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December 01, 1995 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-12-01

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12- The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 1, 1995
Wolverines look to contain ackson, Gamecocks at Crisler

By Jim Rose
Daily Sports Writer
After two road wins during the holi-
day weekend without starters Pollyanna
Johns and Jennifer Brzezinski, the
Michigan women's basketball team was
giving thanks for its depth.
The Wolverines (2-0) hope to have
the two starters back fortonight's home-
opener, when they tip off against a team
lacking ... depth.
South Carolina invades Crisler
Arena at 7:30 tonight, led by two-
time All-Southeastern Conference
selection Shannon Jackson. The se-
nior guard, whose 23.9 points per
game were 10th-best in the nation last
year, has led the Gamecocks to a 3-1
start this season.
Michigan coach Trish Roberts con-
ceded that Johnson poses a serious prob-
lem for the Wolverines on the perim-
eter.

"I'm not sure who's going to cover
her yet," Roberts said. "That's a tough
matchup for us.
"Shannon Johnson is an excellent
player. Nobody's been able to stop her
yet this year. But we're not going to just
let her score. She's going to have to
earn her points."
Johnson is averaging nearly 29 points
per game, while shooting 50 percent
from the floor.
Last year, however, South Carolina
finished a dismal 1-11 in the SEC, de-
spite Johnson's best efforts - a fact
that underscores the importance of
depth.
"I don't think one player can win a
game by herself," Roberts said.
The return of Johns and Brzezinski
should help Michigan's inside game.
The duo missed the first two games
with minor injuries-Johns was nurs-
ing a slightly sprained ankle, while

Brzezinski suffered a strained back.
Roberts said the post players are ex-
pected to play, but the coach is unsure
of what type of production to expect.
"I think they'll play, but I'm not
sure if they'll be 100 percent," she
said. "If they are able to play, we'll
match up very well with (the Game-
cocks). Right now, we still match up
well with them outside, with the ex-
ception of Johnson."
The Wolverines were aided by the
strong performances of their other for-
wards in the first two games. Junior
Silver Shellman and sophomore Tif-
fany Willard combined for 53 points
and 41 rebounds in the first two con-
tests.
Amy Johnson shined against
Marquette as well, scoring 25 points to
lead Michigan.
South Carolina returns three starters
from last year's team. Shannon Johnson

is joined by senior center Cindy Kelly,
who averaged over 10 points a game in
herj unior campaign, and senior Natalie
Funderburke, who boasts experience at
guard.
According to Roberts, the Wolver-
ines will concern themselves primarily
with limiting Shannon Johnson's sup-
porting cast.
"The key will be whether we can
keep the other players from hurting us,"
Roberts said.
The Gamecocks have been victori-
ous in the only two previous meetings
between the two teams, most recently
last season in Columbia, S.C. Shannon
Johnson (who else?) had 34 points, off-
setting 28 from Amy Johnson. South
Carolina won in an 82-78 nail-biter.
The Wolverines hope to extract a bit
of revenge on the Gamecocks tonight.
"I think it'll be a good game, based
on last year," said Roberts.

Michigan excited as NIVC gets underway
Spikers recover from NCAA slight; to open against Butler

By Chris Murphy
Daily Sports Writer
In traveling to Kansas City this
weekend, the Michigan women's vol-
leyball team will be walking into some
unfamiliar territory.
In stark contrast to the confines of
Cliff Keen Arena or the familiar sur-
roundings of Big Ten gyms, this
weekend's National Intercollegiate
Volleyball Championships represent
a step onto another level for the Wol-
verines.
After all, this weekend's tourna-
ment is Michigan's first postseason
appearance in 14 years and only the
second in the team's 23-year history.
Originally, the tournament invita-
tion wasn't very exciting for a Wol-
verine team that went 11-9 in the Big
Ten, missing the NCAA Tournament
by only one or two games.
However, throughout this week,
Michigan began to realize its place in
the school volleyball record books.
"At first we were pretty disap-
pointed (about not being selected for
NCAAs)," co-captain Shannon
Brownlee said. "But then we realized
(the NIVC) was pretty big. For Michi-
gan, it's huge."
Brownlee's sentiment has been ex-
pressed by other team members and
coach Greg Giovanazzi. While the
Wolverines were a step away from
landing the first NCAA Tournament
berth in school history, they all real-
ized the importance of their position
this weekend.
Michigan goes from just missing

the NCAAs to being in position to
possibly win the NIVC.
The competition in this weekend's
set of matches includes teams that the
Wolverines have beaten this season
in Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
Based on this, the players seem
upbeat about their chances for a new
Michigan record. A tournament vic-
tory would be the first in history.
"I think we can go on and make the
semis and maybe even the finals.
"Brownlee said. "We'll have to play
well consistently throughout the
whole weekend."
In addition to the fact that the Wol-
verines will be unaccustomed to
postseason play, Michigan will be
faced with some unfamiliar oppo-
nents.
This morning, the Wolverines face
Butler, and then Massachusetts fol-
lows this afternoon. Michigan then
faces San Diego and Arkansas Satur-
day.
So besides the Minufemen, the Wol-
verines will face three opponents
whom they haven't played in the re-
cent past. And while Giovanazzi can
view film of Butler, he will have to
somehow scout Arkansas and San
Diego while he is there.
"We don't know anything about
Arkansas or the University of San
Diego, but we'll have seen them play
twice by then, " Giovanazzi said.
Michigan defeated Massachusetts
back in September. Then, Kristen
Ruschiensky led the Wolverines to a
tournament victory in the UMass In-
vitational. This weekend, Michigan
will be without the junior outside hit-
ter. Ruschiensky has been out since
mid-October with a knee injury.

The Michigan women's volleyball team, in action here against Minnesota, opens
play today at the National intercollegiate Volleyball Championships against Butler.

TONYA BROAD/Daily
Silver Shellman's Inside game will be key when the Wolverines battle South
Carolina tonight at Crisier Arena.

The Wolverines are looking to uti-
lize a good portion of their team as
they play four matches in two days. If
it advances, Michigan will play two
more matches Sunday.
So Giovanazzi is counting on his
bench for help. He expects to rotate
players in continually at the middle-
blocker position.
"I think we're looking at such gru-
eling schedule that we're looking to
see Linsey Ebert and Karen Chase,"
Giovanazzi said, referring to his two
top reserves. "Four matches on a
middle blocker in two days is really
tough."
In addition, Michigan will try to
stay consistent throughout the week-
end in its attacking game. This entails
a high level of leadership from
Brownlee. The senior outside hitter

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was recently named All-Big Ten and
remains the focal point of the Wol-
verines' offense.
Brownlee is looking for support
from fellow outside hitters Shareen
Luze and Colleen Miniuk. A consis-
tent serving game and offense should
be provided by sophomore setter
Linnea Mendoza.
Consistent performances will be the
mainstay for Michigan if it istogofar
this weekend. Consistent winning is
what got the team this far.
The NI VC
The Michigan volleyball
team will compete in a'
postseason tournament
for the first time since
1981. The 17-11
Wolverines will appear in
the National
Intercollegiate Volleyball
Championships (NIVC)
beginning tonight in
Kansas City, Mo. and will
be playing out of Pool:
Here is their schedulefor
this weekend.
TONIGHT -POOL D
9 aim. - Michigan vs
Butler
4:30 p.m.-- Michigan vs.
Massaschusetts
TOMORROW-- POOL D,
11:30 a.m. - Michigan
vs. San Diego
7 p.m. - Michigan vs:
Arkansas
SUNDAY - ALL POOLS
10 a.m. - Semifinals
1 p.m. - Championship

"FRESH,
SMART,
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ULTIMATELY,
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MOVING..."
-Michael Medved,
SNEAK PREVIEWS, PBS TV
"TRAVOLTA IS
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HE'S
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-Norman Mark, NBC CHICAGO

"TRAVOLTA' S...
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