6A - Wednesday, January 8, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
What we learned: First half
Freshman guard Siera Thompson has led all scorers in the Wolverines' past two contests, scoring a combined 38 points.
despite size disadvantage
By ALEXA DETTELBACH
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan women's bas-
ketball team got off on the right
foot Sunday when it traveled to
Columbus and dismantled the
Buckeyes, 64-49, to open confer-
And despite NOTEBOOK
low shooting percentage - 36.2
percent for the game - Michi-
gan (1-0 Big Ten, 10-4 overall)
found its offense from the free-
throw line. The Wolverines made
a season-high 26 free throws and
shot 92.9 percent from the charity
stripe, including a perfect 20-for-
20 in the second half. It was the
third straight win for Michigan,
which will have its first home
game of 2014 on Thursday.
"Anytime you can come to Ohio
and come away with a victory is
terrific," said Michigan coach Kim
BarnesArico. "Thatwas oneofthe
first things upon taking this job
- everybody told me about this
rivalry. It's important."
Junior forward Nicole Elmblad
recorded her fifth double-double
of the season,.with 10 points and -
12 rebounds. Freshman point
guard Siera Thompson led all
scorers with 18 points.
LOW: Coming into the season,
Barnes Arico cited size as a con-
cern, but her team ranks fifth in
the Big Ten in rebounds per game
and third in offensive boards. But
their rebounding defense and
rebounding margin, which is best
in the conference, have compen-
sated for their size disadvantage.
"Our ability to box out has
been great, and we really are the
most undersized team," Barnes
Arico said. "But because of that,
it's something we try to work on
each and every single day, and we
try to make it atoughness thing."
Rebounding is leading to
success, as evidenced by the
Wolverines' 10-2 record when
out rebounding their opponent.
A reason for the surprising ability
on the boards starts with junior
forward Cyesha Goree, who
has exceeded all expectations
as a starter. Goree is second on
the team with 8.6 boards per
game, but averages 10 fewer
minutes than the team's leading
rebounder, Elmblad. She now
has five games with double-digit
rebounds and has joined Elmblad
as an irreplaceable player for
It should come as no surprise,
then, that Barnes Arico often
cites Goree and Elmblad as
the hardest-working players in
practice. Both players had 12
rebounds and helped Michigan
dominate Ohio State on the glass,
leading the team to outrebound
the Buckeyes by 15.
"They've really stepped up,
and its great to have a night like
that," Barnes Arico said. "But we
are continuing to work on their
ability to crash the boards."
When Thompson came to
Michigan, she knew she had big
shoes to fill at point guard after
Jenny Ryan graduated. But the
California native has stepped up
to the challenge and taken the
starting position by the horns.
In the last two games,
Thompson has scored 20 and
18 points, leading all scorers
in both contests. This season,
she's second on the team with 14
points per game and has scored in
double digits 10 times. Thompson
also adds 3.9 rebounds and 3.6
assists per game, illustrating her
impact on most possessions.
Her emergence is one of the
reasons the Wolverines have
shaken off the "transition year"
and "rebuilding" labels and
instead look poised to make a
run in the Big Ten and reach a
third straightNCAA Tournament
berth in March.
"One step at a time," Barnes
Arico said. "One step at a time,
but this team really works hard
and it's showing."
By ERIN LENNON
Daily Sports Writer
1. So much for clutch.
The No. 8 Michigan hockey
team thrives on late-game
drama, or at least it used to.
During the first half of the
season, the Wolverines (2-0 Big
Ten, 10-4-2 overall) entered
seven overtime frames and left
unscathed five times, skating
off with four wins. Seven of
Michigan's first 10 wins were
decidedby just one goal.
But a seven-round shootout
victory against then-No. 4 Ferris
State - the game officially ended
in a tie - was flanked by two
overtime losses, one in an exhi-
bition against the U.S. National
Team Development Program
and one against Michigan Tech
in the Great Lakes Invitational.
And though an exhibition doesn't
count against the Wolverines'
record, the loss to the U.S. NTDP
came after two near-collapses to
Then, at the GLI, without
leading scorer and sophomore
forward Andrew Copp, Michi-
gan was burned for the first time,
laying down to the Huskies in
overtime, 3-2. In the consolation
game, the Wolverines were shut
out for the first time this season.
A trademark of all good
Michigan teams, according to
coach Red Berenson, is a strong
start to the game. This team
has some of that same muscle,
outscoring opponents 17-6 in
the first period, but it also has an
ungainly trademark of its own -
allowing early leads to slip away.
In order to remain a top-10
team, the Wolverineswillhaveto
ditch the drama and bear down
in the third period.
2. Ready or not, here comes
the Big Ten.
With three ranked teams and
some of the nation's most highly
touted programs, the Big Ten
promises to be as entertaining on
the ice as it is on the hardwood.
In the first-ever Big Ten
matchup between Michigan and
Ohio State, an overtime thriller
set the stage for what should be
an exciting inaugural conference
season. The Wolverines escaped
with a 3-2 overtime victory at
Yost Ice Arena and surrendered
a three-goal lead to the Buckeyes
in Columbus just nights later.
In the GLI, it took fewer than
two minutes into the first period
of the consolation game for
Michigan State forward Thomas
Ebbing to net a goal. Michigan
then went on to drop its final
non-conference matchup to a
conference foe, 3-0.
Marquee wins over Boston
College, Boston University and
New Hampshire, as well as a tie
with No. 3 Ferris State, place the
Wolverines solidly in national
championship contention. Still,
Michigan has yet to encounter
No. 1 Minnesota, ateam that has
seen more time atop the standing
than any other in the nation.
And the Wolverines have
looked far from dominant in
their first three contests against
unranked Big Ten opponents.
With the bulk of the
conference season upcoming
and a crucial series against No.
14 Wisconsin this weekend, it
remains to be seen if this young
team is ready for Big Ten hockey.
3. Youth is not an excuse.
The shutout loss to the Spar-
tans marked the first time this
season that Michigan freshmen
failed to record a point ina game
- and that's a good sign.
Among the many questions
that followed the Wolverines
from a disappointing 2012-13
season into this one was the
immediate impact of an 11-man
Forwards Tyler Motte, JT
Compher and Evan Allen have
provided answers. The trio reg-
istered a combined 13 goals in the
first half, adding to Michigan's
impressive 3.13 goals per game.
When Racine, Michigan's
outright starter in goal, went
down with a hamstring injury
in New Hampshire, freshman
Zach Nagelvoort was thrust into
the net. His performance dur-
ing Racine's absence answered
questions about the Wolverines'
depth between the pipes - a
luxury the team wasn't afforded
Still, the GLI wasthe first
time Michigan showed signs of
inexperience. On rough ice in
front of alarge crowd at Comerica
Park, not even the presence of
Motte or the return of Compher
from a foot injury could prevent
the Wolverines from dropping
two straight games for the first
time this season.
4. Defensive questions
Before the season began,
senior defenseman Mac Bennett
said the defense, the team's
biggestpreseason question mark,
would surprise the naysayers.
While Berenson and his staff
tinkered with line pairings to
ignite the offense, the defense
held teams off and allowed
Nagelvoort to find his place in
net. Meanwhile, the penalty
kill quickly became Michigan's
Then, freshman defenseman
Kevin Lohan tore his anterior
cruciate ligament against
Michigan Tech. Junior Mike
Chaisson and other Wolverines
have done well in his place, but
the defense isn't the same.
At first, it lacked offensive
production. The unit was held
without a goal until the last
weekend of November, and it
wasn't creating enough scoring
chances from the blue line.
But then, it faltered at its main
job - defensive coverage.
Michigan has allowed 40
shots in a game four times this
season and has been beaten for
costly goals on more than one
occasion. Against the Huskies,
freshman defenseman Nolan
De Jong and junior defenseman
Brennan Serville were beaten
minutes before Bennett allowed
a costly turnover - two mistakes
that led to Michigan Tech scores.
The defense was once a
pleasant surprise, but it needs
to improve to avoid becoming a
5. Stick to the sign.
A sign that reads "win the
next game" sits in the home
locker room at Yost Ice Arena, a
sign that reminds a young team
to play each matchup with the
same intensity. Perhaps the Wol-
verines forgot to bring it to their
locker room at Comerica Park.
Still, the last-place finish is
arguablythe only dark spot ofthe
first half. And that's something
to hang a hat on.
lhtiphjgan entered, htnvi-
tational boasting 10 wins, more
than it could claim at the same
time last season. The Wolver-
ines maintained a top-10 ranking
after beginning the season at No.
13 by bouncing back from losses
and escaping close games.
After the GLI disappointment,
Michigan will have a sour taste
in its mouth entering the New
Year. But one bad tournament
can't erase the foundation that
the Wolverines built in the first
half of the season.
RELEASE DATE- Wednesday, January 8, 2014
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ARBOR PROPERTIES By CAROLYN KODIS meet records at the Orange Bowl together as a team," Chokran
Award-Winning Rentals in Kerrytown. Daily Sports Writer Classic. The 200-medley relay said. "We saw each other from
Central Campus, Old West Side, team of Chokran, sophomores All the moment we woke up until the
Burns Park. Now Renting for 2014. If Michigan swimming coach DeLoof and Zoe Mattingly and moment we went to bed. We all
"'A o 1 ^ c7 ..," ..-., -t,.... ,. ,.
Mike Bottom views this season
as a series of building blocks, then
the Orange Bowl Classic was a
capstone for the 24th-ranked
Wolverines, as the women won all
"It's an understandingthat it's
not aboutwhere you are today but
about moving yourself forward
and gettingbetter for tomorrow,"
Bottom said. "And since we're
a sport where everything is
measured in hundredths of
seconds, it's good to see when
something is working."
For senior Angie Chokaran,
watching the Wolverines sweep
the meet was something that she
had been dreaming of since she
first arrived at Michigan.
"We placed first in every
event," Chokran said. "And that's
amazing to me because I've seen
the men do that in meets in my
past three years here, and I would
look up to them for that. So to see
our team do that, it was phenom-
enal. It was a great way to start
off the second half of the season."
Even though the meet, which
took place in Key Largo, Fla., was
a nice escape from the cold for
the Wolverines, it wasn't time
for basking in the sun. Chokran
said the team spent its days doing
"high-intensity training" in order
to prepare it for the competition
and the second half of its season.
All of the high-intensity train-
ing paid off - Michigan broke five
freshman Julia Fiks-Salem broke
the first record of the meet.
DeLoof went on to break a
meet record in the 50-meter
backstroke with a time of 28.69,
and sophomore Marni Oldershaw
broke the meet record in the 100-
meter breaststroke soon after.
And Mattingly, not to be bested
byherteammates, broke the meet
record in the 50-meter butterfly.
The team of DeLoof, Mattingly,
Fiks-Salem and freshman
Madeline Frost closed out the
meet by setting a record in the
200-meter freestyle relay.
The win at the Orange Bowl
Classic was Michigan's first
meet since the Winter National
Championships, which took place
at the beginning of December.
According to Chokran, the
Wolverines approached the two
meets very differently, yet came
out with similar results.
"The Winter National
(Championships) ... was a great
meet for us because we were all
well-rested," Chokran said. "But
coming into this meet, when
we're all deadbeat tired ... it was
hard to have high expectations,
but we're Michigan women and
this is what we do: we get our
hand on the wall first."
The mid-season training trip
was also an opportunity for the
Wolverines to build up team
"This trip has helped us come
got to bond as a team by spending
so much quality time together."
Outside of the pool, the
Wolverines spent their time
exploring Key Largo, which
included spending New Year's
Eve on a boat watching fireworks.
"It was kind of symbolic for us
because it was a buildingyear last
year, and this year we're really
getting the ball rolling," Chokran
Now the Wolverines are
working toward accomplishing
their goals at both the Big Ten
championship and the national
"The Big Ten is a very deep
conference, and we're very
fortunate to be in it," Bottom
said. "But I think what we'll see
is a team that will come out and
race with confidence. We're not
the best swimmers in the water,
and we won't be at the (Big Ten
Championship), but that doesn't
mean that our girls won't stand
up and race."
And in order to finish strong,
Bottom is planning on installing
the final building block for the
"We're down to about 20 days
of practice for the Big Ten (Cham-
pionship) and in that time we're
going to continue to get faster,"
Bottom said. "We've worked real-
ly hard, and we're now ready to
move onto the speed component
of our training and get faster."