The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 5A
11M' accomplishes in tourney
The Michigan women's
basketball team defeated
Illinois, 68-53, on Thurs-
day in the first round of the Big
Compared to the seventh-
the Fighting LAURILA
Ilini were _
the tenth On Women's
seed and a Basketball
Ten team. In last year's Big Ten
Tournament, Michigan received
a first-round bye and was upset
by bottom-dwelling Illinois in
the second round. The loss was
a fatal blow because it practi-
cally ended any NCAA Tourna-
ment hopes the Wolverines had.
Like last year, Michigan is
currently on the NCAA Tour-
nament bubble, and yet again,
it faced a similar scenario on
Thursday. But the Wolverines
used a stingy defense and an
efficient scoring attack to eas-
ily handle the Fighting Illini on
Though Michigan went on
to lose to No. 16 Ohio State in
the quarterfinals on Friday, the
major work was already done.
Reaching 20 wins.
Since Michigan coach Kevin
Borseth's arrival in 2007, the
Wolverines have yet to reach 20
wins prior to participating in
the WNIT. Twenty wins doesn't
mean or guarantee anything,
but it's been looming over the
program for a while, specifically
last year when the Wolverines
went 3-3 in the final month of
the season to finish with a 17-13
When Michigan went 9-1 in
the first month this season, 20
wins seemed very reachable.
Even as the season progressed,
the Wolverines won some they
should and lost some they
shouldn't, but the 20-win mark
was always in their sights.
In the final week of the
regular season, Michigan lost
to then-No.22 Purdue in Ann
Arbor and to Iowa on the road.
Winning either of these games
would have given the Wolver-
ines 20 wins on the year, but
they fell just short.
Senior guard Courtney
Boylan has said all season that it
was a goal of the team to reach
20 wins. But the team has also
emphasized focusing on one
game at a time and not looking
too far ahead - specifically,
worrying about numbers such
"Oh, (the win against Illinois)
is huge," Boylan said after the
victory.-"Not just win number
20, but win number one in the
Big Ten Tournament. That's
what's most important right
now. That's what we're most
focused on. It's awesome. A
great team win."
Getting to the 20-win mark is
a big step towards earning the
team's first NCAA Tournament
appearance since 2001, and it's
also a big step for the program.
.Between 1999 and 2001 - the
last stretch that Michigan
appeared in the NCAA Tourna-
ment - a 20-win season'was
simply the standard.
For the current elite pro-
grams in the Big Ten - such
as Purdue, Michigan State and
Ohio State - not making the
20-win mark is considered a
poor season. The Wolverines
have finished with winning sea-
sons in all but one of Borseth's
five years, but a winning record
isn't comparable to a 20-win
Though Borseth has been
at the helm for five years, he
was dealt the daunting task of
rebuilding a faltering program
when he took the job. Even after
his team finally reached the
mark they had been striving for,
he only looked at Thursday's
game for what it was - a win.
He also understands that when
it comes to the NCAA Tourna-
ment, there are no certainties.
"(Twenty wins) is something
you always shoot for," Borseth
said. "I don't know that it's the
magic number, it's not, but it's
a good number. Better than 19
and better than 17, which we
had last year. But the first win
in this tournament for us is just
absolutely huge to put us on the
right track and get our confi-
Whether Michigan has done
enough to earn its first NCAA
berth in 11 seasons remains to
be seen. But with 17 wins last
year, the Wolverines thought
they might have done enough
for a spot in the field-of-66.
When Selection Sunday came
and went, and Michigan didn't
receive a berth to dance, it went
back to the drawing board to
prepare for the WNIT invita-
tion it received.
NCAA Tournament bid or
not, the 20-win benchmark
is a big step for the women's
program. Borseth was talk-
ing about how the win against
Illinois got Michigan back on
track for the season, but the win
really got the program back on
track - period - and might be
enough for the Wolverines to
Senior foward David Wohlberg was Michigan's second-leading scorer this season, behind linemate Alex Guptill.
Michigan finishes regular
seaso n wit healthy roster
By EVERETT COOK
Daily Sports Editor
After a grueling regular sea-
son that has spanned more than
five months, an injury on the
ey team would NOTEBOOK
be more than
understandable. But even after
weekend series after weekend
series - 36 games in total - the
Wolverines are unscathed.
There have been minor inju-
ries here and there - senior goal-
tender Shawn Hunwick missed a
game in January - but nothing
major, which isn't just remark-
able, but also pretty lucky.
"Right now, we are healthy,
and we are just touching wood
to stay healthy," said Michigan
coach Red Berenson. "There
have been years when we have
had four or five guys out, but
right now, we are good to go."
Last season, Michigan had
to deal with losing now-senior
forward David Wohlberg for the,
playoffs after he injured his col-
larbone in the quarterfinals of
the CCHA Tournament.
Wohlberg's injury was "a
weird hit on the boards," accord-
ing to junior forward A.J. Treais.
There wasn't much of any-
thing Wohlberg could have done
about it - just the luck of the
This year, Michigan hasn't
done anything different in terms
of strength training or condi-
tioning. Call it luck, call it physi-
cal strength, call it whatever you
- the injury bug has side- things such as changing their
d the Wolverines. sticks or shoelaces every game.
tn though we have a really They take after their coach,
eam, I think that the line- who has only one playoff super-
have in right now is what stition.
'd to win a championship "I usually get a haircut, just a
ake a run," Treais said. playoff haircut," Berenson said.
aving to fill in for some- "And I need one ... but that's it."
pecially one of our better The playoff gods approve -
like Wohlberg, it gives us the program has all but clinched
more comfort." its 22nd straight appearance in
" the NCAA Tournament.
FINDING A SPOT FOR
ROHRKEMPER: After Wohl-
e are healthy, berg got injured last season,
then-sophomore forward Jeff
d w e are just Rohrkemper was forced to step
,jw in, playing in every game all the
way up to the national champi-
ay a y Berenson might be settingthe
junior up to do the same thing
After Rohrkemper played ip
ING SUPERSTITIOUS: As only one game from Nov. 11to
mes become more impor- Feb. 17, Berenson plugged him
he superstitions become into the lineup on Feb. 18 against
ampant. Northern Michigan.
n every single game is Berenson apparently liked
die, the last thing a player what he saw, playing Rohrkem-
to do is upset the hockey per again in the last regular-
season series of the year against
or forward Greg Pateryn Bowling Green.
fit into that category, but Don't be surprised to see him
teammates that do. out there again this weekend.
years past, it would have "I know he has the experience,
Hunwick), but he hasn't and he doesn't look out of place
sat bad this year," he said. right now," Berenson said. "He's
d to wake up at the same in a position where we are seri-
nd eat the same thing ously looking at him playing, and
every game." he should be able to play."
ryn suggested that some Rohrkemper was also just
other players aren't as named to the CCHA scholar-
re as Hunwick, but do athlete team.
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