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January 12, 2007 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-12

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8 - Friday,January 12, 2007
Against Purdue, Cagers
begin critical stretch
By MARK GIANNOTTO
Daily Sports Writer
In the last week and a half
alone, the Big Ten has separated
itself into three distinct catego-
ries.
There are
the good Michigan at
teams: Wis- Purdue
consin and Matchup:
Ohio State. Michigan 14-3-
There are 0; Purduel12-5-0
the bad teams: When: Saturday
Northwestern 8 P.M.
and Minne- Where: Mackey
sota. Arena
And then TV/Radio:
there are the ESPN Plus
rest.
They've shown flashes of some-
thing special, but no one really
knows what to make of them.
Tomorrow, Michigan will have
an opportunity to distance itself
from the pack when it travels to
West Lafayette to face Purdue.
The Wolverines (2-0 Big Ten,
14-3 overall) have a chance to
begin the Big Ten season 3-0 for
the second time in three years.
Thegame alsobegins an impor-
tant three-game stretch for the
Wolverines. Tomorrow's contest
is followed by two home games,
one with Penn State, the other a'
second matchop with Purdue. Senior Lester Abram is the only player on Michigan that has won at Purdue. nt
In the past, Mackey Arena han 2002-03 season, he scored 13 points in the 78-67 win in West Lafayette. He go
not been welcoming to the Maize into the weekend's game averaging 9.3 points per game.
and Blue. The Wolverines have
not won at Purdue since 2002- Teague lead the Boilermakers, coming up next Wednesday, Pi
03. and are making the most out of due is in dire need of win No.
Last season, Michigan's NCAA their final seasons. Landry is a at home.
Tournament chances took a huge leading contender for Big Ten "I think we've all seen tI
blow when the Wolverines lost Player of the Year, quietly averag- Purdue is going to be in the th:
to the Boilermakers, 84-70. In ing more than 19 points and just of things when it's all said a
that game, guards Dion Har- under seven rebounds per game. done in our conference," Mic
ris and Jerret Smith, along with The Boilermakers (1-2, 12-5) gan coach Tommy Amaker sa
wing Lester Abram, did not play are headed in the opposite direc- "We're hoping to be there oi
because of various injuries. tion. After starting the season selves, and certainly we rec
Abram is also the lone player 10-2, including resume-building nize that it is going to be a t
on Michigan's roster who has wins over Oklahoma and Virgin- challenge."
won at Purdue (a 78-67 victory ia, Purdue has been sliding, losing Just as the Boilermakers mi
over the 24th-ranked Boilermak- three of its last five games. win to keep themselves in the]
ers on Feb. 19, 2003). The recent losing trend Ten picture, Michigan realiz
"It's a different type of gym includes defeats to Indiana State the impact a big road win won
and different type of scene down and Minnesota, as well as a 27- have on its place in the conf
there," Harris said. "We know it's point drubbing at the hands of ence standings.
going to be a tough game because Indiana Wednesday night. "I think if we can go do'
they are a tough team." But all of those games were there on Saturday and get t
Purdue's experience only on the road. The Boilermakers win, it will open up a lot of thin
makes it tougher. still have a perfect10-0 record in for us," Harris said. "I think1
Coming off last year's injury- the friendly confines of Mackey can really get some separation
marred campaigns, fifth-year Arena. we are able to handle our bu
seniors Carl Landry and David With its own trip to Madison ness."

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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The women's basketball team blew a six-point lead with four minutes to go and dropped the game 62-59 to Wisconsin. Sopho-
more Jessica Minnfield scored 12 points last night.
Subs keep. Blue in it,
lnbut late lead slips

the
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'ur-
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ick
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Bur-
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rust
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By ANDY REID
Daily Sports Writer
Fresh off snapping its 28-game
Big Ten losing streak, the Michigan
women's basketball team looked
poised to win
another after WISCONSIN 62
junior Ta'Shia MICHIGAN 59
Walker sunk
an easy lay-up to put the Wolver-
ines up by six.
Unfortunately for Michigan,
there were still four minutes left on
the clock.
Shooting a dismal 25 percent in
the second half, Wisconsin some-
how stormed back in the game's
waning minutes, eking out a 62-59
win in Crisler Arena last night.
But the Wolverines had to fight
just to have a chance.
After a 15-0 Badger run in the
middle of the first half, it looked
like the sparse Michigan fanbase
was going to witness another Big
Ten blowout.
Down 25-12 midway through
the first half, the Wolverines were
faced with a tough challenge. The
Michigan defense had looked con-
fused during Wisconsin's run, but
it soon tightened up. The Wolver-
ines didn't allow a single field goal
in the next eight minutes.
"We fought back, didn't we?"
Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett
said emphatically when asked
about the strong end to the half. "I
really thought we were getting a
lot of good hustle plays during that

stretch."
a The Wolverines dove after loose
balls, boxed out and played aggres-
sively, and they slowly but surely
clawed back into the game.
By the end of the half, Michigan
was down just six points.
Showing more aggression than
before, freshman Krista Phillips
was the key to the Wolverines'
gutsy comeback. Her presence both
on the inside and outside gave Wis-
consin troubles on both sides of the
court.
Phillips, who went stronger to
the basket than usual, shot 5-for-8
from the field. She even displayed
some range, hitting her second 3-
pointer of the season.
Even though Phillips made a
large impact, early foul trouble
forced Burnett to sit the freshman
for most of the second half before
she fouled out with just under two
minutes left in the game.
"It didn'tevencome downto that
fifth foul," Phillips said. "It came
down to the ones early in the game,
where I just made stupid decisions.
That fifth one, it didn't really have
much effect. It was the ones that I
had early in the game that I really
paid for."
Without Phillips, Michigan
struggled to find a strong post pres-
ence, especially on the offensive
side of the court. The offense, how-
ever, didn't miss a beat. The Wol-
verines found other ways to score,
including aggressive drives to the
basket and solid perimeter shoot-

ing.
Michigan's offense continued to
play well in Phillips's absence, and
the Wolverine defense put Michi-
gan in a position to complete the
comeback in the second half.
The Badgers had season lows
in field goals attempted and made,
allowing the Wolverines to build
a six-point lead late in the second
half.
But it wasn't Michigan taking
free throws at the end of the game,
attempting to fend off a Wisconsin
comeback. The Badgers (2-2 Big',
Ten, 13-4 overall) took on the role
of the aggressor, drawing a myriad
of fouls down the stretch, and they
had no problem hitting the freebies
under pressure.
"We had a six-point lead for a
while but we just fell apart mental-
ly and made crucial mistakes," said
freshman Kalyn McPherson, who
made her second start.
With time running out, Michi-
gan (1-4, 8-10) lost its rhythm on
offense. Less than two seconds left
remained when senior Kelly Helvey
threw an inbounds pass into the
belly of a Wisconsin player, ending
the night.
"I think that the struggle in
the last possessions was that we'd
become a little tentative offensive-
ly," Burnett said. "Until our players
gain the confidence in what we're*
trying to execute, and once we gain
the confidence of wanting to get the
ball in our hands (we'll still be ten-
tative)."

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