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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: U.S. women's hockey team loses to Canada again

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SOCHI, Russia - The U.S. women's hockey team will have to settle for silver again.  The Americans lost to Canada 3-2 in overtime this afternoon in the Olympic gold medal game.  

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Marie-Philip Poulin scored from the left circle past former University of Wisconsin goal-tender Jessie Vetter with 11:50 left in the OT.  It gave Canada its 20th straight Olympic win and its fourth consecutive gold medal.  It left the Americans stunned, as Team USA blew a 2-0 third quarter lead with 3:27 to go.  Canada tied the game in the final 3:26 of regulation.  Brianne Jenner scored off a U.S. defender, and Poulin took advantage of a miscue by Vetter to tie it with :54.6 seconds left. Vetter had 28 saves.  American captain Meghan Duggan, another former Wisconsin star, scored the game's first goal midway through the second period.  Ex-Badger Hilary Knight assisted on the only other U.S. goal, delivering a sharp pass to Alex Carpenter who shot the goal just over two minutes into the third period.  Former Badger Meghan Mikkelson-Reid had an assist for her native Canada.  Ex-Badger Brianna Decker and Madison area native Amanda Kessel did not figure in the scoring for the U.S., which has still not won gold since 1998, when women's hockey made its Olympic debut.

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The Milwaukee Bucks traded veteran guards Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour to Charlotte today, for former Bucks' guard Ramon Sessions and power forward Jeff Adrien.  The deal was not officially announced by early afternoon.  ESPN and the MIlwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported it.  It came just hours before the NBA's trade deadline, which was 2 p.m.  The Bobcats acquired Neal to try and help them make the post-season.  He was disgruntled in Milwaukee, and he played very little since he got into a locker room skirmish with Bucks' center Larry Sanders a few weeks ago.  Ridnour had injury problems early in the season, and was in-and-out of the Milwaukee rotation since then.  ESPN said Charlotte wanted a pure Neal-for-Sessions trade, but the Bucks didn't -- because Sessions is making five-million-dollars this year compared to Neal's three-and-a-quarter million.  So Ridnour was thrown into the package, because he's getting four-point-three million, while Adrian is only making $900,000.  Ridnour averaged six points and three assists in 36 games in his second stint with Milwaukee.  Neal did not play in 21 games due to a coach's decision.  Sessions played his first two NBA seasons in Milwaukee before going to Minnesota, Cleveland, the LA Lakers, and then Charlotte.  He averaged 10-and-a-half points and four assists for the Bobcats in this, his seventh NBA season.  Adrian is 28.  He averaged close to two-and-a-half points and two rebounds in 25 games for Charlotte this year.

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The Denver Nuggets have lost five straight games, since they beat the Milwaukee Bucks 110-100 on February fifth in the Mile-High City.  Tonight, they'll play the Bucks at the Bradley Center.  Not only will the Nuggets try to end their futility string, they'll also go for their eighth consecutive victory over Milwaukee.  The Bucks became the final NBA team to reach the 10-victory mark with a four-point home win over Orlando on Tuesday night.  Once again, they're playing for back-to-back victories for the first time this season.  With nowhere to go but up, rookie Nate Wolters says he's trying to view the post-All-Star break as a new season.  He had 15 points and eight assists against the Magic.  Denver's leading scorer, Ty Lawson, is expected to miss fourth straight game with a broken rib.  Bucks' guard O-J Mayo could see a little playing time tonight.  He has missed 10 games with an illness and conditioning issues.

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Milwaukee Brewers' third baseman Aramis Ramirez could miss the first several games at Spring Training, after he had a non-cancerous polyp removed from his colon.  Manager Ron Roenicke said today that the polyp was found during a routine colonoscopy.  Since his operation, the 35-year-old has been swinging a bat again -- but he's not sure when he'll be able to play in an actual game.  Roenicke said the veteran third baseman is expected to show up at camp by Friday, when position players are required to report.  The Brewers will play their first exhibition game a week from Friday against Oakland.  Ramirez had a lingering knee injury that held him to 92 games last season, with 12 homers and 49 RBI's.

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Milwaukee Brewers' second baseman Rickie Weeks says he's ready to take back his old job.  Weeks showed up a few days early at Spring Training, along with many of Milwaukee's position players.  Weeks has been a mainstay for the Crew at second since 2006 -- but after he went out for the season with a bad hamstring last August, Scooter Gennett did a solid job replacing him.  Weeks had outpatient surgery on a ruptured lateral hamstring tendon.  He suffered the injury tripping over his bat while running out of the batter's box.  Weeks says he's 100-percent healthy -- and he's been doing full workouts for a month-and-a-half.  Gennett batted .358 in the final two months of last season with five homers and 16 RBI's.  Weeks batted .209 last year before he went down.  He had 24 RBI's and 10 homers in 104 contests.  

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The UW-Green Bay men's basketball team can clinch at least a share of the Horizon League regular season title tonight, with a home win over Valparaiso.  The Phoenix are 11-2 in conference play, with a two-game lead over Cleveland State.  UWGB is 21-5 overall.  Valpo comes in at 8-4 in the conference and 16-11 overall.  Green Bay seniors Alec Brown and Vincent Garrett will be honored as they play their final regular season home games.  Brown averaged 21 points in a pair of victories last week, and was named the Horizon men's player-of-the-week for the fourth time this season.  Green Bay also hopes to avenge a 75-60 loss at Valparaiso on January 29th.  Lavonte Dority of the Crusaders led all scorers in that game with 26.  Also tonight, the UW-Milwaukee men are at Youngstown State.

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The University of Wisconsin women host Michigan State tonight.  The Badgers hope to break a four-game losing streak.  They're coming off a 10-point loss at Penn State last Sunday -- and they're 3-10 in the Big Ten Conference and 10-15 overall.  The Spartans are ranked 23rd in the country with an overall mark of 17-8, and a 9-3 Big Ten record.  Wisconsin senior Morgan Paige will play in her 100th straight game -- a streak that began in January of 2011 against Purdue.  Also tonight, the UW-Parkside women-and-men are at home against McKendree.

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The UW-Milwaukee men's basketball team will play at Youngstown State tonight.  The Panthers' leading scorer, Jordan Aaron, is expected to return in a reserve role.  He sat out Saturday's 15-point home loss to Valparaiso due to a violation of team rules.  UWM comes in at 6-6 in the Horizon League and 16-10 overall.  Their loss to Valpo ended a three-game winning streak.  Youngstown State comes in at 5-7 in the conference and 14-13 overall.  The Penguins snapped a four-game losing string last Saturday with a 59-56 victory over Illinois-Chicago.  Kendrick Perry leads Youngstown with 20-and-a-half points a game.   Also tonight, the Wisconsin women are at home against Michigan State. In Division II, the UW-Parkside men-and-women host McKendree in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.  In Division-Three, the Maranatha Baptist men host Lincoln Christian in Watertown.  The Maranatha women are in Milwaukee to play Mount Mary.

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Sarah Albert of Marian University in Fond du Lac is the women's basketball player-of-the-week in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.  The senior guard averaged 21-and-a-half points in a pair of Marian victories last week. Albert shot 52-percent from the floor, and made 9-of-16 from three-point range.  Kyle Pilmer of Aurora is the honored men's player.

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A five-year winless streak is over the Granton High School boys' basketball team.  The Bulldogs beat Loyal 62-55 Tuesday night, to end a 91-game losing string in Eastern Cloverbelt Conference match-ups.  Granton's last league win was on January 29th of 2009, when the Bulldogs edged Neillsville 45-44.  Devin Klein led Granton last night with 22 points.  Granton, about 15 miles west of Marshfield, is one of the smallest schools in the state.  Its high school has just 65 students.  The Bulldogs now have three victories this season, after winning a pair of non-conference games earlier.

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Madison golfer Steve Stricker has been eliminated in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship.  Stricker was seeded third in the Bobby Jones bracket-of-16.  He was upset by Number-14 George Coetzee yesterday, 3-and-1.  Stricker was the only Wisconsin player in the World Golf Championships' event at the Dove Mountain course in Marana Arizona.  Sixty-four players began the single-elimination tournament.  Three of the four Number-One seeds advanced.  The only one who didn't was Zach Johnson, who lost to Richard Sterne 5-and-4 in the Sam Snead bracket.  The other No.1s are Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, and Justin Rose.

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You don't have to fly to the Olympics to see world-class skiing.  North America's largest cross-country ski race is scheduled for Saturday in northwest Wisconsin.  A torch-lighting is taking place in Hayward this afternoon to kick off three days of events for the 41st American Birkebeiner.  A record field of 10,500 is registered for the 54-kilometer Birkie and two related events -- the 23-K Kortelopet, and the 12-K Price Haakon.  All of that is scheduled for Saturday, after a major snowstorm goes through. Fourteen-to-18 inches are predicted for an area that already has 2-to-3 feet on the ground.  A lack of snow will clearly not be an issue, like it has in some years.  Rather, the big challenge is getting there.  Wisconsin is getting a major snow-and-ice storm tonight and early tomorrow, with winds of up to 50-miles-an-hour causing heavy drifting.  With the Telemark Lodge closed, participants will notice a few changes.  A hospitality tent is planned at the lodge, and the awards will be given out at the Birkie's tent city in Hayward.  This afternoon, kids as young as three will be in children's ski races down Hayward's main street, followed by Ski Games and the Elite Sprints.  Doug Debold of Wayzata, Minnesota is the Birkie's defending champion.

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SCOREBOARD 

In men's college basketball...

Creighton 85, Marquette 70

UW-Stevens Point 70, UW-Oshkosh 51

UW-Platteville 60, UW-Eau Claire 34

UW-River Falls 90, UW-Superior 77

UW-La Crosse 63, UW-Stout 55

Saint Norbert 78, Ripon 62

Carroll 76, Beloit 65

Lawrence 84, Lake Forest 76

Marian 73, Concordia-Wisconsin 71

Milwaukee School of Engineering 84, Wisconsin Lutheran 70

Lakeland 73, Edgewood 66

In women's college basketball...

Carthage 80, North Park 74

UW-Oshkosh 57, UW-Stevens Point 53

UW-Superior 72, UW-River Falls 55

UW-Eau Claire 69, UW-Platteville 58

UW-Stout 89, UW-La Crosse 72

Saint Norbert 56, Ripon 42

Carroll 75, Beloit 61

Lake Forest 62, Lawrence 44

In Wisconsin boys' high school basketball...

Cloquet, Minn. 40, Ashland 37

Delavan-Darien 72, Burlington 67

Pewaukee 67, New Berlin Eisenhower 47

Waukesha North 63, Sheboygan North 50

Whitnall 94, Wauwatosa West 86

In girls' high school basketball...

Delavan-Darien 49, Elkhorn 45

Lake Country Lutheran 52, Milwaukee Heritage Christian 41

Milwaukee Rufus King 68, Milwaukee Pulaski/Arts 34

University School of Milwaukee 53, Milwaukee St. Joan Antida 17

West Allis Hale 76, Glendale Nicolet 44

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