Wednesday State Sports Briefs: Team USA advances to semifinalsWisconsin Sports
-- Team USA has advanced to the semifinals of the World Junior hockey championships in Russia.
UFA, RUSSIA - Team USA has advanced to the semifinals of the World Junior hockey championships in Russia.
The Americans scored five power plays goals this morning, when it blanked the Czech Republic 7-0 in the quarter-finals. Eau Claire native Jake McCabe of the Wisconsin Badgers had one assist, as did Milwaukee native Alex Galchenyuk. John Gaudreau of Boston College scored three times for the U.S, which will play Canada in the semi-finals early tomorrow morning.
Prosecutors in Milwaukee County are considering a disorderly conduct charge against former NBA star Latrell Sprewell. The Milwaukee native was arrested Monday afternoon, after police received numerous complaints about loud music from a home on Milwaukee’s east side. The 42-year-old Sprewell graduated from Milwaukee Washington High School – and he had a 13-year NBA career with Golden State, New York, and Minnesota. He ended his career in 2005 when he turned down a three-year contract offer for $21-million dollars. Sprewell said at the time that it wasn’t enough to feed his family. In 2007, U.S. Marshals auctioned off his one-and-a-half million dollar yacht. And in 2008, Sprewell’s home in River Hills was foreclosed upon. Just over a year ago, state officials said Sprewell owed Wisconsin $3.5 million dollars in past due income taxes.
Green Bay Packers’ offensive coordinator Tom Clements is one of five candidates who will reportedly be interviewed for the head coaching vacancy in Chicago. Bears’ general manager Phil Emery is looking for a replacement to Lovie Smith, who was fired on Monday. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says the Packers have denied permission by other teams to interview at least six current assistants during their contracts over the past few years. But a team cannot stop an interview for a head coaching spot – although the Packers could delay such a move until they’re eliminated from the playoffs if they so choose. The Chicago Tribune says the Bears plan to seek permission from the Packers to interview Clements as soon as possible. The Journal Sentinel said Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy refused to give the Bears permission to talk to Clements a few years ago, when Chicago was looking for an offensive coordinator. McCarthy promoted Clements last February from quarterbacks coach to the offensive coordinator spot. The Packers are getting ready to host Minnesota on Saturday night in the Wild Card Round.
Green Bay Packers’ rookie defensive end Jerel Worthy is out for the playoffs with a knee injury suffered in last Sunday’s loss at Minnesota. Coach Mike McCarthy made the announcement after today’s practice. The Packers have not decided how to replace Worthy on their 53-man roster. McCarthy says the team is still reviewing its options. Meanwhile, receiver Jordy Nelson was limited at practice today with a knee injury against the Vikings. The coach said he thought Nelson looked good in a rehab workout – but team doctors still have some concerns, and he’ll be evaluated tomorrow. Back-up receiver Jarrett Boykin will need time to heal from an ankle injury – but McCarthy said it’s not as bad as how it looked during the Vikings’ win over the Packers at the Metrodome. The Packers are gearing up to face Minnesota again on Saturday night in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. McCarthy said the Packers have made corrections at practice on containing Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson, who’s had 409 rushing yards against the Pack in their two games during the regular season.
The Milwaukee Bucks are playing better at home lately. They beat a quality team in Miami last Saturday night at the Bradley Center. And they hope they can do the same this evening against San Antonio, which has the NBA’s third-best record. The Bucks went 6-2 at home in December, but they lost their final game of the Old Year at Detroit last Sunday, 96-94. Milwaukee is now 9-6 at home for the season. San Antonio is going for its season-high seventh straight victory, after crushing Brooklyn by 29 points on New Year’s Eve. The Spurs have held their opponents to 90 points a game during their winning streak. They’ve won five-of-their-last-six contests against Milwaukee, including an 11-point victory at San Antonio on December fifth. Gary Neal scored 22 in that game, but he might have to sit out tonight after missing four straight contests with a strained right calf. The Bucks’ fortunes often rely on the shooting hand of point guard Brandon Jennings. According to Stats LLC, the Bucks are 13-3 when Jennings shoots more than 36-point-one-percent – but when he shoots below that figure, Milwaukee is just 3-10.
The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team will open its Big Ten Conference schedule tonight at Nebraska. The Badgers are 8-5, and they’re coming off a 23-point loss at Miami-Florida last Saturday. A win tonight would equal the Badgers’ overall victory total from all of last season, when they went 9-20 in Bobbie Kelsey’s first season as the coach in Madison. Sophomore Jacki Gulczynski scored 16 for Wisconsin against Miami, and she’s been in double-figures in her last six outings. 25th-ranked Nebraska is 10-3. Forward Jordan Hooper leads the Cornhuskers with 19-and-a-half points and almost nine rebounds per game.
Former Packers’ head coach Mike Holmgren says he’ll consider returning to the sidelines – but only if a team expresses an interest in him. The 64-year-old Holmgren has moved to Arizona, after he left the Cleveland Browns as their team president following a change in ownership. Holmgren said he would listen if anyone’s interested – but he won’t aggressively pursue any of the seven current head coaching vacancies in the NFL. Holmgren is refusing to say whether any team has contacted him – or which teams he might consider joining. Holmgren won a Super Bowl with Green Bay in the 1996 season, and he later coached Seattle to the league title game.
Meanwhile, former Packers’ assistant Andy Reid is reported to be the leading candidate for the Arizona job. Reid was fired on Monday after 14 years as the head man at Philadelphia. Multiple media reports say the Cardinals could hire Reid by the end of the week to replace the fired Ken Whisenhunt – even though Reid has not been interviewed by Arizona yet. Reid was an assistant for Holmgren for seven years before becoming the Eagles’ head coach in 1999.
The Marquette University women’s basketball team will close out its non-conference regular season schedule this afternoon, when it plays at Central Michigan. Golden Eagles’ sophomore Arlesia Moore made the Big East Honor Roll, after she had career-highs with 25 points and 10 rebounds in a 16-point win over Loyola-Chicago last Saturday. Marquette had a season-high 59 rebounds in that game, and Marquette improved its overall record to 7-5. Central Michigan is 6-6. The Chippewas are coming off 73-65 home win over Texas. Jessica Green leads Central Michigan with almost 13 points a game. Crysta Bradford has around 13 points and nine rebounds per contest. Today’s game starts at one o’clock.
There’s a relatively light schedule for a Wednesday night in Wisconsin small college basketball. The Midwest Conference has a pair of men’s-and-women’s double-headers involving teams from the Badger State. Beloit College plays at Grinnell, and Ripon College is at Lake Forest. In other men’s-and-women’s twin bills, Lakeland College hosts Finlandia. And Carthage plays at Millikin. In other men’s games, No. 6 rsanked UW-Whitewater is at home against Cardinal Stritch of Milwaukee. And Concordia-Mequon plays Concordia-Chicago in River Forest, Illinois. The Edgewood College women host Marian in a Northern Athletics Conference matchup.