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December 04, 1995 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-12-04

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday. December 4, 1995 - 5B

lasketball Preview

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Purdue looks for conference title
Boilermakers hope to break two-year deadlock with Penn State at the top

24 Kelly McEnhill
5-6, junior, guard

By James Goldstein it is working.
Daily Sports Writer Last season, first-year coach Jane
This time, women's basketball will Albright-Dieterle introduced a high-
have an outright regular season cham- scoring, up-tempo style of play com-
pion in the Big Ten. bined with great chemistry and pure
The last two years, Purdue and Penn talent. Fans packed the Wisconsin
State have ended in a tie in the confer- Fieldhouse and the Badgers ended with
ence standings - in 1994-95 both a 20-9 overall record and a trip to the
schools had a 13-3 Big Ten record. NCAA Tournament.
The Boilermakers and Nittany Lions A large reason for the Badgers' suc-
are the preseason favorites, but another cess and a key to this year is Barb
up-and-coming team could give them a Franke, a preseason All-American can-
run for their money - Wisconsin. didate and preseason All-Big Ten mem-
The Badgers are no longer a surprise ber who led her team with 18.9 points
team coming off a third place 11-5 con- and 7.9 rebounds per game.
f e r e n c e "I think even in her first exhibition
record last game, itwasvery clearthatshe'sready,"
year. With Albright-Dieterle. "She had 34 points
four start- and 13 rebounds and was pretty much
ers return- unstoppable. Our team loved it, they
ing this were in awe like 'can you believe we've
year, Wis- got to put up with Barb.' It was like 'get
consin has Barb the ball.'"
alegitimate Keisha Anderson is the Badgers'
shot at the key ifthey want to make a run at Purdue.
PREVIEW conference The senior point guard led the con-
title. ferenceinstealspergame(3.8),comple-
But in menting her 13.1 points and 5.3 assists
the end'," pergame. If Anderson can improve her
Purdue should grab the conference titl6 .scoring, then Badgerball could be fun

Here's a look at each team, excluding
Michigan, and how things might turn
out by season's end:
Purdue
Boilermaker coach Linn Dunn thinks
she has found a formula to use against
Penn State that could ultimately leave
Purdue alone at the top.
The Nittany Lions have a quick guard
tandem of Tina Nicholson and Katina
Mack, but the Boilermakers have size to
match them.
Dunn's philosophy is that big and
quick guards win games in the Big Ten.
And a 6-foot-4 forward battling in the
paint doesn't hurt either.
All-American and Big Ten Player of
the Year Stacey Lovelace is a force to be
reckoned with.
Last year, Lovelace topped the Boil-
ermakers in scoring (14.2), rebounds
(8. 1),blocked shots (81), and steals (74).
Her shot block total was greater than
seven of the women's and four of the
men's conference teams.
"Stacey's versatility is a key to her
success," Dunn said. "She can post up or
shoot the 15-footer. She can put the ball
on the floor and go to the basket. She can
also nail a 3-pointer."
Wisconsin
The Badgers will finish in front of
Penn State this year. It's called
Badgerball - it's their style of play and

once again.
And playing both games against
Purdue and Penn State at home doesn't
hurt either.
Penn State
The Nittany Lions will have some-
thing besides their quick, potent guard
play to boast about - Bryce Jordan
Center, the new 15,000-seat area that
Penn State will be moving into next
month.
Now more fans will be able to wit-
ness the best perimeter play in the con-
ference. Nicholson (9.5 points per game,
8.1 assist per game), Mack, Tina
Longworth and Pothoff make up the
Nittany Lions' solid core.
"I don't know if I've ever had a
team this good, this deep in the
backcourt," Penn State coach Rene
Portland said. "But our focus has al-
ways been on the guards. We like to
feel we can get under you and make
things happen."
Pothoff, a perimeter forward, is com-
ing off an impressive 1994-95 season.
She was the team's leading scorer (17.8
ppg, fourth in Big Ten) and rebounder
(9.7 rpg, second in Big Ten)
Mack was sidelined for all but three
of last season's games with two serious
concussions. As a fifth-year senior,
Mack has to make an impact if the
Nittany Lions want to catch Purdue and

finish ahead of Wisconsin.
Iowa
Out with the old and in with the new.
The problem is that the old made it to
the Final Four three years ago. The
good thing is that the new is kind ofold.
Successful Iowa coach Vivian
Stringer has moved on to Rutgers and
now the job is in the hands of Stringer's
assistant coach - Angie Lee.
Lee has not only worked under
Stringer as a coach, but also as a player.
Lee was the Hawkeye's senior captain
during Stringer's debut season at Iowa
so she is familiar with the system.
The Hawkeyes are trying to improve
on a disappointing 1994-95 season
where they were 6-10 in the conference
and I 1-17 overall.
One person who can lead them back
to the conference elite is 1994-95 Big
Ten Freshman of the Year and pre-
season All-Big Ten member Tiffany
Gooden (12.5 ppg last year).
"Tiffany is a tremendous offensive
firepower." Lee said. "Now the ques-
tion is can she also stop opponents from
scoring. We look for Tiffany's all-
around game to continue to get better
and better."
Northwestern
The Wildcats' biggest concern ishow
they are going to replace Maureen
HIolohan. Holohan led Northwestern in
scoring (14.9 ppg), rebounding (8.2
rpg), assists (3.7 ppg) and steals (2.1
ppg)
"It is going to be hard to replace
Maureen," Northwestern coach Don
Perrelli said. "Her leadership on the
floor and the experience she had was
very valuable to our program. It will be
a test to fill that position."
The test-takers will be Michele Ratav
(14.3 ppg), Katrina Hannaford (11.7
ppg) and Christina Braden (11.6 ppg)
who will try to fill in the hole.
Ohio State
Two words sum up Ohio State
Katie Smith.
Last year's All-American and two-
time Honorable Mention is considered
one of the best players in the country.
Smith has a 20.1 career Big Ten
scoring average and scored 21.3 points
per game last year, leading the confer-
ence.
Ohio State coach Nancy Darsch
knows that Smith can get even better
and is Smith's biggest fan.
"Katie Smith is one of the best play-
ers to have ever played in this confer-
ence and one of the best players in the
country," Darsch said.

But can Smith's teammates provide
enough support so that Smith isn't double
and triple-teamed every game'? If for-
ward Lisa Negri (7.8 ppg) and guard
Adrienne Johnson (7.8 ppg) provide a
lift, the Buckeyes could finish higher up
in the conference.
Indiana
Co-captain Lisa Furlin heads a team
that has a good balance between its
frontcourt and backcourt.
Furlin (18.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) scored in
double figures in 18 of 21 games.
Indiana has a good combination of
youth and experience. Nine freshman are
on the Hoosier squad this year, including
highly-touted Cindy Kerns. Kearns was
named a 1995 USA Today All-USA
Honorable Mention.
Indiana coach Jim Izard said he is
optimistic about this season, but knows
that the key will be in his team's chemis-
try and how his freshman fare.
Michigan State
Key losses due to graduation last year
and a large freshman class this year will
likely lead to a mediocre season. The
Spartans have to find themselves and see
what combinations work.
Kisha Kelley, the program's first-ever
All-American. will be missed. Michigan
State must find another scorer to help
make up for Kelley's 18.9 points per
game.
That could fall on the shoulders of
Junior co-captains Cheri Euler (6.6 ppg)
and Paula Sanders (7.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg)
This year's freshman's class needs to
contribute right from the bat ifthe Spar-
tans have any hopes of competing in the
conference.
Minnesota
Losing their top three scorers to gradu-
ation is going to make this year a rebuild-
ing one for the Gophers.
Minnesota coach Linda 11i11-
MacDonald has a lot of new faces on her
team and she needs to find the right
combination of players to work with.
Hill-MacDonald will look to her se-
niors for leadership and scoring - cen-
ter Sarah Cecka and forward co-captain
Nancy Shudlick.
Illinois
The Illini have a new spunky coach,
"Theresa Grentz.
(rentz. who humored the media at the
conference luncheon, said that there's a
lot of regrouping to do.
The new skipper. who coached
Rutgers from 1976-1995 and won over
400 games there, is hoping to improve
on. Illinois' 3-13 conference record
last year.

f-

4 Molly Murray
6-0, sophomore, forward

w i

-
50 Anne Poglits
6-5, freshman, center

t/
21 Mekisha Ross
5-7, junior, guard

BRZEZINSKI
Continued from page 1
"I knew architecture was what I wanted to go into, and
Michigan has one of the best architecture programs in the
country," she says. "Growing up in Michigan, I've always been a
Wolverine fan. So that made the choice a pretty easy one."
Brzezinski's first year at Michigan was nothing like she
expected.
A knee injury ended her season after just nine games.
Suddenly, Brzezinski found herself wondering about what
might have been.
"I started asking myself questions like, 'What if I'd chosen
a different school'? Would I still have gotten hurt?' For a
while I sort of had second thoughts. But never really
seriously. I was just disappointed."
If nothing else, the injury let Brzezinski reflect on the
atmosphere at Michigan, without being caught up in the
nonstop whirl of a basketball season.
"I came from a relatively small high school," she says, "so
the diversity here really surprised me. It's become my
favorite thing about the University.
"Michigan has this stereotype that the only people you see
there are smart, intelligent people who walk around wearing
pocket protectors. But it's not like that at all."
Brzezinski worked her way back from the knee injury to
become Michigan's Offensive Player of the Year last season.
Now, after two full years of experience in Big Ten
basketball, she's hoping to end her career on a high note.
"I want this team to be Big Ten champs," she says. "The
last couple years, we've been hurt by injuries, but we know
we can play with anyone. I'm putting a lot of pressure on
myself I can see where some of the younger players might
say. 'We've got time to build' - but this is my senior year. I
don't have that time to spare."
It's obvious that the younger players look up to Brzezinski.
She was voted team captain before the start of the season.
Michigan coach Trish Roberts shares that respect.
"Jennifer brings us leadership in a quiet way," Roberts
says. "The first thing I noticed about her was that she was a
hard worker. She's matured tremendously over the years. If
for no one else, I hope this year goes well for her. I want her
senior season to be her best."
Regardless of what happens this season, Brzezinski is
pleased with the time she's spent at Michigan.
I'm just happy to have the opportunity to play basketball

45 Silver Sheliman
5-11, junior, forward

A
30 Shauna Sikorski
6-0, sophomore, forward

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