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February 26, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-26

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8 - Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 0

8 - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Playoff picture will
be an uphill battle
for the Wolverines

Sophomore point guard Trey Burke is averaging less than two turnovers per game while averaging almost seven assists a game, good for seventh in the nation.
ehinday Burk
M i i
iC Pe R R R11 y

Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's bas-
ketball team just finished its
toughest two-game stretch this
season - at home against then-
No. 24 Nebraska and at then-No.
7 Penn State in the span of four
The Wolverines fell short in
both games to end their season
1-4 against
ranked oppo- NOTEBOOK
nents. Their
lone win came at then-No. 13
Purdue on Feb. 10.
Losses to the Lady Lions and
the Cornhuskers leave Michi-
gan (8-6 Big Ten, 19-8 overall) in
sixth place in the Big Ten, only
one game behind fourth-place
Illinois. The Wolverines need
to place no lower than fourth in
order to earn a first-round bye in
the Big Ten Tournament.
"We just had to play the top
two teams in our league back to
back, and that's very difficult,"
said Michigan coach Kim Barnes
Arico. "We obviously want to be
one of the top teams, and in order
to be the top, we have to beat the
Michiganhas two more games
to play, one at home against
Northwestern (5-9, 13-14) and
one on the road against Ohio
State (4-9, 14-12). With two mid-
dle-of-the-pack opponents on
the horizon, the Wolverines still
need help to earn their bye.
"We better finish strong,"
Barnes Arico said. "I just think
(Penn State and Nebraska) set
the bar and hopefully our kids
see that if you want to be at the
top of our conference, this is
where we have to be."
Michigan State (8-5, 20-6) sits
a half-game above Michigan in
the fifth spot with three games
to play. The Spartans still have to
face the Buckeyes and No.25Pur-
due on the road before returning
home to face Wisconsin. Illinois
(9-5, 16-10), which the Wolver-
ines beat earlier this season, still
has the Boilermakers and Ohio
State on its schedule.
Senior forward Kate Thompson
has had a roller coaster of a sea-
son. Most recently, against the
Lady Lions, Thompson exploded
for a career-high 25 points and
grabbed six rebounds, though
she committed a team-high six
Behind Thompson's offensive

outburst, Michigan was able to
stage a .rally on Sunday - get-
ting to within four points on a
3-pointer from senior center
Rachel Sheffer - but neither
team scored for four minutes
before Penn State rallied to push
its lead to nine.
"I liked our fight, and I liked
how we came back," Barnes
Arico said. "We're happy with
our fight, but we would've liked
to come away with a victory."
Thompson's season has had
its ups and downs. The first-time
starter averages a team-high 15.4
points per game, but her shoot-
ing has been streaky. At one
point, Thompson was first in the
nation with 3.96 3-pointers per
game, but her shooting percent-
ages have fallen, and she now
averages 3.7 triples per game on
42-percent shooting from behind
the arc.
"It's important not to put too
much emphasis or overthink
things," Thompson said. "We had
to come out (against Penn State)
and get the win, but we couldn't, *
but now we have to move on."
Thompson holds program
records for most career 3-point-
ers as well as 3-pointers ina sea-
son. She currently has 101 this
year, becoming only the fifth
player in Big Ten history to hit at
least 100 in aseason.
ward Nya Jordan has recorded
six double-doubles this season,
including a 14-point, 10-rebound
performance against Penn State
on Sunday. She's scored in dou-
ble digits in six straight games,
the longest streak of her career.
Jordan has been a huge asset
for the Wolverines this season.
She made her way into the start-
ing lineup six games into the sea-
son and hasn't budged from the
spot since. Jordan leads the team
with 7.3 rebounds per game,
while also adding 8.1 points on
50-percent shooting. S
The forward played 40 min-
utes against the Lady Lions,
marking the first game in her
career that she played the entire
"What really helped us
(against Penn State) in the sec-
ond half was that we started
making shots," Thompson said.
"Nya got to the basket and that
was a (huge) part of it."
Jordan also had a huge pres-
ence against Nebraska, when she
scored 12 points and grabbed a
career-high 16 rebounds.

Daily Sports Editor
The number everyone wanted
to talk about after the Michigan
men's basketball team's 71-58 win
over Illinoiswas 1,000.
That's how many points soph-
omore point guard Trey Burke
surpassed with a second-half free
throw, becoming just the seventh
Wolverine to reach the milestone
as a true sophomore. Burke fin-
ished with 26 points, giving him
1,013 career points, and eight
assists. But it's another number
that often draws a lot less atten-
tion and what makes Burke so
importantto his team: one.
For the seventh time in 14 con-
ference games (his zero-turnover
outing last Sunday against Penn
State), Burke turned the ball over
only once on Sunday. He's had
three-plus turnovers in just three
Big Ten games, giving him an eye-
popping 1.6 turnovers per game
against opponents from the best
conference in the nation.
"He'sjust really a special player
and we just love what he's brought
to the team," said Michigan coach

John Beilein. "His handle is so
sure, even in crowds. He doesn't
try to do too much, either.
"His combination ofbeing both
a playmaker and a shooter and

ines lead the nation in turnovers
per possession, turning the ball
over just 14.6 percent of the time.
Burke, Michigan's primary ball
handler, is essentially the Wol-

scorer has been
ranks 11th
in the coun-
try at 6.9
assists per
game but of
the 10 play-
ers ahead of
him, none
turn the ball
over less
than twice
per game
like Burke doe
for the season),
more than 3.4.
Thanks to B
second in the c
onto the ball, t
9.5 times per g
sin, at 9.4 turn
better, but a big
attributed to ti
ciatingly slow
propensity for I
tempo style of

big for us." verines' sole distributor. After
Burke, no Michi-
gan player aver-
ha dl i ages more than 2.2
"His handle is assists per game.
Burke accounts
so sure. ... H e for almost half of
, the Wolverines'
doesn't try to do 14.7 assists per
too much." e, which puts
too much." Mihigan 51st in
the country. But
thanks to Burke,
the team's 1.57
s (he averages 1.8 assist-turnover ratio is third inthe
while nine average country.
"You have to trust your point
urke, Michigan is guard, and we trust him 100 per-
ountry at hanging cent with the ball and we wouldn't
urning it over just want nobody else," said junior
ame. Only Wiscon- guard Tim Hardaway Jr. "It's
overs per game, is great to have a point guard that
part of that can be makes plays for yourteam and can
he Badgers' excru- go out there and make a play for
tempo. Despite a himself as well."
playing with an up- Burke's consistently efficient
play, the Wolver- numbers don't stop with his

assists and turnovers. He's the
only player in the Big Ten to score
15-plus points in every conference
game (he averages 19.4) and he's
shooting an impressive 48.9 per-
cent from the field on the year.
And as Beilein highlighted fol-
lowing Sunday's win, Burke is
a reliable option from the free-
throw stripe, making him the
prototypical player to handle the
ball with a late-game lead. Even
when trapped or double-teamed,
Burke has proven that he won't
turn the ball over, forcing teams
to send him to the line, where he's
shooting 81.3 percent in confer-
ence play.
Against the Fighting Illini,
Burke connected on eight of his
10 free throws, including a 5-for-
6 stretch with less than two min-
utes remaining to seal the game.
"Here's what I love about Trey:
at the foul line, he's been abso-
lutely terrific," Beilein said. "We
needed to win that game from
the foul line with the way they
can shoot 3s, and he did what he
needed to do then because we
obviously want the ball in his

'M' embraces playoff mentality

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Daily SportsEditor
In a perfect world, the Michi-
gan hockey team wouldn't have
waited until the penultimate
weekend of the regular season to
get its first road series sweep.
But the Wolverines are more
than content with their sweep
over rival Ohio NOTEBOOK
State in Colum-
bus this past
And if there were any ideal
time for Michigan to get hot, it
would be right before the play-
Back in January, Michigan
coach Red Berenson started
preaching the importance of
playing "playoff hockey" to the
Wolverines as a way to try and
break them out of their slump.
Before this weekend, there'
d been glimpses of this mindset
but Michigan still had trouble
putting one full game togeth-.
er, let alone two.Finally, that
changed this weekend,
"I think the thing that we took
a huge step in this weekend was
facing adversity," said sopho-
more forward Andrew Sinelli.
"(Ohio State) would score a goal
and we'd jump right back and
score again. In playoffs, there's
going to be adversity and you
have to know how to face it, so
we're finally starting to figure
that out."

The most notable improve-
ment for the Wolverines was the
lack of a third-period collapse.
In addition to better defensive-
zone coverage, much of the
Wolverines' success in the final
frame of Saturday's game has to
be attributed to freshman goal-
tender Steve Racine, who held
the Buckeyes scoreless.
Without that steadfastness
in net and from the forward
corps which buried the hatchet
on Saturday with three goals,
Berenson believes the weekend
would've had a completely dif-
ferent outcome.
"We saw a little bit of (play-
off hockey) but we're not there
yet," Berenson said. "We played
in two close games. If you had
to put the whole weekend in
perspective, you'd say the third
period on Saturday decided the
weekend. That was good."
The Alex Guptill who played
this weekend was a far cry from
the Alex Guptill who played for
the Wolverines a few months
The sophomore forward is
coming off two ga-ahead goals
against the Buckeyes and was
named CCHA Offensive Player
of the Week on Monday - a
complete turnaround for some-
one who was a healthy scratch
in December for having a less-
than-desirable work ethic and a
poor approach to the game.

"The attitude goes along
with your play," Berenson said.
"We've been after him to work
harder. You can have talent, but
you have to work hard and play
the whole game."
As the coach explains, some-
one like Guptill might play for
around 20 minutes a game, but
only have possession of the puck
for 30 seconds. It's what a play-
er does with the 19-and-a-half
minutes that he doesn't have the
puck that makes him a better
hockey player.
"You've got to be working in
our zone, in their zone ... tak-
ing care of business and being a
complete player," Berenson said.
"That's what we try to do with
all our players. (Guptill) has
been challenged this year, and I
think he's getting some of that."
hasn't always been a consistent
presence in Michigan's lineup,
appearing in just 16 of 32 games.
But Berenson's gamble to play
him in place of senior Lindsay
Sparks paid off on Saturday
night when Sinelli's snipe from
the circle gave the Wolverines a
comfortable two-goal lead over
the Buckeyes.
"I think (I just fed) off the
energy from everybody," he
said. "My goal was pretty lucky
to be honest," he said. "The
goalie just misplayed it, and I
was fortunate to get the puck in
the net."

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