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February 19, 2010 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-02-19

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8 - Friday, February 19, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8 - Friday, February 19, 2010 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Dunking was not my destiny

'Again."
"You don't want to get tired, you
know."
"Yeah, Iknow, but let's do it one
more time."
his was before the ninth
(or tenth?) try at my first
dunk in yesterday's dunk
contest, put on by the Big Ten Net-
work "Hoops
on Campus"
program.
The dunk
was pretty
standard.
Basically, it
was a far less-
athletic version DAILY
of Jason Kidd- WRITER
Kenyon Martin
circa 2003: My
buddy and president of the Maize
Rage, Nick Mattar, would laythe
ball off the backboard and I would
follow him and slam it home with
one hand.
Nick was having no trouble run-
ning up and laying the ball off the
backboard. It was me who was the
problem.
I had two major physiological
setbacks working against me: my
pedestrian leaping ability and my
small hands, which made it hard
for me to catch the ball and'throw
it down in one motion.
"I don't know if this is goingto
work," Nick said.
I nodded. "Yeah, it probably
won't."
Dunking is trickier than people
think, especially when you aren't
blessed with prodigious fast-twitch
muscles. There are questions: how
much warm-up do you need? How
much warm-up time will make
you too tired? Do you stretch, or
do you want to go in a little tight,
like coils?
After practicing for a bit -

sweating and breathing relatively
hard - I was approached by one of
the producers of the show, Lindsay
Sikula. She needed me to sign a
waiver, in case I injured myself in
what would definitely be extremely
embarrassing fashion.
"And don't warm up too much,"
she said. "Everyone does that."
"Oh...thanks," I said, immedi-
ately sitting down on the nearest
bench, trying frantically to rest
my legs.
Michigan coach John Beilein
and players DeShawn Sims, Zack
Novak and Stu Douglass were all
in attendance at the event. Pre-
sumably, this would give them
all a chance to critique my failure
on national television, as I have
done too many times to them this
season.
Novak walked in the gym to
find me sitting on my bench trying
to rest. I was also stretching my.
calves, thinking it was best to go
in lotse. (Novak, in case anyone
missed it, won the dunk contest at
Michigan Madness at the begin-
ning of the season. On his final
dunk, he did a through-the-legs
reverse. The man knows dunking.)
"You don't want to stretch,"
Novak said. "You want your mus-
cles to be tight."
Perfect.
The Big Ten Network didn't
half-ass this event. They sectioned
off half the gym. They brought in
their high-profile color commenta-
tor, Jim Jackson. They set up an
entirely Separate court with two
mobile hoops. Big Ten Network
banners were smattered all over
the walls.
The evening started with a brief
interview with John Beilein. While
talking with reporters, Beilein
called me over from my bench,
insisting he saw me somewhere
recently.

"Are you Catholic?"
No...
"Where did I see you?"
I ran into him at the popular
barbershop Coach and Foura
couple weeks ago.
"That's it! The barber."
After that, he stuck around for
a few minutes and left. I was just
very happy he remembered my
name. .
After Beilein left, Jim Jackson
did a short dem6nstration with
Sims. Sims showed the viewers at
home how to set a pick and close
out your man on offense in order to
establish position in the post. He's
one of the best in the country at '
this. After the segment, it was time
for the 3-point shooting contest.
And it was an unmitigated
disaster.
The first contestant missed
every...single...shot. The second
made four, which by comparison
made him look like Steve Kerr
circa 1996. The last contestant
made one. Oy.
And then finally, it was time
for the dunk contest. Despite my
insistent pleas with Lindsay the
producer to sandwich me in the
middle, the order had me going
last.
Awesome.
There were three of us dunkers:
me, James and Seth. There was
agreement between James and I
- Seth was by far the best. He was
just going to win. Period. We were
fighting for second place.
Unfortunately, it was Seth who
was slated to go first.
And on his first dunk, he proved
us right. Seth did a two-handed
180, somethingI could do if the
producers agreed to my original
request of lowering the hoop to
nine feet. James followed that with
a relatively impressive dunk of his
own, essentially a one-handed 180.

Then it was my turn. I called
Nick out from the crowd. I figured
I wasn't going to wow anyone with
my jumping ability, so I would have
to geta little creative. I decided
I had to go with the assist off the
backboard.
Nick lined up at the free throw
line, while I stood justbeyond the
arc. He laid it perfectly off the
board...and I missed.
Undaunted, I picked myself up
from the cheerleaders and dancers
the Big Ten Network had lined up
along the baseline and told Nick to
run it again.
I caught the ball at the top of
my jump, my stubby little fingers
gripping the rock as hard as they
could, and slammed it home. With
authority.
It was a nice moment. I received
some words of approval from
Novak and Jim Jackson, and they
told me I was moving on to the sec-
ond round.
Wait - what?
See, I had only prepared one
dunk. Never did I think I would
get an opportunity for two dunks.
But here I was, going up against a
real leaper. I turned to Nick: What
should we do?
Seth decided he would put the
contest away quickly. He lined up
his friend in front of the basket and
promptly hopped over him like
he was a puddle in the sidewalk,
throwing it down with one hand.
I knew he had it. Nick and I
tried a couple of feeble alley-oops
before I just put down a resigned
two-hander. Afterward, Novak just
shrugged his shoulders.
"There's not a whole lot to say,"
he said.
Seth took home the trophy. He
richly deserved it. Overall, though
I had my time in the sun, I learned
one important lesson:
Stay grounded.

AREtL BOND/Daily
Junior Carl Hagelin has been a key member of Mchgan's penalty k:illthis season.
''ready for top*
power pay unit

Blue falls in first OT game to Nittany Lions

By MICHAEL FLOREK
Daily Sports Writer
With its year on life support, the
Michigan hockey team may need its
one constant - the penalty kill - to
keep its season
alive. N.Mich.a
But it won't be " Mcg
easy, especially at Michigan
with Northern Matchup:
Michigan look- N. Michigan
ing to pull the 14-10-B; Mich-
plug this weekend igan 17-15-1
coming into Yost When: Friday
with the CCHA's 7:35 P.M.
best power play.
If the Wolver- Where: Yost
ines want to erase
the two-point
lead the Wildcats hold over them in
the standings, they will have to shut
down an unusual extra-man attack.
Northern puts two forwards on the
goal line on opposite sides of the
net, while the other forward stays in
front ofthe goalie.
The style is abnormal, but undou-
betdly successful. Northern Michi-
gan scores on 22.7 percent of its
power plays, by far the best in the
conference. And the Wildcats carry
momentum with them into this
weekend's series after converting on
three-of-seven power play chances
last weekend.
"It's the same power play they
had last year, but the personnel is
getting older and better, and they're
moving the puck pretty well," Mich-
igan coach Red Berenson said. "We
have the same power play, but we're
not as good at it."
The Wolverines' penalty kill,
ranked seventh in the country, is
charged with stopping Northern
Michigan's man-advantage. After
being in the top three nationally
for much of the season, the unit has
dropped in recent weeks.
Michigan gave up three power
play goals during last weekend's
sweep atthe hands ofNebraska-Oma-
ha. Most of the Mavericks' power play
goals weren't typical style, occurring

on the rush. But the penalty killers
still claim responsibility.
"Maybe (we need to) be a little bit
more patient when we forecheck,"
junior forward Carl Hagelin said. "It
should be an important thing this
weekend. I think our in-zone PK
is still good enough to shut a team
down, so hopefully we're going to
do that this weekend."
The penalty kill has struggled
keeping conventional power play
goals out of the net as well. The
three power play goals given up
last weekend added to a four-game
stretch in which the unit is killing
just 76 percent of power plays.
"Maybe we're not committed to
the PK," Hagelin said. "Sometimes
it could be just lucky bounces from
their team.. It's probably a mix of a
lot of different things."
But if Berenson has his way, the
struggling unit won'tdecide the game.
The Wolverines have scored twice
in their last 15 chances on the man-
advantage, and the power play has
failed to producetconsistentlyall sea-
son. The coaching staff is still trying
to mix and match an ideal group and
has said they will tweak the unit for
another time this weekend.
"You can't make it the whole
game, but we'll have them prepared,"
Berenson said. "Our special teams
will match up pretty well against
theirs on paper. But I hope it doesn't
come down to that because I don't
think we have as much momentum
going rightnow as they might."
To Berenson, the key to climbing
out of seventh place in the confer-
ence - and possibly intothird - with
a sweep is good home-ice hockey,
which to him is five-on-five play.
"I don't even want to be on the
power play eight times," Beren-
son said. "It takes away from the
rest of your team and we're prob-
ably not going to be that good if
we get eight power plays. It's just
too much. I'd rather get into an
honest, low-penalized, 'Let's play
five-on-five, let's see who the best
team is' game."

By AMY SCARANO
Daily Sports Writer
Happy Valley? Not so much.
The Michigan women's basket-
ball team fought to the buzzer
against
Penn MICHIGAN 65
State PENN STATE 71
at the
Bryce-Jordan Center last night.
Two free throws from freshman
guard Dayeesha Hollins gave
Michigan a second chance, tying
the game at 57 and sending the
Wolverines into their first overtime
this season.
But Michigan came up short in
the extra frame, losing 71-65.
The Wolverines (6-9 Big Ten,
15-10 oveeall) have lostsevengames
this season by four points or less,
and it looked like last night was
going to be their eighth, until Hol-
lins tied the game up with 20 sec-
onds remaining.

The Nittany Lions failed to
answer when they took the ball
down the court, missing a 3-pointer
and a shot in the paint before they
put back an offensive rebound - but
not fast enough. The ball left Penn
State forward Marisa Wolfe's hands
just after the buzzer went off
The Wolverines couldn't make
the plays when it mattered most.
The Wolverines shot 28 per-
cent from the field, which put a
bit of a kink in Michigan's quest
for a sweep over Penn State (8-8,
16-10). Even so, the Wolverines
managed to stay in the game with
late contributions from freshmen
Kate Thompson and Jenny Ryan -
finally bringing some stability to an
inconsistent Michigan offense.
"Sooner or later, we are going to
get fed up with it," Michigan coach
Kevin Borseth said. "I hope they
get fed up with it. I really do. I hope
they get to the point where they say
enough is enough. Because we had

good looks against Michigan State,,
we had good looks tonight against
the zone. I think we played hard, we
played with a lot of heart (and) we
did a really good job. But it's really
hard for defenses just to shut people
out and not let them score at all"
Sophomore forward Carmen
Reynolds was a bright spot early
on, scoring six of the team's first
nine points. Junior guard Veronica
Hicks got hot in the second half,
scoring seven points in the Wolver-
ines 9-0 run that tied up the game
with fifteen minutes remaining.
And Hollins scored four from
the charity stripe to keep Michigan
in it late in the game.
Still, Michigan couldn't make
enough crucial plays down, the
stretch. Michigan shot below 30
percent for the second consecutive
game.
"I don't know if we're playing
games to win offensively," Borseth
said. "I think we are just moving

the ball for the sake of moving it,
and nobody really wants the thing.
I don't think we are confident
enough offensively at all. You can't
beat anybody unless you play to win
offensively."
Partway through overtime,
senior center Krista Phillips, whose
11 rebounds led the team, fouled
out. Hollins and Hicks (the game's
high scorer) also picked up their
fifth and final fouls in overtime.
The Wolverines never found
their shot in those five minutes - all
four of their points came on free
throws - and they couldn't keep the
ball when it mattered most.
"Honestly, I think we made too
many mistakes down the stretch,"
Reynolds said. "We weren't valuing
the ball and weren't able to hit key
shots and get the stops. So I think
it was just all together, focus nd
composure, that we weren't able to
be assertive when the other team
scored."

Kelly grabs conference title in 200
individual medley, leads at Big Tens

e

under
grond

By FELIX CARREON
Daily Sports Writer
WEST LAFAYETTE - Card-
board cutouts of the faces of mem-
bers of the women's swimming
and diving ,team were scattered
throughout the Michigan cheering
section during the second day of
competition at the Big Ten Cham-
pionships.
It was clear the Wolverine con-
tingent was anxious to see a pair
of Wolverines reclaim individual
Big Ten titles at the Boiler Aquatic
Center. Fifth-year senior Emily
Brunemann captured the 500-yard
freestyle event title in 2008 and
senior Margaret Kelly earned a
victory in the 200-yard individual
medley in the same year. None of
the fans were more nervous about
the possibility of a repeat than
Brunemann's father, James, who
stood yelling throughout the dura-
tion of the race.
But even her father's efforts
couldn't help Brunemann to a Big
Ten title.
After 300 yards, Brunemann
held a slight lead over Minnesota's
Ashley Steenvoorden, until Steen-
voorden pulled away in the final
50 yards. Brunemann touched the
wall second (4:41.66), nearly two
seconds behind Steenvoorden.
"I was really happy with it for
where I am in my season right
now," Brunemann said. "I just rest-
ed forthis meet, I didn't fullytaper.
I was really happy that I dropped

from this morning because, typi-
cally in the 500,I don't having any-
thing at night."
But it was Brunemann's team-
mate, Kelly, who made the biggest
splash. She started the 200-yard
individual medley and never
looked backed. The senior finished
first (1:56.01) and broke her own
Big Ten record in the event. Fresh-
man Mattie Kukors placed fifth in
the event,giving Michigan an addi-
tional 14 points.
During the award ceremony,
"The Victors" resonated through-
out the aquatic center as Michigan
assistant coach Stefanie Kerska
handed Kelly her second career Big
Ten title in the event. The two then
exchanged a warm embrace, one
that was probably a year overdue.
The moment came a year after
Kellyswam the fastest preliminary
time in the event at the conference
championships, which the Wolver-
ines hosted at Canham Natatorium.
After the race, the senior suffered
chest muscle spasms, which caused
breathing problems. Kelly was a
favorite to defend her Big Ten title.
"It was hard to watch last year,"
Kelly said. "But I just stayed and
cheered for my team. I knew I had
another chance this year. To go in
there and swim as fast as I could
tonight, it was really special for
me."
The duo's performances lifted
the Wolverines to second place
after seven events. No. 10 Minne-
sota currently leads all teams with

204.5 points, just nine ahead of No.
16 Michigan.
Michigan coach Jim Richard-
son was especially pleased with
the performances his swimmers
turned in Thursday despite train-
ing harder leading up to the event
than in previous years.
"If someone had told (me) that
(Brunemann) was going to be 4:41
with the amount of training we've
been doing coming into this meet,
I would have said, 'I'll take it,' "
Richardson said. "We had a plan
this year to train much harder
going into Big Tens than we did
two years ago."
The evening's events started
with the.200-freestyle relay, where
the Wolverines got off to a fast
start. Kelly led the relay in a blis-
tering22.57 seconds for the first SO
yards, the fastest among the field.
The team fell back into the middle
of the pack until junior Natasha
Moodie jumped into the pool for
the anchor leg. Moodie sprinted
the final 50 in 21.92 seconds to give
the Wolverines runner-up honors.
Michigan will continue its
search for its 15th Big Ten title and
its first since 2004 this weekend.
"Ultimately you only have con-
trol over one thing, and that's your-
self," Richardson said. "At the end
of the day you can't change any-
body else's performance. You can't
go in their lane and stop them from
swimming fast. You just want to
race with them and hopefully get
your hand on the wall first."

TACO7
BIELL.

3joiP

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