Morning State Sports Briefs: Clifton will start for Pack in playoffsWisconsin Sports
-- Chad Clifton will start at left tackle for the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs.
GREEN BAY - Chad Clifton will start at left tackle for the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said yesterday that Marshall Newhouse did an excellent job filling in for Clifton -- but the coach said Clifton's 12 years of NFL experience will help the Packers in the post-season.
Clifton injured a hamstring October ninth at Atlanta, and he later hurt his back while doing rehab work. Clifton saw his first action in almost three months in last Sunday's regular season finale against Detroit. He played the first quarter, and both he and the coach agreed he was rusty. McCarthy said Clifton needs to improve his footwork and some other details. But with two weeks of preparation, the coach says he's confident that Clifton will "get where he needs to be." The Packers will practice at least two days this week, despite having the first-round off this weekend. They'll host a divisional round playoff game on Sunday, January 15th. They'll play Detroit again if the Lions manage to upset New Orleans this Saturday. Otherwise, the Pack will play either Atlanta or the New York Giants.
The University of Wisconsin women's basketball team fell to 0-2 in Big Ten play, after getting crushed by 22nd-ranked Penn State yesterday, 82-49 in Madison. The Nittany Lions went on a 14-0 run in the first half to go up by 15 at the break. They ran away with the game in the second half, when the Badgers shot 0-for-10 from three-point range. Wisconsin only shot 33-percent for the game. And they could not deal with Penn State's height advantage, as the Lions out-scored the Badgers 46-to-24 in the paint with a 45-28 rebounding edge. Maggie Lucas had 18 points and seven assists for Penn State, which improved to 11-3 overall and 1-1 in Big Ten play. Taylor Wurtz scored 17 for Wisconsin, which is currently playing five-of-six games against nationally-ranked opponents. The Badgers are now 4-10, and will play at Purdue on Thursday night. Tonight, the Wisconsin men host Michigan State. The UW-Milwaukee men are at Western Michigan. And the Marquette women play at Louisville.
Wisconsin and Marquette both tumbled down the national men's basketball polls after losing last week. The Badgers fell from 11th place to 18th in the AP media poll. And they dropped eight spots to 19th in the USA Today-ESPN coaches' poll. Wisconsin is 12-3 overall, after losing its Big Ten home opener to Iowa on Saturday. Marquette slipped from 14th-to-20th in the AP poll, and 13th-to-20th in the coaches' survey, after losing to Vanderbilt last Thursday night. The Golden Eagles are 12-2 overall, and will play at Georgetown tomorrow night. Wisconsin hosts Michigan State tonight. In the AP women's poll, UW-Green Bay jumped one place to 17th. The Phoenix are 12-0, and will play at UW-Milwaukee on Saturday.
Julie Wojta of UW-Green Bay has been named the Horizon League women's basketball player-of-the-week. The senior forward had 14 points and 15 rebounds in a win over Illinois-Chicago. And Wojta had 15 points and eight boards in Green Bay's win over Loyola. Damian Eargle of Youngstown State was named the Horizon League men's player-of-the-week.