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December 07, 2006 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-12-07

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The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Thursday, December 7, 2006 - 5A

Undone by RedHawk
shooting, Blue falls to
6-4 on the year

By CHRIS HERRING
Daily Sports Writer
OXFORD - Coming off arguably its biggest win
of the season, the Michigan women's basketball team
returned to the courtbetter than ever.
Well, in some ways it did.
Despite season highs in MICHIGAN 74
shooting percentage and assists, MIAMI (OH) 84
and a season low in turnovers,
the Wolverines couldn't escape Oxford with the most
important statistic. Miami (Ohio) outplayed Michi-
gan in nearly every category last night and took an
84-74 win in the process.
The RedHawks (5-4), who shot a blistering 64
percent from the field in the first half, always had an
answer for the Wolverines (6-4).
And most of the time, those answers came from the
3-point stripe.
Miami used 11-of-25 shooting from behind the arc
to halt Michigan's momentum on numerous occa-
sions.
"It's deflating," Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett
said of Miami's hot shooting. "We were really trying
to muster some enthusiasm and some excitement, and
I didn't feel like we were generating that."
The Wolverines struggled to produce when they
needed to most. The Red Hawks held Michigan score-
less for the game's final 2:14 and went on a 9-0 run to
finish the contest.
"I didn't think we executed well (in the final two
minutes)," Burnett said. "I didn't think our shot selec-
tion was very good at that point."
Looking just at the statistics, Michigan played one
of its better games of the year. The Wolverines shot
51 percent from the field and tallied 16 assists, while
turning it over just 17 times.
But that wasn't good enough. Miami outplayed
the team in each area. The RedHawks shot 52 per-
cent, tallied 19 assists and had one less turnover (16).
Miami also held the rebounding edge by one, 32-31.
Center Krista Phillips did her best to-keep Michi-
gan in the game. The freshman tallied a career-high
21 points and grabbed eight boards.

But just as Miami (barely) outperformed Michigan
as a team, the RedHawks' top scorer bested Phillips
as well. Miami's Jaclyn Leininger's had 22 points and
11 boards to top the stats of the Michigan center.
Leading 40-35 at halftime, Miami didn't let up in
the second period. The RedHawks scored on their
first three possessions to jump out to an 8-2 run to
open the half.
Phillips, who finished 8-of-11 from the field, was
a constant inside force. She scored six consecutive
points during one stretch to bring the team within
two, 50-48.
Butthat didn't matter to Phillips.
"With my game tonight, none (of the statistics)
make a difference when we lose," Phillips said.
Without her, Michigan would have been in even
more trouble. The RedHawks shot well from the out-
side, but Miami coach Maria Fantanarosa said Phil-
lips's height is what forced her team to shoot from the
perimeter.
"(Phillips) could just hang out in (the paint), and
we weren't sure what we were going to do," Fanta-
narosa said.
But in the end, Miami seemed to know exactly
what to do.
The Wolverines actually took a 68-67 lead at one
point. But the RedHawks went back to their bread
and butter, connecting on a 3-pointer to take a 70-68
advantage that Miami would never give up.
Michigan shot well, but it didn't look as good on
defense. When asked if there is anything a team can
do to cool off a hot-shooting squad-like Miami, junior
co-captain Janelle Cooper replied quickly.
"Play better defense," said Cooper, who scored 17
points. "We have to pressure the ball and try to get
(the opposition) out of the things they like to do."
Burnett said she wasn't surprised by her team's
performance after a good weekend. The Wolverines
barely lost to Notre Dame on Friday and beat Miami
(Fla.) on Sunday.
"I kind of saw this coming," Burnett said. "We did
take a day off, and we -did only have one day to pre-
pare. But there's no excuses. You still have to go out
and play the game."

RODRIGO GAYA/Daily
Freshman Krista Phillips led the Wolverines with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting and eight boards, but it wasn't enough as
Michigan fell to Miami (Ohio) last night.
co-m--es close, u
can't finish the job

Hockey team gets its
kicks in pregame ritual

By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
OXFORD - The Michigan
women's basketball team held a
lead for all of 95 seconds against
Miami (Ohio) last night.
But that doesn't mean it was a
one-sided affair.
Michigan cut the RedHawks'
lead to one on five separate occa-
sions. But that just seemed to
anger Miami. The RedHawks
responded to the first three one-
point Wolverine deficits with
runs of 7-1, 10-4 and 12-2.
The final two chances Michi-
gan saw were squashed with 3-0
and 5-2 stretches from the Red-
Hawks.
Miami coach Maria Fantan-
arosa credited her team's leaders
with not allowing the RedHawks
to get down when the Wolverines
made a run to cut the lead.
"It was like they never knew
that Michigan even had the
momentum," Fantanarosa said.
GROWING PAINS: Sophomore
point guard Jessica Minnfield

picked up her second foul on a
charge as she tried to pass the
ball to sophomore forward Ash-
ley Jones with 2.7 seconds left in
the first half. J
Michigan coach Cheryl Bur-
nett brought freshman point
guard Sireece Bass in to ensure
Minnfield didn't pick up another
foul in the final seconds of the
quarter.
On the ensuing RedHawk pos-
session, Bass let the player she
was supposed to be defending,
Jenna Schone, get behind her.
Schone took the inbounds pass
and raced up past half court and
threw up a desperation shot.
Even though Schone missed
her shot, Burnett was not happy.
She screamed, "Sireece, come
here!" and called her point guard
over to her. Burnett appeared
to chew out Bass while the rest
of the team went to the locker
room.
Bass did not return to the game
until there were just 18 seconds
remaining in the contest.
In Michigan's last game (a win

over Miami (Fla.) on Sunday),
Bass did not play. That contest
followed a loss to Notre Dame, in
which Bass missed critical free
throws down the stretch.
MOVE OVER ACC, MIAMI
WANTS A CHALLENGE: The Red-
Hawks beat Michigan in the
first of three games during what
Miami has dubbed "Beat ,Big
Ten Week." The Michigan men's
basketball team will play at Mil-
lett Hall tomorrow, and the Red-
Hawks match up with Ohio State
in hockey on Saturday.
In addition to a chance to beat
two Big Ten squads, Miami stu-
dents also had the opportunity to
smash Ohio State - and Michi-
gan - themed cars.
As ambitious as "Beat Big Ten
Week" sounded for a Mid-Ameri-
can Conference school, last
night's win proved it's not a total
farce.
"We believe that we could beat
teams from bigger conferences,
even though they might be more
athletic and they might be taller,"
Schone said.

By IAN ROBINSON
DailySports Writer
Before the season, the NCAA
modified its rules to allow players
to direct, but not kick, the puck
into the net with their skates.
Maybe the Michigan hockey
team's new pregame ritual is to
prepare for this exact situation.
Prior to each contest, a group of
about six players stands in warm-
ups and forms a circle next to the
rink. They proceed to kick a soccer
ball, a la pepper in baseball.
But adjusting to the rule change
might be a secondary benefit of the
new routine. The Wolverines' pri-
mary motivation is to stay loose
before games.
"It's just fun to get the warm-up
in and get the blood going," fresh-
man Chris Summers said.
The Ann Arbor native did the
same drill as a member of the Unit-
ed States National Team Develop-
ment Program under-18 squad in
front of the Ann Arbor Ice Cube
last year. Summers brought a soc-
cer ball to the rink and introduced
the ritual to the Wolverines at the
beginning of the season.
At first, just Summers and senior
captain Matt Hunwick partook in
the routine. But, as the season has
progressed, it's grown to a compa-
nyof five or six players.
"We like to think we are soc-
cer superstars, but we're not even
close," Summers said.
Defenseman Mark Mitera had
never played soccer before Sum-
mers started the circle. He claims
to have developed some skills
just from kicking the ball before

games.
Of course, soccer's not for every-
body. Defenseman Steve Kampfer
is realistic about his chances of
succeeding on the pitch - or even
in the pregame circle.
"I'm pretty bad at soccer - I
can't even keep the ball up twice,"
Kampfer said. "If I go in, I just
headbutt the ball once and every-
body tells me to leave."
Junior ChadKolarik,sophomore
Travis Turnbull and alternate cap-
tain Jason Dest are some of the
other players who join the circle.
Even though Summers has some
ball-handling skills, he might want
to hold off on his soccer dreams for
now.
Right now, Michigan coach Red
Berenson badly needs Summers on
his blue line, a corps that is missing
Dest (out a month with a dislocated
shoulder) and might be without
sophomore Jack Johnson for this
weekend's games.
In Saturday's win over Western
Michigan, Summers displayed the
need for healthy bodies on defense,
returning to the ice even after a hit
numbed his arm.
"We got lucky," Berenson said.
"It could've been three (defense-
man out) and that might have been
too much."
Summers is one of two fresh-
men, along with forward Brian
Lebler, who have appeared in all 17
games so far this year.
The injuries to the rest of the
defense could prove to be an oppor-
tunity forthe younger defensemen.
Summersviews this as a chance for
him and Kampfer to step up.
"It's not like I have to fill any-

body's shoes, just keep playing the
way I've been playing," Summers
said.
His game features plenty of
speed, whether it's on or off the
ice.
On the ice, he uses his speed to
prevent opponents from taking
clean shots on goal. Off the ice, he
pedals around campus on his bike.
Considering the health status
of the defense, Michigan fans
should certainly hope that he
wears a helmet.

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