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March 06, 2006 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-03-06

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 6, 2006 - 3B

Difficult year ends with tourney loss

By David Murray
Daily Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS - The nightmare finally
ended.
The Michigan women's basketball team was
asleep for the Big Ten season,
losing all 16 games, and the
bad dream concluded Thurs-
day when Indiana dismissed
the Wolverines 68-52 in the
first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Michigan (0-16, 6-23), the Ilth seed in the
tournament, was never a serious threat to the
sixth-seeded Hoosiers (9-7, 17-13), succumbing
easily in front of a record crowd of 6,015 fans at
Conseco Fieldhouse. The Wolverines never held a
lead and trailed by double-digits for more than 30
minutes. The Maize and Blue went on a late sec-
ond-half run to pull within 11 points, but that was
the closest it came to a second-round game.
Thursday's game was like most of Michigan's
games this season - one good half, one bad half
and a loss.
The Wolverines were just 9-for-31 from the
field in the first half, and the Hoosiers made
15- of-27 first-half shot attempts. The shooting
discrepancies between the two teams coupled
with Michigan's nine turnovers and just two free-
throw attempts led to a demoralizing 40-20 half-
time deficit for Michigan.
But the Wolverines didn't surrender without
a fight, trimming Indiana's lead to 11 with 3:06

left in the game. Sophomore guard Janelle Coo-
per, who led the Wolverines with 16 points, had
two steals and hit a runner from five feet and
an 11-foot jumper in the lane to give Michigan
new life late in the game. Cooper's late burst
wasn't enough though, and the Hoosiers closed
out the final three minutes of the game with a
7-2 run.
"My teammates just kept telling me to shoot
the ball," Cooper said. "Some shots weren't fall-
ing. Some were going over the basket. But I just
used their confidence in me to keep shooting and
trying to make poinits."
The Wolverines forced 12 Indiana second-half
turnovers and outscored them 32-28 in the peri-
od, but Michigan's first-half woes trumped its
strong second-half performance and inevitably
led to its 17th straight loss.
"This is a special group of kids that continue to
fight back," Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett said.
"It showed their integrity today. You are down at
halftime, and it would have been easy with the
season we've had just to throw up their hands and
finish it. But they fought back and that takes an
incredible amount of heart and integrity."
Michigan was also given a spark coming into
the game, with leading scorer Ta'Shia Walker
playing for the first time since Feb. 5 against
Minnesota. Walker - who was out due to throat
surgery - chipped in eight points and three
rebounds. More importantly, she gave the Wol-
verines the strong post player they had been lack-
ing since her departure.

Walker freed up numerous outside shots for
Wolverine guards, but they were unable to capi-
talize. Michigan made just 6-of-23 3-pointers.
With few outside shots falling, the Wolverines
leaned on freshman point guard Jessica Min-
nfield's passing to find baskets, and she tallied
nine of their 11 assists.
On the other hand, Indiana's guards took full
advantage of its offensive possessions. Senior
guards Cyndi Valentin and Jenny DeMuth shred-
ded the Wolverine's defense for 19 and 17 points,
respectively. In addition, DeMuth made seven
free throws, one more than the entire Michigan
team, and Valentin also added eight assists -
just three less than the Michigan assist total.
"We knew going into this game that we def-
initely had to stop their guards," Burnett said.
"Specifically everybody knows Valentin and
DeMuth and the experience that they bring being
seniors, and DeMuth being a fifth-year senior.
We knew we had to contain them."
Unfortunately, the Wolverines didn't con-
tain anybody all year, going winless in the Big
Ten for just the second time since the 1982-83
season, when they played their first full Big
Ten schedule. Michigan's six total wins was an
improvement from last year's five wins, but not
even close to a respectable amount.
"It was a rough year," sophomore captain Kris-
ta Clement said. "But I think that people got a lot
of experience. Going through something like this
it is going to bring people together, and it's really
going to help us build going into next year."

Staffer ramblings
take cheap shots
at sports world
or this week's SportsMonday Column, various
Daily staffers stayed in the Spring Break mood
and got together to come up with a "ramblings"
piece. Please don't be offended, because we really don't
want to have to read the Opinion section if you guys write
angry letters about us.

Why was the Duke/North
Carolina game on every channel
imaginable? It's not like it was the
State of the Union or
anything....
JJ Redick is far
too ugly to have one
camera on him for a
minute, let alone hav-
ing about 50 on him for
half a night....
And we're convinced
that Tyler Hansbrough
is about five years away
from being able to see AN
an R-rated movie. M
Kirby Puckett suf- The Spo
fered a stroke yesterday, C

0 MEWS TRACKI E AND FELD
Men's track takes fourth at Big Tens, again

O
0:

By John Geise
Daily Sports Writer
The race didn't turn out exactly as he had
planned. But with 700 meters left to go in his
1,600-meter race, Mike Woods saw the opening
he had hoped for the whole afternoon.
"Going into the race, (Michigan coach Ron
Warhurst) and I had talked about when I should
go for the lead," Woods said. "We decided I
should do it at the half-mile, but I was kind of
boxed in, and I could not get out. At about 700
meters, I saw the opening I was looking for and
hammered to the front."
The lead Woods took at this critical juncture
would prove to be decisive, and he won the 1,600-
meter in 4:14.26, earning his first career Big Ten
victory. Woods's win was one of the many high-
lights for the Wolverines, who finished fourth at
the Big Ten Indoor Championships in Iowa City
on Saturday, Feb. 25.
One of the other impressive performances
included Justin Switzer's fourth-place finish in
the mile (4:15.29). He led the race for the first
800 meters, but Switzer faltered after Woods
took the lead. The freshman finished a mere 0.02
seconds out of third place.
Switzer and Woods led the distance runners,

and juniors Jeff Porter, Stann Waithe and fresh-
man Adam Harris paced the sprinters.
Porter started out slow in his 60-meter hurdle
race, but rebounded to finish second with a 7.86,
a narrow 0.03 seconds out of first.
Harris and Waithe finished fourth in the 60-
meter and 200-meter sprints, respectively. Harris
achieved a 6.86 in the 60-meter, his second-best
time of the season. Waithe finished in 48.26 to
gain his fifth career top-five finish in Big Ten
competition.
Later, Waithe anchored Michigan's 4x400
relay team as they finished third for the second
year in a row, clocking in at 3:13.35.
"We could have gotten a little bit better here
or there, but you always think that," Warhurst
said. "All in all, it was a tremendous meet. Brad
Miller came up big in the high jump, as did Mike
Wood's win in the 1,600 and second-place finish
in the 3,000."
Miller's high-jump mark was a 6-11, a mere
half inch off his career best. This mark - good
enough for fourth at the meet - was a fitting
send-off for the senior captain in his last indoor
Big Ten meet.
But Miller's career performance was overshad-
owed by the victory of triple-jumper Michael
Whitehead, who earned the first indoor Big Ten

field-event title for Michigan in 12 years with his
mark of 51-3 3/4. He hit that on his first qualify-
ing jump and then sweated it out as the field fin-
ished up. He ended up winning the competition
by three inches.
Rounding out the scoring, freshmen Brendan
Lodge and Sean Pruitt finished sixth and sev-
enth, respectively, in the weight throw.
"It seems like everyone performed really well,"
Woods said. "We never thought we had a chance
to win it this year. We are such a young team that
this year was more about experience. That is why
it's great to see, when you look at the compe-
tition, everyone performed well and gained the
experience they needed. Next year, we should be
one of the favorites to win Big Ten." '
With NCAA Championships coming up next
week and the indoor season all but over, War-
hurst sees the result of this meet as a good build-
ing block for the coming of the more important
outdoor campaign.
"We have the NCAA Championship coming up
with three racers," Warhurst said. "After that, we
will take a few weeks off to look at these results
and prepare for the outdoor season. We have a
few partial-team outdoor meets early, and then,
by the Georgia Tech Invitational (on April 1), we
should be ready to go."

which was shocking
news. Kirby Puckett is still alive?!?
Phil Mickelson handed a fan
$200 after breaking his watch with
an errant approach shot ... looks
like his snack machine budget got
cut in half for the day.
Mike Martz recently gave his
vote of confidence to Joey Har-
rington for the upcoming NFL
season. Maybe he's not a meat and
potatoes guy, either, if you know
what we mean.
Speaking of old guys with bad
tickers, don't go quail hunting with
Dick Cheney.
Actually, if your name is Stuart
Scott, go ahead and go hunting
with the guy. It will be best for all
involved.
Has anyone heard the hot new
"Measly Penny" single? You know
it has to be pretty bad when its lyr-
ics make Brent Petway look like a
musical genius.
Vince Young managed to score
just a 6 on the Wonderlic test. What
does that say about Jim Herrmann?
Did you know Jerome Bettis is
from Detroit?
Does anyone want to buy an

NCAA Tournament ticket? Some
staffers got a little excited and
bought a ticket early, forgetting who
Michigan's coach was.
Which reminds us ...
Tommy Amaker might
be the answer, after
all. But the question
would have to be "who
isn't the right coach for
Michigan?"
Does the softball
team understand the
season started yet?
N Y. And while we're on
US the subject of under-
s11loncaki achieving teams at
Michigan, someone
needs to wake Red
Berenson up at his nursing home
and let him know they might want
to start winning now ... I guess he
was taking notes during Ronald
Reagan's presidency.
The women's basketball team
is almost as bad as the Knicks.
Luckily, the Wolverines don't
have a first-round pick to trade
away.
Excited about the World Base-
ball Classic? You must not live in
America.
For those of you who enjoyed
watching curling during the Winter
Olympics, we have good news for
you. The Summer Olympics just
announced a new sport - watching
grass grow.
Michelle Kwan, at least Bode
Miller has an excuse for not win-
ning gold medals, you quitter.
Do you think JJ Redick ever
slips dirty messages to Adam Mor-
rison when they're playing Halo 2
together during the wee hours of
the night?
And Maize Rage, we'll save you
the trouble, every loss for the rest of
the year was the referees' fault.

NIXERI '1

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