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January 21, 2011 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-21

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8 - Friday, January 21, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Wolverines hold
off Northwestern

Juniorguard Stu Douglass and the the Wolverines have struggled to a 1-5 conference record and have dropped their last five games.
Blue looks to snap losing skid

Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan men's basketball
team may be rebuilding this sea-
son, but there's no squad in the
Big Ten that has
reconstructed its Minneota
starting lineup as
much as No. 15 at Michigan
Minnesota. Matchup:
OftheGophers' No. 15 Min-
five expected nesota 14-4;
starters, just Michigan 11-8
two have started When: Sat-
all 18 games for urday 7 P.M.
Minnesota (3-3 Where:
Big Ten, 14-4 Crisler Arena
overall) this sea- .d
son. In fact, nine TNRadio:
of the Gophers B
have started at
least once this season. Conversely,
the Wolverines' five starters have
remained constant since day one.
First, Minnesota coach Tubby
Smith sat junior Devoe Joseph for
the first six games of the season as
a punishment for violation of team

rules. Just eight games and four
starts later, Joseph transferred.
Senior guard Al Nolen sat out
five games with a foot injury while
redshirt junior Trevor Mbakwe
sat out two starts after violating a
restraining order. The forward is
awaiting his court date on Feb. 7,
and he faces up to 90 days in jail.
But even with the shift in start-
ing lineups, Minnesota has had its
fair share of success in conference
play. Last Thursday, the Gophers
upset No. 14 Purdue, 69-59, at Wil-
liams Arena.
And now Minnesota hits the
road tomorrow to face a Michigan
squad that's in the midst of a five-
game losingskid.
, The Wolverines (1-5, 11-8) are
coming off a tough road loss to
Northwestern where Michigan
allowed junior John Shurna to put
up 24 points - 22 in the first half
alone - off 8-of-14 shooting from
the field.
"Everyone's frustrated, it's
tough," junior Stu Douglass said
after the Northwestern game. "You

can talk all day about the (tough)
games you've had, the tough stretch
the last nines days, whatever. But
we haven't been winning and we
haven't been performing the way
we can and the way we should, so
it's not the best of moods."
But the schedule doesn't get any
easier with Minnesota. Michigan
can expect the same kind of hot
shooting and experienced play out
of Gopher senior Blake Hoffarber,
who shoots nearly 40 percent from
behind the arc.
And when the Wolverines aren't
focused on Minnesota's outside
shooting, Mbakwe will be a hand-
ful in the post.
Mbakwe has been touted as one
of the league's toughest big men
and averages 13.2 points and 10.4
rebounds per game.
In the teams' last four meetings,
Michigan has come away with all
four wins and three of Minnesota's
four losses this season have come
on the road. But if Michigan hopes
to steal this win on its tough Big
Ten schedule, will have to be run-

ning on all cylinders in order
to prepare for a very talented
Gopher team.
"We're treating every game
like a must win," junior Zack
Novak said Tuesday. "With the
way the league is right now, as
tough as it is, you need to get
every win you can."
With the loss at Northwest-
ern, Michigan capped a rigor
ously tight schedule where the
Wolverines played four games in
a span of nine days, which means
each game only allowed for one
day of preparation each.
But by Saturday, Michigan
will have had three days to
prepare for Minnesota, which
could prove to be imperative for
a young Wolverine team that's
been struggling to stick to its
game plan during game time.
"Hopefully this will give us
some time to regroup and refo-
cus," Novak said Tuesday. "Then
Saturday (against Minnesota)
we can come back and have a
better shot."

Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's bas-
ketball team might not focus on
records or streaks, but there are a
few statistics that can't be ignored
The Wolverines (4-3 Big Ten,
11-7 overall) are 11-2 when they
at least MICHIGAN 75
in a game. And they did it again in
their 75-67 win over Northwestern'
on Thursday.
Senior guard Veronica Hicks
led the Wolverines with 16 points
and 14 rebounds after starting the
game off strong - she snagged two
rebounds and tallied five points
within the first three minutes of
play en route to her second consec-
utive double-double.
"(Hicks) played pretty well,"
Michigan coach KevinBorseth said
after the game. "She played well on
both sides of the ball, rebounding
well.We had arebound on the weak
side and alotofthose rebounds are
credit to her."
The energy provided by Hicks
gave Michigan the advantage it
needed to get ahead from the start
and hold the lead for the entire
game. But the Wildcats (3-4 Big
Ten, 14-6 overall) weren't an easy
opponent to tame, twice coming
back from behind to bring the con-
test within reach.
"(Hicks) is from Chicago and
she's never beaten Northwestern
(in Evanston) before," Borseth
said. "But she inspires the other
kids, especially in practice. Yester-
day she was guarding everybody
very hard and that kind of fuels
their fire."
According to Borseth, the key to
holding the lead was not throwing
the ball away. The Wolverines had
only nine turnovers all night and
tallied 16 points off Wildcat turn-
overs. Northwestern pulled within
seven points with just over three
minutes left in the first half after

trailing by as many as 14 points. But
sophomore guards Jenny Ryan and
Kate Thompson hit jumpers late
in the half to push the Wolverines
Michigan gained its momen-
tum off Thompson's shot, which
she hit as the buzzer sounded. And
the Wolverines never looked back
- leading by double-digits for the
majority of the second half. But
even with the Wolverines shoot-
ing just under 50 percent and snag-
ging 30 rebounds, the Wildcatshad
another comeback. They went on
an 8-0 run with just over two min-
utes left in the game - cutting the
score to single digits for the first
time since the first half.
"Thompson had a three at the
end of the first half - that was one
way to fend (Northwestern off),"
Borseth said. "The other was that
we got a couple of hits and made
from free throws at the other end
late in the game. We just didn't
throw the ball away."
The Wildcats were on fire from
behind the 3-point arc, burying
shot after shot in ordercto stay alive.
And with 30 seconds left on the
clock, it was down to a two-posses-
sion game - the closestithad been
since the scoreboard read 14-9.
But the Wolverines kept North-
western at bay by sinking free
throws down the stretch. Sopho-
more forward Rachel Sheffer
sealed the deal with a layup in the
final 16 seconds of the game. Shef-
fer was another hot offensive play-
er for Michigan, tallying 14 points
in just 26 minutes of play.
Though the Wildcats won the
battle on the boards, 42-30, it was
a successful showing by the Wol-
verines. For the most part, Michi-
gan kept Northwestern off the
glass during the first half, limiting
the Wildcats to just five offensive
rebounds. The Wolverines also
held All-American candidate Amy
Jaescke scoreless and only gave her
one rebound all night.
"Any win in the Big Ten is a big
win," Borseth said. "And on the
road it's even bigger."

'M' opens against
four top-15 teams

Coming off nine-goal weekend,
Michigan battles Alaska at home

For theDaily
Most top-tier coaches prefer
to start their seasons with easier
competition to build momentum
during the early stages of the
Someone forgot to tell Michi-
gan water polo coach Matt
When asked about the incon-
ceivable onslaught of games
this weekend, Anderson seemed
excited, to say the least. The
Wolverines will take their No.
8 ranking and splash into their
season this Saturday with games
against No. 15 Cal State North-
ridge, No. 7 San Jose State, No. 4
UCLA and No. 1 Stanford.
It is understandable to be a
little nervous playing such elite
opponents so early in the sea-
son, but Anderson is very much
looking forward to the oppor-
tunity for his team to be tested.
The early season kinks that may
worry some are an opportunity
for success to Anderson. In his
eyes, practice can only do so
"I know that there aresome
areas we need to work on",
Anderson said Wednesday.
But until we play teams that
are better than us they won't be
exposed. Practice can lull you
into thinking you've covered
everything, but then you play a
team better than you are they
show you what you need to work
Luckily for Anderson, three of
Michigan's first four games pit
his team against higher-ranked
This season, the Wolverines
are equipped with a bevy of tal-
ented players, including a senior
class led by Alison Mantel and
Lauren Orth, who are on pace
to graduate with the most wins
in Michigan water polo history.
Last season the duo combined
for 103 goals and 88 assists.
Combine those two with
a star-studded young team,
including sophomore Kiki Gold-
en and the Wolverines' chances
looks bright. Last season, Gold-
en played in every game, while

scoring 39 times, tossing out
29 assists and grabbing 78
steals. All of this gives Ander-
son some breathing room and
helps ease the pressure of
playing such good competi-
tion this weekend.
"We'll be fine," Anderson
said. "This is what we do.
Every year we play whomever,
whenever, wherever and it
doesn't matter if its our first
three games of the year. We're
No. 8 in the nation. We'll take
a loss or two, but we will
have some victories and we
will look to get better. If you
look at our schedule, there
isn't anybody we fear and we
believe that we can play with
"If you look
at our sched-
ule, there isn't
anybody we
The game of the weekend
will be the matchup against
Stanford, who has received
the most praise of any of
Michigan's opponents. Rather
than fearing the talented Car-
dinal, Anderson views it as a
credit to how far his Michigan
program has come.
"If they (Stanford) didn't
think it was going to be a
good game, they wouldn't
have flown out here to play
us," Anderson said. "That is
fortunately the respect that
we have earned. Teams don't
have to fly out here if they
don't wani to, but they are
choosing to do so. Stanford is
hands down the best team in
the nation, and we are going
to use that game to see how
we do.
"Hopefully we will have a
chance to play them again in
May when we host the final
eight for the NCAA champi-

Daily Sports Writer
The No. 6 Michigan hockey
team has only been shutout once
this season.
It happened back in Novem-
ber, but the team that managed to
blank the Wol-
verines' potent
offense is back AlaSka at
to take a second Michigan
crack at them.
Michigan (12- Matchup:
4-1-0 CCHAAlaska 10-8;
4-1-0 CCHA, Michigan 15-6
15-6-4 overall)
split its initial When: Friday
series with Alas- 7:35 P.M.
ka-Fairbanks Where: Yost
the first week- Ice Arena
end of Novem- TV/Radio:
ber, after being FSD Plusw
shutout 3-0 in
the first game.
But when the Nanooks and Wol-
verines suit up to play on Friday,
both teams will be riding their
recent successes right into the
confines of Yost Ice Arena.
The Wolverines outscored
opponents 13-3 during their cur-
rent three-game win streak and
look to continue their recent
offensive outburst against Alaska,
who split last weekend's series
with conference leader No. 8
Notre Dame.
Sitting in 5th place in the
CCHA, Alaska beat the Fighting
Irish 4-1 last Saturday in South
Bend, snapping Notre Dame's four-
game win streak.
The Nanooks scored twice in the
first period and twice in the third
period on Saturday and head into
this weekend's matchup with their
offense red-hot.
"I think Notre Dame got sur-
prised at how good Alaska was in
both games," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said Wednesday. "Now
(Notre Dame) squeaked out the
game on Friday, but supposedly
Alaska was pretty much the better
team all weekend. That's a pretty
good statement, when you go in and
outplay and outshoot a first place
team in their building. That's what
we're up against."
While the Nanook offense
showed its flair in South Bend, Alas-
ka's biggest strength has been is its
defense this season. Currently, the




Junior forward Luke Glendening skates in a game last Friday against Ferris State at Yost Ice Arena.

Nanooks boast the nation's fifth-
ranked defense and only give up an
average of 2.14 goals per game.
The Alaska defense has been
stingy, thanks in large part to
junior netminder Scott Greenham.
A major cornerstone of Alaska's
success this season, Greenham has
played in 22 games for the Nanooks
and boasts a .926 save percentage
with a 10-8-4 record.
"This team isgoingtobetoughto
score on," Berenson said. "Goals are
goingto be precious onboth ends. If
you look at the stats ... if you look at
special teams, they're pretty much
identical to us.
"Goals against, they're pretty
much the same. We might have a
little edge on the goals for, 5-on-5,
but that's it."
But if there ever is agood time for

the Wolverines to take on a top-5
defense, it's when their own offense
is coming off a nine-goal weekend
After falling behind 2-0 on Fri-
day in a home-and-home matchup
with Ferris State, the Wolverines
rallied in front of the Yost crowd
and scored three second-period
goals to overtake the Bulldogs, 3-2.
They carried Friday's offensive
momentum into the road game in
Big Rapids and scored six goals to
secure the sweep,6-1.
"You want to be careful about
over-confidence," Berenson said.
"But on the other hand, you want
to encourage the momentum. I'm
telling our team, 'We've got to keep
getting better. We can't be happy
with what we did Friday night.'
Maybe we got better Saturday, but

...you just don't do that.
"There's a mindset, it's the whole
team. It's not just the coach or one
player, it's the whole team. I want
us to get out of our comfort zone.
Where we're not as comfortable,
we've got to get better."
But Michigan is taking it one
step at a time this weekend. After
garnering its first sweep since Nov.
20 against Lake Superior State, the
Wolverines are counting on their
offense to help stifle the Nanooks
and repaythe favorfrom Fairbanks.
"I think we need to focus on the
little things again, because that's
what we did against Ferris," junior
forward Luke Glendening said. "It
started in the defensive zone.
"We didn't let up too many goals
and that translated into offense,
which was good for us."

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