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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Gopher grapplers beat No. 1 Penn State

MINNEAPOLIS -- The second-ranked Golden Gopher wrestling team clinched a tie for the Big Ten regular season dual meet championship with an 18-17 upset of No. 1 Penn State yesterday in Minneapolis. Nearly six-thousand fans watched the meet at the U of M Sports Pavilion. Minnesota got key wins from Dylan Ness and Logan Storley, and then two-time defending national champion Tony Nelson of Cambridge won the final bout to push the Gophers to the team win. Both Minnesota and Penn State finished with 7-and-1 league marks. Both Iowa and Wisconsin have a chance to get to 7-and-1 and share the title, as well. The Gophers are at the national duals meet at Ohio State this coming weekend.


The Golden Gopher softball team received a school-record tying performance from star pitcher Sara Moulton of Eagan in a 1-0 win over Oklahoma State yesterday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Moulton tossed her third shutout of the season and moved into a tie with former pitcher Piper Ritter for most wins in school history with 88. Ritter is currently the team's pitching coach. The victory pushed the Minnesota season record to 5-and-0, which is the best start for the Gophers since 2003. Minnesota next plays in a tournament in Las Vegas this weekend.


The University of Minnesota women's basketball team notched a win at home against Illinois yesterday, 66-61. Rachel Banham of Lakeville and Amanda Zahui (ZOW-hee) of Stockholm, Sweden combined to score 47 of Minnesota's 66 points. Zahui registered a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds. The Gophers erased a one-point halftime deficit and controlled most of the second half. The Golden Gophers are now 15-and-9 overall and 4-and-6 in the Big Ten. Minnesota is at Wisconsin on Wednesday night for a 7 p.m.


Minnesota point guard Deandre Mathieu scored 16 points to pace the Golden Gophers to a 66-60 win over the Hoosiers on Saturday night in front of a sold out Williams Arena. Sophomore center Maurice Walker had 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench for Minnesota, which improved to 16-and-8 and 5-and-6 in the Big Ten. The Gophers are at Wisconsin Thursday for an 8 p.m. game.


The Minnesota Timberwolves welcome the Houston Rockets to the Target Center tonight. The T'wolves lost to Portland on Saturday to drop to 24-and-27 on the season. The Rockets are 34-and-17 after a win over Milwaukee on Saturday. Houston is coached by Minnesota sports legend Kevin McHale, who is from Hibbing and starred for the Golden Gophers before coaching the Timberwolves. Tonight's tip is set for 7 p.m.


Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin is out indefinitely with a non-displaced fracture in his left thumb. He is second on the team in scoring at 19 points per game. Martin has started all 48 games he's played this season, his first with the Timberwolves. He joins center Nikola Pekovic on the inactive list. Kevin Love did not play in Saturday's loss against Portland, but is likely ready for tonight's game at home against Houston.


 The Wild will be represented by four players in the Sochi Olympics. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will play for Team USA. Mikael Granlund is on Finland's roster and Nino Niederreiter will play for Switzerland. Mikko Koivu would have played with Granlund but will miss the Winter Games with a fractured ankle suffered January 4th. The Wild are back in action Thursday, the 27th against Edmonton. Minnesota's record is 31-21-and-7.


Four Minnesotans will begin their quest for Olympic gold this morning. In the first session of men's curling at the Winter Olympics China defeated Denmark while Sweden got past Switzerland. Host nation Russia lost to Great Britain while gold-medal favorite Canada downed Germany. There are four more ends set for this (Mon) morning. The United States meets Norway, Denmark battles Russia, Canada faces Switzerland and Sweden takes on Great Britain. The U-S team consists of Jared Zezel of Hibbing, John Shuster of Chisholm, Jeff Isaacson of Lakeland, and John Landsteiner of Mapleton.