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December 10, 2014 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-12-10

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 7A

espite age, erensi leas tew
Youthful defense a huge benefit to our d-core and
t well needed"
led by 17-year-old But the team mightsoon be
Werenski MwithoutWerenaki for the Great
Wernsk Lae Ivtaina. Wrns.

.
t
f

By JASON RUBINSTEIN
Daily Sports Writer
Some members of the
Michigan hockey team will
admit it: They were skeptical
when they first heard a 17-year-
old was joining their team.
"I thought it was a little
sketchy at first," said senior
defenseman Brennan Serville.
Nearly halfway through the
season, any doubts Serville
and his teammates once had in
freshman Zach Werenksi have
been squashed.
Now, it's hard to believe
Werenski is just 17. He not only
leads the Wolverines with a plus-
11 rating, but has also tallied
12 points - three goals and
nine assists. More importantly,
he has helped alleviate the
question marks that came with
the defensive corps at the start
of the season..
"We've had the experience
with a couple (of 17-year-olds)
with (Mike) Cammalleri and
Jason Botterill; they were
forwards and both those kids
had good freshman years,"
said associate head coach Billy
Powers. "But for a defenseman
to do it is a statement. It's a
tougher road for a defenseman;
you have to be stronger, tougher,
handle the down-low play and
still be able to do what you do
well, which is what Zach does
with the puck."
The freshman can often be
mistaken for a veteran and
has earned as much ice time
as any defenseman. However,
Werenski maintains that there
are still certain areas that he's
getting acclimated to.

performance has given him the
opportunity to try out for Team
USA for the upcoming World
Junior Championships.
USA Hockey narrowed down
the Team USA roster to 30
players - including Werenski,
sophomore forwardTyler Motte,
sophomore center JT Compher,
sophomore defenseman Michael
Downing and freshman center
Dylan Larkin - and Powers
fully expects Werenski to make
the team comprised of players
mostly two years older.
"I'm going into it open-
minded," Werenski said.
"Hopefully Ican make it, but if I
don't I can go help Michigan try
and win the GLI. So it's kind of
a win-win for me. But my goal is
to go try and make that team."
And if he does make Team
USA, Michigan will be at a large
disadvantage playing without
its talented 17-year-old.

JAMES cOLLER/Daily
Freshman defenseman Zach Werenski is just 17 years old, but he's playing with the maturity of a senior, leading Michigan with a plus-11 rating this season.

"Guys just being stronger and
faster," he said. "Sometimes
it doesn't look like someone
is going that fast, but they're
flying. Sometimes you go in the
corner (for a puck battle) and
then the guy there is a man. It's
just getting used to that."
With time, he should find his
way and be able to challenge
that "man" skating his way. But
Werenski still finds ways to be
effective defensively without
hitting.
"I guess I'm more reliant on
my stick," Werenski said. "There
are times where I need to hit
and I'm working on that. I grew
up playing that way and using
my stick is one of my strengths."
Added Powers: "As much as

he's gifted offensively, he's got one penalty through 14 games
a great stick defensively. He - a hooking penalty against
intercepts or takes away plays Boston University back on
a lot with Oct. 25 - the
his stick and lowest total of
body position any Michigan
and that's a "As much as blue liner.
by-product The
of his high he's gifted Grosse Point,
hockey IQ." Michigan
Werenski's offensively, he's native
stick skills reiterated that
and body got a great stick he's never
positioning d lbeen prone to
are not only defens ly." penalties and,
keeping pucks put bluntly,
away from the values being
net, but also on the ice
keeping him away from the more than taking a seat in the
penalty box. sin bin - music to the ears of the
Werenski has committed only Michigan coaching staff,

"It's obviously huge," Powers
said of Werenski's ability to
play big minutes. "If you really
look back, part of what we
were trying to do with our
defense was trying to recover
from Jacob Trouba and Connor
Carrick. Obviously, Connor
never got here, he didn't come,
and, of course, Jacob was one-
and-done. You plan your classes
based on maybe Trouba being a
sophomore and Carrick playing
until he's a junior, but then
they're out and you are playing
catch up.
"Zach has given us an
opportunity to catch up really
fast. So there's no question his
game and the level he has been
able to play at this early has been

Wolverines fall
short on defense

'M' struggles behind the arc

Mic
coach
seem t
Just
yell
Prince
for a s
on ano
The
Barnes
from b
into po
And
posses
ungua
open
points
Whe
Wolver
offense
clickin
wasn't
get the
it ne
Michig
85-55
Prince
Tuesda
"Wh

By MINH DOAN Instead, Michigan had to slow
Daily Sports Writer down the play and run its half-
court offense, which usually
higan women's basketball thrives off its quick passing to
Kim Barnes Arico couldn't get players open. But Tuesday,
o get her point across. the Wolverines couldn't knock
t as she stood up to down their quality chances.
defensive instructions, "I think we feed off our
ton found an open player offense," Barnes Arico said. "We
hot, and the Tigers tacked need to get better at feeding off
ther two points. of our defense."
next time downthe court, The trio of 3-point shooters
Arico, once again, got up - sophomore guard Siera
er seat to get her players Thompson, freshman guard
sition. Katelynn Flaherty and junior
like the previous Madison Iistovski - each had
sion, Princeton found an open 3-pointers that didn't
rded player for another rattle home, which only led to
shot and another two e increased frustration on the
in the second half. defensive front as the margin of
en the deficit grew.
rines' "We need
g t "Against a team to get stops
able to like that you when we're
se stops thatnot scoring,"
eded in need to know Barnes Arico
Ban's said.
loss to your personnel." And they
ton on couldn't,
ay night. allowing
ten we Princeton - a

Wolverines can't
score in transition,
can't find groove
By BRAD WHIPPLE
Daily Sports Writer
It's beyond the arc where the
Michigan
women's PRINCETON 85
basketball MICHIGAN 55
team
has found its comfort zone.
It's where freshman guard
Katelynn Flaherty can jump,
flick her hand and make
Crisler Center fans roar with
excitement.
But Tuesday night against
Princeton, almost no one stood
when Flaherty hit her second
and last drainer in the closing
minutes of the game. No one
cheered when junior guard
Madison Ristovski shot an air
ball. And no one left happy
when the buzzer sounded.
If one thing was clear
Tuesday night, the Tigers just
flat-out competed better than
the Wolverines. With a rushed
offense unable to finish its
chances and a defense unable
to find a system that worked,
Michigan (6-2) was handed its
first home loss of the season,
85-55.
"That was a really good
team we played tonight," said
Michigan coach Kim Barnes
Arico. "In the first four minutes
of the game, we kind of held our
own, and then they got a couple
of stops defensively and we
were never able to recover.
"They played our game
against us tonight."
Unable to finish their 3-point
chances, the Wolverines tried
to develop an inside game
like the one that led them to
victory over Wake Forest. But
Princeton countered with a
tiring and physical defense,
catching Michigan - who had
outrebounded all but one of its
opponents prior to Tuesday -
like a deer in headlights.
"I think they were physical,
and there were no fouls called
in the game," Barnes Arico said.

Freshman guard Katelynn Flaherty, normally one of Michigan's best shooters, couldn't solve woes from 3-point range.

"That kind of got us off guard,
and it took a minute to adjust to
their physicality."
The mid-range layups and
floaters weren't falling, and
the Tigers utilized those
missed chances to create a fast
transition game that scored 17
points off turnovers.
Inthe end, Princetonwonthe
war in the paint with 35 boards
compared to the Wolverines'

Barnes Arico said. "They kept
her out of the lane and out of
her rebounding area, and she
got a little frustrated."
Added Goree: "(Williams)
played pretty good defense.
(Princeton) packed in the paint
realy well, which forced us
to take outside shots, which
caused us to rush in and we
weren't knocking them down."
Coming off a career-high

get defensive stops, it kind of
helps us more with the flow of
the offense," said senior forward
Cyesha Goree. "The fact that
they were making shots, that put
us in our half-court offense, and
it was tough to score on their
defense."
This season, Michigan has
played its best basketball when
it's been able to get a block or a
steal on the defensive end and
race out for an easy transition
bucket, just like most of senior
guard Shannon Smith's 26 points
against Wake Forest last week.
But against Princeton, those
weren't the kinds of shots the
Wolverines got.

team that has shot 45 percent
from the field this season - to
shoot 61 percent.
"Against a team like that, you
need to know your personnel,"
Barnes Arico said. "You need to
know who to get out on and who
you can get help on, and when
we went to zone, we didn't really
do a great job of that."
Luckily for the Wolverines,
there is time for improvement
and a chance to regroup,
especially before Saturday's
showdown at No. 2 Notre Dame.
But the Wolverines know
that, and it'll be needed against
the Fighting Irish, who play a
similar game to Princeton's.

23. Senior forw
Goree failed to
make much of an
inside presence
and struggled
to finish her
attempts, most
of which went
circling around
the basket
before falling
into the hands of
a Tiger.
Goree had

ard Cyesha 26-point game, senior guard
Shannon
Smith went
1-far-6 from
"I think they thefieldand
S was hang
were physical, toube aving
adhrw r scoring in
awere transition,
no fouls called." normally a
strong suit
- of hers.
After

to make sure we're moving
forward, so let's learn from
this and make sure this doesn't
happen again."
Michigan faced a double-
digit deficit midway through
the first half. The Wolverines
tried to adjust the defense from
zone to man coverage, but the
Tigers took advantage of the
disorganization to create a near
20-point cushion at halftime.
Princeton (9-0) had its fair
share of runs in the first half,
including a string of 14 points
in three minutes.
"We can't let one game ruin
our season," Goree said. "There
are gonna be games like this,
and this is when we need to
stick together to get through
adversity and fatigue."
With Michigan about to face
its first ranked opponent of the
season in No. 4 Notre Dame, the
Wolverines will have to stitch
together their 3-point talent
and win the rebounding battle
for any chance of competing.

NEED EXAM ADVICE?
Just give up. You'll thank us all later once,
you realize Rick's is what matters.

difficulty scoring with forward
Taylor Williams, a tough
defender, down low, causing
her to have an uncharacteristic
showing. Goree finished with 14
points and five rebounds.
"Cyesha has a tough time
when people are physical,"

the game,
Barnes Arico told Smith that her
growth this season is a result of
her consistency. Tuesday was
a different story: Smith's game
was everything but that.
"We don't want to take two
steps backward," Barnes Arico
said she told Smith. "We want

I

I t

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