US Women Face Japan in World Cup Final

US Women Face Japan in World Cup Final

The US Women look to cap their magical run in the Women's World Cup with a win in the final this afternoon in Frankfurt, Germany against Japan (Coverage begins at 2PM/ESPN).

After escaping with a miraculous win in the quarterfinals against Brazil the Americans shook off any potential hangover from that thrilling game and topped France 3-1 in the semis. However, the scoreline was not truly indicative of the how close the game was.

France controlled possession for long stretches of the match. The US was fortunate to stay level at 1-1 before Abby Wambach emphatically headed home the game winner off of a corner kick. Alex Morgan's composed chip over the French keeper provided the final margin of victory, but the result was in doubt as late as the 78th minute.

Japan, like the US, finished in second place in its group. They knocked off two-time defending Women's World Cup Champs and tournament hosts Germany. They advanced to the final with a 3-1 win over Sweden.

For an afternoon put aside the question as to whether women's professional soccer will catch on here in the States. Simply watch the game and enjoy the aerial prowess of Abby Wambach, the athleticism of Hope Solo, and the darting runs of Megan Rapinoe.

Can they add another star above the US Soccer crest? The US is ninety minutes away from becoming the first ever three-time Women's World Cup Champion.

Photo Credit: Witters Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

The Sixers will get Joel Embiid back in the lineup when they meet the Bucks on Monday afternoon in Milwaukee, but they'll be without their starting point guard.

T.J. McConnell will miss Monday's game with a sprained right wrist suffered in Saturday night's loss to the Wizards in D.C.

McConnell reportedly did not travel with the team to Milwaukee and is back home in Philadelphia.

The 24-year-old McConnell has been a presence this season for a Sixers team that desperately needed something from the point guard spot. In 38 games this season, McConnell has averaged 4.8 points, 5.8 points and 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists a night in an average of 22.3 minutes a game.

The highlight of McConnell's season, of course, came last week when he nailed the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 98-97 victory over the Knicks.

Sergio Rodriguez is expected to start in McConnell's place Monday against the Bucks.

Sixers' Ersan Ilyasova excited to see family in adopted hometown of Milwaukee

Sixers' Ersan Ilyasova excited to see family in adopted hometown of Milwaukee

Traveling to Milwaukee means a return to where Ersan Ilyasova began his NBA career.

Twelve years later, it also means a return to his family when the Sixers visit the Bucks on Monday afternoon at the Bradley Center.
 
Ilyasova planted roots in Milwaukee during his seven seasons with the Bucks, who drafted him in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft. Though he has played for four teams since the Bucks traded him to the Pistons in the summer of 2015, Ilyasova has maintained a home base in the city he adopted after coming to the NBA from Europe.

“I kind of grew up there,” he said. “It’s a lot of time spent.”

Ilyasova’s lengthy tenure with his first team - which doesn’t always happen in the NBA - afforded him and his family the time to make Milwaukee their home.

His wife and three young children (daughters ages eight and five years old and son age three years old) have remained there while Ilyasova has moved around the league frequently. He has been a member of the Pistons, Magic, Thunder and Sixers in a matter of two seasons.

“It’s a huge thing,” Ilyasova said. “I haven’t seen the girls for two months now - a lot of Skype and FaceTime. I see my son, he flies back and forth with my wife.”

The Sixers flew to Milwaukee on Sunday from Washington, D.C. after Saturday night's loss to the Wizards at the Verizon Center. Ilyasova planned to stay at his house and catch up on the time he has missed while being away from his family. This includes missed time during the holidays while the team was on a west coast road trip.
 
“It’s always really exciting,” Ilyasova said. “They’re counting the days when I will come. They’re all excited to come to the game.”
 
Another highlight of being back in Milwaukee? A home-cooked meal.
 
“They’re already preparing it,” Ilyasova said. “It’s duck with apples in it.”