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November 10, 2008 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-11-10

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2B - November 10, 2008

.B: *..Noembe$10.2008The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Fans must
make Criser
fun again

EREMY CHO/Daily

Freshman Courtney Boylan made her debut for the Wolverines with seven points, four steals and three assists Saturday night at Crisler Arena.

Michigan overcomes sloppy play,
turnovers in exhibition victory

MINNEAPOLIS -
The Michigan men's bas-
ketball team starts its
regular season tomor-
row night against Michigan
Tech. The
game will be
played in Cris-
ler Arena, a
venue as cold
as the Diag in
February and
as impersonal su .
as the bar code <
on the back of NATE
your M-Card. SANDALS
It's unlikely
that many stu-
dents will make the trek to South
Campus for the game. Certainly,
doubts about the product they will
see on the court are a big reason
fans won't flock to Crisler. But a
ticket is free, and on most Divi-
sion-I campuses, a no-cost invita-
tion to the basketball team's season
opener would draw a crowd.
The Athletic Department has
been making improvements to
Crisler over the past few years
and says that after the Michigan
Stadium renovations are com-
plete, the basketball venue is next
in line for improvements.
Upgrading the facility will
certainly enhance the atmo-
sphere and may make Crisler a
fun place to watch a basketball
game. By the time the renova-
tions are complete, chances are
that Michigan basketball will be
back to a high level under coach
John Beilein.
The Athletic Department prob-
ably expects the renovations
and improved quality of play to
coalesce into a great atmosphere
for fans, but this weekend showed
me that even with a great team
and a great facility, a stellar fan
experience is not assured.
While in Minneapolis to cover
the football game, I took in the
No. 4 Minnesota hockey team's
game against No. 5 New Hamp-
shire.
There was plenty of talent on
the ice Friday night.
The Golden Gophers play
their home games in beautiful
Mariucci Arena. Constructed in
1993, Mariucci is clean, bright
and has excellent sightlines
from every seat.
No amenity was left out.
Surprisingly, even for a big
non-conference game against
a top-five opponent, the Min-
nesota fans weren't loud and
didn't play a factor in the game.
The student section stood up for
the whole game, but that was
about it.
There were no raucous

chants, inappropriate or other-
wise, when a New Hampshire
player went to the penalty box.
When the Wildcats scored,
Gopher fans let the visiting par-
ents cheer unabused.
Comparing that crowd to what
the atmosphere would have been
like at Yost Ice Arena for a game
of that magnitude (see Michigan
vs. No. 1 Boston College in 2005)
makes it clear that a brand-new
building can't guarantee an
excited fan base and neither can a
great matchup.
Yost was old before it became a
hockey arena in 1973. The bleach-
ers are warped and the views are
often obstructed. But night in and
night out, it is loud. The student
section and the general public
make Yost a tough place to play
for visiting teams.
But the age of the arenas isn't
the most important difference
between Yost and Mariucci, and
neither isthe quality of the game
being played on the ice. The key
distinction is that Michigan fans
want to have an impact on the
game.
Yost fans aren't just there to
watch. Yost fans are there to be a
part of the action.
So the Athletic Department,
the basketball program and its
fans should take heed. A reno-
vated Crisler may bring students
and locals out to games in droves,
but it won't make them rowdy. A
top-notch Michigan team won't
either.
Obviously, you can't build a fan
base without a winning team. But
Michigan basketball was a win-
ning team in the 1990s, and when
the team got worse, the fans left.
So once the fan base is built, how
can you prevent it from crum-
bling when the team hits hard
times?
Creating an atmosphere like the
one at Yost is the best way to keep
up a fan base through a tough
season or two. Winning plays a
key role, but more responsibility
falls on the fans. They have tobe
part of the experience, not just
a viewer.
The Michigan basketball
team will keep improving. The
Athletic Department will spend
the money to make Crisler a bet-
ter venue for watching a game.
But until Michigan basketball
fans decide they don't just want
to watch a game, they want tobe
a part of one, going to a game at
Crisler will never come near the
experience of going to a game
at Yost.
-Sandals can be reached
at nsandals@umich.edu.

By TIM ROHAN ball got inside, they couldn't finish
Daily Sports Writer in the paint. After making 4 of 14
shots down low in the first half,
A group of Northwood fans they made 12 of 14 in the second.
chanted "back to basics" when The Timberwolves didn't back
a Michigan women's basketball down even though, as Northwood
player was called for traveling in coach Jeff Curtis put it, Michigan:
the first half of Saturday's exhibi- had better athletes.
tion game. The physically outmatched
The teams combined for 50 Timberwolves shot over the Wol-
turnovers in the game. verines in the first half. They
Even though Michigan looked finished the game shooting 45
lost at times in the first half, falling percent from the field and 60 per-
behind by 12 points at the break, it cent (9/15) from three point range.
made the adjustments needed to Their shooting touch, combined
slip past the Timberwolves, 71-66. with Michigan's offensive strug-
The game started poorly for the gles, led to the halftime deficit for
Wolverines, who didn't score for the Wolverines.
the first 6:05 and allowed North- Borseth countered in the second
wood to jump out to a 12-point half with something he has never
lead. done in all his years of coaching.
"We missed everything," Ben- He decided to play a variety of full-
son said. "Then we were getting court presses, which created more
flustered and we were shooting turnovers and sparked the offense.
too fast. Then we were taking bad "I've never pressed in my life,"
shots. We just couldn't make any- Borseth said. "(Senior) Melinda
thing then finally we got a steal and Queen and (sophomore) Ronny
we got a bucket and that relaxed (Hicks) have got some pretty good
us." hands, so why don't we take a shot?
In the first half, the Wolverines Lo and behold, we made some
couldn't successfully get the ball steals, turned it up a little bit."
down low to the post. And once the Michigan finished the game
Duo ends season

with 32 points off turnovers.
With about two minutes left in
the game, Hicks gave Michigan its
first lead. She drove to the basket
with her right hand, switched to
her left, made the bucket and was
fouled. After Hicks missed the free
throw, Benson jumped high for the
offensive rebound and scored with
her left hand.
Michigan outscored the Tim-
berwolves 45-28 in the second
half, giving the Wolverines some-
thing to build on heading into the
regular season opener Saturday at
Kentucky.
Borseth hopes his players
learned an important lesson from
their six-minute drought.
"We have to put our nose to the
grindstone," Borseth said. "The
next play is the most important
one. (You) can't look too far ahead
and certainly can't look behind.
You got to look to the next play
for every possession for forty min-
utes."
Borseth played just seven players
in the game, including true fresh-
man guard Courtney Boylan. Boy-
lan, last year's Miss Basketball in
Minnesota, came off the bench, hit

a quick three-pointer and helped
the Wolverines with seven points,
four steals and three assists.
"I like her confidence, and I love
her leadership," Borseth said. "You
don't get that too often. I think
she's a.pretty special kid."
Benson led the Wolverines with
15 points and 11 rebounds.
The team's stats show how
unusual the game was as Michigan
totaled 17 steals and 8 blocks. They
also shot just 54 percent from the
free throw line for the game, giv-
ing Michigan coach Kevin Borseth
all the more reason to make his
players shoot more in practice.
Borseth was upset with his
team's sloppy play and acknowl-
edged that something needs to be
done to limit the team's turnovers.
"We need to make some form of
adjustment wither with how we
prepare or personnel, but that's
way too many turnovers," Borseth
said.
Historically Michigan has had
trouble with teams from the Great
Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic
Conference. They improved their
record to 5-6 all time versus teams
from the GLIAC on Saturday.

Poor weekend won't hurt chemistry

Top-seeded

with loss to Virginia Sugiyama upset by
freshman in

No. 18 doubles team
falls in front of big
crowd at National
Indoor Tournament
By JACK FERNBACHER
Daily Sports Writer
It wasn't enough that Michi-
gan's No. 18 doubles team of
junior Mike Sroczynski and
sophomore Jason Jung had to
play against the top teams in the
country. They also had to deal
with a raucous crowd.
The duo qualified for the pres-
tigious ITA National Indoor
Tournament at the Boar's Head
Sports Club in Charlottesville,
Va., last week by winning Michi-
gan's first-ever regional title last
month at the Wilson/ITA Mid-
west Regional tournament.
In the consolation bracket
semifinals, Jung and Sroczynski
fell to Virginia's Dom Inglot and
Michael Shabaz, 7-5, 6-3.
"We lost our focus against
Virginia because of all their fans
supporting them," Jung said.
"We kept it close, but we couldn't
overcome the home-court advan-
tage."

Competing in the tournament
for the first time, the duo got
matched up against the same
team it lost to in the Sweet 16
of last year's NCAA Champion-
ships.
The Wolverines had to deal
with the distraction of the
crowd, but they also played on
indoor courts, which made for a
faster-paced match.
"We don't usually play under
those fast conditions, so it took
Mike and myself a while to get
used to it," Jung said.
In the first round of the tour-
nament, they lost 8-5 against No.
2 duo from Wake Forest to drop
into the consolation bracket.
The Wolverines rebounded
from the Wake Forest loss with
an 8-5 win against No. 4 Texas
A&M in the first round of the
consolation bracket.
Sroczynski and Jung were
the only Wolverines to qualify
for the indoor tournament. The
match was the last of the fall
season and the team will resume
play in January.
"It's up to each person to
practice on their own over win-
ter break," Jung said. "We had
a strong fall season and hope to
continue our success in the win-
ter."

semifinal
By GILAD BERKOWITZ
For The Daily
There was no sense of urgen-
cy surrounding the Michigan
women's tennis team this week
before it headed into its final
action before winter break.
If you happened to pass by the
Michigan Varsity Tennis Center
last week, you would have found
eight athletes either practicing,
jogging, or poking fun at each
others' game. Nothing out of the
norm for the team.
No matter where you find
them, however, one thing is for
sure: the Wolverines will be
together. So although no Wol-
verine won the singles cham-
pionship at the Arizona State
University Thunderbird Invi-
tational over the weekend, the
camaraderie and positive atmo-
sphere the team built up during
the week will still remain.
The upside and significant
improvement for the Wolver-
ines came from doubles play
over the weekend. The team fin-
ished with an overall record of
8-3. While showing great team
chemistry during practices this
week, all pairs seemed to play in

2-0 before Denise was paired
with senior Lindsey Howard on
Sunday. Sophomore Rika Tatsu-
no also concluded doubles play*
with a winning record.
On Friday, Sugiyama and
Mahtani were seeded No. 1 and
No. 2 respectively in singles
competition. Mahtani had a
disappointing outing, losing
against California sophomore
Rachael Dillon.
The second day of the tour-
nament witnessed the upset
of top-seeded Sugiyama. After
completing two grueling match-
es the previous day, includ-
ing a second-round marathon
against Arizona State sopho-
more Micaela Hein (7-6 (2) 5-7
6-4), Sugiyama was upset in
semifinal action by Armstrong
Atlantic State freshman Sona
Novakova.
"The other girls played
as much as she did." Bern-
stein remarked. "The girl she
played did not have the same
credentials, but it was tough
competition throughout the
tournament"
The six other Michigan ath-
letes failed to make it past the
first day of singles.
The team will now take a cou-
ple months off from competition,
in which it will look to continue *
building the team chemistry
that has aided its performances
this fall. The Wolverines will be
back in action on Jan. 17 at the
Michigan Invitational.

BEN SIMON/Daly
Junior Tania Mahtani, shown here at the Michigan Varsity Tennis Center, went
undefeated in doubles over the weekend.

rhythm.
"Of course as coaches we try
and put personalities that com-
plement each other together
and the closeness of our girls
helps," Michigan coach Ronni
Bernstein said.

The dangerous duo of junior
Tania Mahtani and senior
Chisako Sugiyama posted a
3-0 record against three Pac
10 teams. The other tandem of
sophomore Denise Murasan and
classmate Whitney Taney went

i

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