The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - January 30, 2006 - 3B
* Post play drives loss for Blue
Doubting LeBron is the
worst of all my mistakes
By Sara Livingston
Daily Sports Writer
Inevitably, just when something sudden-
ly begins to improve, something else slowly
finds itself deteriorating with no means of
recovery in sight.
Despite past problems guarding outside
shooters, Michigan (0-9 Big Ten, 6-15 Over-
all) finally stepped up its performance along
the perimeter, making it nearly impossible
for Wisconsin (2-7, 8-13) to penetrate and
drive to the basket. But at the same time,
the Wolverines found themselves without a
post presence. Constantly coming up short,
they were unable to pull down 20 defensive
rebounds. As a result, Michigan gave the
Badgers enough second-chance opportu-
nities to make up for their- struggling post
play and earn the 75-65 victory.
"We wanted to come out and have our
defense make a very specific difference in
the game," Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett
said. "When we play hard and pressure the
ball, we get out in the passing lanes, and we
were very effort-driven."
With no savior in sight, the Wolverines'
woes in the post continued. They constant-
ly failed to crash the boards and box out,
allowing Wisconsin to grab 18 offensive
rebounds. The Badgers' fast-paced offense
forced Michigan to rotate and pick up
Wisconsin's dribble-penetration and bas-
ket-cutters. Michigan stopped the Badgers
along the perimeter, but in the process, left
the entire post area open. Wisconsin didn't
hesitate to capitalize on that open court -
shooting the majority of its second-chance
shots from the paint.
"A lot of times it's hard to get back and
find your own player," sophomore forward
Katie Dierdorf said. "They were taking a
lot of short shots, and with those, it's just
hard to go back and box out. We just have
to pay more attention to where our girl is
and then go and box out."
More often than not, Michigan found
itself out of position when Wisconsin
launched up a shot, leaving it unable
to beat the Badgers to the boards. After
shifting over to cover the perimeter and
fill the passing lanes, Michigan's post
players found themselves away from the
basket and on the outside end of a boxing-
Early in the second half, the Wisconsin
forwards made their presence felt, twice
scooping up four consecutive offensive
There's that saying in poker that you never
remember all the little pots you won to build
bankroll, but it's impossible to forget the one
big mistake you made to lose it.
It's true for more than just poker.
I've been working at the Daily for the last three years
- and almost every day for the last year. And in that
time, I've written a few decent pieces. But man oh man,
have I made a lot of screw-ups. I can easily think of a
half-dozen big mistakes that I've made at this paper.
The first day that I was on my own as sports edi-
tor I got the score wrong - not
so much wrong, but I said that the-
wrong team won.
I once spelled Reilly Olson's name
In one paper, I let it print that the
hockey team was playing "today"
when, in fact, it was playing the next,
I picked Ohio State to beat Michi-
gan in the last football game of the
year this year, and I picked Nebraska
to cover the spread. Though I was right IAN
about both of those, I'm told it infuri- HERBER
ated some folk. Sports Mona
In a column I wrote, I gave Bo osmnd
Schembechler less credit than he
deserved, leading to dozens of furious e-mails and a lot
of not-so-nice names.
I've been told that I write about myself too
much - to whomever said that, stop reading this
But one of the stupidest things I ever wrote got no
backlash, no e-mails. It was probably because no one
knew I wrote it, or knew how to contact me.
It was the fall of 2003, just before the NBA season
began, and the Daily was getting ready to do preseason
picks - a tradition when we have extra space. I did the
picks not because I'm an NBA expert or anything, but
because I happened to be sitting around the Daily when
it was time to do picks.
I thought very carefully about my selections and put
them in the paper. Most were not very surprising or
memorable. But then I got to two picks:
Most overrated player - LeBron James.
Most underrated player - Kwame Brown.
I doubt there's been a bigger mistake involving two
No. 1 picks since Michael Olowokandi and Len Bias
I had my reasons. I figured that LeBron James
was the single most hyped player ever to set foot on
an NBA court. Sports Illustrated had written about
him when he was a junior in high school. It was
absurd. How could he possibly live up to the hype?
There was no way.
He was amazing in high school. The St. Vincent-St.
Mary's games they showed on ESPN made him look
like Michael Jordan. But that was high school - when
'Bron was bigger, faster and stronger than the guys he
played. I doubted he could do it week in and week out
against the best players in the world for 82 games a year.
Plus, he had to try to resurrect the Cavaliers. That's a
task in itself.
The Kwame Brown thing is a little less excusable. I
don't have an excuse, but since Brown was on
my hometown Wizards for most of his career,
I've always had a soft spot for the first high
school player to be drafted No. 1 overall.
My friend Jim scoffed at the picks, but I
stood by them, insisting they were right on
and exclaiming it was going to be Brown's
I've never been more wrong.
James far surpassed everyone's expecta-
tions. He was one of three rookies ever to
average at least 20 points, five rebounds and
five assists. The other two were Oscar Rob-
T ertson and Michael Jordan - pretty good
,ay company. He was 2003-04 rookie of the year
- the youngest player ever to win the award.
And, recently, he became the youngest player
to reach 5,000 points - beating Kobe Bryant (more
good company). He's currently third in the NBA in
points per game (30.9) and 15th in assists per game
Most impressive is the way he's turned around the
Cavaliers. They haven't made the playoffs yet, but
they've been close the last two years. They're 25-17 this
year, and if the season were to end today, they'd be the
No. 4 seed and would be playing a home playoff series.
Kwame Brown, on the other hand, averaged seven
points and five rebounds per game last year. He has
yet to score more than 14 points in a game; James
has a career-high of 56. Brown skipped practice, was
benched for the Wizards' playoff run and was promptly
traded to the Lakers.
Needless to say, I was wrong. When I got a column a
little more than a year ago, I promised Jim that I would
apologize to The Michigan Daily readers who I may
My time's running out at the Daily - I'm leaving
after the Super Bowl - so I'm down to my last couple
Now if only I could remember how I built my
- Ian Herbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freshman Jessica Minnfield did her part to try stifling the Badger perimeter attack.
rebounds. Despite playing for more than
20 minutes, sophomore Janelle Cooper
couldn't contribute on the boards as much
as usual, grabbing just one rebound. Most
of the time she was in the game, Cooper
was forced to lend her defensive exper-
tise to secure the perimeter. In addition,
Stephany Skrba's team-high nine rebounds
weren't enough to give the Wolverines a
presence down low. Skrba couldn't come
out from the post to help the weak-side
"In the rebounding part, Cooper makes
such a difference," Burnett said. "Not only
in numbers, but she gets so many hustle
things at the rebounding end. And Skrba
is such a force rebounding wise, that it is
almost as if we have to have both of those
players in for us to be a great rebounding
Along the perimeter, Cooper, freshman
Melinda Queen and sophomore Krista
Clement rotated around, closing up open
lanes and forcing Wisconsin to put the ball
on the floor in order to create shot opportu-
nities. In the process, Michigan forced the
Badgers into committing an above-average
"I just think (the way we played defense)
gives us the confidence that we can get
out and deny every pass and help a lot on
drives," Dierdorf said. "From this, we just
gained a lot of confidence, and we will con-
tinue to go forward with our defense."
N MEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING
Burtch, Aibright comebacks in
breastroke aids Blue in victory
By Anne Ulble
Daily Sports Writer
BLOOMINGTON - Senior co-cap-
tain Peter Vanderkaay may have won the
meet for the Wolverines, but sophomore
Grant Burtch had a meet-changing race
in the 200-yard breaststroke that proved
to be the catalyst in pushing the Michigan
men's swimming and diving team ahead
of Indiana on the point board. The fourth-
ranked Wolverines ultimately came away
with a 160-140 victory over No. 11 Indi-
As the 200-yard breaststroke got
underway, Burtch and senior Andrew
Albright got off to slow starts and were far
from Hoosier leaders Kevin Swander and
"We were half way through the race
saying, 'Uh oh, this is not good,' " assis-
tant coach Dan Schinnerer said. "I think
most of us on the deck thought that we
were out of the race."
With three laps to go, Albright and
Burtch made a fight to move up on their
"It was about there where I decided I
wasn't ready to give up," Burtch said. "I
wasn't ready to go home yet."
Coming down the final lap of the race,
Albright passed Tameris, and Burtch
moved ahead to stalk down Swander.
With just a few strokes left in the race,
the Michigan team rallied together on
the sidelines to cheer on their team-
mates, and Burtch grabbed the lead and
got his hand to the wall first to earn the
victory with a time of 2:03.00.
"I knew I was in it at the final 25;"
Burtch said. "I felt pretty good, so I just
sped up. I was a little surprised to see
that I won."
Burtch's win, along with Albright's
third-place finish, spurred the rest of the
team to work harder.
"That was a great swim," Bowman
said. "For him to respond that way really
pushed the rest of the guys to try and work
harder to move up and get in those extra
Michigan had beaten Ohio State
164-77 less than 24 hours before the
start of yesterday's meet. Immediately
after that victory, the Wolverines drove
six hours to Bloomington.
As a result of that brutal schedule,
Michigan got off to a tough start against
Indiana, finishing second in the 200-yard
medley relay to a fast Hoosiers team.
"After the long drive last night, we
were all a little sore," senior co-captain
Chris DeJong said. "It took a while to get
Vanderkaay responded to the loss
in the first event by earning a victory in
the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of
14:58.84 - more than eight seconds
ahead of second-place Hoosier finisher
Vanderkaay went on to swim in the
500-yard freestyle and 400-yard indi-
vidual medley and anchor the 800-yard
"Peter is an iron man' Bowman said.
"He basically carried us on his shoulders,
and nobody can swim a program like that
Both Indiana and Michigan exchanged
point leads throughout the meet, creating
an extremely competitive environment.
Bowman labeled the competition as the
toughest one on the team's schedule, and
he was very pleased to end up earning the
In addition to the efforts of Vanderkaay
and Burtch, Bowman pointed to freshman
Bobby Savulich as making a difference
for the team yesterday. Savulich swam an
exciting 200-yard freestyle with senior co-
captain Davis Tarwater.
With a time of 23:03, Savulich led
the field of eight swimmers for the first
50 yards. Tarwater dragged on Savulich
for the first half of the race while main-
taining a close second-place distance.
After a fast turn and strong push-off,
Tarwater made a move on the fourth
wall and was able to inch up on the
freshman. Following three more fast
turns from Tarwater, Savulich couldn't
hold him off any longer. Tarwater led
the final 50 yards and took a victory in
the race with a time of 1:37.85. Savulich
finished in a close second with a time
"It was nice to see Bobby step it up"
Bowman said. "He didn't have a very good
meet against Ohio State, so to come here
and swim well showed us that he knows
how to step it up. I think by the time the
Big Tens roll around he'll be a force to be
Michigan has just one dual meet
remaining - against Northwestern in
two weeks - before returning to Bloom-
ington for the Big Ten Championships.
Continued from page 1B
ines could not do much against the Bad-
ger twosome. Josephson and Anderson
started the game hot; one of the two had a
hand in each of Wisconsin's first 16 points.
At the media timeout with 7:57 left in the
half, they had combined for 21 points, and
the Badgers led 31-17.
But Stone decided to give Anderson
a rest, and that gave the Wolverines a
chance to come back. With the Wiscon-
sin leader on the bench, Michigan capi-
talized with a 9-0 run. Anderson came
right back into the game and immedi-
ately dished to Josephson, who hit her
third three of the game. After a Melinda
Queen turnover, Anderson found an
opening in the Wolverine defense and hit
a lay-up. The Badgers regained control of
the game and entered halftime with a 42-
But Michigan wasn't going to go
out without a fight. The team started
to force the. ball inside, and Skrba and
Dierdorf responded with big second
halves. Clement had six of her assists in
the second half and continuously found
the two under the basket for short jump-
ers. Skrba and Dierdorf combined for
10 of the Wolverines' first 15 points of
the second half, and the duo brought the
team within five points at 53-48 with 13
minutes remaining. And once the Bad-
ger defense started to collapse down
low, Clement was left open from long
range and knocked down a 3-pointer to
cut the Wisconsin lead to two.
"Krista really did a great job getting
the ball to everyone," Michigan coach
Cheryl Burnett said. "When Katie Dier-
dorf is open, Krista is going to get it to her
in some favorable offensive locations. She
did a magnificent job of organizing and
communicating for us. When she is in the
game, she is calling the right things at the
The Badgers adjusted though, and the
Wolverines committed turnovers on their
next four possessions - all while try-
ing to get the ball inside. Josephson and
Anderson capitalized on their opponents'
mistakes in a way that would have made
Batman creator Bob Kane proud. With
11:15 left, Josephson knocked down her
fourth trey to extend the lead to 58-53.
On the very next possession, Anderson
got a shooter's roll on a 16-foot jump sliot
to push the margin to seven. After Michi-
gan closed the gap to five with 5:18 left,
Josephson appeared to stick the =dagger
in the Wolverines with a wide-open three
from the left wing.
"That was really the turning point of
the game;' Stone said. "Jolene kicked the
ball out to Ashley for three, we got a block,
and then Jo got a lay-up at the other end.
That put us up by seven, and really gave us
the cushion that we needed."
Michigan wasn't done yet though,
and with two minutes left, a left-hand-
ed scoop shot from Cooper cut the Bad-
ger lead to four points. But Wisconsin
looked to their leader, and Anderson
responded with a driving bank shot
from the right side of the lane. After a
Cooper turnover and air-balled three,
Josephson hit four consecutive free
throws to clinch the game.
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