriers.
"I have about 30 tickets, and my cousin bought
about 40," Sims said. "There's going to be a lot of
people, and I'm going to have a lot of support."

But the Wolverines will need more than just fan
support to topple the pesky Boston University squad.
While the Terriers' American East conference is
nothing like the Big Ten, Boston has had a knack
for being a strong test for larger schools. The Ter-
riers qualified for last year's NIT before falling to
Georgetown in the opening round. Along with their
recent upsets over Michigan, Boston has also man-
aged to test other big conference teams. The Ter-
riers' quick and scrappy play allowed them to take
Boston College to the limit on the road last year,
faltering late in the game and losing 80-74.
"Their press messes up peoples' tempo," Sims
said. "We're just going to have to fight through it,
though. We're going to have a battle on our hands,"
The Wolverines know what is in store for them this
year, and overlooking the Terriers seems like an impos-
sibility considering the history of this matchup. But if
they need any more inspiration, the team needs to look
no further than Sims and his personal dilemma.
"I can't go back home and tell them I lost to BU
for three straight years," he said.

'M' relives Terre Haute memories*

By Ian Robinson
Daily Sports Writer

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Higher expectations
but the same result.
The Michigan women's cross country team
came out of yesterday's national championship
meet at LaVern Gibson Championship Course with
the same accolades it garnered last year - one
national honor and a sixth-place overall finish.
But this year's squad entered the champion-
ship unbeaten in team scoring meets and ranked
third in the country, while last year's squad was
ranked 10th.
Last year, Rebecca Walter earned All-America
honorable mention, and the Wolverines received
246 points.
"I know this team is better than that and the
team knows that," Mike McGuire said. "If you
are going to measure it by one day, we are the
same as we were last year."
Yesterday, Michigan's sixth-place total of 250
points was 102 behind national champion Stanford.
In her final cross country meet for Michigan,
senior co-captain Rebecca Walter earned All-
America honors for the second time in her career
with a 27th-place time of 26:20.
"In my 16 years here and knowledge of the
program before that, I can say we have never had

anyone that impacted this program as much as
(Walter) has," McGuire said.
In addition to her All-America honors, the
Beverly Hills, Mich., product has been Michi-
gan's top finisher at the last four NCAA Cham-
pionships and has been named all-Big Ten first
team three times, 2002 Big Ten Athlete of the
Year and two-time team captain.
McGuire's plan going into the 6-kilometer race
was to have his seven runners start in contention
so that they would not have too much ground to
make up later in the race.
"We were not out high enough to start,"
McGuire said.
After three kilometers, the Wolverines were
staggered in bunches. Walter and sophomore
Alyson Kohlmeier passed the mark together
in about 10:11, while redshirt freshman Nicole
Edwards, redshirt sophomore Erin Webster,
senior Ana Gjesdal and junior Jessie Stewart
were within four seconds of each other between
10:21 and 10:25.
The runners could not make up the ground as
they spread out over the final three kilometers.
Walter ran the final three kilometers in 10:13
and out-kicked a group of three runners to earn
her final position.
"(Walter) did a good job of moving through
(the field)," McGuire said.

Michigan's other scorers were Kohlmeier in
59th place, Edwards in 72nd, Gjesdal in 82nd
and Stewart in 97th.
On Oct. 15, Michigan competed in the NCAA
Pre-National meet on the same course and won
the White division - beating three teams that
beat them yesterday.
The Wolverines were paced at Pre-Nationals
by Kohlmeier who ran 16 seconds faster than
Michigan also missed out on the contributions
of Webster, who failed to place for the first time
all season.
Michigan's total of 250 was 38 points worse
than fifth-place Illinois, who the Wolverines
dominated at the Big Ten Championships by 18
"It was not a horrendous race, but it was off
our standard from what we have done this year,"
McGuire said.
After winning every meet leading up to the
nationals, Walter would not allow yesterday's
finish to ruin her team's season.
"This season was the best season I have had
with the team," Walter said.
The only other Michigan team during
McGuire's tenure that won every meet before
Nationals was the 1994 squad that finished sec-
ond to Villanova.

Senior Rebecca Walter finished 27th at the National Championships yesterday in Terre Haute, Ind.

Woods makes lone run at NCAAs

By David VandeVusse
Daily Sports Writer

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Mike
Woods went for it. He aimed high, set-
ting aside his youth and his fear, and he
The sophomore was the lone rep-
resentative for the Maize and Blue at
the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Cham-
pionships at Indiana State yesterday.
He qualified as an individual when he
took fourth at last week's Great Lakes
Regional meet. The young Michigan
men's team- hmnwver fa in le ,o i ifv

ing tirelessly from one side of the park
to the other to catch each new piece of
action. Emotions ran high both on and
off the course.
Woods responded well to the atmo-
sphere and came out flying. Under an
overcast sky and amidst a cutting wind,
he looked resolved and confident for
the first half of the 10-kilometer race.
His five-kilometer split of 14:58 placed
him near the front of the pack and just
three seconds behind eventual individu-
al champion Simon Bairu of Wisconsin,
whose team took first with an astound-
inrl lo w 3 7 noints

hurting so much," Woods said. "I just
couldn't hold on."
Woods's goal was to be an All-Ameri-
can, but he came up about 20 seconds
short. Still, his improvement from his
showing at last year's NCAA Champi-
onships was clear. He jumped up 119
spots and shaved nearly three minutes
off his time.
"I'm very happy that I proved I can
run at a high level," Woods said. "It's
pretty special, and it's pretty neat to be
amongst such great runners and have
such a great crowd cheering you on."
Though Woods left the champion-


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