DEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald photoRiding two-straight dual-meet losses heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Purdue Boilermakers, the Badgers wrestling team hopes to rebound and get back to finishing on top.For the season, head coach Barry Davis and the Badgers are 1-2-0 in conference play and 6-4-0 overall, while the Boilermakers, victims of two consecutive dual defeats of their own, are 0-2-0 in the Big Ten and 8-5-0 on the season.In last Sunday’s loss against Northwestern, Wisconsin had an early lead and was in control of its own destiny, but several losses by five points or less cost them the dual.”We had an opportunity to win it at the end, but the guy didn’t score,” Davis said. “We’re in those matches, we just have to convert and we haven’t done that yet, so that’s what we’re working on right now to get ready for this weekend, putting guys in situations where they’re in pressure situations on the clock and they have to score in practice, or they’ll get extra laps, and extra sprints.”In an effort to solve the scoring woes, some of Davis’ wrestlers have taken dumbbells home with them to work on their stances and positioning — anything that will get them over the hump.”We have to find a way to pick up the pace, keep the opponent more off balance and keep the match on feet,” coach Davis said.This weekend’s meet should prove to be a stepping-stone toward moving in the right direction and an indicator of how well this team will wrestle for the remainder of the season.After facing two very good teams in Iowa and Northwestern, Wisconsin catches a team that has had some problems of its own and isn’t considered a powerhouse in the very competitive Big Ten. “It will be up to the players to make the adjustments from last week’s duals to this one and to score those seemingly elusive points,” Davis said.For the Badgers, another wrestler hit the mat Sunday, when freshman heavyweight Kyle Massey was lost for the season, marking the second big player to go down in recent weeks. With the sudden onslaught of injuries, Davis doesn’t know whom to start in their place.”Between injuries and close matches, we got some patchwork to do and I’m not exactly sure who’s going to wrestle yet,” Davis said. “We’ve lost two guys for the year already. … Massey’s one of them, and, I mean, we lost one All-American and one potential All-American already, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen.” While it’s unknown who will be starting in place of the injured Badgers, Davis knows that the match-up between No. 2-ranked Tom Clum of the Badgers and sixth-ranked Chris Fleeger of the Boilermakers will be a good one.”Fleeger and Clum should be a great matchup,” Davis said. “Fleeger’s been to the NCAA finals and Clum’s ranked second right now. They’re both good on their feet and really good on top as well, so it should go down to the last few points.”Other notable wrestlers from the Badgers side include fifth-ranked, 149-pound Tyler Turner, who is 15-2 overall, and 10th-ranked 157-pound sophomore Craig Henning who, with two wins last weekend, now posts a 9-1 dual record and a 19-4 record overall.For the Boilermakers, Ben Wissel should give whomever the Badgers throw at him in the 184-pound weight division headaches. The senior from Richmond, Ind., now posts a 26-2 record on the season after simply manhandling his opponent Sunday, winning a major decision 18-4. Davis, however, says there is a way to beat this goliath.”We wrestled him earlier in the year out in Vegas,” Davis said. “We’ve just got to close the gap and slow the match down — he’s very athletic and let him dictate the pace to the outside, and you’re going to be in trouble, so you really have to try to close the gap on him and spend more time on top, playing a little slower pace.” Whatever the result this weekend, Davis and his boys will keep their heads up and their opponents down, maintaining a positive attitude and always pushing forward.
Sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier leaps into the air to spike the ball in a game against Cal at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. Photo by Kaan Demiroz | Daily TrojanThe No. 17 USC women’s volleyball team (16-7, 8-4 Pac-12) is back home after four straight away matches. On Friday, the Trojans host Arizona State, and on Sunday, they host Arizona.“This weekend we’re looking to have great games versus both Arizonas,” junior libero Victoria Garrick said. Last time the Women of Troy faced off against these two teams, they split their games. Out in Tucson, USC was stunned in a straight-sweep against the Wildcats (25-23, 25-17, 26-24). The team bounced back and picked up a four-set win in Tempe against the Sun Devils (19-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-22). “We’re very excited for the Arizona game because they swept us,” Garrick said. “We were completely caught off guard. I don’t think we expected to lose the game, let alone get swept.”This time around, the Women of Troy will have home court advantage. As the Pac-12 is arguably the toughest conference for women’s volleyball, wins on the home court are vital. USC has fared well at the Galen Center: it has a home record of 6-1. The Trojans’ only loss at home was against then-No. 3 Stanford. Now the Cardinal has jumped up to No. 2 in the rankings. In its last four matches, USC has gone 2-2. Its offense has been missing a key component in sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier, who has been sidelined. In the team’s matches in Washington, freshman outside hitter Brooke Botkin continued to impress. Botkin had 30 kills on the weekend, a team high. She put up two aces and 18 digs. Rounding out the other side of USC’s attack are senior opposites Brittany Abercrombie and Niki Withers. The two combined for 52 kills in the team’s last two outings. “I know that [the Wildcats] should be a little frightened,” Garrick said. “We’re ready to get up for that match and really put the hammer on them.”To pick up two wins against the Arizona schools, the Women of Troy will need to rely on Botkin, Abercrombie and Withers. They’ll also need a resurgence of offensive strength from junior outside hitter Alyse Ford. While Ford did not play against the Huskies, she led the team with 14 kills two days later in their sweep of the Cougars. The Sun Devils are led by senior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro. Okaro has 385 kills on the season, averaging 4.48 kills per set. Arizona State’s offense is rounded out by freshman outside hitter Griere Hughes and sophomore outside hitter Ivana Jeremic. Hughes has 226 kills on the season, averaging by 2.94 kills per set. Jeremic has 221 kills on the season, averaging 2.76 kills per set. The Wildcats are led by a bevy of young talent. Freshman outside hitter Paige Whipple leads the team with 165 kills on the season, averaging 2.36 kills per set. Redshirt freshman outside hitter Elizabeth Shelton is second on the team with 132 kills on the season, averaging 2.10 kills per set. Freshman middle blocker Candice Denny is third on the list. Denny is seventh in the conference with a .356 hitting percentage overall and third in the conference with a .372 hitting percentage in league play. She’s on track to be the first freshman in program history to hit at least .350. The Women of Troy will have to limit powerful attacks from the Arizona schools to pick up two more wins at home.
@RMoralesPTEL SEGUNDO — Pau Gasol knows all about trade rumors. The 33-year-old Laker has been hearing them about himself the past couple of years, and it’s happening again. By now, one might think Gasol might just want to get out of Dodge and say, “Adios.”Not so, he told reporters Thursday following practice.“Yeah, I mean, this is my home, it’s my team,” said Gasol, when a reporter asked him straight out if he wants to stay with the Lakers. “It’s a team that I’ve been through so much with and I’m not the type of guy that likes to jump ship because everything is not going right right now.” Gasol said he wants to ride out this nasty storm in which the Lakers (13-19) currently reside.“I’m a loyal guy and I like would like to continue to be here and fight with the guys who are here and once we get bodies back, everything will be better,” said Gasol, whose team will host the Utah Jazz at 7:30 tonight at Staples Center. “But right now, I would like to continue to stay here and just … this is my team, this is my city.”Gasol admits it’s not easy playing with this kind of cloud hanging over his head.“I mean, we’re accustomed to it and I deal with it better than I did when it first started,” he said. “It’s just a reality. Just try to stay cool and keep my mind on the game as much as I can. Yeah, it can (affect you). But there’s nothing you can do about it, so you just keep playing.”Gasol has not been happy in coach Mike D’Antoni’s system, and he has made no bones about that. But there is no guarantee any trade involving him will take place — even though there have been some minor whispers about Gasol possibly going to Cleveland for former Laker Andrew Bynum. Gasol, in his seventh season with the Lakers, has a career scoring average of 18.3. But he averaged just 13.7 points last season in just 49 games. He’s averaging 15.1 points right now, but he’s shooting a career-worst 44.3 percent from the field. Kendall Marshall to startWith Jordan Farmar once again having joined the Lakers’ walking wounded, Kendall Marshall will start at point guard tonight. Marshall came off the bench and played 28 minutes in a 94-79 loss — the Lakers’ sixth in succession — to the Milwaukee Bucks on New Year’s Eve after Farmar sustained another hamstring injury.Marshall scored 10 points on 4 of 7 shooting — 2 of 4 from 3-point range — and doled out seven assists while committing just two turnovers. The game before that he scored eight points and had three assists in a 111-104 loss to the 76ers.“He’s played two pretty good games,” D’Antoni said of Marshall, who was signed out of the D-League on Dec. 20. “For him to be a good player in this league is just continue to work on his shot and get that all better. But he knows how to play and he knows how to run a team.”Marshall, a left-handed shooter with a different-looking shot, is stoked to be getting this start.“I am, I am, if they said that’s what’s going to happen,” Marshall said. “But I’m more excited about trying to get us back on track as a team and get a win.”Scouting the JazzUtah is just 10-24, meaning this is a game the host Lakers need to win. The Jazz are led by guard/forward Gordon Hayward. He’s averaging 16.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists.Utah has won two of its past three. Included therein was a 105-103 victory over the Lakers last Friday in Utah. Hayward had 24 points and nine assists. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error