48 - January 7, 2008 AJKi A1
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Despite sloppy play, 'D' steps up
to lead Blue in conference win
'M' shoots for NCAA title
Defense allows only
42 points in victory
By CHRIS MESZAROS
Daily Sports Writer
The game was a masterpiece if
you like defensive basketball.
But for every-
one else, it was NOTEBOOK
just like the
melting snow outside: sloppy and
Michigan's defense propelled
its 54-42 win over Northwestern.
Just three Northwestern players
scored, including freshman Mei-
sha Reed, who put up a game-high
The Wolverine defensive effort,
on the other hand, was spread
more evenly across the lineup,
which is why Michigan fared so
well yesterday afternoon. Junior
to chip in with two steals, and her
total was matched by junior Jes-
sica Minnfield and senior Krista
"Coach emphasized a lot of
things on defense," Queen said. "I
just try to do my best and the team
tries to do its best to get around
Michigan's defense swarmed
the already weak Wildcat offense.
Northwesternsits in thebasement
of the Big Ten in scoring, with
lows in total points, free-throw
percentage and rebounding.
Although the Wildcats took
an early lead, Michigan's defense
slowed the pace of the already
sloppy game and forced North-
western into a slew of bad shots.
The Wildcats shot just over 25
percent from the field and went 4-
of-21 from behind the arc.
The Wolverine perimeter
defense was also impressive, hold-
ing Northwestern guard Nadia
Bibbs scoreless. The Wildcats
became one dimensional and ran
their offense through centers Amy
and Ellen Jaeschke. Michigan
responded by subbing in Queen
and forward Stephany Skrba to
shut down the pair, which scored
just six points in the second half.
"I don't know if we were trying
to concentrate on anyone in par-
ticular," Michigan coach Kevin
Borseth said. "We tried to keep
the ball in certain areas because
they were trying to dump it down
Yesterday's contest was a battle
between the two worst rebound-
ing teams in the Big Ten. If it's any
consolation, the Wildcats came
away with the advantage in the
category. They out-rebounded the
Michigan has been terrible
on the glass this season, which
is somewhat surprising given
6-foot-6 center Krista Phillips's
"We're obviously out of posi-
tion and not very good at it," Bors-
eth said. "But we front the post
and because of that, teams tend
to get a lot of offensive rebounds
on us and that's just the nature of
The Wolverines have been
dominated on the boards all sea-
son, losing the battle to Ohio
State, 48-31, and Ohio, 40-20.
A SOLID EFFORT:
The Wolverines looked to their
bench early and often against the
Wildcats - every single player
on the roster saw playing time.
Queen provided the biggest spark
for Michigan, scoring a career-
high 12 points.
But she was not alone in her
efforts. Skrba and senior Ta'Shia
Walker also contributed with a
combined eight points and seven
"We're using our bench a lot
more and getting some produc-
tion out of it," Borseth said. "In
fact probably some of our better
athletes are coming off the bench,
and Melinda's one of them."
Borseth's philosophy doesn't
usually involve going to the bench,
but he has done so more this year
because of his players' condition-
"We get tired so easily," Bors-
eth said. "I'm used to playing five
players, five or six, maybe seven
if they're lucky. We're developing
the lung capacity. The more tired
they get, the stronger you get."
By COLT ROSENSWEIG
Daily Sports Writer
Making it back to Super Six.
Finishing fourth at NCAA team
finals. On the podium for the first
time in four years.
What's left for the Michigan
men's gymnastics team?
Only the most important goal
of all - winning a National Cham-
pionship, which the team hasn't
accomplished since 1999.
And this year's squad could
be the group to
gan to national
glory. Scott Breg-
The Wolver- man's explana-
ines lost two
All-Americans tion of the new
and a Big Ten NCAA scoring
pion to gradua- system,goto
tion, which hit michigandaily.
the rings and com.
high bar teams
But they added eight freshmen,
including three top-flight all-
arounders - Ben Baldus-Strauss,
Chris Cameron and Thomas Kel-
ley, Junior National All-Around
The equally large and talented
junior class will be hitting its
prime, and the senior co-cap-
tains, intense Paul Woodward and
even-keeled Arren Yoshimura,
will provide balanced leadership
for the young Wolverines.
"Certainly, I think we're in
contention, but I think this is
going to be the closest that it's
ever been, between us, Penn State,
Stanford and Oklahoma," Michi-
gan coach Kurt Golder said. "And
I'm sure Ohio State will be a good
team again this year. Big Tens and
NCAAs are going tobe a dogfight
like they were last year."
The home crowd will have
plenty of great matchups to watch
this season at Cliff Keen Arena.
Defending National Champion
Penn State opens Michigan's home
season, followed by preseason No.
1 Stanford and perennial archri-
val Ohio State, which Michigan
has not beaten since 2004.
"I feel like we can pull in a big
crowd for all three of them, espe-
cially since we did so well last
year," junior Jamie Thompson
Sophomore Torrance Laury and the men's gymnastic learn had great saccess
last year, but sheteamhas one last mountain to climb this year:dwinning a National
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said. "I think if we do a little bet-
ter marketing this year, a little
better promotion, we'll pack the
place and kick their ass."
The key for No. 6 Michigan will
be to peak at just the right time.
The 2007 team, though ranked
No. 1 for most of the season,
slumped in its final few meets
before bouncing back to post its
second-highest overall score in
NCAA team finals.
Assistant coach Scott Vetere
said the goal will not necessarily
be to win every dual meet, but to
improve steadily throughout the
This year's schedule will help
with the season-long grind, pro-
viding at least two more bye week-
ends than normal. Gymnasts who
don't compete at Winter Cup, the
February meet in which Ameri-
can gymnasts compete for spots
on the national team, will have
three weekends off.
The effects of the changes to
the Code of Points, gymnastics'
scoring system, remain to be seen,
but the Wolverines should post
consistent, solid scores on most
events, thanks to world-class rou-
tines and improved depth. Pom-
mel horse, often the crucial event
for winning a meet, should be
"If we don't win every meet on
horse, it's just because we fell,"
Cameron said. "If we hit on horse,
I don't think any team in the
country can beat us."
The team will face its first test
in Chicago at the Windy CityInvi-
tational, which could be a preview
of NCAA team finals.
In addition to the usual five Big
Ten teams (Penn State; doesn't
participate) and host University
of Illinois-Chicago, top-ranked
Stanford will attend the open-
ing meet of the season. Every
team except UIC has a legitimate
shot at advancing to Super Six in
n Z s