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Women’s basketball: Iowa hands Minnesota worst loss of the program’s NCAA era

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NCAA volleyball: Badgers sweep Gophers in regional final

Minnesota had a plan to stop No. 25 Iowa on Thursday. Talked about it, worked on it in practice. It wasn’t as if the plan didn’t work — it just plain didn’t happen.

Caitlin Clark had 35 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, and Watertown’s Monika Czinano added 23 and six rebounds as Iowa handed Minnesota its worst loss of the program’s NCAA era, 105-49, at Williams Arena.

“Sometimes you just have those special nights, and tonight was one of them,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.

Not for the Gophers, who didn’t do anything well. Sara Scalia scored a team-high 15 points, but Minnesota’s leading rebounder was Rose Micheaux with four, and Gadiva Hubbard had a team-high three assists.

“Clearly not a good night for us,” Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen said.

Minnesota wanted to keep a body on Clark, harass Czinano in the block and get back in transition. “Obviously things that we talked about for a few days, talked about for a few days, and we weren’t able to get it done,” Whalen said.

Clark finished with her fifth triple-double, and while the Gophers kept Czinano in check early, she made five of her last six shots and 9 of 10 free throws. As for getting back on defense, well, Iowa scored 23 fastbreak points and 14 points off 11 Minnesota turnovers.

“They’re a really good transition team. That’s what they do,” Whalen said.

It didn’t help that Iowa rarely had to take the ball out of the basket to get going; Minnesota shot 33.3 percent from the field (21 for 63). The Hawkeyes shot 59 percent (40 for 68).

The Gophers fell to 9-10 overall and 2-5 in the Big Ten.

Their worst Big Ten loss remains a 93-37 setback to Indiana in 1974-75, before the NCAA began sponsoring women’s basketball, and their worst loss overall was 114-53 at Texas on Dec. 4, 1978. But in the NCAA era, Thursday’s loss margin surpassed the previous program record of 55 set Nov. 29, 1986, in a 101-46 loss to fourth-ranked Auburn, then matched in a 99-44 loss to No. 7 Maryland on March 1, 2020.

It was Iowa’s largest margin of victory in a Big Ten game in program history and third largest overall. The Hawkeyes (11-4, 5-1) have won four straight.

“I’m still trying to take it in,” Bluder said. “I really didn’t find anything that was poor out there.”

Clark, a sophomore guard who was a second-team All-American as a freshman, registered her fifth career double-double and surpassed her scoring average of 25.7 points a game, which leads the nation. She was 14 of 21 from the floor and 4 for 6 from 3-point range but finished well shy of her career-high of 44 points set Jan. 2 against Evansville.

Her 13 rebounds were a game-high.

“When I get the rebound and push in transition, that’s when we’re at our best,” Clark said. “Because it’s hard to pick me up, and it’s really hard to find my other teammates on the floor — and that’s really when we’re at our best.”

Gabbie Marshall’s layup off a steal by teammate Kylie Feuerbach gave the Hawkeyes a 97-48 lead with 7 minutes, 4 seconds left in the game, and it only got worse from there. Minnesota was 1 for 15 from the field in the fourth quarter.

Asked if she thought her team gave up, Whalen said, “I’m not going to say that. Obviously, the fourth was tough. I thought we had guys trying to make some plays, and it just didn’t go our way. … Guys were still trying to do the right thing.”

Starting point guard Jasmine Powell was scoreless for the first time in her college career.

Asked how the Gophers can regroup in time for Sunday’s 1 p.m. tip at Michigan State, Scalia said, “We’ve just got to bring (the team) together more.”

“I mean, you can kind of tell we’re not playing connected, and sometimes not really for each other,” the junior from Stillwater said. “The biggest thing is just getting everyone on the same page and at least giving 100 percent effort.”

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MN Senate Democrats make final push to legalize marijuana

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MN Senate Democrats make final push to legalize marijuana

A late push by Minnesota Senate Democrats to legalize marijuana failed Wednesday, underscoring that recreational pot use is unlikely to be allowed in Minnesota this year.

Marijuana is legal in Minnesota for certain medical purposes.

Wednesday’s effort, which failed in a procedural vote almost entirely along party lines in the Republican-controlled Senate, can be viewed through the lens of election-year politics.

Two cannabis-legalization parties are active in Minnesota, and Democrats fear that candidates from those parties can peel off some of their voters who feel strongly about marijuana. Wednesday’s maneuver by Senate Democrats, while doomed, can serve as DFLers laying down a marker that they are united in their support for total legalization.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor-controlled House passed a plan to legalize pot last year, with some Republicans voting in favor of it, and Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, has said he would sign it if it were to reach his desk.

However, support among Republicans in the Senate has never been strong, and many are stridently opposed. Some Senate Republicans have been amenable to “decriminalization” plans that would lessen penalties for pot and expunge records of those convicted for minor possession. Former state Sen. Scott Jensen, the Republican-endorsed candidate for Governor this year, supports such expungement.

On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Melisa Lopez Franzen called such measures “piecemeal” and said they wouldn’t suffice.

Wednesday’s vote in the Senate wasn’t actually on the merits of legalization, but on whether the proposal should be brought to the Senate floor. Every DFLer who voted on the measure voted in favor of that idea, while every Republican who voted cast their vote against it. Two retiring independents, Sens. Tom Bakk of Cook and David Tomassoni of Chisholm, split their votes, with Bakk opposing and Thomassoni supporting.

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Tartan High senior chosen as ThreeSixty scholar for four-year scholarship to St. Thomas

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Tartan High senior chosen as ThreeSixty scholar for four-year scholarship to St. Thomas

Gwynnevere Vang, a senior at Tartan High School in Oakdale, has been chosen as the ThreeSixty Journalism Scholar and will attend the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul on a four-year, full-tuition scholarship.

The honor is awarded each year to one student enrolled in the nonprofit high school journalism program, which draws participants from across the metro area. There are currently four ThreeSixty Journalism Scholars enrolled at St. Thomas.

Housed at St. Thomas since 2001, ThreeSixty Journalism launched at the University of Minnesota in 1971 as the Urban Journalism Workshop, providing basic journalism training to Minnesota high school students, particularly low-income teens and teens of color. The program was part of a nationwide effort to increase the presence of people of color in newsrooms in order to better reflect and serve increasingly diverse communities. The Pioneer Press and Star Tribune are active partners.

Vang, in a written statement, said her career goal is to travel the country — if not the world — telling stories about the earth’s natural beauty and environmental movements. She joined ThreeSixty in summer 2020 and remained active with the program during the school year, completing a TV Broadcast Camp and high school journalism classes while contributing to her school’s online newspaper, the Plaid Press.

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Amber Heard’s sister, friend back her assault claims against Johnny Depp

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Raquel Pennington testifies in a previously recorded video deposition, as a picture of actor Amber Heard is seen on screen in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Amber Heard’s sister testified Wednesday that she found herself in the middle of fights — literally and figuratively — between her sister and Johnny Depp during their troubled relationship.

Whitney Heard Henriquez is the first witness to testify at the five-week civil trial to say she personally witnessed Depp hitting Heard. Depp has testified he never struck Heard.

Henriquez testified the fight occurred in March 2015 — a month after Depp and Heard’s wedding — when Heard found evidence that Depp had already had an extramarital affair.

Henriquez recounted that an inebriated Depp blamed Heard for forcing him into the extramarital encounter.

At one point, she said, she was caught between Depp and Heard as he charged up a staircase to confront Heard. Henriquez said she was struck in the back, and Heard became enraged and “landed one” on Depp, with Henriquez stuck between the two.

One of Depp’s bodyguards intervened and broke up the fight but “by that time Johnny had already grabbed Amber by the hair with one hand and was whacking her repeatedly in the face with the other,” Henriquez said.

It was the only time, Henriquez said, that she personally witnessed a physical assault. But she said she saw the aftermath of other fights, including bruises on Heard.

She said she had the nickname “marriage counselor” for her frequent efforts to mediate arguments between Heard and Depp.

“Clearly not very well,” she said of her mediation efforts.

But she acknowledged on cross-examination that she sided with Depp at times in their disputes, and said she worked to keep the couple together even after she watched her sister be physically assaulted.

“If my sister said that she still wanted to be with Johnny and if I could help with that in any way I was going to support her. I was going to be there for her,” she said.

Henriquez admitted that once, she even joked in a text message that Depp should hit Heard, but she said she didn’t really understand what her sister was going through at the time.

Henriquez also told a story about Depp’s behavior at Heard’s 30th birthday party in April 2016, one of the final fights between the couple. She said people took turns sharing favorite memories of Heard. Depp, who arrived late and intoxicated to the party, decided to tell a story about when he first met Heard as she auditioned for a movie and “she sat on the couch and her perfect (posterior) left the perfect imprint on the couch.”

“We were all kind of embarrassed,” Henriquez said.

Depp is suing Heard for libel in Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.

Also Wednesday, a friend of Heard testified she saw the bruises and cuts left in the aftermath of multiple incidents of abuse inflicted by Depp.

In a recorded deposition played for jurors, Raquel Pennington said she never personally witnessed Depp strike Heard. But she said she saw the injuries, and she took photos of Heard’s face in December 2015 after a fight in which Heard says Depp head-butted her and perhaps broke her nose.

The photo shows a swollen nose, a cut lip, and two moderately black eyes on Heard’s face.

She also took a photo of strands of hair that she said were ripped from Heard’s scalp.

Heard “often had to cover bruises and injuries on her face” with makeup, said Pennington, one of many witnesses whose testimony was previously recorded.

Pennington said she doesn’t really consider herself a current friend of Heard, and that the two grew apart in the last year.

The December 2015 fight is one of several disputed incidents. While jurors have seen the photos taken by Pennington documenting the injuries, they have also seen video of Heard’s appearance on a late-night talk show the next day in which those injuries aren’t visible.

Heard has said the injuries were just covered by makeup.

Raquel Pennington testifies in a previously recorded video deposition, as a picture of actor Amber Heard is seen on screen in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool Photo via AP)

Pennington’s testimony came after Heard wrapped up her time on the witness stand Tuesday, including two grueling days of cross-examination in which Depp’s lawyers questioned Heard about the truthfulness of her allegations of physical and sexual abuse.

Pennington’s testimony provides corroborating evidence to several of the alleged assaults. In addition to the December 2015 incident, Pennington said she saw cuts on Heard’s feet when she returned from a trip to Australia in March 2015. Heard testified that Depp sexually assaulted Heard with a liquor bottle on that trip and that she cut her feet on broken glass from the attack.

And Pennington, who lived for a time in a suite of penthouses along with Depp and Heard, said she was the first person to see Heard during a final fight between the couple in May 2016 that precipitated the couple’s divorce.

Pennington said she interjected herself between the two and Depp knocked her hands away. She said she then covered Heard with her own body on the floor as Depp screamed at Heard to get up. She said she later saw Depp wielding a wine bottle to smash and knock things off the walls and counters.

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