MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Lynx win WNBA title in sweep
ATLANTA - It was deja vu for Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and the Minnesota Lynx. Moore scored 23 points and the Lynx captured their second WNBA title in three years Thursday with an 86-77 win over the Atlanta Dream to sweep the WNBA Finals.
Minnesota also swept Atlanta in the 2011 WNBA Finals when Moore was the WNBA Rookie of the Year during the regular season. This time Moore earned the WNBA Finals MVP. Augustus had 14 points and Rebekkah Brunson scored 15 with 12 rebounds for the Lynx, who lost to the Indiana Fever in last year's WNBA Finals. Minnesota joined the 2010 Seattle Storm as the only team to go unbeaten during the postseason.
The Lynx announced that they will return to the Twin Cities today at 5:37 (CDT) at the Humphrey Terminal 2. The team is flying AirTran and will be carrying the the Minnesota Lynx team and coaching staff. The team also announced that they will hold a parade down Nicollet Mall on Monday beginning at 11:30 a.m. followed by a pep rally at Target Center at 12:15 p.m. All is open to the public.
University of Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill is taking some time off to focus on his epilepsy. Kill suffered another seizure last week and did not make the trip to Michigan with the Gophers. Athletic director Norwood Teague says defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as acting head coach while Kill is away from the team. Kill issued a statement, saying "this was a difficult decision to make, but the right decision." The U of M has not said how much time Kill is expected to miss. The Golden Gophers have a bye this Saturday.
Matt Cooke netted the winner just after the midway point of regulation, helping Minnesota slip by Winnipeg, 2-1, in a clash between new Central Division rivals from Xcel Energy Center. Josh Harding stopped 14 shots and Jonas Brodin added the other tally for the Wild, who snapped their season-commencing three-game losing skid. The Wild are next on the ice to conclude their brief two game home stand on Saturday night when they host the Dallas Stars at 7 p.m.
The Minnesota Wild recalled goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League on Thursday to back up Josh Harding. The move was made necessary when starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom was injured on Tuesday night in Nasvhille. Former Wild forward Eric Nystrom took out Backstrom's legs as he crashed the net and the play caused a lower body injury to the Wild netminder. The Wild officially have Backstrom listed as "day-to-day" but has not ruled him out for Saturdays game against Dallas or the upcoming four game road trip our east.
Othyus Jeffers led all Minnesota players with 13 points and six rebounds to lead the Timberwolves to a 98-89 preseason victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday. Shabazz Muhammad added 11 points and four rebounds, while Nikola Pekovic, Robbie Hummel, and A.J. Price each chipped in with 10 points. Gorgui Dieng also added nine rebounds, four blocks and six points for Minnesota, which is now 2-0 in preseason action.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier has not named a starting quarterback for this Sunday's home game against Carolina. Frazier says it will either be Christian Ponder or Matt Cassell. Ponder is nursing a fractured rib, while Cassell is healthy. Cassell's lone start resulted in Minnesota's lone win so far this year. Frazier says the team will not use new QB Josh Freeman until he learns the offense. Frazier says the coaching staff will monitor the quarterback play in practice this week and likely announce something close to gameday. Kickoff on Sunday is noon at the Metrodome.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson did not attend practice on Thursday due to personal reasons. The team said he's expected to return to the practice field on Friday. Peterson rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Steelers. Peterson's five rushing touchdowns lead the NFL.
Area Division I college hockey continues to hit the ice through this weekend across the country. Minnesota State will be at Providence as the Mavericks represent the WCHA. Bemidji State is another WCHA squad but they'll be up against a new member of the NCHC (National Collegiate Hockey Conference) as they travel to St. Cloud State. Minnesota Duluth, meanwhile, will host Michigan Tech. Over in the new look Big Ten hockey conference, the Gophers start the Ice Breaker Tournament tonight at Mariucci against Mercyherst. The winner advances to tomorrow night to face the winner of Clarkson and New Hampshire.