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November 13, 2006 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-13

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, November 13, 2006 - 3B

T ' 1 aT T-T. 7

0

iBench gives Wolverines Not'very nice':
energy, lifts team to big win Harriers miss
By DAN FELDMAN Led in the first half by Walker's And while senior Kelly Helvey forward, and that forward, Ciara N C A A s again
Daily Sports Writer 11 points and Philips's seven points and sophomore Ashley Jones didn't Shields, didn't even crack the six-
-- - and five rebounds Michi an's se- rally lank fo thai sht (H. l f t kt D1 ianr hb; i ll

I

The first four-and-a-half minutes
of the Michigan's women's basket-
ball team's season opener against
Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday were
about as ugly as it gets.
The two teams combined for 11
missed shots, eight turnovers and
eight fouls before a media timeout
at 15:26.
And that's when the Wolverines
turned to their bench on the way to
a 80-50 win against the Lady Lions.
Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett
brought in five reserves - juniors
Krista Clement and Ta'Shia Walk-
er, sophomore Melinda Queen and
freshmen Sireece Bass and Krista
Philips - to replace the starters.
Walker hit a baseline jumper and
then a 3-pointer from the top of the
key on the Wolverines' next two
shots to give Michigan's offense
some life.

UU1V CVIU, l1:1gal:Sc
ond unit scored 30 first-half points
and orchestrated a 41-20 lead at
halftime.
"All of our players can be starters
any given day," sophomore Ashley
Jones said. "So when you come off
the bench, we just want you to bring
more energy to the game, and that's
what our bench did for us today."
Michigan's win halts a 17-game
losing streak that dated back to
December of last year and gives the
Wolverines (1-0) their first winning
record in almost two years.
Junior Janelle Cooper prevented
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-1) from get-
ting back into the game in the sec-
ond half. After missing all three of
her first-half 3-point attempts, she
stayed with her shot and went 3-of-
6 from beyond the arc in the second
half. She finished with a team-high
18 points.

rely oox or eir snot sieivey
scored five points; Jones went score-
less), the duo provided hustle plays
that were key to victory. Jones set
the rebounding tone for the team,
grabbing eight while adding a steal
and a block. Helvey had five steals
and also brought in five rebounds.
"Little things can give us energy
- a loose ball, a rebound, a blocked
shot, stuff like that," Jones said.
"That's all we needed - a little bit of
energy and (to) feed off it."
While Michigan's bench gave the
team an insurmountable lead, the
Arkansas-Pine Bluff couldn't rely
on that luxury. Due to injuries, they
dressed just eight players.
The shorthanded Lady Lions
were also undersized. They ran
into, literally and figuratively, a
bigger and stronger Michigan
team. Arkansas-Pine Bluff started
the game with four guards and a

roor mar. .uespite their sma er
size, the Lady Lions stuck with
their normal gameplan: attacking
the basket. Their guards penetrat-
ed fairly well, but the team was just
6-for-26 inside the paint.
"It was pressure from them,"
Arkansas-Pine Bluff coach Danny
Evans said. "I guess (we) thought
(the Wolverines) were bigger. I
don't know. Hey, you miss a layup,
you miss a layup. ... We had a lot of
opportunities that we should've
capitalized on and we didn't."
A point of emphasis for Michi-
gan, who will host Ball State tonight
at 7 p.m., will be to cut down on
turnovers. It had 23 on Saturday.
Burnett said that early-season turn-
overs don't worry her too much if
the team is making the correct pass,
but she is unhappy with the amount
of unforced turnovers the Wolver-
ines committed.

Edwards crowned, women get NCAA bid

By ANTHONY OLIVEIRA
Daily Sports Writer
BOWLING GREEN - In sports, an individual
victory is usually overshadowed by ateam loss.
Takinga dissatisfying third place at the NCAA
Great Lakes Regional meet, No. 3 Michigan's
one shining moment at the podium came from
an unlikely source, redshirt sophomore Nicole
Edwards, who captured her first-ever individual
cross country title on Saturday at Bowling Green
Edwards, whose Wolverines received an at-
large bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday
night, never considered herself a contender. But
running with the lead pack, she noticed the very
controlled pace. Halfway through the race, the
pace no longer felt fast. Edwards knew then she
had a chance.
"Farther and farther into the race, around
the 4K or 5K, I was like 'Someone's going to put
the hammer down,' but no one put the hammer
down," Edwards said. "So, I just stayed with the
front pack and with about 600 (meters) to go, I
thought 'I feel great, I'm not even tired. I guess
I'll put the hammer down.' "
And she nailed it with a personal-best time of
20:50.91. Separating from the pack in the final
meters, Edwards was the only competitor to fin-
ish under 21 minutes.
"Nicole is incredibly talented, and she works
really hard," senior captain Arianne Field

said. "Being a mile and 800-meter runner, for
(Nicole) to come out and do so well in cross, it's
really a product of the effort she puts in. She's
really competitive, she races really hard and she
has a very competitive personality. She just gets
it done."
Unfortunately, Michigan's top duo couldn't get
it done at Bowling Green. After finishing 1-2 at
the Big Ten Championships, redshirt junior Erin
Webster and junior Alyson Kohlmeier closed the
race with their weakest performances of the sea-
son.
Saturday proved to be Webster's worst since
Nov. 21, 2005. For the first time this season, she
didn't place in the top 10 (15th) and she recorded
a 6,000-meter time of more than 21 minutes. The
weekend wasn't any better for Alyson Kohlmei-
er, who finished in 63rd place. Kohlmeier's time
entered unfamiliar territory as well, surpassing
the 22-minute mark.
"(Webster and Kohlmeier) were a little bit off
form today, and we got to get them straightened
out," Michigan coach Mike McGuire said. "Hope-
fully, we can get it corrected with Aly and E Web.
If we can, we'll be OK. If we don't, we're going to
struggle to get a trophy (at Nationals)."
Making matters worse, redshirt sophomore
Claire Otwell had a dose of bad luck. Running in
the lead pack, she fell down, sending her back to
27th place. If not for the fall, the Wolverines may
have had multiple top-10 finishers for the fourth

year in a row.
Michigan's inability to finish first or second
at the NCAA Regionals ends a streak that dates
back to the 2001 season. It's also the first time
since 2003 each scoring individual was not an
All-Regional runner. Just Edwards, Webster and
Field took honors.
"It's better to have this as your off-day as
opposed to Nationals," Otwell said. "It wasn't
as important of a meet, but we qualified for
Nationals. Hopefully we won't have an off-day at
Nationals."
The off-day marks the second disappointing
meet of the season. The last one was at NCAA
Pre-Nationals, when Michigan tied for second
with No. 5 Wisconsin. In Saturday's meet, the
Badgers grabbed sole possession of second by 23
points. The Big Ten continued to impress, as No.
11 Michigan State won the meet with 66 points.
Knowing the strength of the Big Ten and the
rest of the field, the Wolverines will look to refo-
cus themselves before next Monday's season
finale.
"There isn't anything magical," McGuire said.
"Just circlingthe wagons and getting things col-
lected. A couple of workouts between now and
next Monday and we'll see what happens with
it."
Hopefully, it won't be another off-day for the
Wolverines. Because in sports, three strikes and
you're out.

By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
Daily Sports Writer
BOWLING GREEN - Sur-
rounding the collapsed blue tent
and strewn backpacks, the Michi-
gan men's cross country team
stood in an awkward state of
shock, separated from the masses
of mud-splattered runners and
picture-happy families awaiting
the official results.
Neither the rarely silenced
coach Ron Warhurst nor the
downtrodden Wolverines knew
how to describe the performance
that all but eliminated their hopes
of qualifying for the NCAA Cham-
pionships.
In fact, there's only one way
to explain the team's weekend at
the Great Lakes Regional - by
describing what it was not: "very
nice."
Warhurst's trademark phrase
- embroidered on the back of
the runners' jerseys and on War-
hurst's pants - was anything but
true, with the team putting up a
surprisingly poor seventh-place
performance. Only sophomore
John Black (31:45.27) finished in
the top 20, placing 19th.
"Black was the best and every-
body else just did not run, didn't
show up," Warhurst said. "That's
all I got to say. We're not going to
the Nationals.... I don'tknow. Ijust
have no clue. We've been doing the
same taper for 10, 12 years. I have
no idea. They obviously didn't feel
good or else they would've run
better. You just got to show up and
beat the people you're supposed to
beat and we didn't do it."
With just the top two teams
(Wisconsin and Notre Dame,
for the third straight year) gain-
ing automatic bids to the NCAA
Championships, the Wolverines'
performance ended their season
prematurely after No. 11 Michi-
gan's strong second-place finish
at the Big Ten championships just
a week ago. Black said the team's
preparation duringthe week went
as usual and that nothing in prac-
tice indicated that a letdown was
on the horizon.
But their disappointing finish
may have been partially caused

by the weather. The poncho-clad
fans lined a battered and messy
golf course, with the men running
after the women ripped up the flat
terrain in the day's first race.
While the strong winds and
intermittent drizzling certainly
slowed down the clumped pack
of runners over the 10,000-meter
course, the Wolverines were ada-
mant thatthe weather was notthe
cause of their poor performance.
"I felt we were pretty pre-
pared," Black said. "We had seen
the course; we knew where it
would be muddy. I don't think the
weather was that much of a prob-
lem. Everyone had to deal with it,
just we had an off day."
Junior co-captain Mike Woods
(31:54.27), who earned All-Big
Ten second-team honors this
year despite suffering an injury
earlier in the season, was one of
the Wolverines who didn't run
well Saturday, finishing 26th.
Last year, Woods led the team
with a fourth-place finish at the
Regional, clocking a time more
than 40 seconds faster than this
year's showing.
Sophomore Lex Williams
(32:19.36), who earned All-Big Ten
first team honors this year and
has led Michigan in every scoring
event this season, was the third
Wolverine to cross the finish line,
finishing a startling 44th.
With both Woods and Williams
looking flat - despite running
together in the top six early in
the race - Michigan's lofty goals
proved out of reach. At the begin-
ning of the season, the team felt
the key difference between it and
perennial Big Ten champion Wis-
consin was training, so Warhurst
had the Wolverines run 100, and
sometimes more, miles per week.
The team tapered off their mile-
age in the same fashion it has for
the past decade, making sure the
extra mileage would not cost the
runners as the season took its toll.
Unfortunately for Michigan, all of
this special preparation was for
naught.
"I mean, they put so much hard
work in for the past six months and
now it's just over and done, period,"
Warhurst said. "That's it."

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