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November 13, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-13

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 5A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, November13, 2014- 5A

Wolverines laying groundwork

M' loaded at guard

Michigan women's
basketball coach
Kim Barnes Arico is
entering her third year at the
helm of a
team try-
ing to make
its way into
the national
spotlight.
This,
year, it's
possible the
Wolverines BRAD
could find WHIPPLE
? it, and it's
possible
they won't. But one thing is for
certain: this is the best team
Barnes Arico has worked with
at Michigan. Which is why
this year is a turning point for
the program.
This year, Barnes Arico
can finish what she started
rebuilding two years ago. This
is the year the structures put
in place are fine-tuned so that
future generations are able to
garner the fame and respect
Michigan admires so dearly.
The first task started
two years ago, when the
Wolverines had to deal
with a coaching transition
to Barnes Arico. Her Big
East experience, combined
with a great senior class, led
Michigan to 22 wins. And the
reward was a chance to dance
in the postseason for the
second consecutive year.
Last season, the Wolverines
were faced with a major
obstacle. They returned only
one starter and lost 90 percent
of their scoring. But Michigan
still ended the season with
another 20 victories - the
third straight season - while
splashing into the third round
of the WNIT.
In this year's preseason, the
Wolverines are absent from
the top-25 rankings, received
little praise within the Big
Ten poll and are considered by
Barnes Arico to be the smallest-
team in the conference.
And that's exactly how
Michigan likes it.
The Wolverines like going
under the radar and not
feeling the added pressure

Last
women
startin
one sta
Kim B:
2012-1
with a:
This
opposit
from h
depthc
in a fr
make:
Aricoi
run inl

By JACOB GASE knocked down five-of-six threes
Daily Sports Writer in last week's exhibition game
against Davenport, showing no
season, the Michigan signs of freshman nerves. Barnes
ts basketball team lacked Arico is hopeful that Flaherty
g experience. With just will strengthen the team's long-
:rter returning from coach range game while drawing other
arnes Arico's first season in defenders and opening up the
3, the team began last year floor for her teammates.
n uncertain lineup. The Wolverines have scoring
year, the situation is the options coming off the bench at
te. Returning four starters guard. Junior Madison Ristovski
ast season, boasting great played in all 34 games last season
on the bench and bringing despite making just 10 starts,
'eshman class that could but she set a school record by
an instant impact, Barnes shooting .466 from beyond the
is poised to make a deep arc. Sophomore Paige Rakers
her third year. appeared in 32 games and
finished third on the team with a

TILE PHOgO/aily
The Michigan women's basketball team has the opportunity to fisish the rebuildint process that began years ago.

of high expectations.
same attitude that ha
the team to build und
Arico.
This is a team mar
to the beat of its own
What this season is re
about is using Barnes
finest team to jump t(
phase - not one of re
but one of
expanding.
"It's not
where you
start; it's t
where you
finish," "
Barnes
Arico told
MGoBlue. Y
com on J
Tuesday. "I
think our
program has taken su
strides in the last few
that we're just lookin
those next steps."
Taking those next s
requires a trustworth
familiar coaching staf
staff in place has been
since the program's ct
facelift in 2012. Barne
recently added assista
coach Megan Duffy, ,w
previously worked wit
John's for three years
Next, Barnes Arico

It's the
s allowed
er Barnes
ching
drum.
eally
Arico's
o the next
building,

recruited Michigan's highest-
ranked class in program
history, boasting prized
recruit in guard Katelynn
Flaherty.
Flaherty has already
exhibited her ball-handling
prowess on the court in the
Wolverines' exhibition, and
made a strong statement with
her shooting

accuracy.
Wolverines
s not where already had
a strong
sou start. backcourt -
now it's lethal.
It's where Beside
Flaherty are
Ou finiSh." four freshmen
that give
Barnes Arico
the most depth
ch great she has seen in Ann Arbor,
'years, all products of Barnes Arico's
g to take search for talent that will
complement the balance of
teps shooting and defense she's
y and trying to find.
f. The Barnes Arico has also
together facilitated the growth of her
oaching first recrtrtintgclass as well,
s Arico with sophomore guard Siera
nt Thompson ending her rookie
vho she year holding the record in
th at St. single-season 3-pointers.
"It's nice to know that we
have such a big group come

in that is able to and wants
to work," said senior forward
Cyesha Goree. "(We know)
when we finish our senior year
and leave, we left Michigan
in the best way we could have
left it."
The future of the program
lies in the underclassmen and
rising seniors, so it's crucial
that these players take the
lessons and knowledge they
can from a seasoned senior
class: Goree, forward Nicole
Elmblad and guard Shannon
Smith. These are the type of
role models the Wolverines
need to move forward, role
models shaped by Barnes
Arico's leadership.
"The players are smart
enough to know, 'Hey this is
who we are,' " Barnes Arico
said. "We have people back,
we have great kids coming in.
If we keep working hard, keep
doing the things we need to
do and keep great chemistry,
good things are going to
happen for us."
This season means more
-Thwn a Big Tetn hampionship
or NCAA Tournament bid. It
means finishing a foundation
years in the making, a
foundation that can turn this
team's dreams of notoriety
into a reality.

Guards .327 3-point shooting percentage.
For the second consecutive
season, the Wolverines have a Forwards
surplus of talented guards. Of Michigan likely won't start a
the 14 players on the roster, nine true forward at either of the '3'
are listed as guards and one is or '4' positions, but senior captain
listed as a guard/forward swing Nicole Elmblad is more than
player. And of those 10, four will qualified to take on the power
likely find themselves in the forward role. The unquestioned
starting lineup. leader of the team, Elmblad has
Sophomore Siera Thompson established herself as the best
returns as the probable starting defender on the team and one of
point guard. Last season, she set its top rebounders. Even though
a Michigan freshman record with the 5-foot-11 Elmblad is listed as a
75 3-pointers, and was named an guard and played the '3' last year,
All-Big Ten honorable mention. Barnes Arico said she believes her
She has hit at least one triple in skill set will help her through the
every game of her career. transition.
Senior Shannon Smith As an alternative, Barnes Arico
returns as the most experienced has considered starting freshman
member of the backcourt. guard/forward Jillian Dunston
Barnes Arico designated Smith at power forward and slotting
as the Wolverines' go-to scorer Elmblad back at small forward.
last season, and she seized the Dunston will likely see playing
opportunity. Taking nearly 40 time either way, as she brings a
more shots than any other player, high energy level and defensive
Smith led the team with 13.8 presence that has impressed the
points per game. coaching staff in the preseason.
At the same time, she proved
herself a capable distributor, Centers
pacing the team with 3.7 assists Coming off a breakout
per game. Despite spending last season at power forward last
year at shooting guard, Smith year, 6-foot-3 senior Cyesha
will likely slide to the '3' this year Goree will assume the starting
to make room for another lights- center role this season after Val
out shooter. Driscoll graduated. After years
Filling that role is freshman of improving her conditioning
Katelynn Flaherty, who enters and working her way into the
her first seasoiit -Michigatr-startig lineup,'T e-has-become
with the potential to be the the Wolverines' most dependable
best pure shooter on the roster. post presence. She set a single-
The prized recruit from Point season rebounding record last
Pleasant, New Jersey, has earned year and also scored in double
instant playing time thanks to figures 23 times, proving herself a
her offensive ability. Flaherty threat down low.

Frosh adjusting,
showing flashes

By MAX BULTMAN
Daily Sports Writer
It's a good thing exhibition
games are intended to work out
kinks and find cohesion, because
the Michigan men's basketball
team showed Monday that it still
has a few things to resolve.
The Wolverines thumped
Wayne State, 86-43, but looked
out of sync at times, especially
shooting the ball - likely a
result of a rotation that had six
true freshmen and one redshirt
freshman on the floor.
Michigan will rely heavily
on its younger players to find
productive roles, and while
that process always takes time,
Michigan coach John Beilein
said after the game he has been
slower to implement his full
offense with this group.
"We don't have a very big
package in," Beilein said. "We're
creeping along, and I probably
overanalyze it. I want things to
be run perfect before we move
on. I think we're moving in the
right direction, but it's really
slow."
Forward Kameron Chatman
put up the most impressive stat
line - nine points, six rebounds
and four assists, leading all
freshmen with 25 minutes.
The only true freshman to
start, Chatman got on the stat
sheet early with an assist on a
Caris LeVert layup. Minutes later,
Chatman air-balled a 3-pointer.
At the start of the second
half, Chatman displayed a bit of
poise. Trapped by two Wayne
State defenders under the hoop,
it looked like he might panic and
turn the ball over. Instead, he
held the ball for an extra second
and found sophomore guard

Derrick Walton Jr. for an open
look behind the arc.
That patience, though, was
not as evident in' some of the
Wolverines' other newcomers.
D.J. Wilson threw down a
dunk 10 minutes into the game,
but looked too eager for much of
the first half. The lanky 6-foot-
9 forward/center had a jump
shot blocked and then missed
on a clean finish off a pick-and-
roll with Walton on the next
possession, prompting Beilein to
briefly pull him out of the game.
But Wilson did show a couple
instances of strong recovery.
With 7:51 remaining in the
game, sophomore forward Zak
Irvin lobbed an alley-oop for
Wilson. The pass went wide, and
while Wilson could have tried to
force the issue, he calmly brought
it down and scored an easy
bucket.
The most contested lineup
spot appears to be the center
position, where redshirt
freshman Mark Donnal started,
but true freshman Ricky Doyle
saw the most minutes.
Both Doyle and Donnal put up
four points, but the Wolverines
were plus-39 when Donnal
was on the floor, far superior to
Doyle's plus-20.
Rounding out the class,
freshman forward Aubrey
Dawkins came on and nailed two
3-pointers late in the game, while
frosh guard Muhammad-Ali
Abdur-Rahkman missed all his
attempts from the field but sank
a pair of foul shots.
"It's hard to believe we went
to Europe and we're not farther
along," Beilein said. "But I'm not
moving as quickly as I would
have, maybe, in past years. I just
don't think we're there yet."

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