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January 23, 2009 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-01-23

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8 - Friday, January 23, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wolverines can't handle
Braun, drop fourth straight


Junior DeShawn Sims has scored 17 points in the last two games. ~
Blue's post-play
woes begin and
end with Sims

Junior forward could
be the difference
tomorrow against
Daily Sports Writer
Before the Michigan men's bas-
ketball team's game against Ohio
State last Saturday, junior forward
DeShawn Sims hung a hand-writ-
ten sign over his nameplate in the
locker room.
It read, "I.M. Work."
After hitting just 4-of-13 shots
for 10 points in his team's 65-58
loss to the Buck-
eyes, Sims tore Northwestem
the sign off the
locker in frus- at MIChigan
tration. Matchup:
"I was sup- Northwestern
posed to work 10-6; Michi-
hard, but I ain't gan 13-6
do no work, so When: Satur-
I have to take day 8 P.M.
it down," Sims Where: Cris-
said. ler Arena
The loss was TV/Radio: BTN
the second in the
Wolverines' cur- Live Blog:
rent three-game http://thegame.
losing streak. dablcs.ohigan-
During the
skid, Michigan
has been dominated by physical
opponents. The Wolverines start
a four-guard lineup, with 6-foot-5
freshman guard Zack Novak often
playing the four position. Big Ten
teanms know Michigan lacks hig
men and have effectively pushed
the ball into the paint.
"They're bigger than I am, but
I just have to find a way to get it
done," Novak said. "Hopefully on
offense they got to guard me too
and they have to come out and step
up. I just have to do a better job."
In their last three games, the
Wolverines have been outscored
in the paint by 9.3 points per game.
Their lack of physical presence
down low has also led to seven
fewer free-throw attempts than
their opponents per game in the
stretch. Prior to that, Michigan
averaged 4.1 more attempts per
game than its opponents.
"What do you do? It's just really
tough," Michigan coach John Beil-
ein said. "Hopefully down the road
we'll continue to recruit and get
guys that are a little bigger there,
but now it is what it is, and we have
to find other ways - double teams,

different things. Alot ofstuff today,
you just can't stop."
The Wolverines' small lineup has
put more pressure on Sims, who is
often the tallest Michigan player
on the court at 6-foot-8. In losses to
Illinois and Ohio State, Sims com-
bined to shoot 7-of-27 for 17 points.
Illinois center Mike Tisdale and
Ohio State center B.J. Mullins eas-
ily handled Michigan in the paint,
combining to shoot 17-of-21 for 39
Against Penn State on Tuesday,
Sims found his offensive rhythm,
hitting 10-of-14 shots for 21 points.
But the Wolverines still failed to
stop the Nittany Lions in the post,
giving up 36 points in the paint.
"We have so many guys under
200 pounds," Beilein said. "I mean,
we get in there and we get nudged a
little bit and it bothers us."
Beilein hopes that, despite giving
up size defensively, his small lineup
will create mismatches onthe other
end of the floor. But opponents have
adjusted their defense to keep the
quick Wolverine guards out of the
paint. Ohio State employed a 1-2-2
zone that prevented any of their big
men from defending Michigan's
guards on the wings.
Defensively, opponents have
exploited the Wolverines' 1-3-1
zone, lofting passes into the paint
to create mismatches as Michigan's
guards attempt to clamp down on
the ball.
"We're trying to do everything
we can to make up this lack of
size," Beilein said. "We're trying.
We're trying."
But Michigan has also failed to
knock down opetn shots. In the last
three games, the Wolverines are
shooting 35.6 percent, well below
their average of 42.8 percentbefore
the losing streak.
Tomorrow, Michigan faces
Northwestern, the Big Ten's hot-
test team. The Wildcats have upset
both No. 21 Minnesota and No. 7
Michigan State in the last week. If
the Wolverines are to end their los-
ing streak, they will need to over-
come their shortcomings in the
Back in the locker room fol-
lowing the Ohio State game, for-
mer Michigan standout Glen Rice
approached Sims. Rice gave Sims
a hug and whispered, "Dominate,
And with such a guard-oriented
team, Sims is the Wolverines' best
hope to establish a dominant post
game, to defensively clamp down
on opposing big men and to break
them out of the slump.

Sluggish start
plagues Michigan in
upset bid of Big Ten
leader Indiana
Daily Sports Writer
It didn't matter if Michigan
women's basketball coach Kevin
Borseth had the brains against Big
Ten-leading Indiana last night.
Because Indiana had the Braun
- Jamie Braun, that is.
The junior point guard's play-
making ability helped the Hoosiers
hand Michigan a 60-50 loss at Cris-
ler Arena. She notched 16 points
and registered four assists as the
ines (2-6 INDIANA 60
Big Ten, MICHIGAN 50
9-10 over-
all) dropped their fourth straight
"She's a WNBA player," Borseth
said. "She can just make plays on
her own. You put the best point
guardinthe conference on thefloor
(with their post players), and that's
a pretty doggone good team."
But it wasn't just Braun and her
athleticism thatcemented the Wol-
verines' four-game losing streak,
the longest for Borseth since
December 2003 when he coached
at Wisconsin-Green Bay.
After six of its first seven home
games, Michigan has dropped its
last two games at home, disman-
tling a hometown confidence that
was a huge push in early season
victories against ranked teams like
Vanderbilt and Notre Dame.
And with six straight losses
away from Ann Arbor, upcoming
road games against middle-of-the-
road Big Ten teams like Iowa and
Northwestern could mean the dif-
ference between an NIT berth and
a long offseason.
Offensively, the Wolverines'
reliance on the 3-point shot looked
like it was working in their favor as
they shot 40 percent from behind
the arc. But the Wolverines' 14
first-half turnovers gave the Hoo-
siers (7-1, 14-3) all the momentum




Indiana point guard Jamie Braun (left) gave the Wolverines fits last night, pouring in 16 points and dishing out foutassists.

they needed to secure the lead for
the game's entirety.
Michigan didn't die by the
3-pointer, but it couldn't live by it
Borseth attributed the impres-
sive downtown shooting to their
attempted inside presence, which
had been invisible in the team's last
three losses.
"That's what it's supposed to
look like," Borseth said. "That's
what it needs to looklike: Whenwe
got it inside (in the second half),
we were able to score points."
Although Michigan did manage
to get the ball inside, it made just
seven baskets in the paint.
Earlier in the season, senior

forward Stephany Skrba provided
Michigan with the scoring it need-
ed down low. The Wolverines are
5-1 when the Toronto native fin-
ishes in double digits.
Skrba was held scoreless against
the Hoosiers.
The rest of the Wolverine post
players were outmatched in the
paint, even with their height
advantage. The Hoosiers dominat-
ed the offensive boards 17-6.
Indiana coach Felisha Legette-
Jack set a double-team on the
Wolverines' biggest post pres-
ence, junior center Krista Phillips,
who came off the bench in hopes
of exploiting the Hoosiers lack of
size. But Indiana muscled up the

Wolverines down low, using the
same aggressiveness that Borseth
has been preaching to his team all
"These people rebound,"
Borseth said. "You have no idea
how good these kids are on the
glass. Have they lost any games?
Who beat them?"
Similar to many of its recent
losses, Michigan registered just
one solid half. But despite the slow
start to the game, Borseth said
he was proud of the way his team
played in the second frame.
"The first half, we just looked
lethargic," Borseth said. "It just
builds in a hurry, and when we did
stop it, we were too late."



Icers hope to find consistency at the Joe

Wolverines have
beaten Spartans four
straight times
Daily Sports Editor
Nobody in the country has
scored more goals than Michigan
top-line center Louie Caporusso,
who has netted 18, including two
natural hat tricks.
Yet the sophomore hasn't
scored in nearly half of the Michi-
gan hockey team's 24 games - an
inconsistency that has plagued not
just Caporusso but the entire team.
This year, the Wolverines have
scored four more goals per game
in wins than they have in losses,
in which they've posted less than
a goal on average.
Michigan's four CCHA series
splits reflect its volatile offense
night to night, but this weekend's
series against Michigan State

couldn't seemingly be any more
Tonight's game will be played
at Joe Louis Arena, where No. 8
Michigan has won seven straight.
And the Wol-
verines have MSU VS.
defeated the Michan
Spartans four
straight times Matchup:
- including in Michigan
the Great Lakes State 7-14-3;
Invitational Michigan 16-8
championship When: Friday
game at the Joe 7:35 P.M.
in December - Where: Joe
for their longest Louis Arena
streak against TV/Radio:
Michigan State FSN Plus
in 13 seasons. Live Blog:
Michigan has http://the-
won the three game.blogs.
games this sea- michigandaily.
son by a com- com/
bined score of
Which leads to tonight.
"I definitely expect something

different," said Caporusso, who
has two goals and three assists
against the Spartans this year.
"Any time this rivalry is so won by
one team, obviously you make the
other team really want to get back
at you."
As if the Spartans needed any
more motivation, they have a
chance to play spoiler for the Wol-
verines this weekend. Michigan,
in sixth place in the conference
standings, is essentially in a must-
sweep situation if itwants to finish
in the top four of the CCHA. Two
wins would give the Wolverines a
first-round bye in the conference
tournament and practically assure
an NCAA Tournament bid. Any-
thing but a sweep would add even
more pressure to next weekend's
matchup with No. 1 Notre Dame,
which hasn't lost in 20 games.
"It's going to be a hard-hitting
game," senior forward Tim Miller
said. "It's going tobe a close game.
Both teams have a lot to play for
right now."

And Miller, in particular, is
excited to return to the Joe.
In last year's February game
against the Spartans in Detroit,
Miller scored his first two goals
of the year. His other two scores
came in the CCHA playoffs, which
were also played at the Joe.
"I can't wait to go," Miller said.
"I'm kind of sad that it might be
one of my last games."
But Michigan coach Red Beren-
son isn't looking for Miller to spark
the offense alone. At the start
of practice this week, Berenson
shuffled the team's lines a bit more
and even changed up the top line,
which had been very successful in
the season's first half. Senior right-
winger Travis Turnbull (15 points)
is moving up from the third line to
replace sophomore Aaron Palushaj
(27 points) and rejoin Caporusso,
his linemate from lastyear.
"I don't know if (Berenson's)
sending a message, (or) more just
trying to get some going offensive-
ly," Caporusso said.




LaPlante brings hurdles expertise to head job

Daily Sports Writer
At the University, it's quite com-
mon for a scholar to produce work
meriting translation in other lan-
Even for the men's track and field
First-year Wolverine coach Fred
LaPlante's hurdling techniques
have been used across the globe in
places like Germany and Russia.
"His technical eye is incredible,"
former Michigan head coach and
current associate head coach Ron
Warhurst said. "I can watch a guy
and say he looks pretty good, and
he'll be like, 'His toe was down.' It's
like he's got a slow-motion camera
in his head."
Warhurst said LaPlante's frame-
by-frame vision for sprints and
hurdles is a unique talent that sepa-
rates him from other coaches.

When LaPlanteshareshisexpert
knowledge ofshort-distance events,
he speaks from wisdom accumulat-
ed outside of his mid-distance run-
ning career.
A 1972 graduate of Eastern
Michigan, one of LaPlante's Eagle
teammates was the national high
school hurdles record holder. His
teammate's talent sparked him to
write a biochemical analysis paper
on the act of hurdling.
After graduating, LaPlante
began dating female hurdler Debby
Lansky, who later became his first
wife. LaPlante said he feltnvery self-
conscious about his lack of knowl-
edge in her event, so he hit the
books again.
"I delved into this, and within
five years of that, I was the wom-
en's national coach," LaPlante said.
"I read a lot. I watched tapes, and I
went around interviewing coaches.
I wanted to get top people in the

Before his stint as the women's
national hurdles coach, he was the
women's track and field coach at
San Diego State from 1979 to 1983.
LaPlante also used his research to
help Lansky reach the Olympics.
But LaPlante mentions none of
of his players even know about this
part of his coaching career. He said
all that matters is what you've done
very recently.
And the Toledo native's lessons
don't end there.
Redshirt sophomore hurdler
Nick McCampbell likes LaPlante's
style because he has no specific
prototype of what he wants to see
- he just wants results.
"Ever since I started hurdling,
t've had issues with my lead arm
going wide," McCampbell said.
"He taught me to really empha-
size bringing the arm straight back

instead of other motions and I've
been usingthat since last year.
"He took a very pragmatic
motion and just took the arm back.
Not technically sound, but it hap-
pens to work for me so we contin-
ued to work with it."
LaPlante's recent accomplish-
ments include coaching 2007
individual national champion Jeff
Porter in hurdles. A Midwest hur-
dling champion is a rarity, since
champions are typically from the
South and the West Coast.
His overall record speaks for
itself - so he doesn't have to. After
coaching 17 Olympians and 25
national champions, few can match
his 32-season track record.
"You never get cocky," LaPlante
said. "You never feel like you know
it all. There's always thingsto learn.
I feel like there could be a 20-year-
old coach that could still teach me



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