Swimming and Diving
Freshman Derek Starks was tabbed the Big East’s Most Outstanding Diver after taking his second conference title Sunday at the final day of the Big East Swimming and Diving Championships in Syracuse, N.Y.
Starks turned in a score of 553.15, nearly 200 points ahead of Pittsburgh’s Devin Aikins, to take first place in the men’s platform finals Sunday. The freshman won the three-meter springboard in Friday’s finals.
Starks’ title of Most Outstanding Diver prolongs UM’s men’s diving team’s dominance in the Big East as the Hurricanes have taken the honor every year since 1992.
The Hurricane women’s swimming and diving team wrapped up the final day of competition in eighth place overall.
Freshman Tara Erwin led off for the Hurricanes, finishing second in the 1650-yard freestyle with a personal-best time of 16:40.23, followed by junior Katalin Ferenczi who finished sixth in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:02.85. Junior Martyna Krawczyk finished second in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:16.61 and freshman Nancy Gajos placed sixth in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:03.30.
Freshman diver Heather Bounds took the Big East title in the women’s platform finals with a score of 394.80.
Krawczyk broke the Miami school record in the 200-yard butterfly in a separate time trial touching in with a time of 2:15.34, breaking former Hurricane Kristel Tellegen’s record time of 2:15.66 set in 1997.
This late in the season, Providence coach Tim Welsh doesn’t like weeklong breaks between games.
His concern seemed evident Saturday as Miami played No. 19 Providence tough, even taking the lead in the second half, before the Friars pulled away for a 70-57 victory.
“That’s the way the schedule goes,” Welsh said. “Good teams fight through it. We didn’t have that crispness that we usually have, but we tightened up the defense when we needed it.”
Rob Sanders scored 14 points to lead five players in double figures for Providence, which has won four in a row.
Providence 18-5, and 9-3 in the Big East remained in second place in the Big East and matched the 2000-01 team for the school’s best conference start.
Robert Hite had 15 points for Miami, which lost its ninth straight and fell to 13-14 overall.
A 3-pointer by Donnie McGrath, who had 13 points, gave Providence the lead for good at 49-47. It was 50-47 when Sanders grabbed the rebound of a missed free throw by Tuukka Kotti and kept possession for the Friars.
After a timeout, Sanders followed his missed 3-point attempt by converting an opposite hand layup to put the Friars up 52-47 with about 11 minutes left.
Miami never got closer than three points the rest of the way.
“Maybe they took too much out of us (during the lead changes),” Miami coach Perry Clark said. “Our defensive intensity was not the same. We got our backs against the wall.”
Sanders had his best game since returning from two broken fingers on Feb. 1.
“I’m starting to get it back,” he said. “It has taken a few games.”
Providence led 35-26 at halftime, but a 3-pointer by Hite with 13:52 left gave Miami its first lead since 1-0. The lead changed five times over the next 4 minutes.
“We didn’t bring any energy out of the locker room, and we’ll address that,” Welsh said. “We were one or two possessions from going man-to-man.”
Ryan Gomes and Sheiku Kabba each had 11 points for the Friars, while Kotti added 10, including five points when the game hung in the balance.
“That’s something I have to do,” Kotti, a reserve, said. “If other guys don’t get it going early, I need to bring in some energy. I was able to have some success at both ends (today).”
Providence’s bench contributed 15 points, to three for Miami.
“It wasn’t just Ryan and Donnie,” Welsh said. “Everyone made plays.”
Darius Rice, Miami’s leading scorer at 16.7 points per game, did not play. He’s been out since spraining his foot Feb. 14 against Syracuse.
Clark thought about inserting his star when Miami got close.
“I made the decision not to play him,” Clark said. “I was worried about a possible setback.”
Rice, a senior, said he wanted to play.
“I would have added energy on the court, but I have to respect the coach’s decision,” he said.
Providence shot 52 percent for the game, while Miami recovered from a 1-for-6 start to finish 23-for-54.
-Compiled by the sports information department.