MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Wild return home to face Phoenix, minus Parise
Monday the Wild wrapped up a four game road trip with a 3-0 loss in St. Louis. While the road trip comes to an end with a 2-2-0 record, now the Wild return to St. Paul where they've been outstanding all season long. On the season they're 10-1-2 at Xcel Energy Center and currently riding a six game win streak on home ice. Tonight they welcome in another team from the Western Conference as the Phoenix Coyotes will skate into town. The Coyotes dropped a 4-2 decision on Monday in Nashville and have lost three in a row. Despite that, Phoenix trails the Wild by just two points in the standings. Puck drop tonight is at 7 p.m.
Alandise Harris scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead Arkansas over Minnesota, 87-73, at the Maui Invitational. Bobby Portis added 12 points and seven boards for the Razorbacks (4-1), who scored 30 of the first 40 points of the second half to take control. Fred Gulley and Michael Qualls scored 10 points apiece for Arkansas, which will face Gonzaga for fifth place. Austin Hollins scored 17 points and Malik Smith tallied 15 points for the Golden Gophers (5-2), who played a strong first half but faltered over the final 20 minutes. Minnesota now faces Chaminade at 1:30 this afternoon in the seventh place game.
Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise is expected to miss the next 2-to-3 weeks with a foot injury. The club revealed on Tuesday that Parise sustained a contusion when blocking a shot from Alex Steen of the St. Louis Blues in the first period of a 3-0 loss on Monday. The durable 29-year-old winger has yet to miss a game since signing with Minnesota in July of 2012, having played in 73 straight. He leads the club with 22 points (11G, 11A) in 25 games.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have traded forward Derrick Williams to the Sacramento Kings for veteran forward Luc Mbah a Moute. Wolves president Flip Saunders says Mbah a Moute is known as one of the premier defensive players in the league. The six-foot-eight forward has averaged 6.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game over six seasons. Williams averaged ten points and five rebounds in two seasons in Minnesota. Saunders thanked Williams for his contributions to the organization and wished him well in Sacramento.
The Timberwolves are probably as anxious as ever to get back to Target Center after their road struggles continued to fester this past week. Monday they were in Indianapolis to take on the Pacers and the Wolves lost - again - this time 98-84. That's five straight road losses for Minnesota. At home though, things are much better where they've won five of their last six. The Timberwolves return home tonight for a rematch with the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets took round one in Denver 117-113 twelve days ago. Tonight's game tips off at 7 p.m. from Minneapolis.
The Minnesota Vikings enjoyed an off day yesterday and today resume preparations for Sunday's showdown with the Chicago Bears at the Dome. The Vikings are coming off a 26-26 overtime tie this past Sunday at Green Bay to move their record to 2-8-1. The Bears were in St. Louis, lost 42-21 and fell to 6-5. Currently they're deadlocked with Detroit for first place in the NFC North.
The Gophers have just one game left in the regular season and it's a trip to East Lansing for a Saturday match up against Michigan State. The Gophers and Spartans have met 45 times and MSU leads the all-time series 28-17. The Gophers last beat Sparty in 2009 and last beat them at Spartan Stadium in 2006. While the Gophers are looking for their ninth win on the season, Michigan State is looking to improve on both their 10-1 record and their standings in the BCS picture. Kick-off is set for 11 a.m. on Saturday morning.
The University of Minnesota Women's basketball team steamrolled Loyola last night with an 80-36 victory at Williams Arena. Junior Rachel Banham led the way with 17 points and six assists, and freshman Stabresa McDaniel had a career-high 14 points. Four Gophers scored in double figures, and all 10 players on Minnesota's roster made at least one field goal. The Gophers next take the court in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Honolulu, Hawaii starting with a first round match up with Chattanooga on Friday night.