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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

SportS

Friday, February 25,2011 -7

Despite Hicks's halfcourt heroics, Blue honors Hicks
'M' falk in dohle-OT to Gonher, in senior ceremony

1 7 1 1 .,« JL " 11.L . %. & N-F % AL K-01 \../ .. 1 , N-,F NI-P V .../ .i x ../ JL "

By CAITLIN SMITH
Daily Sports Writer
Senior guard Veronica Hicks
didn't want her last game at
Crisler Arena to end.
So with just second remaining
in the game,
Hicks hit a MINNESOTA 82
half-court MICHIGAN 78
buzzer shot
to send the game against Minne-
sota into overtime.
"There's always hope when
someone throws up a desperation
shot like that," sophomore guard
Jenny Ryan said. "I guess in my
eyes you're just not thinking,
you're holding your breath, hop-
ing for the best and expecting the
worst. As soon as it goes through
the net you just breathe and you
run."
Fueled by Hicks's long-range
basket, the Wolverines (9-6 Big
Ten, 16-11 overall) played two
periods of overtime against the
Golden Gophers. But a struggling
offense that had plagued Michi-
gan all night proved deadly in the
second overtime, giving Minne-
sota a chance to pull ahead and
win, 82-78.
Hicks claimed to have felt con-
fident taking the game-deciding
shot at the end of regulation off
a play that Michigan coach Kevin
Borseth said he's had in his pock-
et for four years.
"The funny part is that I was
(shooting half-court shots) dur-
ing the shoot around," Hicks
said. "So when they went up by
three with only four seconds left
and coach (Borseth) showed us
the play, I was like, 'I practiced
it today.' So, you know, God must
have been preparing me, and it
went in."
But that confidence may have
come as a surprise to the fans at
the game Thursday night, as the
Wolverines showed anything but
strength around the basket.

Michigan shot just 27 percent
in the first half, stemming from
a mere 16 percent from behind
the 3-point arc and a leading
scorer who tallied just four
points in the first stanza.
But the Wolverines were
also unable to answer Minne-
sota (4-11, 12-16) in the second
half- until the last second. The
Golden Gophers came out of the
locker room with a 25-19 advan-
tage and, despite a handful of
good looks from Michigan, were:
able to maintain a two or three-
possession lead for the majority
of regulation.
The Golden Gophers gave
the Wolverines trouble on the
interior, forcing them to shoot
contested layups or dish the
ball outside to shoot from long
range. Michigan also had 14.
turnovers on the night to add to N44
the offensive frustration.'
"Both teams struggled, it was
very physical," Borseth said.
"You try to push, you get moved,
you try to cut, you get moved. DANIELLETOLL/ODaily
(Minnesota) is pretty good, Seniorguard Veronica Hicks's efforts weren't enough on Senior Night.
they're physical and they're big.
That was probably a lot of the Carmen Reynolds went to the shot clock so you have just 20 sec-
reason why we struggled in the line with Michigan down by two onds to run a play instead of 25. I
game, because of the physical- and five seconds left on the clock. think we just got away from what
ness." Reynolds, an 85-percent free- we are used to doing. I think we
But the Wolverines also strug- throw shooter, only sunk one - were just so focused on swinging
gled defensively, unable to get forcing the Wolverines to foul the ball that maybe we didn't get
the key stops that could have upon the inbound. it inside the way we wanted."
sparked a run on the other end And after Minnesota made Despite producing a late come-
of the court. Minnesota shot just both of its freebies, Hicks was back that forced a potential blow-
under 50 percent for the night forced to shoot her half-court out into a thriller, the Wolverines
and out-rebounded the Wolver- buzzer beater. still lost a crucial game. If Michi-
ines, 43-34. In overtime, Michigan con- gan had won, the Wolverines
In fact, the fans at Crisler tinued to struggle offensively, would have had a solid grasp on
Arena didn't have much to excite shooting just 5-for-17 and con- third place in the Big Ten. But
them until the final four minutes tinuously running the shot clock with the loss, they're in a three-
of regulation. The Wolverines down, forcing last-second drives way tie for fourth place. And
came out of hibernation and gave to the basket and contested looks Michigan vows to bounce back
Minnesota a challenge. from long range. with resilience.
They took the lead for the first "We were having a shorter "I think I would worry more if
time that half, as Hicks made shot clock because of the pres- we weren't emotionally invested
two shots from the free throw sure (Minnesota) was putting and if we walked away saying,
line. From there, both teams ral- on our point guard," Ryan said. 'Oh well,' "Ryan said. "I'm happy
lied back and forth, junior guard "That takes 10 seconds off the that we care so much."

By KEVIN RAFTERY
Daily Sports Writer.
Following the Michigan
women's basketball team's
heartbreaking 82-78 double-
overtime loss to Minnesota
on Thursday, players and fans
alike were in tears.
It was an odd sight following
a college basketball game. But
the tears weren't shed because
of the game's outcome - it was
Senior Night, and the Wol-
verines' lone senior, Veronica
Hicks, was being honored on
the Crisler Arena bigscreen.
"I think it was pretty well
said on that video board,"
Michigan coach Kevin Borseth
said after the game. "She's been
here for four years, and she has
sunk her heart and her soul into
everything we do here."
Friends, family, teammates,
classmates, Crisler employees
and hundreds of people that
Hicks had never met stayed
after the game for the presen-
tation - the tears alone are a
testament to what Hicks has
meant to this program. Even
though it was nearly 10 p.m. on
a school night, parents allowed
their children stay to watch the
presentation and listen to Hicks
speak after the game.
The fact that Hicks was even
willing to speak after the game
- 50 minutes filled with emo-
tional highs and lows, in which
she had arguably the worst first
half of her career (zero points,
two fouls), hit a half court shot
to send the game into overtime,
only to have her team lose by
four points in double overtime
- was incredible by itself.
Most players probably would
have respectfully declined
the opportunity, or just said a
couple of thank you's and went
home.
But not Hicks.
She'd rather take the oppor-

tunity to put smiles on the faces
of everyone in the arena.
After watching the 10-min-
ute presentation that showed
highlights of her career along
with interviews of her team-
mates and coaches, were shown,
Hicks grabbed the microphone.
She had a speech prepared,
and she wasn't going to let one
heartbreaking loss affect her so
much that she couldn't take the
time to say a few words.
The speech lasted nearly 10
minutes, but the words that she
spoke will stick with the people
in Crisler for much longer.
She personally thanked
everyone she knew in the
arena, including Crisler Arena
employees, assistant coaches,
classmates and even members
of the media.
She talked about her time at
Michigan and how it has made
her into the person that she is
today. She gave all the credit to
anyone and everyone - except
for herself.
And she did it all with a gen-
uine smile on her face.
It's easy to get caught up in
sports sometimes, especially
after a crushing double over-
time loss. It's easy to sit around
and feel bad for yourself and
think about how things could
have been different - how
making one play could have
been the difference.
But for 'Roni' Hicks, she'd
rather take time to thank other
people after her final home
game - take time to realize the
big picture. The loss hurt, but
she'll get over it. Her experi-
ence at Michigan is one that
she'll cherish for the rest of her
life, and she never loses sight of
that.
"It's rough," Hicks said of the
loss. "But I'm very happy, very
appreciativeto have played here
... I'm thankful, and I appreciate
everybody."

Harbaugh comments on coaching jump to NFL

By TIM ROHAN gan," F
Daily Sports Editor at the
*"I look

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - John
peeked over the swarm of media
members, looking for his brother.
Jim was sitting just to John's
right, trying to take in the press
conference from afar.
And once he found him, the
smiling. John went on - about
how Jim Harbaugh didn't need
his older brother's advice about
Jim's unprecedented accom-
plishments at Stanford the past
four years, with the Cardinal's
meteoric rise to the top of college
football.
"He built a family and his fam-
ily ran over people," said John
Harbaugh, the head coach of the
Baltimore Ravens.
Jim decided to start a new
football family, as he left Stan-
ford for the San Francisco 49ers
last month. At the time, Har-
baugh was the hottest coach-
ing candidate in the country,
drawing interest from all over
- including speculation that he'd
return to his alma mater, Michi-
gan.
Michigan wasn't where Har-
baugh wanted to go, though.
"I have great love foi Michi-

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Harbaugh said Thursday was offered the Michigan job.
NFL Scouting Combine. However, back on Jan. 5, during
at Michigan, that was my the press conference announcing
sity. Stanford was my Uni- Rich Rodriguez's firing, Michi-
too ... Both would've been gan Athletic Director Dave Bran-
ptions. don said he thought Harbaugh
a lot of levels, I wanted to would ultimately end up in the
coach at Michigan, coach NFL.
nford. Ultimately, there Who would blame Harbaugh
level where I wanted to for going, Brandon opined -
in the National Football especially with wealthy NFL
- the highest level of owners chasinghim?
News broke of Harbaugh's
five-year, $25 million contract
On a lot of with San Francisco just four
days after Brandon made those
els I wanted remarks.
For Baalke and the 49ers,
do it - coach they reached out to Harbaugh
when he did come available -
M ichigan." and there was mutual interest.
"What we basically did was
we laid out our philosophy and
our vision," Baalke said. "We
I. And that challenge, that were as honest as we could be
itive challenge, was what and gave him plenty ofspace to
d. " make his own decision. For me
n he walks into the 49ers' it was about the fit, getting the
every day, Harbaugh said, guy that wanted to be the head
mbardi Trophies immedi- football coach of the 49ers. It
are him down - that's the wasn't about selling someone
and the challenge he rel- into being that guy.
"So we probably took as laid
Baugh declined to com- back approach as anyone in the
s to whether or not he whole process. We just laid it

out. This is how it is. This is how
we're going to go about building
this franchise and bringing it
back to respectability. And then
it was up to Jim to make his deci-
sion."
The 40-minute drive from
Palo Alto, Calif. to San Franc-
sico may have played a role in the
decision, too. And Jim will have
the chance to compete against
his brother John - the 49ers
and Ravens are scheduled to play
each other next season.
According to Baalke, there's

a reason San Francisco had to
fight off competitors like Denver,
Miami, Stanford and Michigan,
who were chasing Harbaugh
hoping he'd coach their teams.
"I'm just a big believer in pedi-
gree," Baalke said. "Jim's been
a football guy his entire life. He
grew up, obviously his father was
a well-respected coach. He grew
up playing it, grew up wanting
to be a coach, started coaching
while he was still playing.
"He's a football man. He loves
the game, has a great respect for

the game. And I think that's the
passion that I saw in him dating
back to when I ran into him at the
All-Star games. I just had a really
good feel that he'd be successful."
Michigan eventually hired
Brady Hoke, formerly of San
Diego State, with hopes of turn-
ing around a program that fin-
ished 15-22 in three seasons
under Rodriguez.
As for what Harbaugh thinks
of Hoke:
"Great coach, class guy," he
said.

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DARRON CUMMINGS/AP

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh agreed to a five-year, $25 million contract last month.

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