LONDON (Reuters) – Cricketer Ben Stokes was voted the 2019 BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday for his World Cup-winning and Ashes heroics during the summer.The all-rounder won the prestigious award, which is voted for annually by the British public, for his incredible feats for an England side that also landed the Team of the Year award.The 28-year-old was man of the match for his brilliant innings in both the run chase and decisive super over that saw England’s men win the World Cup for the first time in a dramatic final against New Zealand at Lord’s.He then topped even that by playing one of the great match-winning test innings against Australia, his 135 not out that guided England to the most nail-biting and unlikely one-wicket victory at Headingley.Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton finished runner-up in the voting while sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, the world 200 metres champion, was third.
Entering this season, Quentin Hillsman was focused on returning to the NCAA tournament. After three straight trips to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, SU was ready to shed its label as a bubble team come March.The strong nonconference schedule — with trips to Hawaii and Las Vegas — was in place. The Orange returned talent, with five of its top six scorers back from last season. And the SU head coach and his players were both motivated by one common goal.‘The expectation is for everyone to work hard, everyday to get better as we go on,’ SU guard La’Shay Taft said in October. ‘And the biggest expectation of them all is to make it to the NCAA tournament.’Syracuse (11-4, 0-1 Big East) begins its most crucial stretch toward fulfilling that expectation with a matchup at No. 10 Rutgers (11-2, 0-0) in Piscataway, N.J., on Tuesday at 9 p.m. The Big East matchup will be the Orange’s first of 15 straight conference games until the end of the season. SU opened conference play with a 76-72 loss to West Virginia on Dec. 7.The Orange’s performance over the next two months — beginning with a challenge against one of the conference’s elite on Tuesday — will determine SU’s postseason fate. Through the first 15 games of the season, Syracuse failed to separate itself as an NCAA tournament contender.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOf SU’s 11 wins to this point, only one came against an opponent currently with a winning record — Boise State (8-6). The teams the Orange has beaten have a combined 59-92 record. With that resume, Hillsman and his players have their work cut out for them heading into their Big East schedule.Syracuse will need to perform against tougher competition to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. And Hillsman will need to have his team ready to face the adversity that comes with conference play. Against West Virginia, the Orange trailed by 16 late in the second half. The comeback attempt fell short.Playing from behind was also something SU had to do in an 82-63 loss to Oklahoma.‘We don’t worry about that because we know we respond and do a good job of getting back into the game,’ Hillsman said after the game. ‘We just kept playing hard and that’s what we’re going to do.’Syracuse has recovered with three straight wins since that 19-point setback to the Sooners on Dec. 19. SU forward Iasia Hemingway has led the Orange during that winning streak, averaging 23.7 points per game.On Saturday, Hemingway scored a career-high 31 points in Syracuse’s 83-32 rout of Colgate. The mark topped her previous career-high of 30 set in a 70-47 win over Boise State in November.The senior’s offensive production will be key against Rutgers and the rest of the Big East.‘My teammates, they know how to get the ball to me,’ Hemingway said in December. ‘And I really appreciate them getting to me at the high post because I enjoy it.’As SU heads into conference play, it will depend on Hemingway and its high-low set on the offensive end, and it will employ its full-court press defense to push the tempo on opponents.The Orange didn’t register a marquee win in nonconference play, but it did gain valuable experience for its postseason push. After the humbling loss to Oklahoma — in which SU trailed from start to finish — Hillsman said his team could only continue to battle until the end.And that preparation will have Syracuse ready for the challenges ahead.‘You run your offense and keep trying to get stops on the defensive end,’ Hillsman said. ‘We learned not to get discouraged and not let that defeat our game when you fall down.’firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: email@example.com Comments
Following a pair of impressive road victories against Iowa and Nebraska last weekend, the red-hot Wisconsin women’s soccer team (8-4-3, 5-1-1 Big Ten) will host conference rival Michigan (10-4-1, 5-1-1) Thursday night in a 7 p.m. kickoff.With just four more games remaining in the regular season for each side, Thursday’s contest could be pivotal in the chase for the conference crown as both the Badgers and Wolverines find themselves tied for second in the Big Ten standings, trailing Minnesota by just two points.Last Time OutThe last matchup between the two teams took place early in conference play during the 2014 season. With the score tied 1-1 going into the 89th minute, forward Ani Sarkisian headed in a free kick for her second goal of the match to send the visiting No. 9 Badgers packing with their first loss of the season. The defeat ended up having little impact on Wisconsin’s season, but they still went on to finish second in the regular season standings and win the conference tournament.Wisconsin’s Keys to VictoryContinued improvement from Victoria Pickett: While starting the season as a relatively unknown freshman forward, Pickett became a full-time starter in mid-September and has made considerable strides since. She earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for her road performance last weekend, scoring a goal and notching an assist over the two-game trip to Nebraska and Iowa.Continued success will force the Wolverine defense to spread their attention beyond top scorers Rose Lavelle and McKenna Meuer, giving the Badgers more variety on the attack.Keeping the Streak Alive: It’s been nearly a month since Caitlyn Clem has given up a goal.Over that span, the Badgers have gone unbeaten in six games, winners of five-straight games and improved greatly on offense as the pressure to score has been alleviated. Since Sept. 20, the Badgers have averaged 2.2 goals per game after scoring just one per game in their opening 10 matches.With the Wolverine’s high-powered offense coming off a 3-goal performance against a typically stout Illinois defense (1.14 goals allowed per game), another memorable performance may be required from the first year starting keeper.Opposing Player to Watch: Michigan forward Ani SarkisianWhile already notorious among Badger faithful for her last-second game-winning goal last season, Sarkisian’s most recent performance hasn’t helped to relieve any anxiety going into Thursday. Her hat trick against the Illini last weekend earned her Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week Honors and bumped her season total all the way up to six goals.