The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2005 -_31
Pooling efforts lead to win
"They celebrated like we won the na-
tional title." - Cheryl Burnett, Michi-
gan women's basketball coach
By Matt Venegoni
January 24, 2005
For a team that had not won in 36 days - after
losing nine straight - Michigan's 63-61 victory over
Indiana yesterday felt like a Final Four win. With
a roster full of freshmen, the Wolverines' behavior
was not unexpected. A month's worth of losses were
finally lifted off Michigan's shoulders.
But it was the play of the upperclassmen on the
team that kept Michigan in the game. With two
and a half minutes left in the second half and
Michigan trailing 58-55, senior forward Tabitha
Pool - accepting the role as leader of the young
Wolverine squad - took the ball up the court with
the shot clock winding down. Pool drove past her
defender to the left wing, jumped and hit a topsy-
turvy layup, drawing a foul from Indiana sopho-
more guard Leah Enterline. Pool hit the free throw
to tie the game and bring the crowd to their feet.
"Tab (Pool) mixes so well her outside shots and her
dribble penetration," Burnett said. "'Those are things
we have worked on with Tab because we know that
everyone is going to run after her when she drives. By
the end of the game Tab can take the big shot because
she has kicked out earlier in the game."
Michigan (1-6 Big Ten, 5-13 overall) tied the
game at 58-58, but Indiana came back to take the
lead on an Enterline free throw. Sophomore for-
ward Kelly Helvey came back down the court and
hit a fall-away layup with the shot clock winding
down - just as Pool did the possession before.
Once again, Indiana came back to take the lead
61-60, but Pool made sure that it would be the last
time Indiana (1-6, 8-9) had control of the game.
Pool's athletic ability took over again. She blew
past another Indiana defender to hit the game win-
ning layup with 46 seconds left, putting Michigan
up 62-61. Indiana turned the ball over with 32 sec-
onds remaining, and Michigan ran the time out.
When Pool grabbed a rebound off freshman Krista
Clement's missed shot with 0.3 seconds left, the
Wolverines finally sealed their first victory since
Dec. 11 against IUPUI.
"I'm so proud of our kids because of so many of
the things we have worked on," Burnett said. "(We)
stopped the drive, executed offensively. We kept our
composure when every possession was critical."
Controlling the ball with 11:30 left, Pool missed
a long 3-pointer but followed her shot to grab the
offensive rebound. Pool fell to the ground and
looked like she was getting tied up. Before Indiana
could force the jumpball, Pool shoveled the ball
to freshman Janelle Cooper, who was also on the
ground. Just as Cooper got the ball, she tapped it
to a cutting Becky Flippin, who drew a foul. That
effort typified how the team played throughout the
game and the losing streak.
"We had some really great effort (plays)," Bur-
nett said. "The kid who had more hustle plays than
anybody was Jessica Starling. She's on the floor,
really giving us a lot of effort. I always want to
appreciate the fans too, because if we do some-
thing hustle-wise they really try to carry us the
next play. We talked about out-hustling Indiana."
With Michigan hustling on every possession,
diving after the loose balls and protecting the
ball better, the Wolverines had more offensive
possessions. Michigan took advantage of the
extra plays to get additional shots and kept Indi-
ana on its heels.
"If you eliminate turnovers, we will be execut-
ing more," Pool said.
But the other key to the game was the defense
of Michigan on Indiana's junior guard Cyndi Val-
entin. Valentin came in averaging almost 17 points
and five rebounds per game. Michigan gave the
difficult duty of covering the 5-foot-8 guard to
Helvey. Helvey embraced the challenge, holding
Valentin to just seven points on 3-for-12 shooting.
"I liked taking it on myself," Helvey said.
"(She) had (seven) points, and that's a lot of
pride for me."
With the Michigan defense containing the Hoosiers'
best player, and the offense reducing its mistakes, the
Wolverines got their first Big Ten victory. The whole
team felt like its effort in practice finally resulted in a
victory that will carry into upcoming games.
"We knew that, through our hard work in prac-
tice, that (effort) would pay off," Clement said.
Senior Tabitha Pool had 21 points and 11 rebounds in leading Michigan to its only Big Ten victory of the
season against Indiana.
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