WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Badger men dominate in win over Michigan
The Wisconsin men's basketball team jumped out to a big lead yesterday, and held on to win at Michigan, 75-62. The Badgers won their sixth game in their last eight at Crisler Arena, and the first since 2011. Wisconsin opened with a 14-to-4 lead before going up by 15 at the break, as the Wolverines scored a season-low 19 points in the first 20 minutes. Michigan got to within three with about six minutes left, after completing a 9-0 run. Frank Kaminsky then scored on back-to-back trips to increase the margin to seven, and the Badgers made all 10 of their free throws down the stretch to seal their fourth straight victory. Kaminsky led the 21st-ranked Badgers with 25 points -- 17 in the second half -- and he added 11 rebounds. The Wisconsin offense played a clean game, committing just two turnovers in 60 possessions. Caris LeVert scored 25 for 15th-ranked Michigan, which remains in a first-place tie in the Big Ten despite dropping three-of-five. The Wolveries are now 10-and-3 in the conference, and 18-and-7 overall. Wisconsin is 8-and-5 in the Big Ten, and 21-and-5 overall. Their next game is on Saturday at Iowa.
The Wisconsin women lost at Penn State yesterday, 78-to-68. The Badgers looked solid early, leading 11-to-2 before the 11th-ranked Lady Lions came back and led by six at the break. Wisconsin led by two with 7:11 to play, but Penn State took control with a 15-5 run. The Badgers shot just under 44-percent for the game, while Penn State was at 44-point-six. Michala Johnson had 19 points and eight rebounds for Wisconsin. Sophomore Nicole Bauman had a career-high 17 points including five three-pointers, as the Badgers dropped to 3-and-10 in the Big Ten Conference and 10-and-15 overall. Maggie Lucas scored 25 for Penn State, which improved to 11-and-2 in the conference and 20-and-5 overall. Wisconsin will host Michigan State on Thursday night. This evening, the U-W Milwaukee women play at Illinois-Chicago.
Paul Menard of Eau Claire was Wisconsin's top driver yesterday in the pole qualifying for next Sunday's NASCAR season opener, the Daytona-500. Menard had the 10th-fastest one-lap time of 194-point-919 miles an hour. Austin Dillon won the pole with a lap of 196-point-019. Martin Truex Junior won the other spot on the front row for the Great American Race. The other spots will be determined on Thursday night, in a pair of 150-lap Daytona Duels. Menard will start fifth in the second Duel. Matt Kenseth of Cambridge will start ninth in the first race, after placing 17th in the pole qualifying. Beloit-born Danica Patrick will start 13th in the opening Duel, after placing 25th in the race for the pole. Last year, Patrick had the highest finish for a woman in Daytona-500 history when she placed eighth. That was after she won the pole. Kenseth won NASCAR's top event in 2012, until a transmission problem knocked him out with about a quarter of the race to go.
Pitchers and catchers will have their first official workouts today, as the Milwaukee Brewers open their Spring Training camp in Phoenix. Players took physicals yesterday, after the official reporting date for pitchers-and-catchers was on Saturday. Position players are due to report Friday, with their first workouts the next day. However, many position players are expected to trickle in during the week. The Brewers' exhibition schedule begins a week from Friday against the Oakland Athletics.
Team U-S-A will play Sweden this morning in the semi-finals of the Olympic women's hockey tournament. Former Badger Hilary Knight is the top scorer among the four Wisconsin players on the U-S squad. She has three goals and two assists in three games so far. Madison area native Amanda Kessel has two goals and two assists. Former U-W star Brianna Decker has a goal and two helpers. And ex-Badger Meghan Duggan has an assist. Former Wisconsin goal-tender Jessie Vetter has 42 saves in three games for the U-S. Canada and Switzerland are playing in the other women's semi-final. Former Badger Meaghan Mikkelson-Reid has played in three games for Canada, with no goals or assists. Yesterday, Phil Kessel -- Amanda's brother -- scored the first U-S hat trick in 12 years as the men's team earned by a bye to the medal round with a 5-to-1 victory over Slovenia. Phil Kessel, who plays for the N-H-L's Toronto Maple Leafs, leads the tournament with seven points as the U-S is 3-and-0.
The U-S women's curling squad ended a disappointing Olympics, after they conceded to Korea 11-to-2 late last night after seven ends. Erika Brown of Madison, the team's skip, only had a 55-percent accuracy rate which brought her average for the Sochi games down to 71-percent. Debbie McCormick of Rio had 54-percent accuracy, reducing her Olympic average to 73-percent. U-W Oshkosh graduate Allison Pottinger did not play. The American women finished their Sochi curling schedule at 1-and-8. Earlier yesterday, they had lost to Canada 7-6. Meanwhile, Erika Brown's brother Craig played for the first time in Sochi, as the U-S men lost to Sweden 6-to-4 in round robin play. Brown was the vice-skip with an accuracy rate of 78-percent. The Americans were back on the rink overnight against Switzerland. In speed-skating, Jilleanne Rookard, who has trained in Milwaukee, finished 18th in the women's 15-hundred meters with a time of 1:59-point-15.
It was a busy All-Star Weekend for Milwaukee Bucks' rookie forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. The 19-year-old from Greece scored nine points in Friday night's Rising Stars Challenge, and he was eliminated in the first round of the Skills' Challenge on Saturday. Antetokounmpo also helped his brother Thanasis stage a dunk in the N-B-A Developmental League Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday. Yesterday, he was an honorary coach during a pick-up game with players from the international media. Antetokounmpo said the weekend in New Orleans was full of quote, "fun and joy." He said other All-Stars basically game him the same advice -- quote, "Work hard and play hard, and you'll stay in the league for a long time." Antetokounmpo was the first Bucks' player in three years to take part in the weekend's activities. Milwaukee has still not had a representative in the All-Star Game itself since Michael Redd in 2004. The Eastern Conference beat the West last night 163-to-155. Kyrie Irving was the game's M-V-P, scoring 31 points for the winners. The Bucks return to practice today, and will host Orlando tomorrow night.
The Milwaukee Admirals lost at Chicago yesterday, 3-to-2. The game was tied at one early in the third period, when Cody Beach scored the eventual winning goal. Jake Allen had 17 saves for Chicago, which remains second in the American Hockey League's Midwest Division with 64 points. Milwaukee dropped to fourth with 57, two behind third-place Rockford.
In soccer, the Milwaukee Wave crushed Pennsylvania 30-to-4 at home yesterday. The game was tied at two when Ian Bennett scored to put Milwaukee in front for good. It was 10-to-2 after the first quarter, and the Wave scored 10 points before the half. Luan Oliveira and Marcio Leite each had a hat trick, as Milwaukee won its sixth straight. The Wave is now 14-and-2, with a one-game lead over second place Baltimore in the Major Indoor Soccer League with four to play.
In golf, Rhinelander native Dan Forsman tied for 72nd place at the ACE Group Classic on the P-G-A senior Champions' Tour. Forsman shot a five-over-par 77 in his third-and-final round yesterday in Naples Florida. He finished at nine-over-225. Kirk Triplett won the tournament at 16-under.