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Evening sports briefs: Packers' Matthews named NFC Defensive Player of the Week

GREEN BAY - Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews has been named the NFC's defensive player-of-the-week. He returned an interception 62 yards for a touchdown in last Sunday night's 45-to-7 home rout of Dallas. And Matthews had two tackles for losses against the Cowboys, including a sack.

It's the second time this season Matthews earned the weekly player honors, and he was the NFC's defensive player-of-the-month in September. Meanwhile, Packers' safety Nick Collins tells ESPN Radio he didn't deserve the 50-thousand-dollar fine he got for the helmet-to-helmet hit on Cowboys' receiver Roy Williams. Collins said he wasn't trying to hit Williams in the head while trying to break up a pass turned out to be incomplete. Still, Collins said he understood why he got the fine, as the league cracks down on violent hits. He said it was a "bang-bang play," so he'll live with the fine and move forward. Collins is the fifth player to be hit with a fine of at least 50-thousand-dollars since mid-October.


Milwaukee Bucks' center Andrew Bogut is still feeling the pain from the injuries to his right arm-and-elbow seven months ago. And he does not expect things to get much better for the rest of the season. Bogut says he won't be able to do a lot with his right arm - but he'll play through it, get therapy when he can, and get some rest next summer. He says it's frustrating but quote, "It is what it is." The seven-foot Bogut said it's especially tough when he tries to make a dunk or a hook shot. He was hurt when he fell to the floor against Phoenix last April. It forced him to miss the rest of last season, including the Bucks' first playoff run in four years. Bogut is Milwaukee's third-leading scorer this season, averaging almost 13-and-a-half points a game. He also leads the team in rebounding with nine-point-eight boards per contest.


Milwaukee Bucks' guard Chris Douglas-Roberts is not sure when he can return from an eye injury. He got poked at practice just before the start of the regular season. Coach Scott Skiles says Douglas-Roberts has been shut down by the injury - but he's expected to start working out late this week or early next week. Almost one-ninth of the Bucks' season is already in the books. Milwaukee is 4-5 after beating New York and Atlanta this week. They've won three-of-their-last-four games, and will Golden State on Saturday night.


There were no college basketball games scheduled in Wisconsin Thursday evening. Things will get cooking tomorrow evening, when the Marquette men open their regular season at home against Prairie View A&M. The UW-Milwaukee men are in Portland for the AIA Classic, and they'll open against Portland tomorrow. The Wisconsin women will open their campaign at Saint Louis on Friday night.


The Marquette men's basketball team will be led by a player who almost went to Kentucky. Forward Jimmy Butler got an offer to play for the Wildcats. But his junior college roommate Joe Fulce was going to Marquette, and he convinced Butler to join him. That move worked out quite well for Butler, a 6-7 senior forward who starts this season as the Golden Eagles' best all-around player. He averaged 15 points and six-and-a-half rebounds in his junior year. He received an honorable mention on the All-Big East teams. And Butler showed his poise by hitting the game-winning shots against Saint John's and Connecticut that helped Marquette make the NCAA Tournament for the fifth year in a row. Meanwhile, Fulce has spent much of the last two years trying to play his way back into shape, after he broke a knee-cap at practice soon after he arrived. Marquette opens its regular season tomorrow night at home against Prairie View A&M. It's the third season for coach Buzz Williams, whose Eagles went 22-12 a year ago.


For the second year in a row, Emily Gerber of UW-Whitewater has been named the WIAC women's soccer player-of-the-year. She was also among 22 players named to a single all-conference team by the league's coaches. Gerber, a junior midfielder, has had 12 goals and eight assists for 32 points this season. She's the first player in league history to win the player-of-the-year award twice in a row. Other repeat selections on the all-conference squad are Kelly Lloyd, Liz Hunter, and Mary Jean Cornelius of Stevens Point, Allie Metcalfe of Platteville, Megan Hillesheim of Eau Claire, Nikki Reed of Oshkosh, and Cassie Stang of River Falls. Also, Sheila Meich (mick) of Stevens Point was named the WIAC coach-of-the-year for the third straight time. She led the Pointers to a share of the regular season championship, as well as the conference tournament crown. Kaitlin Kalan of Stout was named the sport's top scholar-athlete.


University of Wisconsin running back John Clay was named today as one of 10 semi-finalists for the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top rusher. The junior from Racine is second in the Big Ten with just over 103 rushing yards per game - and he leads the conference with 13 touchdowns on the ground. Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne is the only Badger to receive the Walker Award, that being in 1999. Three finalists will be announced November 22nd, and the winner will receive the honor on December ninth. Clay only needs 71 yards to become the sixth player in Wisconsin history to record a-thousand yards on the ground in back-to-back seasons. Clay hurt a knee last weekend at Purdue, but coach Bret Bielema expects his star runner to get at least some of the carries in Saturday's home contest against Indiana.


Three men's soccer players from Concordia-Mequon have been named to the All-Northern Athletics Conference first team. Jacob Pope, Enzo Berrini, Kyle Sytsma were among 14 players chosen. Pope and Berrini also made the All-Freshman team. Other first-teamers include Zach Miller and Greg Dezell of Madison Edgewood, Joe Westrich and Dan Hosko of Milwaukee Engineering, and Jim Chavez of Marian. Jason Rogers and Bryan Samuel of Concordia-Mequon made the all-conference second team along with Alex Piekarski and Bobby Rublee of Lakeland, Alex Board of Maranatha Baptist, Trevor Schwartz of Wisconsin Lutheran, and Rafael Arndt of Milwaukee Engineering. Besides Pope and Berrini, the All-Freshman team includes Justin Blauert of Lakeland, Robert Nogle and Patrick Gathof of Milwaukee Engineering, Mario Pinto of Marian, Brian Lundquist of Maranatha, and Andrew Aurit of Edgewood. Mike Kapusta of Dominican is the NAC's offensive player-of-the-year. Mariusz Napiorkowski of Dominican is the top defensive player. And Erick Baumann of Dominican and Pete Watkins of Aurora are the co-coaches of the year.