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February 08, 2006 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-08

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Specs,
spirit
spark
defense
By Ian Robinson
Daily Sports Writer
In the 1990s, Kids growing up
in Chicago metropolitan would
try to emulate their favorite Bulls
on the court - like Michael Jor-
dan or Scottie Pippen.
But Michigan freshman
Melinda Queen couldn't escape
the constant references to Chi-
cago power forward Horace
Grant.
"When I was younger, I did
watch Horace Grant because I
am from Chicagoand I loved
the Bulls," Queen said.
It had nothing to do with her
play on the court. Rather, it
was the eyewear the Oak For-
est, Ill. native has sported in
games since she started playing
basketball in seventh grade that
provoked comparisons to the
former NBA star.
Similar to the four-time NBA
champion, Queen wears Rec-
specs protective goggles when
she plays. The freshman dons
the eyewear to protect her right
eye because she already has
problems in the left one. She
also says that if she didn't wear
them and got hit in the right eye,
she wouldn't be able to play.
The eyewear is the not the
only similarity between Grant
and Queen.
Just like Grant, who earned
NBA All-Defensive second
team honors four times, Queen
is making her presence known
on defense.
She leads the team in steals
per 40 minutes, averaging 2.38.
In Sunday's game at Minnesota,
she grabbed a career-high six
rebounds.
"She gives us such a good
physical presence as a (small
forward)," Michigan coach
Cheryl Burnett said. "With her
wingspan, she does a great job
because she can get a lot of
deflections, and she anticipates

Veteran steps up court play
By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer

Melinda Queen gets fouled as she makes a running jumper during the game
against Wisconsin at Crisler Arena on Jan. 29th.

His teammates may call him "B," but as
of late, he has brought nothing less than his
"A" game to the court.
In his third year playing for the No. 52
Michigan men's tennis team, junior Brian
Hung has certainly been demonstrating the
value of experience . The veteran was named
the Big Ten Athlete of the Week for his per-
formance in the Wolverines' dual-match sea-
son doubleheader opener on Jan. 21.
Hung earned the award by leading
Michigan to victories against both Western
Michigan and Ball State. He contributed two
straight-set singles wins and an upset doubles
performance with sophomore Matko Mara-
vic. The duo topped the Cardinals' tandem
of Matt Baccarani and Patrick Thompson
which was ranked fourth in the nation. After
Hung won his 50th career singles victory as
a Wolverine against Ball State, Hung was
rewarded with his first Athlete Conference
of the Week honor.
Hung points to his improved net game
for his recent individual success on the
singles end.
"I think one of the main things is, during
the week, I have been working on playing
to my strengths, which include getting to
the net and finishing points off of volleys,"
Hung said.
Michigan coach Bruce Berque echoed
Hung's emphasis on the recent surge of
aggressive play, an aspect of the junior's game
that has undergone significant improvement.
"In singles, ever since we went to the
Miami Invitational, Brian has been very
disciplined in coming to the net and playing
how he's supposed to be playing," Berque
said. "Last year, it was like pulling teeth.
He would do it, but as soon as it didn't work
for a point or two, he would back off. This
year, he has been much more disciplined
BRONCOS
Continued from page 9
good," Porter said. "We just got out
there, made a few plays and capitalized
on our chances."
With the win, Michigan gains sole
possession of second place in the CCHA.
The victory also represents the first on
the road for the Wolverines since they
defeated Northern Michigan 4-3 in over-
time on Nov. 12.
After the game, the Wolverines had
just two players to thank for ending their
road woes.
"T.J. has been one of the best offen-
sive players in this league, and Porter
has been having a good year," Berenson
said. "It was nice to see them connect on
some good plays, and that was the differ-
ence in the game."

well."
After starting three games
early in the year, Queen's play-
ing time has topped 20 minutes
in each of the last five games.
"Because of marked improve-
ment in her stamina over the
past month, she has worked her
way back in the lineup," Burnett
said.
Teammate Janelle Cooper
doesn't notice any difference in
Queen's performance in practice
and believes the freshman's con-
sistency might have contributed
to the increase in playing time.
"She just continues to work
hard," Cooper said. "She comes
in every day and does the same
thing every day. It's paying off
for her."
Queen's continued intensity
during practice has also trans-
lated into better offense.
As a 6-foot-1 wing with great
length, Queen uses her size to
her advantage when playing
against a smaller defender. In
Sunday's loss to Minnesota, she
matched a career high in points

(7), primarily by posting up and
hitting lay-ups.
Early in the year, Queen
showed a prowess to knock
down jump shots.
"One thing that we were try-
ing to have her get better at was
handling the basketball," Bur-
nett said.
Burnett said she noticed
Queen has improved her ability
to penetrate and make the pass
to set up a good look at the bas-
ket for one of her teammates.
In last week's loss at Penn
State, Queen set a career high
with five assists, all of them
coming while the Wolverines
built an early 12-point advan-
tage.
Queen shows her ability to
make the extra pass when she
dishes the ball inside to the post,
kicks it out to the perimeter and
skips it across the court for a
three.
With her Recspecs-aided
court vision, she will strive to
become a force at both ends of
the court, like Grant.

Brian Hung in the men's tennis meet against Ball State on Jan. 21.

playing aggressive tennis, which fits his
athletic ability."
Hung's leadership hardly stops short at the
singles end. With just one doubles loss thus
far in the dual-match season thus far, Hung
and partner Maravic have been bulldozing
over their opponents. The junior's quiet fear-
lessness combined with the sophomore phe-
nom's emotional energy has served the duo
well at Michigan's No. 1 doubles position.
"Our intensity is pretty high throughout
the matches," Hung said. "Even when we're
down, we still believe we can win. We try
to fight our way through. We're just trying
to play basic doubles. We're not trying to
play flashy."
Flashy may not be the first word that
comes to mind when teammates and coach-
es talk about Hung, but he has certainly pro-
vided a leadership spark for the Wolverines.
The coaches named Hung and fellow
DOWD
Continued from page 9
As the clock wound down, the
play started to get scrappy, even
sloppy, but Ruden still stood tall
in the Michigan net. He rarely
made a false move and temporar-
ily looked like he took himself to
another world when a fight broke
out in front of his net.
Ruden's patience is a sign that
he did more than look on and
take stats in the three years he
sat behind Montoya. Assistant
coach Billy Powers said the coach
ing staff saw indicators last year
that Ruden could be a starter. He
knows that he's always been ready
"I thought that I was better tha]
a backup," Ruden said. "It was jus

junior Ryan Heller co-captains at the start of
the season, and Hung has relied on his lead-
ership-by-example to serve as a model ath-
lete and teammate. With no seniors on this
year's roster and the freshman class compris-
ing half of the lineup, Hung has grown into
this veteran role without skipping a beat.
"Brian is not naturally a real vocal guy,
but when he plays his dual matches, he really
is," Berque said. "He's showing a lot of lead-
ership, playing with emotion and passion.
He has been talking to the younger guys
and helping them play with the same kind of
emotion. He's been a great influence."
On Friday at the Varsity Tennis Center,
Hung will look to continue demonstrat-
ing his leadership on and off the court and
help Michigan improve its 4-1 record, when
it faces Louisiana State at 6 pm. The Wol-
verines cap off the weekend in Tuscaloosa
against Alabama at 12 p.m on Sunday.
a matter of getting a chance. Some
people know that they are going to
be backups, but I told myself that I
could be more."
And how right he was. His
record doesn't necessarily speak
to his play. Despite the fact Ruden
is just 3-3 since earning regular
starts in January, his more impres-
sive numbers are his saves. In his
five starts, he stopped 35, 26, 31,
39 and 25 saves.
Ruden has a simple philosophy
going into each game: He wants to
give his team the chance to win.
h- If he continues to turn aside more
than 30 shots a game, he will cer-
tainly achieve that goal.
Y.
n - Dowd can be reached
st atjvdowd@umich.edu

0

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