Morning State Sports Briefs: UW women pound Butler in first round of Women's NITWisconsin Sports
-- The University of Wisconsin women pounded Butler 68-48 in Madison last night in the first round of the WNIT Tournament.
MADISON - The Wisconsin women pounded Butler 68-48 in Madison last night in the first round of the WNIT Tournament.
The Badgers were up by 14 at the half. Butler got to within six midway through the second half, but Wisconsin then went on a 6-2 run – and the Badgers scored all but three of the game’s final 14 points. They had a season-high 22 assists, and they shot 59-percent in the second half. Lin Zastrow led Wisconsin with 22 points, and had a career-high seven assists. Butler’s 48 points were its lowest of the season. The Bulldogs shot 33-percent from the floor, ending its season at 20-14. The Badgers improved to 16-and-14. They’ll host a second-round game on Sunday against either Central Michigan or Illinois State. Those two teams will play tonight at Illinois State.
University of Wisconsin men’s basketball players say they’ve heard the pundits who think Belmont will upset the Badgers tonight in their NCAA Tournament opener. But senior Jon Leuer says the team that quote, “brings it for 40 minutes will win.” And senior Keaton Nankivil says the pundits don’t get to play the game – he does. Fourth-seeded Wisconsin takes a 23-8 record into their Southeast Regional contest against Number-13 Belmont of Nashville, which is 30-4. Some observers wonder if the Badgers can get over their 36-33 loss to Penn State last Friday night in the Big Ten tourney – when they set a half-dozen season lows in various scoring categories. Nankivil says his Badgers are fortunate to “get another chance,” and they know they must “pick it up.” The Belmont defense runs the press after almost every opposing basket. And on offense, they push the ball on transitions, and spread the floor in half-court sets. Mick Hedgepath and Scott Saunders both average 10 points a game on the inside – and four Belmont players are shooting at least 39-percent from three-point range. The game starts at 6:27 tonight from Tucson Arizona. The TruTV cable channel will show it.
The WIAA boys’ state high school basketball tournament begins this afternoon in Madison. Semi-finals in the new Division-Five are up first. Clayton will open against Wauzeka-Steuben at 1:35 p.m. And then top-ranked Randolph – last year’s Division-Four champion – will face Green Bay NEW(North East Wisconsin) Lutheran. The Division-Four semi-finals will be played tonight. Top-ranked and undefeated Blair Taylor will go against Grantsburg. And then the final game of the night will pit unbeaten Oostburg against Marathon. All of today’s winners will advance to their championship games on Saturday. Semi-finals in the other three divisions will be played tomorrow at the Kohl Center.
Sectional play begins tonight for Wisconsin girls’ high school basketball teams. And one of the participants in Division-Five had to forfeit because it doesn’t have enough players. South Shore High School of Port Wing won last week’s regional with only six players – and two of them are also in the high school band, which is on a trip this week to Seattle with two other bands from Minnesota. The band trip actually began last Saturday. Nine basketball players are in the band, but two stayed behind so their team could play Mellen in their regional final. South Shore won that game 65-53. The two band members then caught up with their group, leaving only four players behind for the basketball sectionals. They needed five, so they had to forfeit. And that means Mellen – which finished second in the regional – will play Siren in tonight’s sectional opener. South Shore Superintendent Clendon Gustafson said he hoped he wouldn’t have to return the regional championship plaque – and the WIAA says they can keep it.
The Milwaukee Admirals took sole possession of first in the American Hockey League’s West Division last night, despite losing at San Antonio 2-1 in a shootout. The Rampage outscored Milwaukee 3-1 in the shootout. Gabriel Bourque scored the Admirals’ lone goal in that session. But Milwaukee still gained a season point. They now have 85, while second-place Houston has 84. The Aeros did not play last night.
Former Wisconsin hockey forward Dany Heatley has been suspended for two games by the National Hockey League. That’s because Heatley, a forward with San Jose, elbowed Steve Ott of Dallas in the head on Tuesday night. The incident occurred late in the third period. Heatley struck Ott after he released the puck. He was given a minor penalty at the time for interference. Heatley can return next Wednesday night in San Jose’s game against Calgary.