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Evening State Sports Briefs: Badger women hoopsters takedown Illini

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HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - The University of Wisconsin women's basketball team rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to upset the University of Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament this afternoon 58-57 at the Sears Arena just outside Chicago.

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Illinois was the sixth seed in the tournament and Wisconsin was 11th. The Badgers were a dead-eye perfect 21-for-21 free throw shooting, including four made free-throws in the last few seconds by Morgan Paige and Tessa Cichy to take the lead after the Illini made a three-pointer to go ahead by three. Paige led the Badgers, 12-18 overall, with 18 points while Jackie Gulczynski finished with 15 points. Wisconsin plays a quarterfinal match-up against Purdue tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m.

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Green Bay Northeast Wisconsin Lutheran was the first to advance this afternoon at the state boys' high school basketball tournament in Madison. NEW Lutheran remained unbeaten at 28-0, by edging Drummond 62-59 in a Division 5 semifinal at the Kohl Center. Five Green Bay Lutheran players scored in double figures, led by Nathan Claflin with 14. Ben Best had 19 for Drummond, which ended its season at 24-3.

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The Big East Conference was reportedly going to announce this afternoon that its so-called "Catholic-Seven" members - including Marquette - will pull away in June. ESPN says the seven schools will play in their own basketball-first conference next season - keep the Big East name - and keep playing their men's tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York. A full withdrawal of the seven schools is reportedly set for July first. Reports said Marquette and the others were able to pull out for a total of 100-million dollars to be given to a league that will put a new emphasis on football. The Big East Web site unveiled a 2013 football schedule this morning. Marquette and the withdrawing schools don't play or emphasize football. The Golden Eagles will join Big East cohorts Georgetown, DePaul, Providence, Villanova, Saint John's, and Seton Hall in the new league. Butler and Xavier are in as well - and Creighton is expected to be the 10th-and-final member. A new Fox channel is expected to carry the new league's games.

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Milwaukee Brewers' general manager Doug Melvin felt numb today, after he was stung by a tiny scorpion at his Spring Training condominium in the Phoenix area. Melvin told reporters that he spent three hours in a Scottsdale, Arizona hospital last night. He said he reached down to grab what he thought was an ordinary bug - and it stung his left middle finger. His arm started feeling numb, so he checked the Internet for information on scorpion stings - and he then checked into the hospital. Melvin said he used a Kleenex to pick up the bug, and the sting went right through it. Doctors told him the sting would not be fatal, but his vision could get blurry. Melvin received an anti-venom injection and was sent home.

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Brewers' first baseman Corey Hart will find out tomorrow how his recovery is going. An MRI is scheduled on the right knee that swelled up in January. The problem was found after an off-season workout. And after having surgery on January 25th, Hart was told it would be May before he could play again. Hart's chomping at the bit to get onto the field - and if the MRI results are positive, he expects to speed up his physical therapy. He said he's still 3-to-4 weeks away from baseball activities, but he's hoping to get back in the game by late April. The Brewers believe it will be more like mid-May. Hart says he no longer feels pain when he bends the injured knee - and he's able to conduct all his movements as he goes around his house.

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The UW-Green Bay women's basketball team will put a 19-game winning streak on the line tonight when its hosts Loyola of Chicago - which has won seven straight. The Phoenix was the last team to beat Loyola, in a tight 65-62 decision on February seventh in the Windy City. Green Bay has not lost since Dec. 5, when it fell at Central Michigan by four points. The Phoenix are 24-2 overall a with No. 20 AP ranking. Green Bay clinched the outright Horizon League title a week ago. They're 14-0 in conference play with two regular season games left. Loyola comes in at 9-5 in the circuit, and 14-13 overall. The Ramblers have the nation's second-lowest number of turnovers per game with just over 11-and-a-half. Green Bay is 21st in that department, with 13-point-six miscues per night. Also tonight, the UW-Milwaukee women host Illinois-Chicago.

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The UW-Parkside men's basketball team will open its post-season play tonight against Kentucky Wesleyan in the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament. It's the third of four quarter-final contests being played today and tonight at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana. Parkside comes in at 19-7 overall, after getting a first-round bye for winning the league's East Division. But the Rangers have a two-game losing streak, and they're coming off a seven-point loss to Lewis in their regular season finale. Tonight, Parkside will take on a Kentucky Wesleyan squad that's 20-7. Two of the Panthers' losses came against Parkside. The Rangers have the conference player-of-the-year in Jeremy Saffold. The senior forward is averaging 19 points a game.

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The state girls' high school basketball tournament continues tonight with the sectionals. Seventy-four schools are still in the running for five divisional state championships. The sectionals began early in Division-Four, where three top-seeded teams advanced last night. Cuba City eliminated Darlington 56-37. Racine Prairie ended Whitefish Bay Dominican's season with a 45-33 victory. And Oconto advanced with a 60-55 win over Amherst. Five other teams will join those three tonight in the Elite Eight round. Eight sectional contests are planned in each of the other four divisions. Once the sectionals are completed on Saturday, each division will send its Final Four to a new home for next week's state tournament - the Resch Center, across from Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

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Steve Stricker of Madison is making an appearance at the World Golf Championships' Cadillac tournament at Doral near Miami. Stricker is scheduled to tee off just before noon in his opening round today. It's only his fourth tournament of the season, after he decided to stay in Wisconsin for most of the year to spend more time with his family and charities. Stricker last played at the WGC Match Play event in late February. He made the final eight before being eliminated. Meanwhile, Jerry Kelly of Madison is playing in the PGA's Puerto Rico Open in Rio Grande. Kelly was four-over-par after 13 holes this morning at the Trump International course.

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A familiar name will help the Green Bay Packers look for future stars. Alonzo Dotson, nephew of former Packers' defensive lineman Santana Dotson, has been hired to scout out college talent. Alonzo will be 28 later this month. He was an assistant coach for quality control at the University of Houston for the past two years. Dotson also played college ball with Oklahoma for three years in the previous decade.

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