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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 7

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The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 7

Recipe for CCHA
run: defense, with
hint of confidence

RUYVALLA Uiy
Freshman forward Kelsey Mitchell fills out her bracket on Selection Monday, which ended with Michigan landing its second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth.
earns its best A seed
ever and wi meet illanova

By LIZ VUKELICH
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan hockey team's
current miracle run through
the CCHA Tournament might
appear like it has come out of
nowhere, but Michigan coach
Red Berenson has seen the Wol-
verines' resurgence coming for a
while.
It all goes back to Michigan's
series against Notre Dame in
February in which the Wol-
verines were outscored 13-8.
Though the Fighting Irish blew
Michigan out of the water, that
was the moment Berenson real-
ized the then-floundering squad
was finallyturningit around.
"We scored eight (goals) and
our power play scored three,"
Berenson said. "We did a lot
of good things. I could see our
team playing better but not good
enough. I think there was some-
thing going on. We weren't that
far off. We just needed to put a
full game together."
Michigan has gone undefeated
since that weekend, riding high
on momentum to its 24th con-
secutive trip to Joe Louis Arena
for the CCHA semifinals.
Junior forward Luke Moffatt
saw the turnaround coming long
before the Notre Dame weekend
- he says it goes all the wayback
to a Dec. 15 victory over West-
ern Michigan. But even though
that 2-0 shutout was the best the
Wolverines had played up to that
point, team chemistry wasn't
quite where it needed to be to
translate into more wins.
"It really just took us longer
than usual this year to come
together," Moffatt said. "We're
just playing more as a team, as a
unit now. Everyone's buying into
the system."
It's certainly easier to main-
tain a positive mentality with a
winningstreak.
At this point, there aren't
many on-ice aspects of the game

that Michigan needs to perfect.
Goaltending is no longer a ques-
tion mark now that freshman
Steve Racine has stepped up
and the defense is finally block-
ing pucks to protect the crease.
All that remains is carrying the
heightened confidence through
Joe Louis Arena - a mentality
that is perhaps the keyto success.
"The big part of the game,
every player will tell you, is men-
tal," Berenson said. "So, what has
changed? It's obviously on the
ice. Part of it might be off-the-
ice determination, frustration or
motivation. That's sports."
All season long, Berenson has
looked to the upperclassmen
- such as senior captains A.J.
Treais or Lee Moffie - to guide
the Wolverines through their
rough patches. But that proved
difficult considering the seniors
themselves were also struggling
to improve individually.
Now, though, Michigan's lead-
ership has worked outthe blipsin
its game and it has started setting
better examples on the ice. That
work ethic has quickly become
contagious.
"You've got to do (work) on
the ice before you're going to get
legitimate confidence," Berenson
said. "Sometimes if you're not
doing it, you see someone else
doing it and that gets you going.
That's what leadership is all
about."
Berenson said he's coached
teams that he never thought
would win another game into
squads he never thought could
lose another game. Right now, he
believes this year's edition of the
Wolverines might shape out the
same way.
The players are starting to see
that, too.
"We're really having a ton
more fun now," Moffatt said.
"Not just because of the success,
but because of the way we're
playing. We're playing for each
other and for the team."

Committee seeds
Wolverines eighth
in Spokane Region
0 along with Stanford
By ALEXA DETTELBACH
Daily Sports Writer
Whatadifference ayear makes.
Last year, the Michigan wom-
en's basketball team entered
Selection Monday unsure of its
fate. This year, the Wolverines
knew they were a lock to dance -
the only uncertainty was whom
they would face.
They didn't have to wait long to
find out.
Less than three minutes into
the ESPN telecast, Michigan (9-7
Big Ten, 21-10 overall) learned
its fate and was awarded an eight
seed in the Spokane Region, tying
a record for the highest seed in
program history. The Wolverines
will face ninth-seeded Villanova
(9-7 Big East, 21-10 overall) on
Sunday at 7:30 p.m. EDT in Palo
Alto, Calif.
"I think that's the earliest I've
ever had a call going to the NCAA
Tournament," said Michigan
coach Kim Barnes Arico. "But
now we know, and we are ready to
face (Villanova)."
The Wildcats finished sixth in
the Big East, a conference Barnes
Arico knows well from her time at
St. John's - she led the Red Storm
to the Sweet Sixteen last season.
In addition, Barnes Arico's St.
John's team beat Villanova three
times in a row, and her last loss to

the Wildcats came in 2009.
"I know a lot about (Villa-
nova)," Barnes Arico said. "Actu-
ally, I just saw a tweet that coach
Beilein was talking more about
the women's game than the men's
game because he's really good
friends with (Villanova coach)
Harry Perretta, too."
Added senior forward Kate
Thompson: "I think Coach com-
ing from the Big East will be an
advantage. She knows how they
play (and) she knows all their
styles. Definitely having coach
Barnes Arico is going to have us
prepared."
But the Wolverines haven't
seen the court in 10 days and still
have five days to go until they play
again. This time off will either be
a blessing or a curse for Michigan,
whose longest gap in games this
season was seven days.
In its game against Wiscon-
sin after the bye week, Michigan
looked sluggish, letting the Bad-
gers rush out to an early 9-0 lead.
The Wolverines were able to claw
back at the end but probably can-
not afford to start slowly in the
tournament.
Michigan has had a season of
streaks this year, but with more
than two weeks off, the Wolver-
ines have the opportunity to start
fresh in the best place to get hot -
the NCAA Tournament. The time
might be a blessing for a team
that has found most of its success
from its starting lineup but has
received little bench production.
"I think the time off actually
benefits us because we play such a
limitedbench," Barnes Arico said.
"I think it gives the kids that play

RUBY WALLAU/Daily
Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico has led Michigan to new heights in her first year.

a lot of time to rest and recover.
(Senior guard) Jenny (Ryan)
played a tremendous amount of
minutes all season long. It gives
her a chance to rest and regroup
and refocus for the tournament.
It's a whole other season for us."
Ryan, who earned third-team
All-Big Ten honors for the first
time in her career, led the team in
minutes, averaging36.9 per game.
Toward the end of the season, she
was often on the court for all 40
minutes, and her fatigue began to
show.
"I think having some time off is
not the worst thing in the world,"
Ryan said. "It gives us a chance
to recuperate, get (our) legs back
under (us) and (time to) work on

ourselves, because during the sea-
son you go from team to team, so
I think it will be good for us espe-
cially offensively.
"I think we'll be fresh. Have
fresh bodies (and) fresh legs. We
look at (the tournament) as a new
season, and I think we'll be ready
to go from there."
A potential second-round
matchup with No. 1 seed Stanford
looms, so a well-rested Michigan
can't get ahead of itself.
"The next couple days is going
to be all Villanova," said senior
center Rachel Sheffer. "Just like
the Big Ten tournament, you play
back-to-back games, so all that
really matters is the next game,
and that's Villanova."

PAUL SHERMAN/Daily
Junior forward Luke Moffatt had three points in a sweep of Western Michigan.

(1) Stanford
(16) Tulsa
(8) Michigan
(9) Villanova
(5) Iowa State
(12) Gonzaga
(4) Georgia
(13) Montana
(6) LSU
(11) Green Bay
(3) Penn State
*(14) CalIPoly
(7) Texas Tech
(10) South Florida
(2) California
(15) Fresno State

2013 NCAA Women's
Basketball Tournament

Spokane Region

S.A For More Information Call (734) 615-6449

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