Diggins’ World Cup lead shrinks with two races remaining in season

Jessie Diggins finished 18th in a classic sprint Friday in Falun, Sweden, to begin the final weekend of the World Cup cross-country ski season.

The Afton native still leads the overall standings, but Sweden's Linn Svahn placed second and pulled to within 41 points behind Diggins.

The season concludes with a 10-kilometer individual start classic on Saturday and a 20k freestyle mass start Sunday.


MSU Mankato rolls in opener

Destinee Bursch had 19 points, Natalie Bremer added 18 and the seventh-seeded Minnesota State Mankato women's basketball team opened the NCAA Division II Central Region tournament with a 78-58 rout of second-seeded Missouri Western in Bethany, Okla.

Minnesota State Mankato will play third-seeded Fort Hays State in the second round on Saturday.

The Mavericks (27-5) went on a 15-0 run in the first quarter to lead 26-6 after a period and never looked back from there. Both teams committed 25 turnovers, but the Mavericks scored 29 points off turnovers compared to four for Missouri Western (25-6).

• The men's Central Region tournament begins Saturday in Mankato, with host Minnesota State the top seed and one of four NSIC schools from Minnesota in the bracket. Minnesota Duluth plays Fort Hays State at noon, followed by Northwest Missouri State vs. Southwest Minnesota State, MSU Mankato vs. Arkansas Tech and MSU Moorhead vs. Pittsburg State.

PWHL Minnesota plays New York

PWHL Minnesota, in a three-way tie for first place in the first-year women's hockey league, looks for its fourth consecutive victory Saturday when it plays host to New York at Xcel Energy Center.

Minnesota has won its past two meetings with last-place New York after losing 3-2 in overtime at home when the teams first met Jan. 14.

The other teams in first place are Toronto and Montreal, and they play each other Sunday.

Busniuk dead at 75

Ron Busniuk, an All-America defenseman at Minnesota Duluth who went on to an eight-season career in the NHL and World Hockey Association, died on March 8 in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario. He was 75.

Busniuk played two seasons for the WHA's Minnesota Fighting Saints (1974-76) and also skated for the Edmonton Oilers and Hartford Whalers of the WHA and the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL.

He was an All-America in 1969-70 for the Bulldogs. Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Paula; and older brother Mike, also a former NHL player.


• Bailey Olson of Willmar scored with 1:50 remaining and host Wisconsin-River Falls beat Adrian 3-2 in the NCAA Division III women's hockey semifinals. Olson is one of 22 Minnesotans on the Falcons (30-0), who play Elmira — a 1-0 winner over Middlebury — for the championship Sunday.

• Augsburg led host Wisconsin-La Crosse by 9½ points after the first day at the Division III wrestling championships. The Auggies have six All-Americas, with three in championship contention.

• Shane Paradine hit a solo home run to tie the game in the ninth and singled in the winning run in the 10th to lift host Elon to a 2-1 victory over the Gophers baseball team. Brady Counsell was 3-for-6 with an RBI for the Gophers (7-8). Gophers starter Tucker Novotny pitched 6⅔ shutout innings.

• The Gophers softball team lost twice in Columbia, S.C., losing to both Boston University and Michigan State by 5-4 scores. In the first game, the Gophers (13-11) led No. 24 BU 2-1 after five innings but couldn't hold on. In the second, the Gophers led 4-0 going into the bottom of the seventh, but the Spartans scored five runs for a walkoff victory.

• Gophers sophomore golfer Isabella McCauley is in a three-way tie for second place at the Mountain View Collegiate in Tucson, Ariz., after shooting a 68, one stroke behind South Florida's Melanie Green. The Gophers are in 13th place out of 15 teams, 20 strokes behind leader South Florida.