Freshman Taylor Wurtz and the Badgers mounted a second-half comeback, but it wasn\’t enough, as Vermont ended UW\’s season.[/media-credit]SOUTH BEND, Ind. — As a reward for their first NCAA tournament berth since 2002, the Wisconsin Badgers earned a No. 7 seed and the program’s first ever matchup with the No. 10 Vermont Catamounts in the first round.Unfortunately for Wisconsin, a second-half comeback fell short as Vermont played beyond its seeding to upset the Badgers 64-55 at the Purcell Pavilion Sunday afternoon.Led by a duo of senior guards from Ontario, the Catamounts began the game strong and posted a 33-25 halftime lead. Behind 6-foot-1 Courtnay Pilypaitis and 5-foot-10 May Kotsopoulos, who scored 25 and 14 points, respectively, Vermont shot 40.4 percent from the field. Wisconsin, meanwhile, was led by junior guard Alyssa Karel and junior forward Lin Zastrow who both scored 13.“It was a war of systems,” UW head coach Lisa Stone said. “I thought [Vermont] did a very nice job in their handoffs and scissor action. We were late at times and needed to bring some help. I thought we did after halftime. We came out in the second half outstanding defensively, rebounded the ball hard and got some good shots. It was a little bit of catch up.”As the nation’s No. 24 scoring defense, the Badgers knew they would face tough opposition against the Catamounts, who boasted the No. 21 scoring defense this year. Coming out of halftime down eight, Wisconsin responded with a 12-0 run to open the second half and regain a 37-33 lead with 14:40 remaining. Over the next five minutes, the two squads matched possessions until Vermont used a 7-0 run to take a 41-39 lead with 9:05 left on the clock. The Catamounts would end up holding the lead for the remainder of the game.“We took the lead, but [Vermont] made some good shots down the stretch,” Stone said. “They ended up having a lot of will and … they spread the court when we tried to foul them. It is a smart, veteran club.”After a Karel 3-pointer brought the Badgers to within two with 6:38 remaining, the Catamounts put together a 6-0 run and led 52-44 with 4:11 to go. Wisconsin eventually came within five again, as a 3-pointer by Teah Gant brought the score to 60-55 with 26 seconds remaining. However, it was a case of too-little-too-late for UW as the Badgers were forced to foul to stop the clock. Vermont hit its free throws down the stretch, and finished the game 19-for-27 from the charity stripe.All day long, the Badgers struggled with Pilypaitis and Kotsopoulos who both shot at least 50 percent from the field, as Pilypaitis made 8-of-14 and Kotsopoulos 5-of-10.“I guess the game shows that she is a great player,” Gant said of Pilypaitis. “I don’t know, I think I played well against her but she made some hard shots. I give her all the credit for that.”On the offensive end, Wisconsin enjoyed a scoring attack that was even more balanced than usual. Six players scored at least five points and the Badgers finished the game shooting 36.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from behind the arc.But Vermont went to the line 18 more times than UW did, as the Badgers went 6-for-9 on free throws.“Vermont works hard,” UW forward Anya Covington said. “They work hard; they played good defense on us, but I still think that we could have got other options on offense. We’ve got to keep up with one another, but Vermont was a solid defensive team.”For Wisconsin, the upset marks the end of a surprising season that saw the Badgers defy the expectations of Big Ten coaches and media who picked them to finish 10th and seventh in the conference, respectively. UW ended the season with a 20-11 overall record and a 10-8 conference record.“We shared some tears for our seniors because this is their last game, and it’s sad to see Teah Gant and Rae Lin D’Alie go because they left such a huge mark on this team,” Covington said.
Mic’d up Anthony Rizzo at the plate: “Someone bang for me.”🤣🤣🤣(via @ESPN) pic.twitter.com/krkA4HCQM5— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) March 2, 2020Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer took it a step further, telling Dodgers first baseman Matt Beaty what pitches were coming during a fourth-inning at-bat. Bauer got Beaty to line out to center field.The broadcast went on to speculate that the move was a dig at the Astros’ cheating scandal, which was comfirmed by Reds second baseman Derek Dietrich. Straight from Derek Dietrich: @BauerOutage was intentionally telling Matt Beaty what pitch was coming in that 4th-inning plate appearance.#RedsST🌵⚾ | @JimDayTV pic.twitter.com/HlqFHZaZWN— FOX Sports Cincinnati (@FOXSportsCincy) March 2, 2020MORE: George Springer hears a snippet from the Astros’ 2020 road trip soundtrack”If you’ve followed baseball this offseason, there’s a little thing going on with sign stealing,” Dietrich said. “So, Trevor’s not too fond of it, so he figured he’s gonna try something new this season. And he’s gonna start telling the batters what’s coming. And that way there’s no ifs, ands or buts about what’s going on. Just here it comes, try to hit it.”These jabs are subtle compared to most of the shots players have taken at the Astros this offseason (see: Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Nick Markakis and basically the whole damn league). And it doesn’t look like anyone is backing off anytime soon. Baseball’s biggest stars continued to take shots at the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal during spring training on Monday.Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was mic’d up for an at bat against the Angels and joked about trying to figure out what pitch was coming, saying, “somebody bang for me.” That, of course, was a reference to Houston banging on trash cans in 2017 to let hitters know which pitch was coming.
In this Dec. 18, 2012, file photo, Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins calls to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C. If Johnny Dawkins and Craig Neal were still playing _ instead of coaching _ against each other, there’s no doubt which one you’d pick. The two will be back on opposing benches Friday night March 21, 2014, 28 years after they faced off as players. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)Welcome to BracketRacket.Think of it as one-stop shopping on game days for all your NCAA tournament needs. We’ll have interviews with celebrity alums drawn from sports, entertainment and politics, plus occasional “bracket-buster” picks, photos, news, gossip, stats, notes and quotes from around the tourney sites — all of it bundled into a quick read that gives diehard fans and office-poolers alike something to sound smart about.So without further ado:TAKE THIS JOB … AND DUNK ITThe business of America is business, and the NCAA tournament is bad for business; ergo, the NCAA tournament is bad for America.The outplacement firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas proved it by wasting a few hours again this year calculating how much U.S. employers could lose while employees (like this one, via wordpress.com: http://bit.ly/1fYuFac ) obsess over the tournament. In an annual report, the company set the figure at $1.2 billion for every unproductive hour.“You have employees talking about which teams made or didn’t make the tournament. You have other workers setting up and managing office pools. Of course, there are the office pool participants,” Challenger’s statement cautioned, “some of whom might take five minutes to fill out a bracket, while others spend several hours researching teams, analyzing statistics and completing multiple brackets.”Never mind that the math behind the estimate is fuzzy, or that both academic researchers and corporate managers who looked at the problem concluded the real numbers were considerably lower, mostly because employees tend to make up for lost time by working outside traditional hours.So what should an employer do?“Despite all of the scary numbers, Challenger suggests that employers not try to clamp down on March Madness,” the statement added. “Initiatives to block access to sports sites and live streaming in order to boost productivity in the short term, could result in long-term damage to employee morale, loyalty and engagement.”Is this a great country or what?___CELEBRITY ALUMThink the folks in Congress have trouble making up their minds now? Just wait. Nothing gets politicians procrastinatin’ and prevaricatin’ like the NCAA tournament.Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia dispatched at least one representative into the 68-team field that began play Tuesday night. California topped the list with five, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas boasted four each, six others had three and Indiana — a.k.a, the “heartland of hoops” — had zero.Generally speaking, elected officials from states with more than one entrant fear voters so much they’d rather talk about raising taxes than which school they’re backing. They make picking between them sound like “Sophie’s Choice.”That made Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow thumbing her nose at the maize-and-blue recently seem refreshing.“Oh, Michigan State! Michigan State,” she gushed during a groundbreaking ceremony at the university Monday.“I have to tell you, after yesterday,” Stabenow added, referring to the Spartans’ win over state rival Michigan in the Big Ten championship game, “we are back. We’ve got the full team going, Coach (Tom) Izzo is primed and ready and I think we’ll take it all.”Just to rub it in, she unveiled the little rhinestone number — courtesy of MSU Today alumni magazine — pictured here: http://bit.ly/1eiqiFKStabenow received both her undergraduate and graduate (magna cum laude) degrees from Michigan State, so while she might need those Democratic votes over in Ann Arbor someday, it won’t be until 2018 at the earliest.Even then, Stabenow barely cracks the “how-to-alienate-alumni” list. Since-retired North Carolina Sen. (and UNC alum) Brad Miller locked up the top spot in 2012 when he told BracketRacket: “I have said very publicly that if Duke was playing against the Taliban, then I’d have to pull for the Taliban.”___DON’T I KNOW YOU FROM SOMEWHERE?Speaking of “Sophie’s Choice,” a Pennsylvania high school coaching legend named John Miller could be facing one come early April.That’s when Miller’s sons — Sean, who coaches No. 1 West seed Arizona; and younger brother Archie, who coaches No. 11th South seed Dayton — could meet in the Final Four. It’s a longshot, sure, especially since the Flyers only got off the bubble and into the bracket after winning nine of their last 10 games.Then again, what were the odds that brothers from a tiny town in western Pennsylvania would wind up coaching in the same tournament? (Short answer: Who knows? The Beaver County (Pa.) Times said it was believed to be the first time that’s happened, but added such record-keeping at the NCAA was “sketchy.”)“Sean, you kind of always figured he was going to be a coach. Archie always said he wasn’t going to coach,” John Miller, who won four state titles and more than 650 games before retiring from Blackhawk High in Beaver Falls, told the newspaper. “It was only three or four days after graduation, though, when we talked. He said, ‘All my contacts are in basketball, maybe I should try coaching.’”After a number of stints as an assistant elsewhere, Archie’s best contact (and brother) came through with a two-year deal at Arizona.“No question, being part of the tournament is going to be great for him,” Sean said.John will be on hand Thursday in Buffalo, when Archie makes his NCAA tournament debut against Ohio State and coach Thad Matta, whom both Millers served under as assistants. But he’ll have to settle for watching Arizona’s opener Friday against Weber State in San Diego on TV. And even if both boys somehow get their teams to Arlington, Texas, on the tourney’s final weekend, John, who still coaches a youth team now and then, isn’t making any promises.“This March Madness,” he fumed, “is getting in the way of basketball.”___DON’T I KNOW YOU FROM SOMEWHERE (Part 2)?If Johnny Dawkins and Craig Neal were still playing — instead of coaching — against each other, there’s no doubt which one you’d pick.The two will be back on opposing benches Friday night, 28 years after they faced off as players. But it looks like Neal has the upper hand now. His No. 7 New Mexico squad will be a slight favorite over Dawkins’ No. 10 Stanford when they meet in St. Louis.The last time they did — competitively speaking — was the 1986 ACC tournament title game. Neal, who kicked around basketball’s minor leagues for seven seasons, played for Georgia Tech in that one. Dawkins, who was in his senior year at for Duke, went on to win the game and become the NCAA tourney MVP in 1986, as well as Duke’s career scoring leader until 2006.Small wonder the Cardinal coach was happy to reminisce with AP’s Janie McCauley.“He was younger than I was, so it was a little different,” Dawkins recalled. “We played in a great game. … It was an amazing environment.”After a 13-year NBA career, the coaching racket hasn’t gone quite as smoothly. Stanford finally made the tourney in Dawkins’ sixth season there, amid talk that his job depended on it.___STAT OF THE DAYFrom 2005 through 2009, a No. 1 seed was like an invitation to the Sweet 16. During that stretch all 20 top seeds got there. More recently, though, the big dogs haven’t been quite as lucky, according to research by STATS. One No. 1 has been eliminated in the first weekend three of the last four years. The mighty who fell: Kansas in 2010 (to Northern Iowa), Pittsburgh in 2011 (to Butler) and Gonzaga in 2013 (to Wichita State).But if it’s any consolation, Butler and Wichita State wound up riding those upsets all the way to the Final Four.___QUOTE OF THE DAY“She’ll probably be in tears, so that will be good.” — Peter Hooley, one of four Australians who play for the University of Albany, about how his mother and 20 other family members who got up at 3 a.m. to watch the game back home would react to the Great Danes’ win over Mount St. Mary’s.___TUESDAY’S RESULTSAt Dayton, OhioFirst FourAlbany (N.Y.) 71, Mount St. Mary’s 64N.C. State 74, Xavier 59WEDNESDAY’S GAMESCal Poly (13-19) vs. Texas Southern (19-14), 6:40 p.m.Iowa (20-12) vs. Tennessee (21-12), 30 minutes following
By Muriel J. SmithRED BANK – Let the governments of the United States and Cuba quibble and argue over their policies, but two volleyball players from Red Bank Catholic High School took positive action last week and demonstrated to Cuban teenagers just how friendly Americans really are.Junior Catherine Curtin of Atlantic Highlands and senior Ava Zockoll of Bay Head spent a week in Havana, traveling with parents Dan and Tricia Curtin and Nancy Zockoll, under the auspices of Cuba Educational Travel, to bring GUEST – the Girls Universal Empowerment Sports Tour – to this third world country which suffers as much poverty and need as many other nations where assistance programs are already in place.It was Catherine’s idea to bring friendship, knowledge, and the start of an easy camaraderie among young people in the largest city of a country 90 miles off the U.S. Southern border. “I was fortunate enough to travel with my parents to Cambodia several years ago,” Catherine said, “and the sight of the poverty there has remained with me since then. I wanted to do something to help someone less fortunate than us, and with Cuba just opening for American visitors again, I thought that would be the perfect place.”Pavel Garcia of Barrio Habana (center, green shirt) accompanied the group to the nightly cannon firing at Morro Fortress. Volleyball coach Reyneer (far left) and Muriel Smith (blue shirt) also joined the entourage.Catherine also knew that as popular as volleyball is in the United States, it’s even more so in other countries. So, with the help of her parents, Catherine contacted the American Embassy in Cuba who put her in touch with Cuba Educational Travel and GUEST, Catherine’s newly formed group, was launched.Catherine’s teammate senior Ava Zockoll, captain of the RBC girls’ team who also plays for Central Jersey Volleyball Academy, and a seasoned traveler herself, was ready, willing and able to take on the challenge of bringing American friendship to Cuba.Cuba Educational Travel put them in touch with Pavel Garcia Valdes and his wife Sandra Sotolongo Iglesias of Proyecto Comunitario Barrio Habana. The couple work tirelessly on the streets of Havana to give a better life to people of all ages. Pavel is as comfortable and efficient encouraging a group of teens on the street through the educational and social aspects of improving their lives as he is trying to find enough drinking water to keep a day care center open so senior citizens can enjoy the friendship and social benefits of others of all ages.All good things must come to an end – Curtin and Zockoll felt the new friendships they formed made a positive impact on their counterparts’ opinion of the U.S. On the last day, there were tears and promises of return visits.The American teens came to Cuba armed with gifts for their soon-to-be friends – volleyball nets, kneepads, volleyballs, game shirts in two colors for opposing team play, as well as open hearts and huge smiles. They left the comfort of air-conditioned gyms and well-polished courts and quickly adjusted to old, cracked concrete outdoor courts with boundary lines faded by the hot sun. All play was wrapped up by noon on any day when afternoon temps went well into the mid-90s.Volleyball, the warm-ups and exercises are all international, so not knowing the language did not present a disadvantage. What were shy exchanges of broken English and Spanish on the first day turned to laughs and friendly handshakes on the next, and later genuine laughter and friendship. On the last day, there were tears when they said their goodbyes amid promises of return visits.“If you can help people in one way, such as by sharing a sport, then you can connect on another level,” Catherine explained. She was surprised at the English speaking skills – however limited – that many of the girls had, and loved the welcoming attitude they exuded from the very first day.Ava agreed, pointing out that one of the reasons she wanted the experience was to be absorbed in another culture and help people with fewer opportunities than she herself has. She was surprised the Cuban teens did not appear to be as poverty-stricken as she had heard they were, and was impressed not only by the quality of the coaches but also their intensity and excellence in training the girls. Both teens commented on how polite, courteous, and well-mannered their Cuban counterparts were.Afternoons were spent with Pavel and an Educational Travel rep who took the American visitors through a series of cultural and educational experiences including a visit to a senior care center where the oldest client at 102, walks from his home on the third floor of a once well-maintained apartment the few blocks to the center where he can enjoy games, friendship, song and meals with other older Cubans. The group also visited a third floor walk-up apartment of a husband and wife renowned for their hip-hop music in clubs and cabarets across the country. The couple, who are black, were eager to speak about racism and said they both believe strongly it exists in Cuba.There was also a visit with Edel Bordon and his wife, Marina, and their children Pablo and Lucy. One of the finest artists in the country, Edel teaches art in his large and elegant 10th floor apartment overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, a home filled with the artwork of both Bardon and his students, as well as the photography of son Pablo.In between, there was a salsa dance lesson and a visit to Morro Castle where they experienced the nightly cannon firing by Cuban soldiers, dressed in colonial garb which dates back to the Spanish rule of the 17th century. Citizens set their watches by this 9 p.m. ritual, which commemorates the centuries when the cannon was fired each evening to tell residents to hurry behind the protective walls of the fortress before the gates were locked against marauders, pirates, and other evils.Although trips to private homes and historic sites were all planned by Cuba Educational Travel, the group could go their own way individually or together in the afternoons and evenings. Even with the limited experience, both Catherine and Ava felt they had made new friendships and had a positive effect on their counterparts’ opinion of the United States.Ava felt the best gift she left behind was showing the Cuban students they too can meet and interact with people they have never met in a positive way. Catherine agreed, and felt she also had given her new friends a better understanding of the American people.
The Nelson Leafs exploded for three third-period goal en route to a 3-1 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League victory over the Creston Thunder Cats Saturday in the East Kootenay City.The win was the second of the weekend for the Leafs.Nelson opened weekend Thursday be edging the Grand Forks Border Bruins 2-1.Linden Horswill, Colton McCarthy, with his fifth goal of the season, and captain Colton Schell on the power play, was all the goals Leaf netminder Cody Boeckman would need to secure the win.Nelson dominated most of the game, firing a total of 42 shots at Cats goalie Michael Hails. The Coldstream native was perfect through 40 minutes, holding the Leafs scoreless and keep the home town ahead 1-0.Trevor Hanna scored the lone goal for the Cats.Nelson, 2-1-1, moves into second spot in Neil Murdoch Division standings, one point behind defending KIJHL champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks.The two Murdoch leaders begin a home-and-home series Friday in Fruitvale.The Beaver Valley contest concludes a four-game road trip for the Leafs.Nelson plays host to the Hawks Saturday at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.LEAF BANTER: Team captain Colton Schell is leading by example and leads the team in scoring with six points. Rookie Colton McCarthy is right behind Schell in points and Nelson in goals with five. McCarthy is also tied for the league lead in goals with Ryan Henderson of Columbia Valley. . . .Nelson rookie Jacob Boyczuk and defenceman Seth Schmidt each finished the Creston game with two assists. . . . Recently acquired forward Brendan Colter was in the lineup for both weekend games for the Leafs.
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