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March 17, 2014 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-17

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

March 17, 2014 - 3B

'M' takes 33rd at NCAAs

By JAKE LOURIM
Daily Sports Writer
Maya Long had been to the
NCAA Indoor Track and Field
Championships before - in fact,
the sophomore was the only
repeat member of the Michigan
contingent.
But before she even received
the baton to start her leg of the
distance medley relay, she knew
this time would be different.
The defending national
champions in the relay finished
fifth to head the Wolverines'
33rd-place effort at the indoor
championships in Albuquerque,
N.M. Sophomore Cindy Ofili
added three points with a fifth-
place finish in the 60-meter
hurdles as Michigan tied with
Akron with seven points.
Last season, Long was a
freshman on a distance medley
team that consisted of two
seniors and a junior. That team
finished the final race in 11:14,
a second and a half ahead of
second-place Villanova.
This time, Long - who runs
a 400-yard dash for the second
leg - was surprised.
"There was so much traffic
getting the baton, everyone
came in pretty close," Long said.
"It was a lot different from last
year, when we were getting the
baton and not having to worry
aboutany collisions or anything.
(Freshman Jaimie Phelan) came
in with a big group of girls, and
it was hard to see."
The first time Long tried
to grab the baton, she missed.
Then, she turned around and
got it without dropping it,
ending her leg with Michigan
in ith.
Still, the Wolverines matched
their fifth seeding. Phelan
finished her opening leg in
seventh, and then after Long,
sophomore Danielle Pfeifer and
junior Brook Handler carried
the team from 11th to fifth.
"We always go into it with
the thought that if things fall

Sophomore CindyOfii helped lead Michigan by taking fifth in the 60-meter hurdles, setting a personal record.

in place, we can win it," said
Michigan coach James Henry.
"Competing at a high altitude
took an effect on everybody,
but at the same time, they were
young. You just don't know what
to expect from the kids. They
just didn't get overwhelmed and
held to their rankings, and that
was a good accomplishment."
The top-eight finish meant
the four
members
.earned All-
American "You jU
honors, despiteJ
forming ateam know
that replaced
three runners expec
from last year.
Ofili finished the I
the 60-meter
hurdle prelims
in 8.09 Friday
night, qualifying her for the
finals Saturday. She set a
personal record with an 8.07
in the finals, edging out her
previous record of 8.08 at the
Big Ten Championships last
weekend.

"To me, I just love
championship season," Ofili
said. "I have a lot of confidence.
... My focus is ridiculous - I
have to stay focused on my race
and nobody else's. I've been
working a lot on my start. It's
improved from last year, which
has helped me a lot, but it still
has a long way to go."
Ofili, running in her first
national
collegiate
race,
ist don't admitted she
was a little
what to awestruck
by the
't from atmosphere
at first. In her
kids." preliminary
run, she was
caught off-
guard by
the first hurdle. However, she
calmed herself down for an All-
American finish in the finals.
In the. finals, she was
outpaced by just four seniors
and a junior and was one of two
underclassmen in the finals. The

sophomore has now trimmed.11
seconds off her time in just four
weeks.
Freshman Erin Finn placed
12th in the 5,000-meter run at
her first NCAA Championships,
earning second-team All-
American honors.
She used a fast start to take
the lead early in the race, but
the pack caught up to her in the
second half.
"That's how she runs - she
takes it, and she goes, and she
doesn't like pacing," Henry
said. "She'll just learn with
experience that there's different
tactics for races. If she had to do
it over again, that's her style,
and we let her do it."
Fifth-year senior pole vaulter
Kiley Tobel finished 15th at 13-9
1/4 feet, earning All-American
honorable mention. She missed
all three tries at 14-1 feet,
leaving her personal record at
13-11 1/ feet.
Tobel was the oldest member
of the Wolverine contingent,
which included two freshmen,
two sophomores and a junior.

Wolverines claim
fourth in Arizona
By NATE CLARK Sophomore Catherine
Daily Sports Write Peters finished in a three-way
tie for 42nd with a final score
In the land of sunshine, the of 231. After shooting an 82 in
Michigan women's golf team the first round and 76 in the
flourished. ' second round, she finished her
The Wolverines finished tied performance with a third-round
with Ole Miss for fourth place 73 including three birdies.
out of 15 teams at the Clover The weekend was not as kind
Cup Invitational in Mesa, Ariz., to senior Alyssa Shimel. Coming
with an overall score of 896. off a career-best performance at
Michigan finished ahead of the Hurricane Invitational, she
top-50 teams UNLV and East placed in a two-way tie for 58th
Carolina after it finished 12th with 235 strokes. She did have
last year. a comeback in the third round,
"It was a solid tournament," however, with 73 shots and four
said Michigan coach Jan birdies, including one on the
Dowling. "We put ourselves in 17th hole.
position to do well after round "She's a tough kid," Dowling
one and I'm proud of the way said of Shimel. "Sheworkedvery
the team handled being in that hard after the second round and
position." can leave Arizona feeling very
Freshman Grace Choi had good about herself."
Michigan's best performance This is the first time in
with a score of 214, two under either the fall or spring seasons
par. She finished in second place that Michigan has placed higher
out of 87 golfers, only one stroke than 10th in any tournament.
behind Notre Dame's Kristina Dowling believes that this
Nhim. Choi's performance tournament's success was a
included a first-round score of good experience for her team
69 with six birdies. and that it will lead to more
"(Grace) played great rounds success going forward.
of golf, especially after the first "We had good patience and we
and second rounds where she played well on the back nines this
finished under par," Dowling weekend," Dowling said. "We did
said. "I think you'll see her name still leave a couple of shots behind
at the top of the leaderboard a that we would like to have back,
lot more going forward." but with a few minor adjustments,
Junior Lauren Grogan also this team has the talent to do
had a strong performance for really, really well."
the Wolverines, tying for 23rd The Wolverines have had no
with a plus-10 226. She shot a shortage of travel this spring
72 in the second round with an season, which so far has included
eagle on the ninth hole. She also trips to Florida and Puerto Rico
eagled in the third round, but in addition to Arizona. Despite
shot an 81. the mileage, Dowling and the
"Lauren had a great second team have been appreciative
round despite 20-30 mile per of the warm weather and good
hour winds," Dowling said. golfing conditions on each of
"Even though her third round these trips.
was not all she had hoped it But for the next two weeks,
would be, she should take a they will have to make do with
lot of positives away from this the seemingly endless cold
weekend." weather in Michigan.

BIG TEN
From Page 1B
sophomore guard Nik
Stauskas, whose jersey was
blood-stained thanks to
scratches on his biceps and
neck.
"They got to all the rebounds,
loose balls first. That's the
reason why they won. ... It's
maybe a little bit of a reality
check."
The loss dropped Michigan
from a near-lock at a No. 1 seed
to a No. 2 seed in the Midwest
region - widely hailed as the
toughest of the four regional
brackets - which would send
the team back to Indianapolis
if it can win its first two games.
The Wolverines will meet
Wofford in their opening round
matchup, with Duke, Kentucky,
Louisville and Wichita State
looming large as potential
roadblocks to the Final Four.
First-half foul trouble put the
Wolverines behind the eight ball
heading into the break, which
was capped by a thunderous
dunk by Michigan State guard
Gary Harris to extend its lead
to 38-29.
After halftime, the Spartans'
(26-8) athleticism picked up
right where it left off. Payne
scored the half's first four
points, one off of a dunk, and
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Dawson poured in t
two buckets, in
monstrous windmi
transition to cap alO-
a 46-29 lead.
"They came out in
half and hit us rid
mouth," said sopho
guard Spike Albrech
After opening
trailing by nine, the'
(25-8) failed to cut
to single digits, str
both offense
and defense
while rotating
through their
pair of foul-
troubled
forwards.
Michigan shot
just 6-of-23
from deep and
a meager 31.5
percent from
the field.
"We just
had a hard time ex
offense," Albrecht
were trying to get t
the paint, but theyd
good job defensivel
walls."
Sophomore gu
Stauskas, whose tw
games against Mich
played a large part
Ten Player of the Y
went quiet after a
half performance.

he ensuing scored 13 points in the opening
cluding a stanza on 3-of-5 shooting from
11 slam in 3-point range, but he was held
-0 run with to just two points after halftime
thanks to a 1-of-8 mark from the
the second field.
ght in the The Spartans' talented trio
more point of Dawson, Payne and Harris
t. did nearly all the damage,
the half scoring a combined 48 points -
Wolverines nearly 70 percent of the team's
the deficit production. After being held in
uggling on check in the first half, Payne
came up huge
in the second
to finish with
"We just had 18 points
and nine
a hard time rebounds.
Dawson and
executing on Harris each
chipped
offense." in with 15
points.
The
officials set
the game's
ecuting on tone early on. Just 75 seconds
said. "We into the game, fifth-year
:wo feet in senior Jordan Morgan picked
did a really up a personal foul and was
y building immediately replaced with
redshirt junior forward Jon
ard Nik Horford, who drew his first foul
o previous two seconds later. After another
igan State foul less than 20 seconds later,
in his Big Horford too was pulled. Morgan
ear award, and Horford each picked up an
solid first- additional foul later in the half,
Stauskas prompting Michigan coach

John Beilein to turn to seldom-
used redshirt sophomore
forward Max Bielfeldt for 12
first-half minutes.
"When I only get to play a
half of basketball, it's kinda
difficult," Morgan said. "I don't
know if it would've been the
same if I could've played."
Bielfeldt held his own on
defense, limiting Payne to
just five points, but his clutch
performance wasn't enough to
soothe over his head coach.
Moments after the midway
point of the half, Beilein picked
up his second technical foul of
the season - his first came eight
days earlier in the team's home
finale against Indiana - after
going at official Mike Kitts.
Michigan, which leads the
nation at just 14.5 fouls per
game, was called for 11 first-half
fouls, as each team played the
period's final eight minutes in
the bonus.
A Wolverine win, which
would've been the program's
first postseason conference
title since the tournament's
inception in 1998, would've
almost certainly sent them to
the No. 1 line in the East bracket.
There, Michigan would've been
handed the region the Spartans
were sent to instead, which is
said to be the easiest of the four
brackets. But the Wolverines
are just fine where they are.

NCAA
From Page 1B
script, and it certainly wasn't
in the cards after sophomore
Mitch McGary underwent back
surgery, sidelining him for the
majority of the season.
But there they were, playing
on the last possible day of the
season in front of a sold-out
Bankers Life Fieldhouse crowd.
Even after the loss, the team
could've taken comfort in the
fact that it already had taken the
regular-season conference title.
But Michigan doesn't look back,
and it didn't have time to harp
on Sunday's loss anyway. Just an
hour after the final buzzer, the
NCAA Tournament bracket was
announced and the Wolverines
had a new focus.
They were selected as a No.
2 seed and will play Wofford
on Thursday, and that's what
they're thinking about.
Even when they've had a
longer turnaround, it has been
the same story. Following any
game, regardless the outcome,
Michigan coach John Beilein
stresses that the team's focus is
on its upcoming opponent, not the
one it just played. Sure, they'll go
back to the game, watch film from
it, but they won't worry about it -
they worry about who's next.
That's part of the reason

Michigan hasn't lost back-to-
back games since February of
last year. The Wolverines don't
get hung up on their defeats they
prepare for their next victory.
No one expectsthem to lose to
No. 15-seeded Wofford, but the
loss Sunday could serve to help
Michigan as it preps.
"It might be good for us in
the end," said sophomore guard
Spike Albrecht. "I feel like we
always get better after a loss, so
I hope that's the case with this
one. ... Obviously, the NCAA
Tournament is no joke, but we
have high expectations for this
team going into thectournament."
This team is not Big Ten
champion anymore, they're just
another team - one of 68 - that
gets to play on, and despite being
slated in a challenging region
that includes the Shockers, Duke
and Louisville, it's not getting
ahead of itself.
"It's fun to look ahead and
see the possible options," said
sophomore guard Nik Stauskas.
"But with the tournament, you
never know. You can't assume
anything. We're just really
focused on this first game."
That's what Michigan did
all season, and it's a motto
that landed it a No. 2 seed
in the tournament. And the
Wolverines have no intention
on changing its one-game-
focused mentality now.

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