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January 23, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 7A

'M' struggles from the
field against Lady Lions

PATRICK BARRON/Daily
Freshman forward Mitch McGary has shown an improved shot selection over the last month as the sixth man.
sual sixth man
Mcavgrowing into biger role

By ALEXA DETTELBACH
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's bas-
ketball team has.fallen back to
reality. NOTEBOOK
After win-
ning a pro-
gram-best 10-straight games
- including three in confer-
ence play - the 23rd-ranked
Wolverines were handed their
first loss in conference play last
night in a 59-49 defeat to No. 8
Penn State (5-0 Big Ten, 15-3
overall).
Despite being down by eight
at halftime, Michigan (4-1,
15-3) fought back and grabbed
the lead with 14:10 remaining
in the game. But after a time-
out, the Nittany Lions went on
an 11-4 run that put them up for
good.
"I thought we kind of ran out
of gas a little bit and got care-
less with the ball," said Michi-
gan coach Kim Barnes Arico.
"(Overall) though, it was an off
shooting night."
Calling it "an off shooting
night" is an understatement.
The Wolverines hit a season-
low 27 percent of their shots,
including just 24 percent in the
second half.
"We haven't shot it like
that all year," Barnes Arico
said. "Those shots we missed
are shots we normally knock
down."
Added senior guard Jenny
Ryan: "From my point of view,
I thought every shot was going
in. I can think of three to four.
that were halfway down."
With baskets not falling,

Michigan had to try and make
stops on defense, which it did
until the last few minutes of the
first and second halves.
"(They are) a quality team
and it just works out," Barnes
Arico said. "That's probably
why they are No. 8 and we are
No. 23 at this point, because
they had four more minutes
than we did."
Michigan joined Connecti-
cut as the only teams to hold
Penn State to fewer than 60
points this season.
THOMPSON STRUGGLES
Coming off a strong perfor-
mance against Northwestern
where she hit a program-best
seven 3-pointers, senior guard
Kate Thompson hopped on the
struggle bus against Penn State.
Thompson hit her first two
3-pointers, but ended the night
3-for-14 from beyond the are
with just nine points.
"If Kate's open, she has the
green light to score," Barnes
Arico said. "She's one of thebest
shooters in the country, (but) I
think she got a little frazzled by
them and a little fatigued.
"But if she's not shooting,
then who's making it? They
need to have the confidence
and they need to know that we
believe in them and some nights
are going to be that way."
Thompson has had a season
to remember, averaging 15.4
points per game in her first year
as a starter.
But she has issues eluding
double coverage, and against
Wisconsin last Sunday, Thomp-
son was held without a 3-point-
er for the first time this season.

Her bounce-back game
against Northwestern was her
strongest showing of the sea-
son. It gives the Wolverines
hope that Thompson will find
her shot when they hit the road
to face Indiana on Thursday.
A GRAND ACHIEVEMENT
Amidst the disappoint-
ing loss to the Nittany Lions
on Monday was a bright star:
senior center Rachel Sheffer.
"I thought Rachel did a tre-
mendous job inside and showed
a great toughness about her
tonight," Barnes Arico said.
"She wasn't getting her shots
to fall, but she really did a great
job."
Sheffer ended the game with
20 points and 10 rebounds, her
fourth career 'doubl'e-double.
Her big accomplishment of the
night, however, came eight min-
utes into the second half, when
she went to the line and hit two
free throws for her 999th and
1000th career points.
"It's a great honor, but it's
just one statistic,".Sheffer said.
"You look at (it) maybe 10 years
from now and say, 'Hey, I scored
my 1,000th point."'
Sheffer's accomplishment
is even more impressive con-
sidering the size mismatch
she found under the basket. At
6-foot-1, Sheffer usually finds
herself guarding bigger players.
Penn State's Nikki Greene - at
6-foot-4 - proved to be no dif-
ferent.
"Greene has weight, height,
everything on her and Rachel
really held her own and got her
into foul trouble,".Barnes Arico
said.

By COLLEEN THOMAS
Daily Sports Editor
Redshirt junior forward Jor-
dan Morgan had his hands full
with Minnesota's Trevor Mbak-
we in last Thursday's matchup
between the two top-10 teams.
Morgan was stuffed by Mbak-
we on consecutive possessions,
so Michigan coach John Beilein
immediately looked to the bench
for someone who could keep pace
with the Golden Gophers' aggres-
sive post presence.
Freshman forward Mitch
McGary subbed in for Morgan
and immediately made an impact.
He matched up evenly with
Mbakwe's size and played more
aggressively on defense than the
Wolverines' more experienced.
big man. In Michigan's 83-75 win,
the freshman put up another solid
all-around game with eight points
on 4-of-5 shooting, two rebounds
- both offensive - a blocked shot
and three steals while splitting
minutes with Morgan.
Beilein praised McGary for his
ability to keep pace with Mbakwe
and the freshman's knack for
diving for loose balls, all while
maintaining a high energy level
against Minnesota.
"You have to be physical, you
have to be able to get in those
trenches and get the rebounds,"
Beilein said. "As long as that
motor is running inside."
Though McGary is sometimes
known for his energy that he
brings to the floor - often times
he'll be the first one off the bench
to cheer for a big basket to pump

up the crowd, and he'll sprint
down the floor to get back on
defense - the Chesterton, Ind.
native is growing into a larger
role offensively than just energiz-
ing the team.
Early in the second half of the
Minnesota game, McGary shed a
screen and was open on the elbow
for a jump shot that he sank. Until
recently, the freshman's range
was limited to layups and the
occasional dunk.
"I've been working a lot with
coach Beilein on my 15-foot, mid-
range game,"he said."He's begin-
ning to trust me more to let me be
able to knock down some shots."
. At the beginning of the sea-
son, Beilein was concerned about
McGary's tendency to get in foul
trouble and was working on get-
ting his strength up to par so he
could relieve Morgan.
As a recruit, one of the con-
cerns about McGary was his
weight, and coming into this sea-
son, Beilein wanted McGary to
lose weight and increase muscle
as the season progressed - it was
one of the reasons why McGary
saw limited production early in
the season.
The freshman has gotten
stronger, and even though he still
accumulates his share of fouls,
McGary has seen an increase in
minutes. He's kept his consistent
role as sixth man, usually enter-
ing the game within the first five
minutes, and has shouldered a
majorityofthe reboundingduties.
McGary is second on the team
with 5.7 boards per game, while
Morgan pulls in 5.4 per game.

McGary, who checks in at
6-foot-10, 250 pounds, is more of
the typical big man that Beilein's
systemhas lacked in recent years.
The freshman is two inches taller
than Morgan and has become the
offensive complement to Mor-
gan's strength on defense.
Though both big men are
shooting around 60 percent from
the floor and average around six
or seven points per game, Mor-
gan has remained the starting
big man and McGary his backup.
But with the freshman's success
against some of the Big Ten's
best forwards, there's a possibil-
ity that, later in the conference
slate, Beilein would favor McGary
over Morgan in matchups against
Indiana's Cody Zeller and Michi-
gan State's Derrick Nix because
of his quickness and ability to run
the floor.
But Beilein is adamant that
McGary hasn't reached his full
potential - the coach has been
working with the freshman on
his rebounding and shot selection
and is impressed with his range
and increasing role on defense.
"(His jump shot is) something
he's got to recognize that he really
needs to work on overall," Beilein
said. "He's been working on it,
he's got to continue to work on
it, but to have a big man who can
catch a quick pick-and-roll and be
able to hit it from 15 (feet) is really
important for every team.
"Him and (I) and coach
(Bacari) Alexander spend every
workable hour in the gym. I
think he's playingbigger around
the basket, too."

Senior forward Rachel Sheffer became the 23rd Wolverine to score 1,000 career points on Monday against Penn State.

For the second year in a
row, Biondi named captain

By JEREMY SUMMITT
Daily Sports Writer
On Jan. 15, senior outfield-
er Patrick Biondi was named
captain of the Michigan base-
ball team for the 2013 season,
becoming the fourth Michigan
baseball player to serve as a
two-time captain since the turn
of the 21st century.
"It means a lot because I am
respected by all my teammates
and they trust me," Biondi said.
"Being a captain at this institu-
tion means a lot, especially with
the people that came before me
here."
After earning second-team
All-Big Ten honors last season
and leading the conference with
32 stolen bases, Biondi's team-
mates made a unanimous deci-
sion to designate him as captain
for the upcoming year.
The Wolverines will look for
him to lead the team in several
offensive categories yet again
this season, including stolen
bases, hits (67), runs (44) and
on-base percentage (.408). But
first-year coach Eric Bakich says
talent and experience aren't the

aspects of a player that make a
truly great captain.
"We wanted the best per-
son to lead our team as we go
through this season," Bakich
said. "His strong desire for
Team 147 and to be a champion,
(alongside) the experience that
he has, (made it) an easy deci-
sion for him to be awarded cap-
tain for the 2013 season."
Biondi's commitment to his
team and his personal growth
are evident through his actions
during the offseason. Even
though Biondi was arguably
Michigan's most productive
player offensively last year, he
has some unfinished business to
take care of
"I'm hoping to have a bet-
ter hitting season, and I think
my (offseason) preparation will
allow that," Biondi said. "We are
all just really excited to get to
California and start the season
(next month)."
Biondi and the rest of the
Wolverines' offensive produc-
tion should be much improved
with a bit of offseason prepara-
tion, but even more so through
Bakich's instruction.

Bakich spent seven seasons
as the hitting and outfielders
coach for Vanderbilt from 2003-
10. In his final four seasons with
the Commodores, they finished
in the top three in the SEC in
team batting average. He also
helped lead soon-to-be Big Ten
opponent Maryland to a 15-win
turnaround in his three seasons
with the Terrapins. His recent
success at both Vanderbilt and
Maryland seems to have pre-
pared him well for rebuild-
ing Michigan, and his team is
thrilled to have a highly touted
coach in Ann Arbor.
Bakich might be even more
excited to be with the Wolver-
ines than his players are to have
him.
"My wife and I are blown
away everyday," Bakich said. "I
have never seen a better com-
mitment to the student athletes
and to being the best at every-
thing that exists at Michigan.
It is impressive and inspiring at
the same time."
Bakich and Biondi hope to
instill that fire and inspiration
into the rest of the Wolverine
baseball program.

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