Morning State Sports Briefs: Bucks face crucial game with Knicks tonightWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Bucks’ playoff chances could ride on their home game against the New York Knicks tonight.
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Bucks’ playoff chances could ride on their home game against the New York Knicks tonight.
If the Bucks win, they would be tied with the Knicks for the eighth-and-final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. And the Bucks would gain a key tie-breaker over New York – which means if the two teams are tied at the end, Milwaukee would make the post-season. A Bucks’ loss would put New York two games in front with only eight regular season contests left. And the Knicks would get the tie-breaker. The Bucks had last night off, while the Knicks lost at Chicago 98-86. Philadelphia took sole possession of the seventh playoff spot last night with a 107-88 win at New Jersey. The Sixers are now one game up on New York and two up on Milwaukee for the Number-seven slot. The Bucks would also return to .500 with a win tonight. They’re 28-29 after getting crushed by Oklahoma City by 20 points on Monday night. Milwaukee is just 9-25 against teams that are over .500. And the Knicks are one game above the break-even point at 29-28. Tonight’s game is so important that ESPN has picked it up nationally. It starts at seven o’clock.
The Milwaukee Admirals lost at San Antonio 4-1 last night. The Rampage scored twice in about the first five minutes, and hung on from there. Colby Robak scored the eventual game-winner with 14:58 left in the opening period. Chris Mueller scored Milwaukee’s only goal on a power play in the second period. The Admirals still hold a playoff spot at the moment – but they dropped from fifth-place to sixth in the Western Conference with three regular season games left.
Team USA advanced to the semi-finals of the Women’s World Hockey Championship with an 11-0 rout of Finland in Burlington, Vermont last night. Brianna Decker of the University of Wisconsin and Madison area native Amanda Kessel of the University of Minnesota each had one goal and two assists. The Badgers’ Hilary Knight also scored once, as the U.S. completed a sweep of its three-game preliminary round. The Americans will now play either Russia or Switzerland in the semi-finals on Friday night.
The University of Wisconsin softball team swept a double-header from Western Illinois, 12-11 and 7-1 last night in Madison. The Badgers have now won eight straight games, which ties a school record for the longest winning streak. Wisconsin overcame a six-run deficit in the opener – and Marissa Mersch scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a error by Western Illinois’ center-fielder. In the nightcap, Mary Massei put Wisconsin in front for good with an RBI-double in the fifth inning. The Badgers improved to 22-12. Western Illinois dropped to 22-18.
In the Midwest League…
Burlington 5, Wisconsin 1
Kane County 8, Beloit 3
Cedar Rapids 4, Clinton 3
Quad Cities 7, Peoria 1
Great Lakes 5, Lake County 4
West Michigan 4, Bowling Green 3
Lansing 6, Dayton 2
Fort Wayne 8, South Bend 1