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November 19, 2014 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-19

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 7A

FOOTBALL
Taylor relishes in
birth, fatherhood
By MAX COHEN years, and that having a child is
Daily Sports Editor "something we always wanted."
But having a child has also
The Michigan football team's brought its challenges. Like all
win over Northwestern on parents of newborns, Taylor
' Nov. 1 marked the first time the. doesn't sleep much when Skylar
Wolverines had won consecutive comes to visit. Michigan's
games in more than a year and the coaches, many of them fathers,
defense's best performance of the check in with Taylor daily to
season, and it brought the team make sure he's getting sleep.
closer to bowl eligibility. It's no secret the Wolverines
But for one player, something have faced their share of
that happened off the field that challenges this season, on and off
day trumped it all. the field. But for Taylor, changing
Senior cornerback Raymon diapers may be the most difficult
Taylor found out his girlfriend of them all.
was going into labor at 5 a.m., 10 "I had never changed a poo-
hours before Michigan played poo diaper before, so it was kind
the Wildcats in Evanston. Taylor of tough, but I'm going to get used
held out hope that his daughter to it," Taylor said.
wouldn't be born until he was Taylor's mindset has also
back in Michigan, but nature changed with the birth of his
couldn't wait. child. He has someone he must
Skylar Taylor was born in the care for above himself.
fourth quarter of the game, before "As a dad, you want to be there
the Wolverines sealed the victory. for your child, that's my biggest
After the game, Michigan goal," Taylor said. "I'm going to
immediately flew back to Ann make sure I'll be there for my
Arbor, and Taylor went straight to daughter in all circumstances."
the hospital to meet his daughter Taylor said he must also focus
for the first time. on chasing his goals so that he's
Tuesday, he beamed when he able to provide for his daughter.
spoke about the milestone and He considers succeeding in
how its significance minimized football and school the best way
the importance of football. to achieve that goal.
"I dropped an interception," If Taylor doesn't latch on to an
Taylor said with a laugh. "When I NFL roster after he graduates, he
got to the hospital ... I just really hopes to return to his hometown
forgot about the game. I knew of Highland Park and teach
we won, so that was the biggest English in the high school.
thing. I could've told her, 'When "Most people in Highland Park
you (were) born, I caught an don't make it out," Taylor said. "A
interception, I dropped it." lot of young kids look up to me,
Taylor spent a great deal of his and I'd love to go back and help
time during the bye week with them out any way I could."
his girlfriend and daughter. They For now, he's focused on
live in Royal Oak, but have made Saturday, his final game at
frequent trips to Ann Arbor since Michigan Stadium. If all ends
Skylar's birth. well, he hopes to be able to go
Taylor said he has been with home and tell his daughter he
his girlfriend more than five caught an interception.

Help defense difference in Game 2

Early start to
Monday's game
gave Michigan
needed edge
By JAKE LOURIM
Daily SportsEditor
Just before tip-off Monday
night, Big Ten Network aired
Michigan men's basketball
coach John Beilein's last-minute
pregame notes to his team. He
had written four keys to success
on offense and defense, but the
fourth on defense stood out.
"KNOW AND BELIEVE
THAT DEFENSE WINS
CHAMPIONSHIPS!" it said.
To an outsider, there were no
championships to be won when
the Wolverines hosted Bucknell.
But the game was in the regional
round of the Legends Classic,
and Michigan treated it as such.
"We're in a championship
right now - we're trying to win
the Legends Classic," Beilein
said. "Champions don't come out
slow. Champions come out from
the get-go, and we did."
On the very first possession,
Bucknell guard Chris Hass
dribbled past Michigan junior
guard Caris LeVert toward
the baseline. There, he was
surroundedby freshman forward
Kam Chatman and sophomore
guard Derrick Walton Jr., and he
had to kick it out.
So it was for most of the night.
Things didn't get much easier for
the Bison.
Though Michigan's shooting
heated up quickly and the
Wolverineshadplentyofoffense
to survive a mediocre defensive
effort, Monday's 77-53 rout
began on the defensive end.
After Michigan gave up three
early 3-pointers Saturday against
Hillsdale and trailed 10-2 after

Sophomore guard Derrick Walton Jr's standout defense was overshadowed by his team-high eight rebounds.

just 3:22, the Wolverines started
Monday's game with more
energy, consistently rushing to
help on defense.
"Getting to the mid-line when
the ball is on is a thing thatseems
so simple, and it's hard to do,"
Beilein said. "You've got action
on the weak side, and you've got
to get a guy to the mid-line. A
couple weeks ago, that wouldn't
have happened, but we've really
been emphasizing getting a
guy in that circle. (Hass) was
threatening to use a ball screen,
but he went the other way, and
Caris had some help."
On the second possession,
Hass - a native of Pellston,
Michigan - dished to forward
Dom Hoffman on a pick-and-roll.
But Michigan redshirt freshman
forward Mark Donnal stepped
out in the paint and forced a
traveling violation. Then, Donnal
and sophomore forward Zak

Irvin stepped out on a 3-pointer,
forcing a bad miss.
And before Bucknell could
catch its breath, the Wolverines
led 10-0. They were ahead by
at least seven for the rest of the
night, expanding the gap to 29by
halftime.
"Just knowing our last game,
we kind of lost the first four-
minute war, and after that was
kind of fighting back," Walton
said. "We wanted to be the guys
to make the first initial punch, so
tonight was all about setting the
tone from the jump."
Michigan has ranked higher in
points per possession than points
allowed per possession for each of
the past four seasons. Its offense,
with quick passing and a high
volume of 3-point shots, is better
known than its defense.
Yet on Monday, the defense
set the tone for the Wolverines'
win. Michigan held Bucknell

to 39.6-percent shooting from
the floor, including 31.8 percent
in the first half. Perhaps
more importantly, it forced 17
turnovers.
Help defense was at the heart
of that statistic. The guards
were able to jump into passing
lanes and create steals, and the
forwards rotated over to fill in
the gaps.
In each, game, Beilein has
subbed in at least 12 players,
creating several different lineup
combinations. Despite all of
the changes, the Wolverines
held firm on Monday, trapping
Bucknell all over the court.
It started on the first
possession, and it didn't let up
much from there.

Wolverines overcoming
early runs to begin season

The Michigan women's soccer team exceeded expectations this season, but still finished short of the NCAA Tournament.
Youth dooms 'M' in 2

By ISAIAH ZEAVIN-MOSS
Daily Sports Writer
On Nov. 5, the Michigan
women's soccer team played its
final game of the season, falling to
Minnesota, 1-0,indoubleovertime
in the first round of the Big Ten
Tournament.
How the Wolverines got to
that point, though, is much more
complicated than a simple statistic
can tell.
Michigan had plenty of work to
do before the season started. Last
season's squad made it to the Elite
Eight of the NCAA Tournament,
but graduating eight seniors made
the offseason transition difficult.
And Michigan coach Greg Ryan
wasn't optimistic about his young
team's potential for success this
fall.
"We knew that this was going
to be a very challenging year,"
Ryan said. "I didn't know what
to expect. I thought, 'We'll do
the best we can, we'll grow a lot
- hopefully we'll build for the
future."'
Thebeginningoftheseasonwas
unkind to the young Wolverines.
A trip to California - where
Michigan was handily defeated
by San Diego and San Diego
State 5-0 and 3-0, respectively
- left the team searching for
answers. Would those hapless
performances be signs of what was
to come?
Those two results alone forced
the Wolverines to prepare for a
rocky season.

"When we were in California,
the captains had a meeting with
the coaches, and we were all kind
of bummed out by the way we had
started the season," said senior
midfielder Jen Pace. "We thought
it was going to be a rebuilding
year."
But the Wolverines went on to
win nine of their next 10 games
and shot up to the top of the Big
Ten standings.
"We justgotbetter every week,"
Ryan said. "These kids kept finding
ways to win."
Sophomore forward Nicky
Waldeck and redshirt freshman
Ani Sarkisiancombined for13goals
in that 10-game span. The young
players were having substantial
impacts on games, and there was
hope that Michigan could perhaps
accomplish somethingspecial.
"We fought for all 90 minutes,
doing what we could in each
moment and each opportunity,"
Pace said. "We still took it one
game at a time, but we had more
confidence in ourselves. We were
able to play against these good
Big Ten teams and gain some
momentum from those games."
However, the Wolverines'
successprovedtobeunsustainable.
A disappointing home loss to
Penn State - Michigan's first
of the season - proved to be
the beginning of the end. The
Wolverines notched only one win
the rest of the season.
Michigan's fate was sealed with
the final loss to Minnesota. The
NCAA selection committee didn't'

give the inconsistent Wolverines
a chance to play in the NCAA
Tournament.
A season ofexcitement and hope
that included several close games
and a few last-minute victories
endedwiththeWolverineswaiting
for their name tobe announced for
the postseason tournament.
"At the end of the season, we
didn't get the breaks we were
getting earlier in the season. If we
had been, we would've won four
or five of our last six games," Ryan
said. "We were on the road for the
last three weeks of our season. We
were at home for the stretch that
we did so well. If you look at most
teams, they have a better home
record than away record. It's not
easy on the road."
But Ryan was thrilled about
his team's season, despite the lack
of invitation from the selection
committee.
"What we achieved this year
is so far beyond anything we
could've asked for," he said. "I told
the team, 'Be proud of yourselves.
You represented Michigan
incredibly well.'"
And while Pace won't be a part
of the 2015 squad, she promised
there are exciting things coming
to the U-M Soccer Stadium in
comingyears.
"Going from having eight
starters leave and basically
forming a new team, it was really
cool to see how much the young
players developed," she said. "It's
going to be really fun to watch
them next season."

By BRAD WHIPP
Daily Sports Write
This past weekend
Michigan women's ba
team was best characte
periods of stagnation a
runs, and coach Kim
Arico wants to elimir
former. -
Sunday against B
the Wolverines (2-0) b
game with a performan
and-shoulders above
when they faced an
deficit at halftime.
Against the Bison, M
made more defensiv
early on to allow its
to jump out to a 14-po
midway through the fi
But when both teams
the locker room for h
the Wolverines held on
point advantage.
They were beginnini
more like Friday's f
team, which had been s
for six minutes goii
halftime.
With Michigan al
potentially fall behind
first time that game,
Arico sat
her players
down and tI
explained 1
why they
had lost their
13-point
cushion. She
was blunt about it, too.
"This is a game o:
Barnes Arico recalled
her team. "So let's not
the scoreboard right no
just go out and be the b
we can be four minutes

LE They just went on their run,
'r and we're gonna go on our run."
And the Wolverines did just
for the that.
sketball Though there were two
rized by lead changes in the first three
nd great minutes, Michigan went on
Barnes another strong run, as Barnes
sate the Arico had predicted, and took
back the lead with 3-point
ucknell, shooting and a noticeably
egan the stronger defense - similar to
ce head- the Wolverines' second half in
Friday, Friday's win.
11-point Without these offensive
runs, they could have started
4ichigan the season with two losses
e stops instead of two wins. Even
offense though several bursts of
int lead scoring allowed Michigan
rst half. to be successful in its first
went to homestand, it can't get by that
alftime, way for long.
ly a one- According to Barnes
Arico, the inability to create
g to look a sustainable lead is a
irst-half combination of two things:
coreless fatigue hitting the starters
ng into and a young bench that is still
developing.
bout to "I think a lot of people think
for the we have a tremendous amount
Barnes of experience returning
because those
four guys
his is a game started last
year," Barnes
n Arico said.
of runs. "But things
are way
different for

Smith struggled to be on top of
her game when handling the
ball or driving to the net, and
Goree was consistently double-
teamed inside the paint.
With a bench full , of
underclassmen, the veteran
players are being asked to
contribute more time on
the court. Goree and Smith
averaged 32.5 and 31 minutes
this weekend, respectively.
As a result, fatigue is setting
in earlier for the starters -
perhaps the cause of the team's
stagnant scoring.
Barnes Arico said the first
five need to focus on improving
conditioning, because playing
two or three games per
week means they can't allow
themselves to be stretched
beyond their limits.
"You have to be smart as
a coach," Barnes Arico said.
"When you have a bunch of
games coming up in a row,
you have to make sure you're
resting the legs."
The Wolverines are going to
have their fair share of tight
games. With just over a month
and a half until the start of Big
Ten play, the star players have
time to train for all 40 minutes
and not just four-minute spurts.
Resting is necessary, but it
becomes difficult with such
a - young and inexperienced
bench.
"When we sub (freshman
forward Jillian Dunston) in
for (senior forward Nicole
Elmblad), we're not getting
Nicole," Barnes Arico said.
"Jillian is going to be a heck of
a player someday, but she's not
Nicole right now."

f runs,"
I telling
look at
iw. Let's
est that
s a time.

them."
Senior forward Cyesha Goree
and senior guard Shannon
Smith have become the
centerpieces of every scouting
report, making their jobs, more
difficult. Over the weekend,

TODAY MARKS 10 YEARS SINCE THE
BRAWL IN AUBURN HILLS.
MAY WE NEVER FORGET RON ARTEST.

p

ft

t

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