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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Both Olympic curling teams off to slow starts

The U.S. women's curling team is still looking for a win at the Sochi Games. Team USA suffered losses to host nation Russia and Great Britain yesterday to fall to 0-and-3 in the tournament. Richfield's Jessica Schultz and Eden Prairie's Allison Pottinger are members of the U-S team. Pottinger is an alternate. The U-S is playing against China this morning.

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 The U.S. men's curling team, comprised of Minnesotans, lost to China yesterday morning in Sochi and is now playing against Denmark this morning in Session Four. The Americans have not won a bout yet in the 2014 Winter Games. The U-S men's team consists of Jared Zezel of Hibbing, John Shuster of Chisholm, Jeff Isaacson of Lakeland, and John Landsteiner of Mapleton. 

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The USA women's hockey team faces rival Canada in the final game of Group Play at the Winter Olympics in Russia this morning. Both teams have locked up spots in the tournament early next week, but the winner of this morning's game will have the top seed coming out of the group. Both clubs right now are 2-and-0. The puck is set to drop at 6:30 a.m. Team USA has five current or former Gophers on the roster, including Minnesotans Gigi Marvin of Warroad, Lee Stecklein of Roseville, and Anne Schleper of St. Cloud After this morning's game, the next game for Team USA women is set for Monday in tourney action. The U-S men's team is set to begin Olympic competition tomorrow with a game against Slovakia. There are ten players on the men's team with Minnesota ties.

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The Minnetonka girls and The Blake School boys will hit the slopes at Giants Ridge in Biwabik today to defend their respective Minnesota State High School championships. Minnetonka has the most returning skiers who took part in last year's state meet. The other state qualifiers in the girls event are The Blake School, Minneapolis Southwest, Mankato West, Mounds View, Orono, Lakeville North, and Mahtomedi. The Blake School return four skiers who were on last year's title team. The other boys' teams in the state tourney field are Stillwater, Orono, Edina, East Ridge, Minnetonka, Forest Lake, and Chanhassen. The team an individual competitions are combined as a single event today, with the first runs slated to begin at 10 a.m. and the second runs set for 1 p.m. The boys and girls will each ski once on separate courses. The state Nordic Ski meet is tomorrow.

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 Minnesota Twins team physician Dr. Vijay Eyunni says the prognosis for team general manager Terry Ryan is good. Ryan was diagnosed with cancer, which is believed to be confined to a lump in the neck area. Eyunni says Ryan has a positive attitude and will immediately begin treatment. The doctor says they will remove the lump from the neck, along with the lymph nodes in the area. Ryan will also undergo radiation treatment. Ryan will miss at least the early portion of spring training.

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While some Minnesota Twins are already down in Florida preparing for the season, pitchers and catchers will report on Sunday. The first official workout will take place on Monday with the full squad reporting a week from Friday. The first spring training game is February 28th against the Red Sox in Fort Myers.

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The Minnesota Vikings signed free agent linebacker Simoni Lawrence to a contract. Lawrence played college football with the Golden Gophers and most recently was playing professional football for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves are hoping to snap a four-game losing streak tonight when Denver visits the Target Center. This is Minnesota's final game before the NBA All-Star Break begins. The Wolves' Kevin Love will take part in NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, but says his team in Minnesota needs to take care of business first this evening. Tipoff for tonight's Minnesota-Denver game is set for 7 p.m. in downtown Minneapolis.

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers travel to 21st-ranked Wisconsin tonight, for a game tomorrow night in Madison. The Gophers snapped their three-game losing streak with a 66-60 victory over Indiana on Saturday. Minnesota sits at 16-and-8 on the year and 5-and-6 in Big Ten play. Wisconsin is 19-and-5 and 6-and-5. Tomorrow's tip off is set for 8 p.m.

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 Golden Gopher center Amanda Zahui of Stockholm, Sweden has been named the Big Ten women's basketball Freshman of the Week. She posted her 11th career double-double in a victory over Illinois on Sunday, posting 23 points and 12 rebounds. This is the fifth time this season Zahui has won the weekly honor for first-year players. She is averaging nearly 11-rebounds per game this year Minnesota is at Wisconsin tonight for a 7 p.m. game. The Gophers are 15-and-9 overall and 4-and-6 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin is 10-and-13 overall and 3-and-8 in the league.

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University of Minnesota junior Dylan Ness of Bloomington is this week's Big Ten Conference Wrestler of the Week, after helping the No. 2 Golden Gophers past the top-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions 18-17 in a dual meet on Sunday in Minneapolis. The 157-pound Ness pinned fourth-ranked Dylan Alton of Penn State, handing Alton his first loss of the year. The win sparked the Gophers to an upset victory in the dual. This is the first time in his career that Ness has won the weekly award.

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