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January 31, 2007 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-31

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8A - Wednesday, January 31, 2007

PS The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
CerBASKbtLL
Cag ers come back to Cris er

Senior Lindsey Bruck's season-ending injury has opened the door for her teammates.
Opportunistic
duo key for 'M'

By DANIEL BROMWICH
Daily Sports Editor
There's probably not much the players on
the Michigan men's basketball team and a pig-
tailed girl in a blue- and
white-checkered dress
from Kansas have in com- Iowa at
mon. Michigan
But for the Wolverines, Matchup:
Dorothy's words never Iowa 11-10;
rang truer. Michigan 16-61
After a two-game road When: Tonight
trip that featured Mich- 8:00 P.M.
igan's first back-to-back Where: Crisler
losses of the season, the Arena
Wolverines return home TV/Radio:
to Crisler Arena tonight. ESPN Plus
They welcome Iowa to
town in hopes to re-route their season toward
the NCAA Tournament after the detour it
took in Madison and Bloomington last week.
Michigan's record stood at 16-4 entering
the road trip, but it lacked the sort of marquee
victory that the NCAA Selection Committee
looks at when deciding who to invite. Even
though both games offered opportunities to
capture such a win, the Wolverines came up
short on each occasion and returned home

were missed opportunities for his team and
expressed Michigan's need to "right the ship"
against the Hawkeyes.
Usually a contender in the conference, Iowa
has struggled this year after winning the
Big Ten Tournament last season. It lost four
seniors, including key scorers Jeff Horner and
Greg Brunner. Largely due to the loss of expe-
rience, the Hawkeyes have already suffered
four conference losses and 10 overall. But
Iowa still boasts the Big Ten's leading scorer
in senior Adam Haluska.
The 6-foot-5 senior guard averages 20
points per game and is second in the confer-
ence in free-throw percentage (85 percent).
But what impresses Amaker about Haluska
isn't just his statistics.
"(Haluska's) a tough matchup," Amaker
said. "His stamina, his durability, he can run
all day. He can move really well without the
ball. He wears you down and causes you to
play the possession all the way through and be
disciplined and alert. So we're going to have
our hands full trying to guard him."
The task of stopping Haluska will most
likely fall upon senior Dion Harris, Michi-
gan's most capable one-on-one defender. Har-
ris has traditionally played very well against
tough individual competition, and he hopes to

rather than looking for his own. His offensive
game suffered, as he finished 3-of-9 forjust 12
points.
"I just had to do more with the ball," Harris
said. "I wasn't able to get freed up and run the
wing at all on Saturday. It just makes it harder
when you have to be the point guard- for the
whole time and create shots for everybody
else and for myself It's always hard, and hav-
ing Jerret on Saturday would have changed
that a lot."
When asked what the difference was
between the Indiana and Purdue game, when
Harris led the team with 21 points on 6-of-
10 shooting, the senior again pointed to his
teammate.
"Obviously, Jerret was out there, and he did
a lot for us," Harris said. "Like I said, having
Jerret out there to be point guard helps me a
lot."
Smith's availability against Iowa is still in
question. He practiced lightly on Monday, but
didn't participate in any contact drills. The
team won't know until gametime if Smith will
play.
Regardless of whether Michigan has its
full roster available, the Wolverines must be
happy to return to Ann Arbor, where they are
14-1 this year and 30-4 over the past two sea-

By ALEX PROSPERI
Daily Sports Writer
When senior captain Lindsey
Bruck went down with a season-
ending Achilles injury during the
season opener at West Virginia Jan.
12, the Michigan women's gymnas-
tics team's chances for another suc-
cessful season may have gone down
with her.
Bruck, on of three Michigan gym-
nasts who compete in every event, is
a two-time All-American and the
defending individual all-around and
balance beam Big Ten Champion.
More important, she's the team
leader.
"It's a tough pill to swallow,"
Michigan coach Bev Plocki said.
In addition to Bruck, freshman
all-around competitor Jordan Sex-
ton also suffered a season-ending
injury. Add on injuries to senior
Carol McNamara and freshman
Kelsey Knutson, and the Wolver-
ines have has been competing short
handed through the first two meets.
"Losing two athletes in the all-
around is devastating when you con-
sider how small our team isto begin
with," Plocki said. "In terms of our
depth, when you take someone from
the top and replace her with some-
one from the bottom, it's hard."
Just two other Wolverines have
participated in the all-around this
season - freshman Sarah Curtis
and junior Nellie Kippley.
But Plocki's team has won seven
of the last eight Big Ten titles, and
Michigan isn't about to give up on
its chance to make that eight out of
nine.
Cue sophomores Huneth Lor and
Becky Bernard.
Two weekends ago against
Southern Utah, Lor was asked to do
something she had never done at the
collegiate level: compete in the all-
around, which consists of all four
events. That weekend, Lor also did
something she had never done on
the college level: win an individual
title.
"It was pretty exciting," Lor said.
"I'm not a very powerful gymnast,
so to win vault is different for me."
Lor didn't just win, she was the
anchor. And by being the last to
perform, she faced more pressure

because the team's success fell on
her shoulders.
After a Wolverine fell early on,
everyone else had to hit, which they
did.
"I was nervous at first, but I just
focused on what I needed to do and
just went hard," Lor said.'
Lor didn't just go hard - she
wowed everyone at Crisler Arena.
For the first time in her college
career, she performed a Yurchenko
layout full.
And she hit it.
Lor received a 9.8 and a first-place
finish.
But what's more promising for
Michigan is Lor's performance in
the all-around. She finished the eve-
ning in second place.
Lor's success isn't the only reason
the Wolverines are breathing a sigh
of relief. Bernard stepped up in a big
way, too.
"When Bruck and Sexton went
down, that was eight routines right
there that we had to fill by the next
week," Bernard said. "People had to
step up in a short period of time."
Bernard won the uneven bars
title at West Virginia, but her per-
formance against Southern Utah
proved she was ready to take on a
new role.
Bernard captured three indi-
vidual titles. She won the uneven
bars and set career bests in the floor
exercise and balance beam.
The performances by both soph-
omores were stellar, but they didn't
surprise Plocki.
"On one hand, it's great, but on
the other hand, it's what we expect,"
Plocki said. "They're both sopho-
mores. We expect more than last
year. It's nice, though, that they
are coming through, that they have
risen the bar for themselves and
that they are performing more up to
their capabilities."
Even though the team will have
to fight through adversity the rest
of the season, Plocki remains opti-
mistic.
"These kids are hardworking,"
Plocki said. "Everyone just needs to
be committed and needs to put 100
percent into continuing to improve.
Hard work in the gym results in
more improvements on the compe-
tition floor."

empty-handed. rise to the occasion yet again tonight. sons.
But Michigan coach Tommy Amaker is dis- In addition to trying to stop Iowa's star, But even though there truly has been "no
appointed that people appear focused on his Harris will also have to look to get his own place like home" for Michigan, it knows that
Wolverines as the only team that needs such offensive game started, something he strug- nothing is guaranteed, even at Crisler Arena.
a victory. gled with against Indiana. "We can't think that just because we're
"It seems like we have that arrow pointed With sophomore point guard Jerret Smith at home, we're going to win the basketball
at us in that regard, which is perplexing to me held out against the Hoosiers because of a game," senior captain Lester Abram said. "It's
in a lot of ways," Amaker said. "I think every- mild concussion, Harris had to assume ball- obvious we have to have this win. ... coming
body is in the same boat we're in. I don't see handling duties. This removed him from his off two losses. We just want to feel good about
any difference." preferred two-guard spot, and he concen- winning a basketball game again, so this is a
Amaker acknowledged the two road losses trated on setting his teammates up for shots must-win for us."
'C'-less Cook still leads team

By NATE SANDALS
Daily Sports Writer
When he hits the ice, there's just
one letter on Tim Cook's chest: A
block'M'.
True, the senior is considered
one of the Michigan hockey team's
leaders, but Cook wasn't awarded
the captain's'C' orthe alternate cap-
tain's 'A' by the coaching staff going
into this season.
But not being an official captain
may be just the perfect thing for
Cook. This way, Cook can focus
entirely on what really matters: the
team.
"I want to win," Cook said. "This
is my last year. If I played every game
and we were a .500 team, I'd be a lot
more upset than if I never played
and we won the National Champi-
onship."
Cook's attitude is impressive con-
sidering the transitions he's had to
make this season.
With a wealth of defensive tal-
ent, including incoming freshman
Steve Kampfer and Chris Summers,

Michigan didn't have enough defen-
sive spots for Cook.
After missing just one game last
year, Cook was the odd defenseman
out for five games in the first half of
this season.
Even though Kampfer took
Cook's spot in the defensive rota-
tion, the senior didn't stop offering
support to his new teammate.
"(Cook) has beenlike a role model
here," Kampfer said. "He's teaching
me the little things on and off the
ice." '
AsKampfercontinuedtoimprove,
it looked like Cook would have to
spend even more time watching
from the stands.
Then Michigan coach Red Beren-
son offered Cook a chance to get
some ice time by moving to forward.
Since receiving the opportunity, the
Montclair, N.J., native has run with
it.
"I shouldn't say he's surprised
us, but he's impressed us with his
enthusiasm and his transition to the
position," Berenson said.
From the outset, Cook has worked

tirelessly to learn the intricacies It's easy to see why Cook is such a
of his new role. With his defensive positive example for his teammates.
experience, he immediately became He has shown flexibility and per-
one ofthe Wolverines'best defensive severance while moving back and
forwards. But he has also put a lot of forth between defense and forward.
effort into learning the art of fore- Cook is always conversing with
checking and offensive breakouts. coaches and teammates during
"Smarts and intelligence on the practice and games, trying to learn
ice is what he's picked up most," one more aspect of the game or dis-
said sophomore Danny Fardig, who perse one more piece of advice.
plays alongside Cook on Michigan's Butevenwithhisgreatleadership,
fourth line. "Cookie likes his role, it's easy to wonder why he doesn't
and that's the best thing about it. have the officialrole of captain.
We battle, we grind and that's our It would've been easy for Cook
whole game." to be bitter about not being named
Even though he doesn't often a captain. But the senior knows he
show up on the stat sheet - Cook has doesn't need a title to make a differ-
just four assists this season - every ence.
Wolverine alludes to the intangibles "The three captains are unbeliev-
Cook brings to the team. able leaders," Cook said. "And if you
Teammates look to Cook for lead- need a letter, or someone to tell you
ership, motivation, enthusiasm and to be a leader, then you're not a real
desire. leader. A real leader steps up no mat-
"He's a vocal guy," said senior ter what."
alternate captain Jason Dest, who with that attitude, Cook has
has known Cook since they were 17 proven he doesn't need anything
and playing juniors in Omaha, Neb. extraon his jersey to fillhis role.
"Everybody on the team looks up to "I consider him a fourth captain,"
him, even the seniors." Kampfer said.

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