BLOOMINGTON — Two minutes and two personal fouls into the
Michigan women’s basketball game against Indiana, junior
Tabitha Pool was already warming the bench. Any fan who has watched
this forward in action at Crisler Arena might be surprised to see
Pool in such a position early in the game. Pool has been the source
of about one-third of the Wolverines’ scoring this
season.

But anyone who has witnessed Michigan play on the road would
tell you that Pool’s early-game exit was very
predictable.

Just three weeks ago in Champaign, Pool was pulled off the court
for the exact same reason — committing two fouls in the first
two minutes of play. She finished out the first half of that game
with zero points and just four minutes of playing time. Her
15-point total for the game was still impressive, but could have
been more had she not sat the first half out.

Last Sunday at Penn State, Pool had similar problems — out
again for the entire first half after getting into foul trouble. By
the second half, she had lost her touch from beyond the arc, and
ended the game with a point total of zero.

Yesterday’s game was no different, as Pool logged just
three points in four minutes of play in the first half, and
finished the game with just six points.

Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett says it’s difficult to keep
Pool on the bench, but feels that it’s something she has to
do.

“It’s pretty tough when you get two fouls,”
Burnett said. “And as a coach, by now I have a pretty good
understanding of who can play with two and who can’t. You
take a chance and put her back in and chance getting a third and
really have limited minutes. And at that point we had a lead. Niki
(Reams) was playing extremely well off the bench.”

Pool agreed with her coach, and added that “I was a little
cold in the second half.”

Home court disadvantage?: Last Sunday, Michigan played in front
of a packed house at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center. The
sold-out arena housed an astounding 15,389 fans — the largest
crowd ever to watch a basketball game in State College.

But when the Wolverines set foot in Indiana’s Assembly
Hall yesterday, they entered an extremely different venue than the
one they had experienced in State College. Just 706 bodies occupied
the arena — including the cheerleaders, pep band members,
press, ticket sellers and even the teams and coaching staffs. The
thirty-something crowd that showed up on Michigan’s behalf
appeared to be almost as large as Indiana’s small
showing.

Until yesterday, the Hoosiers had not won a single conference
game at home.

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