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USWNT Wins World Cup, Timberwolves Practicing, NBA News

Actual basketball-like substance returns in Minneapolis this week as the Wolves prepare for their voyage to the Vegas Summer League.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Women's soccer team finished their successful run through the World Cup by beating Japan 5-2 yesterday in Vancouver. It's the third overall World Cup title for the U.S. and first since 1999.

The game itself was surprising, with the U.S. scoring four goals in the first 16 minutes of the game, three of them by Carli Lloyd, in an opening that was reminiscent of Germany's dismantling of Brazil in the semifinal last year in Brazil.

The U.S. more or less cruised from there, though Japan did close the score to 4-2 early in the 2nd half. A quick response off yet another corner (three of the U.S, goals were from set pieces) pushed the score to 5-2 and more or less ended proceedings.

I was highly critical of Jill Ellis headed into the tournament, and still have reservations about the overall direction of the U.S. program. That said, I need to eat some crow. She adapted during the tournament, making hard calls (removing Abby Wambach from the starting lineup), changing tactics and formations in response to what was an ineffective offense in the group stage, and had the team playing by far its best soccer at the business end of the tournament. So kudos to Ellis, and particularly to the players who got the job done.

Back to basketball:

The Wolves begin practice today at their new facility in advance of their trip out to the Vegas Summer League. They will practice twice a day today and tomorrow, and then hold an open scrimmage on Wednesday night, which the public is free to attend. They will fly out to Vegas on Thursday and open play on Friday, July 10th, against the Los Angeles Lakers. We'll be out there to cover it for you.

The free agent business continued over the weekend. Highlights off the top of my head:

  • Reggie Jackson re-signing with Pistons for 5/$80M
  • Corey Joseph to Raps for 4/$30M
  • Lou Williams and Brandon Bass both have agreements with the Lakers
  • Kyle O'Quinn to the Knicks 4/$16M
  • Omri Casspi back to Sacramento on 2/$6
We're still waiting on clarification on the forthcoming Nemanja Bjelica and Kevin Garnett contracts.

Today in History

1189: Richard the Lionheart is crowned King of England
1560: England and Scotland sign Treaty of Edinburgh
1699: Pirate captain William Kidd captured in Boston
1775: Congress issues a declaration of grievances against England
1777: British capture Fort Ticonderoga 
1785: Congress resolves the name of U.S. currency (Dollar). 
1848: Treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo ends Mexican-American War
1892: Striking PA steelworkers kill seven scabs 
1894: President Cleveland sends 2,000 troops to suppress Pullman strike
1923: Russian Empire officially becomes the "U.S.S.R."
1942: Anne Frank and family go into hiding in Amsterdam

Today's musical birthday is Curtis James Jackson III, aka 50 Cent, born in 1975.

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