MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: T-Wolves introduce new players at State Fair
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- The Minnesota Timberwolves showed off their newest players yesterday. The team introduced Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young and first round pick Zach LaVine at the Minnesota State Fair.
Wiggins, Bennett and Young came over in the Kevin Love trade.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are showing off new big man Kevin Love. The All-Star forward was formally introduced on Tuesday after being acquired from Minnesota over the weekend in a three-team trade involving Philadelphia. Love says he's looking forward to learning from new teammate LeBron James. Love adds he is committed to the Cavs' quest for an NBA championship but didn't guarantee he would sign a long-term contract extension.
The Minnesota Lynx will meet the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA Western Conference Finals starting Friday in Arizona. Minnesota swept San Antonio 2-0 in the first round to advance. Phoenix crushed Los Angeles twice to move on. The Mercury won three of the four meetings in the regular season. The Lynx and Mercury had to the top two records in the WNBA this season. Minnesota is the defending champion and has been to three consecutive WNBA Finals. Here is the upcoming schedule for the best-of-three Western Conference finals:
Friday (Game One): Minnesota at Phoenix, 9pm
Sunday (Game Two): Phoenix at Minnesota, 2:30pm
Tuesday (Game Three): Minnesota at Phoenix, 9pm (if necessary)
Kansas City outfielder Alex Gordon hit a walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Royals to a 2-1 win over the Twins in the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium last night. Gordon had two of the five hits as KC snapped a two-game losing streak. Reliever Wade Davis grabbed his seventh win. Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh on a RBI single by Joe Mauer. Closer Glen Perkins blew his fifth save after giving up the home run to Gordon and took his first loss of the season. The Twins have dropped three in-a-row. The same two teams play tonight in Missouri.
Top prospect Byron Buxton is among six Twins that will play in the Arizona Fall League. The six-team league begins October 7th. Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, Taylor Rogers, Jason Adam and Mason Melotakis will join Buxton in Arizona.
The Minnesota Vikings released tight end Mike Higgins yesterday as they reached the 75-man limit. A final cut down to 53 must be done by Saturday. The Vikings take on the Titans in Tennessee in the preseason finale tomorrow night in Nashville. Minnesota improved to 3-0 in exhibition play following Saturday's 30-12 victory at Kansas City. The regular season starts September 7th in St. Louis.
The Green Bay Packers are down to the league mandated 75-man limit after placing six players on injured reserve. The largest loss is defensive lineman B.J. Raji, who was lost for the season last week after suffering a torn bicep. Raji started all 16 games in 2013 and has missed just two starts in the past four years. The Pack also placed receiver Jared Abbrederis, offensive lineman Don Barclay, running back Rajion Neal, linebacker Joe Thomas and guard Andrew Tiller on IR. The Vikings play at Green Bay on October 2nd and host the Packers on November 23rd.
The University of Minnesota football team will open the regular season with a home tilt tomorrow night against Eastern Illinois. The Golden Gophers are going through the final preparations for the game. Minnesota is coming off of an 8-5 season and will feature running back David Cobb, who returns after a 1,200 yard rushing season last year. He says the offensive line will be even better this season. There are tickets still remaining for the prime time Thursday night game, which kicks off at 6 p.m. One other Big Ten games is set for Thursday: Rutgers at Washington State. The rest of the league will play on Saturday, except for Michigan State, which has a game on Friday night.
Teams from the Big Ten and the ACC will meet at Ford Field in December for the inaugural Quick Lane Bowl. Yesterday, the Lions and Ford Motor Company announced a multi-year agreement for the game, which will take the place of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. The Lions are the second NFL team, after the Houston Texans, to host and operate a college football bowl game. The Quick Lane Bowl is scheduled to kick off December 26th.
The Department of Natural Resources says it's too hard to pinpoint exactly why the number of pheasant hunters in the state fell significantly last fall. The DNR's Lou Cornicelli says only 62,000 pheasant hunters took to the fields -- a 19-percent drop -- but those who did hunt averaged about the same number of birds as in 2012. Hunters harvested an average of 2.7 pheasants in 2013 compared to 3.3 in 2012. Statewide estimates show small game hunters harvested about 169,100 pheasants. That's the fewest hunters and lowest harvest in 27 years.
Roger Federer and Serena Williams cruised to first-round victories at the U.S. Open on Tuesday. Federer is crediting his serve for a straight-set win over Australia's Marinko Matosevic American John Isner also moved on as he dropped fellow countryman Marcos Giron, also in three sets. Fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer needed four sets to get by Damir Dzumhur. On the women's side, Williams took out 18-year-old American Taylor Townsend in straight sets. The two-time reigning champion is the top seed. The first big upset of the tournament went to 15-year-old American wild card CiCi Bellis, who stunned 12th-seeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova.
There's just two more races before the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Drivers head to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend before heading to Richmond Saturday, September 6th. A total of 12 spots have been clinched with drivers winning races, leaving four left. Joey Lagano won last week's race at Bristol.