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January 20, 2012 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-20

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7 - Friday, January 20, 2012
Wolverines tame 'Cats

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Michigan gets first look at Notre
Dame's new Lefty Smith Arena

Daily Sports Writer
EVANSTON - Walking into
Welsh-Ryan Arena, the old-
school wooden bleachers and the
one side of actual stadium seats
gave it the look of a high school
Coinci- MICHIGAN 58
dentally, N'WESTERN 48
the first
half of the Michigan women's
basketball game against North-
western looked just like that - a
high school ballgame.
The score was 24-15, but that
wasn't even the big story of the
first half. The Wolverines played
one of their worst halves of the
season, shooting 26.7 percent
from the field, but were able to
take a nine-point lead into half-
time because of its stingy defense
and ability to drain 3-pointers.
But coming out after halftime,
the Wildcats looked like a dif-
ferent team. Northwestern lim-
ited itself to just eight turnovers,
while shooting 50 percent from
behind the arc - compared to 11.1
percent during the first half.
At one point midway through
the second period, the Wolver-
ines led by as many as 12 points,
but Northwestern went on a
12-2 run to cut the deficit to two
points. Their run consisted of
four straight 3-pointers while
Michigan only got a lay-up from
junior forward Sam Arnold.
Junior center Rachel Shef-
fer, who went scoreless in the
first half, stepped up late in the
second half. She knocked down
a 3-pointer to give Michigan a
34-30 lead with 11:36 left, slow-
ing down a stampeding North-
western team. Sheffer's offensive
production didn't stop there.

Junior center Rachel Sheffer led Michigan with 12 points against Northwestern.

During the next possession she
split a pair from the charity
stripe, and then drained another
layup two possessions later.
"I started out slow but I knew
I needed to come back out in the
second half and go at it," Sheffer
said. "We switched it up in the
second half and threw a lot of dif-
ferent offenses at them."
Sheffer finished with a team-
high 12 points and also added
five rebounds and two steals. The
second-half switch allowed Shef-
fer to play more on the perimeter,
and use her speed to beat North-
western center Dannielle Dia-
mant to the basket.
The late push was accompa-
nied by a surge from the bench.
Arnold, Sheffer's backup, came
in and found success in the post
against Diamant. Though Shef-
fer struggled scoring in the paint,
Arnold used her 6-foot-4 body to
her advantage and finished with
nine points.
"Down around that block I

thought (Arnold) did a great job,"
said Michigan coach Kevin Bors-
Defensively, Michigan did just
what Northwestern tries to do.
The Wildcats have three play-
ers - Diamant, junior forward
Kendall Hackney and freshman
guard Morgan Jones - that aver-
age a combined 43.6 points per
The Wolverines held the trio
to 39 points. But more impor-
tantly, Michigan limited them to
a mere 41-percent shooting per-
centage. Though Northwestern
isn't one of the strongest teams
in the Big Ten, any road win is
important, and senior guard
Courtney Boylan recognized the
significance of the victory.
"Every game in the Big Ten is
a big win, that's how we see it,"
Boylan said. "So when we pre-
pare for a team, there's not one
opponent that we see as being a
bigger win than another because
every team is so good."

Daily Sports Editor
Ask Michigan coach Red
Berenson aboutLefty Smith - the
father of the Notre Dame hockey
program - and he'll speak like
he's known
Smith since Michigan at
birth. Though
Smith passed Notre Dame
away earlier Matchup:
this month, Michigan
Berenson's 14-8-4; Notre
recounting Dame 13-8-3
of his vibrant When: Friday,
memories of Saturday
the man who 7:35 P.M.
brought hockey Where: Lefty
back to South Smith Arena
Bend makes TV/Radio:
you feel as ifyou NBC Sports
knew him.
Though 25
years have passed since Smith's
time at the helm of the program,
his name hasn't left it. He served
Notre Dame diligently as the
facility manager of the arena until
mere weeks before his death - a
father figure caring deeply for
the brand-new rink that bears his
Nobody dared tell Smith to
Today, the Notre Dame pro-
gram starkly contrasts the one
he started. No longer is it housed
in a shoddy multipurpose venue,
which Berenson said was a "det-
riment" for the Fighting Irish. In
its stead sits the newest arena in
college hockey, a gem of a build-
ing where the Wolverines will be
tasked with winning two tough
games this weekend.
"When we watch tape, we see

the inside of the (arena)," Beren-
son said. "It looks like a nice rink
- I've heard it's really nice. Good
for them, it's about time."
Within its confines plays the
CCHA's best power-play unit.
And as the current state of the
Notre Dame program contrasts its
humble roots, the Fighting Irish
man advantage makes the Michi-
gan power play look even more
abysmal. Since the Wolverines
capitalize just 10 percent of the
time, there's no question which
team needs to stay out of the box.
Berenson always stresses that
special teams can decide a criti-
cal road series. The trip to South
Bend should be no exception.
"They play an aggressive style,"
Berenson said. "They take penal-
ties. That's how they play. Hope-
fully, we can make them pay."
The Wolverines haven't been
making any teams pay for their
trips to the box lately. And though
Berenson says his special teams
units are "improving," Michigan
hasn't notched a power-play tally
in the first two series of 2012. But
with some significantly improved
attacking-zone passing, it doesn't
feel as far away as it once did.
When the Wolverines are
shorthanded - something Beren-
son wants to limit to two or three
times per game - they would be
happy to continue exactly what
they did on their Ohio swing. In
the Michigan sweep, the Buck-
eyes had eight opportunities and
scored just once, their lone goal of
the weekend.
"We can't take six or seven
penalties in a game," Berenson
said. "That's what we were doing
in the early part of the season. We

wantto get in an honestgame and
... hopefully, we can handle that."
The penalty-kill unit relies sig-
nificantly on its senior leaders,
who are expected to get the puck
out of danger - and fast.
"We did a much better job
(against Ohio State)," said senior
defenseman Greg Pateryn. "The
penalty kill's an opportunity for
us to get some momentum in
the game and take it away from
For him, it's all about the posi-
tioning of sticks and of bodies.
Pateryn's never been afraid to end
up black-and-blue, so long as a
passing or shootinglane is erased.
And that grind is notoriously
more difficult away from Yost
Ice Arena. Berenson says it takes
confidence and leadership to win
on the road. But major road games
have a tendency to build on each
other, which can either propel a
team up the standings or bury it.
Berenson couldn't be more thank-
ful it became the former for the
"I thought we started to build
at Alaska, and then we got better
at Michigan State, and we're bet-
ter now," Berenson said. "It's not
one big thing (that causes road
success), it's alot of little things."
By continuing to build on those
little things, whether it's sacrific-
ing the body in the name of pen-
alty killing or avoiding a needless
penalty, Michigan could hold the
trump card in South Bend.
Berenson will gaze around the
Lefty Smith Rink as he shuffles to
the bench thisweekend. He won't
mindhis players doingthe same -
as long as it's not from the penalty

Men's basketball heads south to
Arkansas for non-conference tilt

'M' wins on late push

Daily Sports Editor
Considering that two of the
Michigan men's basketball
team's three wins away from
Crisler Center have come below
the Mason-Dixon Line, there are
worse places
for Michigan aa: i, a
to play a game MIhiIaft
this weekend Arkansas
than Fayette- Matchup:
ville, Ark. Michigan 15-4;
The Wolver- Arkansas 13-5
ines (5-2 Big
Ten, 15-4 over- when: S P
all) have yet to
win a true road Where: Bud
game, but they Walton Arena
will be looking TV/Radio:
for their first CBS
when they head
to Bud Walton Arena to take on
Arkansas for their only non-
conference game during Big Ten
"There's not anything more
significant than just staying
the course and trying to win as
many as you can," said Michigan
coach John Beilein about playing
on the road. "We've got to play
the best we can and we have to
win several. But which two are
important, I can't tell you. Some
are more important than others.
"I do know that it's usually
very good if you're going to get
into the NCAA Tournament,
winning on the road is usually
very important. Teams have got-
ten in without being real suc-
cessful. I prefer to be successful
on the road."
The Wolverines are spending
their weekend off from Big Ten
play differently than most other
teams in the conference do when
they get a break from the confer-
ence schedule.
Instead of using its bye week-
end to get rested and gear up for
trips to Purdue and Ohio State
next week, Michigan is headed
south to take on the Razorbacks,
who have yet to lose at home this
Arkansas (2-2 SEC, 13-5
overall) has been playing well
despite losing its leading scorer,
Marshawn Powell, for the sea-
son to a knee injury in Novem-
ber. Underclassmen guards B.J.
Young and Mardracus Young
have picked up the scoring bur-
den since then. Both are shoot-
ing over 40 percent from behind

.ily Sports Writer
EVANSTON - It was a tale of
two halves.
Northwestern began the
game on a 6-0 run and made
the Michigan women's basket-
ball team look like just another
mediocre Big Ten team that
couldn't win on the road. The
Wildcats seemed to have all the
momentum as shots weren't
falling for the Wolverines.
Eighteen turnovers later, it
was a completely different story.
Michigan (4-2 Big Ten, 15-4
overall), led by an outstanding
defensive effort by junior guard
Jenny Ryan, forced seven turn-
overs and kept Northwestern off
the scoreboard for the last 8:02
of the first half.
The Wildcats (2-4, 12-7)
looked like they wanted to give
the game to the Wolverines,
committing 18 turnovers in the
first half alone.
But Michigan's shooting woes
kept it close. The Wolverines
shot an abysmal 27 percent in
the first stanza, converting on
just eight of 30 shots. Junior
forward Rachel Sheffer - who
has held the hot hand in Michi-
gan's past few games - came up
empty, and none of the bench
players provided a spark for the
Neither team capitalized on
its chances, and by the end of the
first half, the score was 24-15,
"We really started slow," said
Michigan coach Kevin Borseth.
"It was very lethargic. We just
couldn't get anything going, we
couldn't find any rhythm at all.
You want to be able to steal the
ball and go down and lay it in
(and) we didn't get alot of those
Northwestern coach Joe
McKeown agreed, saying that
turnovers and low shooting per-

cencage were the two big prob-
lems in the first half.
But the second half was dif-
ferent, as the Wolverines heated
up and went on to win 58-48.
Northwestern did a better
job protecting the ball and went
on a 9-0 run early in the second
half to closethe gap to one point.
It seemed like the Wildcats
were going to keep the game
close, but Michigan responded.
The Wolverines looked to their
bench for a spark, and this time
it worked.
Redshirt sophomore Kendra
Seto, on defense, and junior for-
ward Sam Arnold, on offense,
were the two key players for
Michigan. Arnold continued her
hot streak, shooting 4-for-9, and
Seto had seven rebounds to limit
Northwestern's second-chance
"I think our defense did a
good job getting some turnovers
that really enabled us to get to
the free throw line and get some
things happening for us," Bors-
eth said. "I thought (Kendra) did
a great job giving us a lift on the
defensive end of the court. She
had six (defensive) rebounds
(which were) pretty key."
Once the defense was in place
for the Wolverines, and unfor-
tunately for Northwestern -
who couldn't seem to hit shots
when it needed them most - the
Michigan offense followed suit.
Sheffer heated up and finished
4-for-9 on the night, and senior
guard Carmen Reynolds, who
hasn't been a factor lately, hit a
couple of key 3-pointers down
the stretch.
The difference, Borseth said,
was the energy the team played
with in the second half.
"Our kids really played hard,
(and) I thought that was the key
for us," Borseth said. "We played
extremely hard with a ton of
energy and togetherness ... and
we needed to."

Michigan coach John Beilein and the Michigan basketball team have yet to win their first true road gawe of

the arc, which is better than any
of the Wolverines' marks. Senior
guard Zack Novak has Michi-
gan's highest 3-point percentage
at 37.5 percent.
But the Razorbacks ran into
a brick wall when they went to
Rupp Arena on Tuesday and
were blown out by No. 2 Ken-
tucky, 86-63. Arkansas was
out-rebounded by 15 and was
no match for Kentucky's size
down low. Freshman sensation
Anthony Davis dominated the
Razorbacks all night, putting up
27 points, 14 rebounds and seven
"We've got to get this taste
out of our mouth," Arkansas
coach Mike Anderson told the
Arkansas Traveler after Tues-
day's loss. "It's got to hurt 'till
midnight. We'll turn our atten-
tion to get ready for a Michigan
team. We've done well at home
so maybe that's what this team
needs - a little dose of home
The Wolverines had dif-
ferent luck on Tuesday. They
took down No. 9 Michigan

State, 60-59, to earn their third
straight win over their in-state
rival. Freshman point guard
Trey Burke vaulted himself
into the national Freshman of
the Year discussion, scoring 20
points on 8-for-11 shooting and
notching the game-winning
assist when he pulled down a
rebound, dribbled the length of
the floor, and dished it to senior
guard Stu Douglass for the deci-
sive layup with 35 seconds left.
Anderson, however, is con-
cerned with the rest of the Mich-
igan backcourt.
"They have size and they have
great players in the (Tim) Hard-
away (Jr.) kid and the Novak
kid," Anderson said. "So we're
going to have our work cut out
for us."
While the non-conference
contest gives Beilein an oppor-
tunity to rest his starters and
tinker with his rotation without
being hurt in the Big Ten stand-
ings, he must also be wary of
how a loss can affect the Wolver-
ines' resume as it looks ahead to
the NCAA Tournament.

On Tuesday, Beilein moved
struggling sophomore forward
Evan Smotrycz out of the start-
ing lineup in favor of Douglass.
Douglass, the Carmel, Ind.
native, responded with nine
points, which included a four-
point play and the game-win-
ning layup.
Smotrycz only saw 10 minutes
and made two of his six shots,
both coming on consecutive
layups off the dribble in the first
"It was two things in mind,"
Beilein said of his decision. "We
want to put our best five on the
floor from the beginning and
most importantly, the guys that
we felt understood our defense,
understood what we were doing
the best.
And Stu is such a great
defender that I wanted him on
the floor from the very begin-
ning. We hadn't had a good start
against Northwestern, we hadn't
had a good start against Iowa.
We just said, let's change this up
and let them match up with us a
little bit."

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