Diggins is bringing home a gold medal to her native Afton, Minn. The 26-year-old ended Team USA’s 42-year medal drought in cross-country skiing early Wednesday morning in the women’s team sprint with teammate Kikkan Randall, out-kicking Sweden down the stretch to win by a mere .19 seconds. Diggins is the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in the sport -- ever -- and the first Team USA member since Bill Koch in 1976. That medal is going to look great alongside Diggins’ three individual Minnesota high school state titles from 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Gophers women’s hoops (⬆ UP)
Minnesota went on a four-game winning streak last week, toppling a pair of top-25 teams in the process. The Gophers snuck past No. 23 Michigan 93-87 last Wednesday, then one-upped it with a 93-74 rout of No. 10 Maryland on Sunday. That’s three top-25 wins this season for the Gophers, the program’s highest total since 2004-05 -- former Lynx forward Janel McCarville’s senior year.
Now bring on the hardware. Freshman Destiny Pitts poured in 20 points and nine rebounds against Maryland and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the seventh time this season. Senior guard Carlie Wagner saw co-Player of the Week honors after scoring a combined 43 points on nine 3-pointers in the two contests.
After the big week, the Gophers now have a chance to go dancing in the NCAA’s 64-team tournament if they play well next week in the Big Ten tourney.
P.J. Fleck, Gophers head coach (UP)
Fleck had Gophers fans rowing the boat in late February when Minnesota released new “H.Y.P.R.R. Elite” uniforms on Tuesday afternoon. (Check them out here.) The details of the new jerseys, helmets and pants are incredible -- there are boats, oars and compasses just about everywhere you look. And in our opinion, the new chrome golden helmet should have recruits pounding on the doors of the new Athletic Village in Dinkytown.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Wolves center (⬆ UP)
Towns played in his first All-Star game over the weekend. Since he played on a day ending with a “y”, you know he finished with a double-double. Towns tallied 17 points and 10 rebounds in the surprisingly entertaining contest between basketball’s best talent, but it wasn’t enough to will his squad, captained by Warriors guard Steph Curry, to a win. Team LeBron edged out Team Stephen 148-145, and the winning team’s namesake won the MVP with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 31 minutes. So much for the break. Although someone took advantage of it …
Jimmy Butler, Wolves forward (➡ EVEN)
Butler was voted into his fourth straight All-Star game but decided to watch it instead -- from the bench. His name was announced and he was wearing the All-Star jersey and warmups, but Butler preferred to use the time to rest, telling the press “I know that this Timberwolves season is very, very important to me and I've got to make sure I'm ready to go when I get back there.”
Not a bad excuse at all. But it still prompted salty tweets from jealous NBA players like Clippers guard Lou Williams.