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February 20, 2014 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-20

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8A -- Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Stats mask frontcourt's defensive struggles

By NEAL ROTHSCHILD
Daily Sports Editor
While the Michigan men's
basketball team has had mixed
results defending opposing big
men this year, the Wolverines
hadn't been exposed this season
quite like theywere byWisconsin's
Frank Kaminsky on Sunday.
Kaminsky scored 25 points on
16 shots along with 11 rebounds
in the 75-62 Badgers win.
Michigan was criticized for
not double-teaming the 6-foot-
11 forward, but the truth of
the matter was that putting an
extra man on Kaminsky meant
leaving another man open. With
Wisconsin's deadly arsenal of
3-point shooters, that would be
just as risky.
"He just dominated," said
Michigan coach John Beilein.
Kaminsky's shooting prowess
also forced Beilein to distribute
minutes unequally among his
forwards - he played fifth-year
senior Jordan Morgan for 29
minutes, while redshirt junior
Jon Horford received just nine.
Horford, while taller, lacks
lateral quickness and the ability

PAUL SHERMAN/Daily
Junior forward Jon Horford (left) and fifth-year senior Jordan Morgan (right) have matched Mitch McGary's numbers, but statistics don't tell the whole story.

Kaminsky scored 14 points
on 50-percent shooting in the
teams' first matchup, Purdue's
AJ Hammons netted 16 'on
50-percent shooting in late
January and Noah Vonleh of
Indiana tallied 10 points on
56-percent shooting along with
12 rebounds a few weeks ago. But
the Wolverines haven'tyethad to
face perhaps the best big man in
the league.
That's Adreian Payne of
Michigan State, who was out with
an injury for the Spartans' 80-75
loss to Michigan on Jan. 22. The
forward averages 16 points and
eight rebounds, and he figures to
give Morgan and Horford all they
can handle on Sunday.
Michigan can tryto neutralize
him with a double team, a
luxury it couldn't afford against
Wisconsin - Michigan State
simply doesn't have the same
caliber of 3-point shooting.
The Wolverines will also hope
the Spartans don't get Branden
Dawson - who reportedly
broke his hand after slamming
his fist against a table during a
film session - back for Sunday's
showdown.
If healthy, his 10 points and
nine rebounds per game at power
forward will make the Michigan
frontcourt's toughest task of the
season even tougher.
BY THE NUMBERS
Jon Hsrlor d
4.9
Points perngame, coming on 60-percent
shooting.'
4.6
Rebounds pergame
14:48
Average minutes per game, splitting
time with Morgan.

to
pu
st'
ml
J

defend on the perimeter, and trying their best," Beilein
atting the onus on Morgan to said. "But (Kaminsky) made some
op the Wisconsin big man for great moves and finished around
ost of the afternoon. the hoop."
"They're going to keep moving Since sophomore forward
Mitch McGary exited the picture
BY THE NUMBERS in late December to have back
lordan Morgan surgery, Morgan and Horford
have been widely praised for
replicating the star's production.
In fact, one coach went so far as to
saythat Michigan is better off the
Points per game, coming on 68-percent way things are now.
shooting. "Once McGary was out and
they knew he was out, and they
could only worry about who
41£they are, not who they could be,
Rebounds pergame. I think that helped them," said
Nebraska coach Tim Miles after
the Wolverines' 79-50 win on
Feb. 5. "Now that the roles are
17:12 identified more clearly, they've
Average minutes per game, splitting just taken off"
time with Horford. However, the notion that

the Wolverines' frontcourt minutes per game.
production has sufficiently That McGary's numbers over
replaced that of their preseason half a game are comparable
All-American is merely a to Horford and Morgan's over
product of 38 minutes
psychological speaks more to
gymnastics. the difficulty
While Morgan "Once McGary of handling
and Horford's McGary's
combined 12 w as out ... I absence than
points and . it does praise
10 rebounds th nk that the production
per game in h of his
Big Ten play helped them . replacements.
align closely Making
with McGary's sense of how
career Michigan has
averages, those statistics fail to done defensively in McGary's
consider the allocation of playing absence is more difficult. The
time. McGary has averaged jury's still out on how well the
20.6 minutes over his career, Wolverines can defend opposing
while the aggregate "Morford" centers.
numbers since the new year While no opposing big men had
have been over the course of 38.1 scored more than 16points against

Michigan in Big Ten play until
Kaminksy's Bill Walton-esque
show Sunday, it's not as if they've
had much trouble scoring against
the Wolverines. Middling centers
like Stanford's Stefan Nastic,
Minnesota's Elliott Eliason,
Northwestern's Alex Olah, Iowa's
Adam Woodbury and Ohio State's
Amir Williams have gone 5-for-6,
5-for-6, 4-for-5, 3-for-3 and 3-for-
4, respectively, against Michigan.
Most of the responsibility
for those performances falls
on Morgan and Horford, but
opposing teams also like to
set screens to force switches
so that the center can attack
sophomore forward Glenn
Robinson III, giving them a
more advantageous mismatch.
Michigan defended the
league's more capable centers
acceptably, but nothing more.

SOFTBALL
Patient Romero paces offense,
best under the most pressure

Freshman attackman Ian King scored two goals as the Wolverines earned a win over in-state rival Detroit Wednesday.
Lacrosse makes history

Set
v
Wit
at the
in P
agains
man I
with
Michi
imme(
he cou
"W
defens
shot
attack
Aft.
stratel
King f
fired
net, so
Herna
on th
he fou
midfie
cockec
a shot
betwe
and p.
the go
The
the Mi
was vi
Detroi
thrille

program record "All week, our coaches
talked about how it was such a
vith two wins big rivalry," King said. "They
expected big things out of us and
By MINH DOAN we delivered."
Daily Sports Writer The win marked a momentous
occasion in program history, as it
:h the hostile away crowd gave the Wolverines more than
Ultimate Soccer Arena one win in a season for the first
ontiac, Mich. cheering time ever.
t him, sophomore faceoff "It's a very important step
Brad Lott won his faceoff for us," Paul said. "Everything
two swipes of the stick. we do is a process and beating
gan coach John Paul Detroit for the first time, getting
diately called a timeout so our second win, going on a win
ld set up aplay. streak and winning a close game
e wanted to move the are all important steps for us."
ie around and get a quick But the win didn't come easy.
off," recalled freshman After leading 8-6 at halftime,
man Ian King. the Wolverines came out of the
er the timeout ended, the gate flat in the second half, and
gy Paul dialed up worked. it showed. The Titans went on to
ound an open look, but he score five of the next six goals to
wide. Standing behind the end the quarter with an 11-9 lead.
sphomore midfielder Mike "It got pretty loud when they
.ndez retrieved the ball made their comeback," Paul said.
e reset and improvised as "It's a very loud place to play and
.nd a streaking sophomore it created some communication
Ider Kyle Jackson, who problems for us."
d back his stick and ripped In years past, Michigan might
t. It threaded the needle have wilted and lost the game,
en two opposing defenders but in a season in which it's
ast the sprawling hand of trying to prove itself as a Division
altender, into the net. I contender, the Wolverines
tally ended the game as showed their resilience by
chigan men's lacrosse team clawing back.
ctorious over in-state rival Behind two goals each from
t, 14-13, in an overtime Jackson and King, the Wolverines
r Wednesday night. went up 13-11 with a little over

four minutes left to play.
But attacker Alex Maini and
midfielder Mike Birney proved
why they're Detroit's two leading
scorers last year and tied the
game. Birney scored with just 33
seconds remaining to send the
match to overtime.
But Jackson's heroics gave
Michigan the landmark win.
While scoring runs finished
the game, a big Michigan scoring
run also started the game. Of the
first nine goals, the Wolverines
put away seven to open up a
commanding 7-2 lead before
Detroit countered with scoring
runs of their own.
"We just came out fired up to
play," King said. "Obviously, it's
a rivalry and we came out ready
to play."
Overall, eight different
Wolverines had points, and six
tallied goals. King led the scoring
with four goals but was quick to
give credit to his teammates for
settinghim up.
"It's a team effort, and I just
puttheball in thebackofthe net,"
Kingsaid. "Don't forget aboutthe
five other players setting me up."
Before the season, the
Wolverines set their sights on the
East Coast Athletic Conference
championship.
With two wins this early in the
season, theyare well on their way
to achievingthat goal.

Sophomore
batting .536
two grand s
By JAKE LOUR
Daily Sports Wri
When sophomore
Sierra Romero came
plate for the first time
against Louisiana-Lafa
team trailed 1-0.
When her team n
she usually delivers.I
on softball's biggests
hit a two-run blast for
runs of the game in IV
lone win of the Women
World Series.
Last Friday, Rome
up to bat with sen
fielder Nicole
Sappingfield
on first base,
hoping to
erase the
deficit. But w
she never got
the chance. a'
Louisiana-
Lafayette ne
gave her
nothing to
hit, and she
walked on four pitches
In the third inning, I
Lafayette walked Rom
In the fifth, with th
runner on, the Ragi:
gave her another free p
In those three
Michigan scored or
and it ended up lo
When Romero got a(
hit in the last two in]
singled, then doubled
Wolverines scoredf
and nearly strung ti
comeback.
"Last weekend, I gt
but just because I w,

star
with
ams
IM
ter
shortstop
e to the
Saturday
iyette, her
eeds her,
Last year,
stage, she
r the only
Michigan's
's College
ero came
ior right

walked a lot doesn't mean that
I wasn't going up there looking
to hit," Romero said Wednesday.
"Anything I get that I think I can
handle, I will take full advantage
of it."
The next day, Louisiana-
Lafayette came back with a new
strategy: don't intentionally
walk Romero. That didn't work
nearly as well.
The Wolverines went on to
win in five innings by mercy
rule, 15-1.
Romero singled and scored in
the first inning, giving Michigan
an early 2-0 lead. The next
frame, she came up with the
bases loaded and hammered her
second grand slam of the season
to break the game open.
"She does a good job of
letting people pitch around her,"

Hutchins said.
"She doesn't go
after too many
"If they're bad pitches. She
understands
ling to give US her part is to
get on base."
free base, we Louisiana-
t. Lafayette
'ed to take it." hasn't been the
only casualty
of Romero's
slugging.
Sunday against Boston College,
Louisiana- Michigan had no hits through
ero again. five innings and trailed 4-0 after
me leadoff five and 4-2 after six. In the top
n' Cajuns of the seventh, the Wolverines
ass. still trailed 4-3 when Romero
innings, stepped in. Down to Michigan's
nly once, last strike, Romero came
sing, 8-6. through, lacing a go-ahead two-
chance to run single into the outfield.
nings, she Through nine games, the
, and the sophomore is hitting a torrid
five runs .536 with three home runs and
ogether a 17 RBI, snore than one per at-bat.
She also has nine walks and a
at walked, .649 on-base percentage.
as getting "Coming into this year,

coacheshavehadachancetoscout
me and go through weaknesses or
how to pitch to me," Romero said.
"Going into last year, I was new,
so they didn't know. This year, I
have to be patient."
When Romero digs in, she
is careful to be patient and not
lunge for the first pitch - even if
it's a strike. That plate discipline
is what puts her on base, even if
the opponents won't throw her
anything over the plate.
"I'm definitely a lot more
picky," Romero said. "I need to
wait for my pitch and be very
selective.
Even though I might only
see one strike, I need to make
sure it's a strike I know I can
do something with. If it's
something I'm not going to
be able to hit to the best of my
ability, I need to be patient
enough to let that go."
Romero also gets help from
good protection in the lineup.
Senior first baseman Caitlin
Blanchard and sophomore
outfielder Sierra Lawrence,
who are both hitting .333,
immediately follow her.
Lawrence hit first-inning grand
slams against Memphis and
Central Arkansas last weekend.
Both slams scored Romero after
the shortstop walked.
"If they're willing to give us
a free base, we need to take it,"
Hutchins said. "If they pitch
around her and she falls for it,
swings at it and gets herself out,
that workws for them. She does
a nice job of making sure people
pitch to her, and when they don't
pitch to her, she knows we'll
make them pay."
The reigning Big Ten Player of
the Year has a strong supporting
cast behind her. But she'll be the
one who continues to pace the
offense - at least when she gets
the chance.

WE LIKE SPORTS. WE DON'T
CARE WHO KNOWS.

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