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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Badgers defense vows to step up vs. Wildcats

MADISON - As the University of Wisconsin football team gets ready to host Northwestern tomorrow, defensive end Ethan Hemer is vowing to step up his game. 

The senior Hemer from Medford told his coaches this week that he's not happy with his performance so far.  He has just one assisted tackle in five games this season, after having 12 tackles at this point a year ago.  Hemer has also broken up two passes, one fewer than at the five-game mark of 2012.  He asked the coaches for some extra help, and he said he got some valuable tips to practice during the past two weeks.  The Badgers had a bye last weekend.  They're 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten, and they'll play a 19th-ranked Northwestern team that's 4-1 after losing its league opener to Ohio State last Saturday. This is Wisconsin's Homecoming game and it will kick-off at 2:30 p.m. at Camp Randall Stadium. It will also be broadcast on ABC.


The Milwaukee Bucks fell to 0-2 in the pre-season, after losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-89 last night in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  The game was tied at 46 at the half.  The Wolves hit six three-pointers during the third quarter to lead by four going into the final 12 minutes.  Reserves on both sides played in the fourth quarter, with Minnesota out-scoring the Bucks by five in that period to win its second game in two nights.  Forward John Henson led Milwaukee with 16 points and five rebounds.  He started in place of injured power forward Ersan Ilyasova.  Second-round rookie Nate Wolters had 10 points in his homecoming, close to where he starred at South Dakota State. A sell-out crowd of 32-hundred-50 attended the game at the new Sanford Pentagon.  It was the facility's first public event.  Nikola Pekovic led the Timberwolves' starters with 10 points, and Othyus Jeffers scored 13.  Minnesota is now 2-and-1 in the pre-season.  The Bucks will play their home exhibition opener tomorrow night against Charlotte.


The Minnesota Lynx won their second WNBA title in three years, with an 86-to-77 victory last night over Atlanta Dream in Duluth Georgia.  It's the first professional crown for Stevens Point native Janel McCarville.  The starting center had her second straight double-digit scoring game with 10 points to go with three assists, two rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.  McCarville also committed five of the Lynx's 13 turnovers.  The Lynx were up by three at the intermission, and then started the second half with a 20-to-7 run to take control.  Maya Moore scored 23 points, as Minnesota swept Atlanta in the title series three-games-to-none.  The Dream has now been swept in three of the last four seasons, including 2011 when Minnesota won its previous title.  Also, the Lynx joined the 2010 Seattle Storm as the only WNBA teams to go undefeated in their post-seasons.


The Green Bay Packers are not sure if corner Casey Hayward can make his regular season debut on Sunday at Baltimore.  He practiced on a limited basis yesterday, as he tries to get over a lingering hamstring injury suffered in the pre-season.  Coach Mike McCarthy says he'll know a lot more about Hayward's playing status after he gets another exam and workout today.  Hayward led Green Bay in interceptions in his rookie season of 2012.  He also practiced a week ago, but was not deemed to be ready at that time.  Corner Jarrett Bush did not practice for a second straight day due to a bad hamstring.  Linebacker Andy Mulumba missed his second straight workout with an ankle injury.  Both have not been ruled out for Sunday.  Defensive end Ryan Pickett was added to the injury report with a hand problem, but the team says it's not serious. 


Matt Kenseth of Cambridge will start 20th in tomorrow night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the Bank of America-500 in Charlotte.  He qualified last night with a one-lap speed of 191.993 miles an hour.  Kenseth holds a narrow three-point lead over Jimmie Johnson after four events in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.  Kenseth finished 11th last week, as he tries to win the season title in NASCAR's top circuit for the second time since 2003.  Kevin Harvick is 25 points back in third place, and Jeff Gordon is fourth at 32 back.  Gordon won the pole last night, as he tries to win his first Sprint Cup event of the year.  His one-lap speed was 194-point-308 miles an hour. Paul Menard of Eau Claire will start 13th tomorrow night, after turning in a qualifying lap of 192-point-754.  Beloit-born Danica Patrick will start 35th.  Kenseth is also in the field for the Nationwide Series' Dollar General-300 tonight in Charlotte.  He was 17th in a practice run last night.  Kenseth won the Nationwide event last weekend.  The Camping World Truck Series is still off.


Janesville native Travis Kvapil will compete in tomorrow night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race, despite his arrest on Tuesday for an alleged assault of his wife.  He qualified in the 41st spot, third from last for the Bank of America-500.  Kvapil told reporters he was embarrassed about the situation, and he apologizes to everyone affected.  Police were called to Kvapil's home in Mooresville, North Carolina, not far from Charlotte, to respond to a report of a domestic assault.  When officers arrived, they said they found evidence that an assault took place.  The 37-year-old Kvapil was jailed overnight on Tuesday, and was charged with domestic assault and false imprisonment.  Kvapil's BK Racing team said the case needs to run its course through the court system -- and for now, the will support Kvapil and let him compete.  NASCAR said it does not condone Kvapil's alleged actions, and was disappointed to learn of the incident.  The sport's officials say they're monitoring the situation -- and for now, they will not prevent Kvapil from racing.  He had a qualifying speed last night of 186.696 miles an hour.


Jerry Kelly of Madison is tied for 19th after the first round of the PGA's Open in San Martin, California.  Kelly shot a two-under-par 69 yesterday.  He's five strokes behind the leader, Jeff Overton.  For the first time, the fall tournaments represent the start of the coming year's PGA season -- which has been moved up from January.  The idea is to create more attractive fields by awarding Fed-Ex Cup points for the first time.  Also, the fall winners will be invited to next year's Masters if they don't already qualify by other criteria. 


UW-Whitewater will name its volleyball locker room in honor of a former player who died from brain cancer.  Lisa Panici died last December, almost two years after she was first diagnosed with the disease following her freshman season with the Warhawks.  Tonight, Whitewater will hold an open house for the newly-named "Lisa Panici Locker Room."  A ceremony will take place just before the Warhawks play Washington University of Saint Louis in a non-conference volleyball match.  Whitewater also plans to hold a fund-raiser for a scholarship fund in her honor.  Coach Stacy Boudreau says it's a way to remember and honor Panici, and to inspire current players.  Panici is from Peotone, Illinois, where the girls' high school soccer team dedicated its season to her last spring.