26 - The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2004
Women's hoops' worst fear comes true.
January 20, 2004 Gandy, have accounted for 76 per- stopping Smith. But even Helvey, who shot 14 per-
By Eric Ambinder cent of the offensive production this "We never really thought we cent in the second half, couldn't
Daily Sports Writer season for the Wolverines (2-3, 9-9). would stop her," McCallie said. "Just make the score respectable.
Facing a relentless matchup zone simply try and keep her below her The game began on a relative high
EAST LANSING - The Michi- defense, the Big Ten's third-leading average, 14 points or something in note for Michigan, when guard Sier-
gan women's basketball team real- scorer, Smith, was held to just seven that area. So, we did a little bit better ra Hauser-Price hit a perimeter
ized a season-long fear Sunday points on 2-of-6 shooting. She aver- than that." jumper to tie the score 2-2. Hauser-
afternoon in East Lansing - what aged 22 points per game coming into With Michigan's main ingredients Price was the first Wolverine other
happens if Jennifer Smith can't the contest. lacking, no other Wolverines were than Smith, Gandy or Pool to score a
score? "They were doubling, even tripling , able to step up. field-goal ina little over two games.
Against No. 25 Michigan State (3- her almost every single possession," "When (Smith) is not scoring, Burnett took a seat midway
2 Big Ten, 13-3 overall), that meant a Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett said. Tab's not scoring, and Steph isn't through the second half - some-
67-33 loss. "When we're not getting the shot scoring, no one looks to do anything, thing she rarely does - displaying
Plan B - guard Stephanie Gandy from the outside, it makes that a very and no one knows what to do," fresh- the quelled remnants of the patented
and forward Tabitha Pool - com- easy thing to defend and a very diffi- man guard Kelly Helvey said. stomp used so often in the past to rile
bined for just 12 points on 5-of-22 cult thing for an offensive team to Helvey tried to inspire her Wolver- up her players.
shooting in front of a season-high counter with." ines late, playing with the type of "This isn't the type of game that
7,923 fans at the Breslin Center. Michigan State coach Joanne aggressiveness that Burnett expected we were anticipating," the first-year
The "MV3" of Smith, Pool, and McCallie set a goal for her team in in her starters from the beginning. coach said.
Continued from Page 23
Michigan season in years. But this Michigan
team may have accomplished more ina postsea-
son NIT than any team ever has.
Ina mere two weeks, the Wolverines made
everyone forget about the Ed Martin scandal, the
seasons that ended with blowout losses in the Big
Ten Tournament and the departures and dis-
missals of players from the program.
This week allowed the Michigan program and
its fans to put all that aside and focus on -
(GASP!) - basketball.
OK, it wasn't a great game. Michigan turned
the ball over 15 times, shot 35 percent from the
floor and 59 percent from the free throw line.
The Wolverines did everything they could in
the second half to let Rutgers back into it, and
there's no question they looked more like an NIT
champion team than ateam that should challenge
Duke or Connecticut.
But what the Wolverines also looked like was
a team that finally came together and finally
learned how to win.
If that was the only thing that Michigan took
from the NIT, then the postseason trip would
have been well worth it.
But, it obviously wasn't the only thing the
Wolverines managed to accomplish at Madison
Square Garden. In one five-game postseason
run, this year's Michigan team brought
respectability back to this program. The Wolver-
ines won a national title (I know, not the national
title) on national television in the "world's most
"It wasn't just for us," Horton said. "There
were a lot of guys on the team that (won the 1997
NIT title) that weren't a part of the scandal, and
they had to watch the banner that they worked
hard for get taken down.
"We wanted an opportunity to put another one
Thanks to the win, Michigan gets to refill the
vacancy left in Crisler's rafters after the self-
There's no telling how big something like that
could be for this team next year, and for this pro-
gram in the future.
Last night, this team - this program - took
a huge step forward. And the Wolverines did so
by putting aside not only the internal problems
this team has had in the past, but also by forget-
ting about those devastating road losses earlier
And because of all of that, Michigan heads
into the offseason with something this program
and this young team needed more than it ever did
in the past.