Thursday State Sports Briefs: McCarthy blames poor fundementals for bad defenseWisconsin Sports
-- Green Bay Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy blames a lack of fundamentals for the problems with his defense. At his season-ending news conference yesterday, McCarthy said the Packer defense tackled poorly all season long. He said good tackling was emphasized every day at practice – but it never happened during the games from quote, “start to finish.”
GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy blames a lack of fundamentals for the problems with his defense. At his season-ending news conference yesterday, McCarthy said the Packer defense tackled poorly all season long. He said good tackling was emphasized every day at practice – but it never happened during the games from quote, “start to finish.”
McCarthy says he doesn’t blame the defensive downfall on the neck injury to Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins in Week-Two that knocked him out for the season. The coach said the Packers overcame 15 major injuries to win the Super Bowl a year ago. This season, the Green Bay defense had the NFL’s sixth-lowest number of sacks – and they set a new league record for passing yards given up, with 4,796. The only saving grace for the defense was the league-high 31 interceptions they made. McCarthy would not blame the new collective bargaining agreement, which reduced the number of full padded practices during the season. He said it would be a “cop out” to use that as an excuse. Looking ahead, McCarthy said the Packers would continue to quote, “improve from within” through the draft. And he said he hopes free agent center Scott Wells and tight end Jermichael Finley both stay with the team.
The Milwaukee Admirals lost their sixth straight road game last night, 4-2 at Hamilton. Chris Mueller scored both goals for the Admirals, who are on their longest road losing streak in six years. Their last victory away from the Bradley Center came on December third at Peoria. Mueller’s first goal came on a power play early in the second period. That tied the game at one, but Hamilton pulled away with three unanswered goals in the second-and-third periods. Mueller leads Milwaukee with 17 goals. He returned to the Admirals earlier yesterday, after being sent down from the NHL’s Nashville Predators. The Admirals will play tonight at Lake Erie.
The 12th-ranked UW-Green Bay women’s basketball team will try to stay undefeated tonight, when it hosts Youngstown State. The Phoenix are 15-and-0, and they earned their highest AP ranking in school history. Green Bay is 5-0 in Horizon League play, and they’ve won 31 straight conference games in the regular season. Youngstown State comes in at 8-8 overall, and 2-3 in the Horizon League. The Penguins are coming off an overtime loss to Illinois-Chicago last Saturday in which Brandi Brown had 25 points and eight rebounds. Brown, a junior forward, has scored in double figures in all but four of her last 46 contests. Senior forward Julie Wojta continues to lead Green Bay with 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Four of UWGB’s five starters have scoring averages in double figures. Green Bay is out-scoring its opponents by an average of 76-to-56. Phoenix opponents are being held to 38-percent shooting. Also in the Horizon League tonight, the UW-Milwaukee women are at home against Cleveland State.
The University of Wisconsin women will try to get their second Big Ten Conference victory tonight, when they play at Iowa. The Badgers are 1-4 in the conference and 5-12 overall. They’ve lost seven-of-their-last-eight, and are coming off a six-point home loss to Nebraska last Thursday night. The Badgers have been shooting better as of late. They hit just under 50-percent in their last two games, after shooting just 36-percent in its previous seven outings. Wisconsin has scored just under 70 points in its last two games, compared to 51 in the previous seven. And the Badgers have out-rebounded their last three opponents, after losing the battle-of-the-boards in the six games before that. Tonight, Wisconsin will face an Iowa team that’s 2-3 in league play, and 10-8 overall. Also this evening, the UW-Parkside women-and-men are at Northern Kentucky.
In men’s Division-Three basketball, the co-leaders in the Northern Athletics Conference North Division will square off tonight, when Edgewood hosts Concordia-Mequon. Both teams are 7-1 in league play. Third-place Lakeland will host Wisconsin Lutheran. Lakeland is at 5-2, a game-and-a-half off the pace. Also, the Milwaukee School of Engineering will try to keep its share of the South Division lead when it plays at Dominican. MSOE and Rockford are tied for first at 5-3. Marian University will travel to Watertown tonight to play Maranatha Baptist. Only one NAC women’s contest is on tap. Maranatha is at Concordia-Mequon.
For now, at least, the University of Wisconsin's athletic department is not planning to raise ticket prices for their major sporting events in the next school year. But officials say it’s still an option, as the Athletic Board reviews preliminary budget figures for the 2012-and-’13 term. Deputy athletic director Sean Frazier says the UW only raises ticket prices if they need the money for expenses. And for now, the Badgers expect next year’s ticket revenues to be about the same as this year’s. They total just over $18-million for football, five-and-a-quarter million for men’s basketball, and three-and-a-third million for men’s hockey. Frazier says officials are currently going through a process in which all of the athletic department’s needs are reviewed.
Ollie White of UW-River Falls and Cortney Kumerow of Whitewater have been named the WIAC’s basketball players-of-the-week. White, a junior forward, won the men’s award. He scored a career-high 25 points in a River Falls victory over Eau Claire. And White made 14-of-18 free throws in a pair of conference victories. Kumerow, a junior center, averaged 21-and-a-half points and nine rebounds in victories over Platteville and Superior. The WIAC also recognized Nick Hopper of Stevens Point in men’s hockey – Spencer Loch and Emily Shandley, both of La Crosse, in swimming – Phil Devine of Oshkosh and Sarah Swanson of La Crosse in diving – Matt Santas of Whitewater and Deidre Dillman of Platteville in indoor track – Nick Baatz and Breanna Strupp, both of Oshkosh, in field events – Sam Engelland of Oshkosh in wrestling – and Danielle Schulzetenberg of Eau Claire and Courtney Benson of Hamline in women’s gymnastics.
Emily Schudrowicz of Saint Norbert College is the women’s track athlete-of-the-week in the Midwest Conference. Schudrowicz, a senior, broke a school record in the 300-meter dash last week with a time of 42-point-24 seconds. That shattered the old mark by almost a full second. Schudrowicz also helped Saint Norbert take first place in the 16-hundred meter relay.
In men’s college basketball…
UW-Whitewater 62, UW-Oshkosh 45
UW-Stevens Point 71, UW-Platteville 57
UW-La Crosse 74, UW-Stout 50
UW-Superior 85, UW-River Falls 82
UW-Eau Claire 95, Finlandia 82
In women’s college basketball…
UW-Stevens Point 80, UW-Platteville 53
UW-River Falls 65, UW-Superior 44
UW-Whitewater 70, UW-Oshkosh 56
UW-La Crosse 63, UW-Stout 50
Wisconsin Lutheran 72, Edgewood 54
Milwaukee School of Engineering 46, Concordia-Chicago 41
Marian 75, Lakeland 48
Wheaton 66, Carthage 51
In Wisconsin boys’ high school basketball…
Lake Country Lutheran 60, Living Word Lutheran 39
Milwaukee Washington 69, Milwaukee School of Languages 53
Trinity Academy 43, Wisconsin School for the Deaf 39
In Wisconsin girls’ high school basketball…
Milwaukee School of Languages 45, Milwaukee Destiny 36
Milwaukee Saint Joan Antida 50, Beaver Dam Wayland Academy 37
Racine Saint Catherine’s 55, Somers Shoreland Lutheran 53