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November 14, 2012 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-14

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7A - Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Michigan Daily - m chigandaily.com

1A - Wednesday. November 14. 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


Blue blossoms early

Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's and
women's basketball teams have a
lot in common - they both play
in the newly renovated Crisler
Center, they both have play-
ers that can shoot the lights out
from beyond the arc and they
are both coming off seasons that
ended in berths in the NCAA
But unlike the men's squad,
the women's team lacks the ros-
ter depth that helped earn the
men's team the No. 5 ranking to
the season.
The main reason behind the
women's deficiency is something
that is out of the team's hands -
Torn ACL - to be exact.
The bug started early in the
summer when freshman for-
ward Rebecca Lyttle, sopho-
more forward Cyesha Goree and
freshman guard Symone Den-
ham all tore their ACLs.
"Rebecca is not there yet,
but those other two have been
practicing but have been out for.
six months, so obviously their
? conditioning and their touch is
not nearly there," said Michi-
gan coach Kim Barnes Arico on
Oct. 10th. Since then, Goree and
Denham have seen some action
- albeit for 10 minutes of gar-
bage time in the team's exhibi-
tion-game thrashing of Slippery
Rock. In Michigan' s first two
regular-season games, though,
they haven't had any minutes,
and the same holds true with
While that group continues
to rehab and attempt to get back
to near full-strength, junior
forward Val Driscoll and fresh-
man forward Kelsey Mitchell
aren't as fortunate. They both
tore their ACLs within a week

of each(
been de
six mon
"I've ne
(ACL te
more p
it wasa
junior f
fered a
knee th
player t(
A ro
of 15 pl
and thr
lar sea
of thos(
a fr
that we
the be
4 senio
son, ser
and so
The t
man gu
and sen
and Sar
just 19n
ines we
on they

other in August and have the year we were last in the Big
clared done for the sea- Ten last year in rebounding. We
haven't improved our size or our
t's five ACLs in the last athleticism up front, so I know
ths," Barnes Arico said. every single night it's definitely
ver been associated with a concern."
ars). It's a freak thing." Perhaps the biggest loss of
situation became even the three forwards missing
eculiar last week when the season is Kelsey Mitchell,
announced that redshirt who was the runner-up to her
orward Kendra Seto suf- teammate Ristovski in the 2012
n ACL tear in her right Michigan Miss Basketball vot-
at will force yet another ing after averaging 17.3 points,
o miss the season. 14.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and
ster that once consisted 8.1 blocks a game for Sterling
ayers is now down to 12, Heights High School..
ough the first two regu- "We lost a ton of kids this year
son games, only eight with ACL injuries, kids that we
e players have seen the knew we're going to contribute,"
Barnes Arico said.
"Kendra was going to give us
some minutes, Kelsey was going
e never been to give us some minutes, and Val
S with was going to give us some min-
Barnes Arico's attention is
_L tears). It's now drawn towards the healthy
bench players. Players that need
eaky thing. to show themselves in practice,
before getting game action.
"(The bench players) have to
get better. They have to raise
their level of play each and
out the trio of forwards every practice, so that way they
re expected to come off become consistent and that way
nch - starters 6-foot- I feel confident getting them in
r guard Kate Thomp- the game," Barnes Arico said.
nior guard Jenny Ryan "(The second and third bench
phomore guard Nicole players) might be close if they
3 played 37, 39 and 40 can get better each and every
, respectively, against single day."
In addition, the lone While Barnes Arico and her
forward - senior Rachel coaching staff hope that the
- played 32 minutes. bench can play marginal min-
three substitutes, fresh- utes and spark some plays while
ard Madison Ristovski giving the starters a breather,
ior forwards Nya Jordan Ryan is confident that her team-
m Arnold combined for mates will come through.
sinutes, and the Wolver- "We have great players that
re out-rebounded 36-33. now have their opportunity to
number one concern show what they can do," Ryan
year is our rebounding," said. "That's what a team is all
Arico said. "Coming into about."

The seed was planted with
a smile.
Michigan women's bas-
ketball coach Kim Barnes Arico
stood at the podium during Mich-
igan Media Day in October.
With a smile, she answered
about her GREG
team's outlook
and composi- _GARN _
tion. On Women's
With a Basketball
smile, she
questions about the slew of inju-
ries to begin the season and ham-
pered Barnes Arico's capability to
install her a high-tempo offense.
This season had the potential
to become one of the Wolverines'
strongest in recent years, and
Barnes Arico is at the heart of that
The smile - the one you get
when you eat a Zingerman's Reu-
ben or watch videos of kittens on
YouTube - was plastered across
her face. And now that the seed is
planted, she'll have to help it grow.
Barnes Arico has plenty of soil,
water and sunlight to help her first
Michigan team grow. She has a
group of five returning seniors -
three of which return as starters
- to hold her team together. She
also has a core of bench players to
provide the energy to a team that
will grow fast. Led by guard Jenny
Ryan and center Rachel Sheffer,
her squad has the experience to
win close games, like a two-point
loss to Michigan State or a one-
point lossto Iowa last season.
She has her leading point scorer
in Sheffer, and her leader in assists
with Ryan. The two are also her
top two rebounders.
Barnes Arico is also optimistic
because two of Michigan's lead-
ing scorers through two games -
sophomore guard Brenae Harris
and senior guard Kate Thompson
- have unexpectedly stepped up
in the season, even though neither

started a game last season.
With a smile, Barnes Arico
watches her freshman pointguard
adjust to a new style and new level
at the collegiate game. Madison
Ristovski, named Michigan's Miss
Basketball last season for Grosse
Pointe Woods University Ligget,
adds to a loaded group of guards
and may receive a chance to start.
Barnes Arico has a system
designed to take advantage of her
guards, a system that moves fast-
er and allows for more shooting
opportunities. Most importantly,
she has a smile that brings a pres-
ence of never-ending enthusiasm
to a team that watched its former
coach leave for home.
"I always have energy," Barnes
Arcio said. "I told the girls after
the first day, 'You might think this
is the energy that I'm only going
to have on the first day and it's not
going to be here everyday, but this
is who I am and this is how I'll be
every single day.' I think it's really
important that I act the same way
all the time."
But a seed must also endure
flooding rains, the wind and of

course the dreaded squirrels.
The Big Ten flood of talented
teams has rarely been a warm
or hospitable welcome to a new
coach, and will challenge Barnes
Arico early. The wind of a fast,
new system could wear down a
team that will be running up and
down the court more often than
before. Centers like Iowa's Mor-
gan Johnson will dominate in
the post over a lineup that lacks
height. But the seed, with that
smile, is also a reason to be excited
for Michigan. Barnes Arico, in her
16th season, comes from St. Johns
after leading the Red Storm to a
Sweet 16 berth and a24-10 record,
knowinghow to build a program.
And the players are aware of
her record.
"It takes about a half second
to understand that it's a program
that works," Ryan said. "It's a phi-
losophy that works. You can't go
against tradition and history and
stats and that's what the has."
But Barnes Arico still has that
smile now. And as her enthusiasm
grows, your enthusiasm may, too.
It's growing on me at least.

,Breakdown: Guards will lead injury-riddled Michigan roster

Daily Sports Writer
The 2012 edition of the Michi-
gan's women's basketball team
is small but fast, with an ability
to score from all over the court.
Here's a breakdown of this sea-
son's squad:
GUARDS: Coming into the fall
the starting point guard position
was the most uncertain for the
Wolverines. Michigan coach Kim
Barnes Arico continuously says
it's "point guard by committee"
for her team, splitting minutes
between senior Jenny Ryan, soph-
omore Brenae Harris and fresh-
man Madison Ristovski.
In the first game of the season
against Detroit, Harris started at
point guard with Ristovski com-
ing off the bench. Ryan is a four-
year starter at the shooting guard
position and looks to be the Wol-
verines' most valuable offensive
"What I'm trying to do is put
people in their best positions to
be successful," Barnes Arico said.
"Brenae and Madison are both
young kids who haven't experi-
enced the game at the highest

"I don't know if I want to throw
them into the fire so to speak, but
we have Jenny (who) is more expe-
rienced, so we are giving (Harris
and Ristovski) an opportunity to
play the position and kind of get
everything comfortable."
. With the point guard position
still in rotation between Harris
and Ristovski, the Wolverines
have relied on Ryan to help carry
the load.
"I was really impressed when I
was looking over the stats last year
and saw Jenny Ryan's assist to
turnover ratio and she didn't run
the point," Barnes Arico said. "She
always (has) a way to get everyone
After the three strong guards,
Michigan also has sophomore
Aquashia Anderson and injured
freshman Symone Denham on the
FORWARDS: The Wolverines
have been plagued by injuries at
the forward position, but senior
Kate Thompson leads the group of
healthy players.
In her first two games as a
starter, she's second on the team
in scoring with 16 points per game
while going 8-for-14 beyond the
arc. Thompson's ability to hit the

Goree and freshman Rebecca Lyt-
tie, both of whom tore their ACLs
over the summer.
Freshman Kelsey Mitchell also
tore her ACL and will not return
this season.
CENTERS: Senior Rachel Shef-
fer leads this group with her
imposing 6-foot-I presence. Shef-
fer - last season's leadingscorer -
is Michigan's best offensive threat.
"I have to get (Rachel) touches
when she's face up," Barnes Arico
said. "I'm not going to go against
the strengths of our team. That's
why in the beginning of (our first)
game we ran a lot of stuff for
Rachel to face up and I think she'll
be a mismatch for some of the
slower, bigger kids.
She is a difference maker, (and)
when the going (gets) tough, she is
After having just two double-
doubles all of last season, Shef-
fer already has one through two
Behind Sheffer, though, the
Wolverines are thin *at center.
Junior Val Driscoll tore her ACL
over the summer and redshirt
junior Kendra Seto was ruled out
for the season last week for the
same ACL injury.

outside shot has made her an irre-
placeable scorer to the offense.
"Kate Thompson is one of our
best shooters," Barnes Arico said.
"She is (also) really aggressive on
the glass.
"I think because of that she
(has) brought a dimension to our
team that has stood out, and that
is rebounding."

Michigan also looks to sopho-
more starter Nicole Elmblad.
Despite playing guard in high
school, Barnes Arico has played
Elmblad at the small forward posi-
tion because of her rebounding
ability and because of the team's
injuries. Though she's only 5-foot-
11, Elmblad is second on the team
in rebounds with six per game.

After Elmblad, the Wolverines
have seniors Sam Arnold and Nya
Jordan off the bench.
"Sam is one of our biggest post
presence," Barnes Arico said.
"(And) Nya Jordan is probably one
of our most athletic kids. She is a
tremendous rebounder."
The forward position is round-
ed off with sophomore Cyesha

The Daily women's basketball
writers do their best
to predict what will happen in
the world of college
basketball this season.



Michigan regular-season record
Big Ten champion
Big Ten second place
Big Ten third place
Big TenMVP.
Big Ten Coach of the Year
BgTen susprise team
Michigan MVP
National Player of the Year
Michigan's season ends here
NCAA Final Four

Penn State
Tayler Hill, Gsard, Ohio Stale
Coquese Washington, Penn State
Jenny Ryan
Brittney Grnser, Baylor
Sweet 16

Penn State
AlesBentley, Guard, Penn State
.ae Thompson
NCAA Second Round
Notre Dame

Penn State
Matt Bollant, Illinois
Sweet 16
Notre Dame

Penn State
Sharon Versyp, Purdue
NCA A First Round
Penn State
Notre Dame


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