East Central Lady Trojan Softball standout Ysa Fox will be playing College Volleyball at Indiana University Southeast majoring in Neuroscience. She is the daughter of Brian and Dawn Fox.
Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor was happy to see his side come through a real ‘arm wrestle’ with Harlequins as they edged out the Londoners 14-13 in Saturday’s European Champions Cup Pool 2 match at the Aviva Stadium. Press Association “I’m just frustrated,” O’Shea said. “You come to win. We didn’t come to make up the numbers and credit to our fellas. First half, they tackled their socks off because we didn’t hold the ball. Second half they showed huge mental strength and could have nudged a pretty historic win but we didn’t. “You are bound to be disappointed after a game like that. First half, 11-0 down, we missed a couple of opportunities ourselves but didn’t hold onto the ball if we are being honest. Our defence was heroic, but we didn’t hold onto the ball as much as we should. “A couple of TMO decisions (went against us), but that’s life. It’s small margins. We are in control of our own destiny but it’s a long way to go. The boys are very disappointed.” The Blues had appeared on course for a more comfortable victory when leading 11-0 at the break, as man-of-the-match Ian Madigan landed two penalties and Isaac Boss picked off an opportunist try in the right corner. Harlequins used their superior scrum to force the issue in the second period as full-back Mike Brown crossed for a try approaching the hour mark and Tim Swiel, who deputised at fly-half for the injured Nick Evans, added eight points with the boot. But Leinster had the final say thanks to a decisive 71st minute penalty from Madigan. O’Connor said: “I wouldn’t say (we) escaped (with the result), no. It was tight, it was an arm wrestle. It was very, very intense, a high quality game between two very committed sides. Escaped is a very strong word. “If we had executed a little bit better we could have been out of sight at half-time. That was our doing. They came back very hard at us in the second half – we were a bit inaccurate early doors and, as a result, they got their tails up and got a bit of momentum. “We would have liked to get a little but more out of tonight. We would have liked to be more accurate and get something more in London last weekend but there’s two games to go (in the pool stages) and we’ve given ourselves a chance.” The win leaves Leinster level with Harlequins on 13 points, with Conor O’Shea’s side just ahead on scoring difference. “If we’re good enough and we can get maximum points out of those two remaining games, or more points than Quins, we give ourselves a chance (of reaching the quarter-finals),” O’Connor said. “That’s not a bad place to be with bodies coming back into the group.” Harlequins director of rugby O’Shea was left frustrated after his charges only collected a losing bonus point from their trip to Dublin. As a collective, Quins performed to a higher level than Leinster but failed to clinch a precious away win that would have put them in clear control of the pool. They also ended the game down to 14 players following a late yellow card for lock Charlie Matthews, who was seen to raise his hand into Dominic Ryan’s face.
Robbie Henshaw handed Ireland an RBS 6 Nations fitness boost as Connacht thrashed Enisei-STM 47-5 to book a European Challenge Cup quarter-final at Grenoble. Brive’s resistance forced Newcastle to raise the level again, only for Hammersley to provide the match-winning riposte. Gloucester extended their record string of Challenge Cup victories to 15 by edging out Zebre 14-11 in Italy, booking a home quarter-final against Newport Gwent Dragons. Mark Atkinson could have been forgiven for expecting his second-half try to open the floodgates, but Gloucester needed fit-again Italy playmaker Kelly Haimona to miss a late penalty that would have secured a draw. Haimona also failed with a conversion shot after Dries van Schalkwyk’s late score had dragged Zebre back into the contest. In the end two second-half penalties from Billy Burns proved sufficient for Gloucester to complete a perfect pool-stage return. London Irish sneaked past Edinburgh to secure a quarter-final at Harlequins despite an inferior win record in the competition’s pool stages. A 31-17 bonus-point victory at Agen put Irish level on 17 points with Edinburgh in Pool Five, after the Scots lost out 34-23 at Grenoble. Grenoble had already topped the pool standings ahead of the final fixtures on Saturday night, but Irish pulled the rug out from underneath Edinburgh in the final throes of group action. Irish completed the round-robin stage with just three wins to Edinburgh’s four, but won out thanks to boasting the superior aggregate points haul in the two meetings between the teams in Pool Five. Edinburgh were left to rue a defeat in France that cost them a knockout stage berth and inflicted yet more misery after losing last year’s final 19-13 to Gloucester. Edinburgh led past the hour-mark, only for Gio Aplon’s late try brace to turn the tables. John Hardie and Will Helu claimed first-half tries for the Scots, with Sam Hidalgo-Clyne slotting two conversions and a penalty. Jonathan Wisniewski posted two penalties and converted Arnaud Heguy’s try to leave Edinburgh leading 17-13 at the break. Wisniewski and Hidalgo-Clyne slotted two penalties apiece in a tense third quarter, before Aplon’s two-try burst changed the entire qualification complexion. Luke Narraway, Tom Fowlie, Tom Smallbone and Fergus Mulchrone claimed the tries that handed London Irish their vital try bonus-point in their win at Agen. The visitors claimed a penalty try late on to seal their victory and safe passage to the last-eight, with Filipo Nakosi and Djalil Narjissi claiming scores for the hosts. Sale Sharks will host Montpellier in the other quarter-final, with both sides having already completed their pool-stage matches on Friday night. Matt Healy crossed twice, with Henshaw, Tiernan O’Halloran, Denis Buckley, Danie Poolman, Tom McCartney and Caolin Blade also on the scoresheet. Vitalii Orlov claimed the Siberian visitors’ solitary score, with Jurijs Baranovs’ 14th-minute yellow card sparking Connacht’s victory march. Simon Hammersley’s late second try secured Newcastle’s slender win over Brive, but was not enough to send the Falcons into the knock-out stages. Instead Dean Richards’ side stopped Brive progressing, in a stubborn performance at Kingston Park. Hammersley’s two tries bookended a gritty Newcastle showing, his second score securing the spoils but his third-minute opener helping the Falcons onto the front foot from the off. Tries from Alex Tait and Micky Young had Newcastle 23-3 to the good at the break, Craig Willis slotting a penalty and two conversions. Thomas Laranjeira’s penalty proved Brive’s only score of the half, but the Frenchmen hurtled back into the contest after the break. Nicolas Bezy and Poutasi Luafutu both crossed for Brive in the second half, with Laranjeira converting both and adding two penalties. Fit-again centre Henshaw claimed one of Connacht’s eight tries as Pat Lam’s side made the last-eight courtesy of their bonus-point victory – but also Newcastle Falcons’ 27-23 win over Brive. Battering-ram midfielder Henshaw had not featured since suffering a broken hand in November, but his timely return will boost Ireland boss Joe Schmidt’s Six Nations resources. Press Association
â€œNigeria is very happy with this appointment. It is a big plus for private football club owners in our country. Chief (Dr) Ifeanyi Ubah has done very well over the years and he very much deserves this appointment.â€œI am of the belief that he will justify the confidence reposed in him and bring his wealth of experience to bear in serving the committee,â€ Pinnick, who is a Member of the CAF Emergency Committee and is also President of the AFCON Organising Committee on which Ubah will serve, told NFF website yesterday.The AFCON, which started as a three-team tournament in 1957, is CAFâ€™s flagship championship, and will blossom into a one-month, 24-team tournament beginning from next yearâ€™s edition in Cameroon.NIGERIANS IN FIFA1) Mr. Amaju Pinnick (Member, Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions)2) Justice Ayotunde Phillips (Member, FIFA Disciplinary Committee, Adjudicatory Chamber)3) Mallam Shehu Dikko (Member, FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee)NIGERIANS IN CAF1) Mr. Amaju Pinnick (Member, CAF Executive Committee; Member, CAF Emergency Committee; President, AFCON)2) Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi (Member, CAF Youth Competitions Committee)3) Mallam Shehu Dikko (Member, CAF Club Competitions and Club Licensing System Committee)4) Alh. Ibrahim Musa Gusau (Member, CHAN Organizing Committee)5) Alh. Yusuf Ahmed Fresh (Member, Technical and Development Committee)6) Chief Obinna Ogba (Member, CAF Beach Soccer and Futsal Committee)7) Dr. Peter Singabele (Member, CAF Medical Committee)8) Chief (Dr) Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah (Member, AFCON Organizing Committee)9) A. U. Mustapha, SAN (President, CAF Appeal Board)10) Mrs Chisom Ezeoke (Member, CAF Women Football Committee)11) Mr. Samson Adamu (Director of Competitions)Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The impressive number of Nigerians appointed into important positions in world football since the emergence of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick as CAF Executive Committee member 14 months ago increased by one yesterday after the Emergency Committee of the Confederation of African Football appointed the proprietor of leading Nigeria Professional Football League club, FC IfeanyiUbah, Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah into the Organising Committee for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).FC Ifeanyi Ubah is one of the first clubs in Nigeria to build its own football stadium from the scratch and Ubah, also the Chairman of Anambra State Football Association, has established a policy of attracting good hands in technical and playing realms, which has seen Brazilian coaches and players from other African countries serve the top club.The club also has a sustainable youth development programme, with young players who step up to the plate regularly promoted to the senior squad.
Three months after improper contact between USC freshman tailback Dillon Baxter and another USC student resulted in Baxter’s suspension from a Nov. 20 game at Oregon State, USC’s Office of Athletic Compliance released a statement Tuesday outlining a new “Athletes and Agents” policy.Crucial · Since Pat Haden took over as athletic director, the university’s compliance staff has increased in size and prominence. The newly released “Agents and Athletes” policy is intended to further help USC student-athletes remain in good standing with the NCAA. – Anna Wierzbowska | Daily Trojan The statement, sent via e-mail Tuesday morning to students, staff and faculty noted that USC, in an effort to remain in compliance with NCAA rules, stresses that students and staff members refrain from impermissible conduct with student-athletes.“We are committed to protecting our student-athletes from any contact, communication or conduct with individuals who seek to inappropriately contact or represent student-athletes before their eligibility is exhausted or voluntarily terminated,” wrote Elizabeth Garrett, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Todd Dickey, senior vice president for administration.According to the university’s compliance office, the policy is the first of its kind.“I’m unaware of other universities adopting such a policy,” said Dave Roberts, USC’s vice president for athletic compliance. “With all the press we’ve been getting, you’d think someone would have said they’d had seen a similar policy before.”Under the policy, students, staff and other third parties are required to notify USC’s compliance office of their involvement with a sports agency before any interaction with student-athletes.“We’re publishing this to the student body, so they can be aware,” Roberts said. “Of course, somebody could choose to ignore it, but we have to at least be proactive by putting the policy in place.”Specifically, the new regulations stipulate that all such parties provide written notification to the school’s compliance office within 24 hours of their involvement with a sports agency or similar marketing agency.Those found to be in violation of the policy would then be subject to remedial action and/or discipline, according to the release.“I don’t think it’ll force a divide between students and student-athletes,” Roberts said. “It should only be an issue for certified agents.”Last November, Baxter accepted a ride in a golf cart from a student, Teague Egan, who at the time was a National Football League Players Association-certified agent, in addition to founder and CEO of 1st Round Enterprises, a marketing agency that seeks to represent athletes and musicians.“We have been exploring agent issues since June,” Roberts said. “1st Round accelerated the process and was the driving force behind the policy, but we had been looking at this before.”Eventually, Baxter was declared eligible for USC’s final two games of the season after donating $5 to a local charity as repayment for the ride.“The idea of a student-agent had not crossed anyone’s mind,” Roberts said.Although USC met with the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee last month in Indianapolis, the recently announced policy is said to be entirely unrelated to the athletic department’s efforts to have NCAA-levied sanctions lessened.“It’s completely, 100 percent separate,” Roberts said. “What the appeals committee sees is what we did in the past. The policy does not touch the appeal. It is forward-looking, and hopefully we can show the NCAA that we’re doing everything we can to police.”The idea for the policy did come at least partially from USC’s athletic department, which is separate from compliance.“We do work closely with athletics,” Roberts said. “They’re supportive of it. At request of their office, we were able to put this in place.”
For the first time since last October, Syracuse was shut out. Despite multiple shot attempts, the Orange (4-2-1) did not find an opportunity to score on Thursday evening. Colgate (2-4-0), with an early goal, kept the Orange at bay in a 1-0 win at SU Soccer Stadium.“I didn’t think we were as technically sharp as we have been the rest of the season,” SU head coach Phil Wheddon said. “We were trying to force passes at times. We gave up possession of the ball fairly easily, and they came in with a physical presence in the first half and we didn’t.”SU knew Colgate would be dangerous when it came to long-range shots. The Orange tried putting pressure on the Colgate forwards but one slipped through. Mara Cosentino found the ball passed by teammate Emily Crichlow. Her foot made contact and flew diagonally across the net, burying the ball into the back corner. “I tried to get there in time,” SU senior goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan said, “but it didn’t happen.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBrosnan tallied three saves, more than her last two games combined. Colgate’s Kelly Chiavaro saved six SU shots. One of those saves came late in the second half, after SU senior Alana O’Neil lined up for a free kick. Outside the box on the far left, O’Neil arced the ball to the crowd of Syracuse and Colgate players standing in front of the net. As the ball began to fall into the crowd, Chiavaro ran out of the goal with her arms outstretched and grabbed it before it reached Syracuse players. “We didn’t necessarily test the goalkeeper a whole lot,” Wheddon said. “A lot of the balls she ended up getting her hands on were services into the box that were too close to the goalkeeper.”Syracuse shot six corner kicks, five of which were taken by Sydney Brackett. Colgate outshot SU 10-9. U led in fouls, with 10, to Colgate’s seven. “I think we needed to keep a cool head,” SU senior forward Alex Lamontagne said, “and not commit as many Brackett had a nifty shot in the middle of the first half. At the edge of the right side of the box, Brackett knocked the ball in the direction of the back corner of the net. It appeared the ball would roll past Chiavaro and put SU on the board, but it rolled parallel to the net and out of bounds. Midway through the first half, Colgate’s Eliza Doll fired the ball from the far boundary line, over the players in the box and to the top middle of the net. As it passed over the box, Brosnan jumped with her arms outstretched and caught the ball for the save. But that did not undo the early Colgate damage.“Maybe we underestimated them because of their record coming into this game,” Wheddon said. “We underestimated them. It’s a mistake that won’t happen again.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 7, 2017 at 11:23 pm Contact Kaci: email@example.com
Consider it a symptom of Impending Graduationitis or whatever you want, but a stark reality faces University of Wisconsin seniors this weekend.With the men’s hockey team stuck in ninth place in the WCHA, the responsibility for those truly spectacular, intoxicating moments that power the Kohl Center falls to the hardwood. Men’s basketball, as you many know, hosts the Buckeyes from The Ohio State University, and that’s a team that isn’t really liked around here – or anywhere else outside of Columbus, Ohio, for that matter.The last time the Buckeyes invaded the Kohl Center was Feb. 12, four months after John Clay and the Wisconsin Football Badgers ran Ohio State out of Camp Randall Stadium in a 31-18 victory. OSU was the country’s No. 1 team entering that weekend, and they were a perfect 6-0 before thousands of Badger faithful Jumped Around on them.More relevant, of course, is what transpired in the Kohl Center that February afternoon. Ohio State, again, was the nation’s top team. Again, they were also undefeated. This time, it was much farther into the season, and the Buckeyes had collected 24 straight wins.You remember what happened over the course of that game. A tight first half ended with a 2-point Ohio State lead. Then, Jordan Taylor and 21 second-half points happened. Then, despite trailing by as many as 15 points, despite battling a Buckeye squad shooting above 50 percent from the field, the Badgers won.Then, the floodgates opened for the student section, and Taylor, Jon Leuer and a whole bunch of Badgers were hoisted up off the ground and into Wisconsin lore.“It’s something that you’ll probably just remember forever,” Taylor said Thursday afternoon.He added to that by detailing the pleasantry of defeating the No. 1 team on your home court – and then stated that it has “zero impact” on this weekend’s game.Of course, the Buckeyes got a second chance with the Badgers last season on their home court. They made the most of it in a 93-65 trouncing of Wisconsin, a picking apart proverbial bone by proverbial bone. Jon Diebler rained fire from the skies, sinking seven of his eight 3-point attempts, while Ohio State collectively shot 68 percent from the floor and 93 percent from behind the arc.Taylor, as he’d be the first to recall, scored just eight points on 2-for-9 shooting in a full 40 minutes of playing time.That’s a very large reason why last year is meaningless now, but it’s not the largest.Simply put, a Wisconsin victory this weekend could propel the Badgers into first place in the Big Ten, just three weeks after a three-game losing streak brought doom and gloom clouds so thick that you’d think Bo Ryan’s pixie dust – the stock reserved for pulling his team into the NCAA tournament year in and year out – had been spoiled.But for sentiment’s sake, let’s expound on the rivalry talk. No matter how much Minnesota is perceived to be on the “upswing,” how long will it take until we see anything close to what Wisconsin-Ohio State has brought us? Minnesota hasn’t touched Paul Bunyan’s Axe since 2003, and in the past two years they’ve been outscored by a combined 47 points.Where else should we look? Iowa, a football rivalry at most, now lies opposite Wisconsin in the Big Ten’s Legends Division. So does Michigan, the second-most obnoxious team in the Big Ten, as well as newcomer Nebraska. In the Badgers’ Leaders Division, Penn State remains an awfully enormous question mark, while Purdue, Illinois and Indiana really pose zero semblance of anything close to a legitimate rival.That leaves Ohio State and Michigan State, and boy, those Spartans come pretty close. After all, they supplied the first Hail Mary Heartbreaker Wisconsin fans suffered this season, back in Spartan Stadium Oct. 22. The Badgers ultimately reaped sweet revenge in the Big Ten Championship Game in an absolute thriller that once again denied those bitter Spartans a BCS bowl berth, and you can bet this upcoming season’s matchup (an eerily timed Oct. 27) will be certified must-watch material.But who really makes your blood boil? Yes, Michigan State games seem to be developing a penchant for delivering truly remarkable drama and all-time classic moments, but who do you like beating the most? The Spartans have that indisputably vile bluster, but make no mistake – they’re second-fiddle rivals to the Buckeyes.Whether you’re a senior scratching off your last days in Madison on your bedroom wall or an underclassmen who’s still been unbelievably spoiled (in a truly fantastic way) by Wisconsin athletics these past two or three seasons, savor this Ohio State game this weekend.The players won’t say as much, but knowing what happened last year and even more so what can happen this year with sustained success, they sure will be as well.Mike is a senior majoring in journalism. Are you planning on packing the Kohl Center this weekend? Let him know on Twitter @mikefiammetta.
The big game this afternoon sees Kilfeacle feature in the All Ireland Junior Cup final.Just one Munster team has previously won the cup.They face defending Champions Ashbourne at 2 pm in Portlaoise. © IRFU Meanwhile, in the Ulster Bank League Division 2,Nenagh play Galwegians away, and Cashel take on Highfield of Cork in Spafield Cashel.Both those games kick off at 2.30
MORE: All 2018 Sporting News NFL awards”It’s extremely humbling,” Pace told Sporting News upon reception of his award. “It’s also motivating. (Halas and McCaskey) have really set the high standards we strive to live up to. Every day we walk into Halas Hall. To me it’s just a constant reminder of how fortunate we are to be a part of this.”For Pace, 42, the seeds for success in his fourth year as Chicago’s GM were planted well before January of 2018, but that was when the Bears hired Matt Nagy as the 16th head coach in franchise history. With a new coaching staff in place, Pace went to work.On the first day of free agency, Pace signed two wide receivers in Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel and a tight end in Trey Burton. All three would become major contributors to the Bears’ offense in 2018. In the NFL Draft, Pace landed immediate contributors in linebacker Roquan Smith, left guard James Daniels and wide receiver Anthony Miller.Then came the trade that sent shockwaves throughout the NFL. On the first day of September, Pace dealt a handful of draft picks to the Raiders in exchange for edge rusher Khalil Mack.”The happiest people in the building was probably our secondary,” Pace said of the Mack deal. “It kind of jolted our team at the right moment.”Today we presented @ChicagoBears general manager Ryan Pace with the 2018 Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year award, as voted upon by his fellow NFL team executives.Congratulations! pic.twitter.com/ktAAoTKogn— Sporting News NFL (@sn_nfl) March 24, 2019By the end of the season, Chicago had the league’s top-ranked defense in points allowed per game (17.7). Along with Mack, the defensive stars included defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who Pace acquired in 2016 free agency and extended in 2017; safety Eddie Jackson, who Pace drafted in 2017; safety Adrian Amos, who Pace drafted in 2015; cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara, both of whom Pace extended in 2018; and linebacker Danny Trevathan, who Pace signed in 2016 free agency.Offensively, the Bears fielded a top-10 unit in 2018 led by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who Pace drafted in 2017. Other key contributors included the aforementioned receivers plus running backs Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard, who Pace drafted in 2017 and 2016, respectively; right tackle Bobby Massie, who Pace signed in 2016 free agency; and center Cody Whitehair, who Pace drafted in 2016.Simply put: Pace acquired a ton of talent, and he did it quickly. The result was a 12-4 season in 2018 and Chicago’s first NFC North championship since 2010.”The momentum really started when we hired Matt (Nagy),” Pace said. “It carried into free agency, the draft, and then the Mack trade, and then into the season.”I think really when you think about this award, it’s really a reflection of our whole staff. Our scouts, our coaches, the relationship we have working together. It’s our personnel department and all the hard work by those guys. I feel like this is staff of the year. I feel like we won this together.” For a Chicago Bears executive, being grouped with names like Halas and McCaskey is quite an honor. So Ryan Pace can bask in a kind of glory that expands beyond the distinction typically associated with Sporting News’ Executive of the Year award.Based on a vote of Pace’s peers, fellow executives throughout the NFL, the Bears general manager has been named Sporting News Executive of the Year for 2018. He is the third Bears executive to win the award. Mike McCaskey won the award in 1985, and George “Papa Bear” Halas won the award in 1956. Pace is not alone as a Bear who is being honored for his work in 2018. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who was hired by the Broncos as head coach after the season, was voted Sporting News Coordinator of the Year. Mack, Fuller, Jackson and Cohen were voted to Sporting News’ All-Pro Team.That is six individuals from one team represented in SN’s NFL awards for 2018.Not a bad year for Pace’s Bears.Sporting News Executive of the Year: Past winnersYearWinnerTeam1955Dan ReevesLos Angeles Rams1956George HalasChicago Bears1957-71No awardsN/A1972Dan RooneyPittsburgh Steelers1973Jim FinksMinnesota Vikings1974Art RooneyPittsburgh Steelers1975Joe ThomasBaltimore Colts1976Al DavisOakland Raiders1977Tex SchrammDallas Cowboys1978John ThompsonSeattle Seahawks1979John SandersSan Diego Chargers1980Eddie LeBaronAtlanta Falcons1981Paul BrownCincinnati Bengals1982Bobby BeathardWashington Redskins1983Bobby BeathardWashington Redskins1984George YoungNew York Giants1985Mike McCaskeyChicago Bears1986George YoungNew York Giants1987Jim FinksNew Orleans Saints1988Bill PolianBuffalo Bills1989John McVaySan Francisco 49ers1990George YoungNew York Giants1991Bill PolianBuffalo Bills1992Ron WolfGreen Bay Packers1993George YoungNew York Giants1994Carmen PolicySan Francisco 49ers1995Bill PolianCarolina Panthers1996Bill PolianCarolina Panthers1997George YoungNew York Giants1998Jeff DiamondMinnesota Vikings1999Bill PolianIndianapolis Colts2000Randy MuellerNew Orleans Saints2001Dan RooneyPittsburgh Steelers2002Bruce AllenOakland Raiders2003Scott PioliNew England Patriots2004Scott PioliNew England Patriots2005Art Rooney IIPittsburgh Steelers2006Mickey LoomisNew Orleans Saints2007Ted ThompsonGreen Bay Packers2008Thomas DimitroffAtlanta Falcons2009Bill PolianIndianapolis Colts2010Thomas DimitroffAtlanta Falcons2011Ted ThompsonGreen Bay Packers2012Ryan GrigsonIndianapolis Colts2013No awardN/A2014Steve KeimArizona Cardinals2015Dave GettlemanCarolina Panthers2016Reggie McKenzieOakland Raiders2017Howie RosemanPhiladelphia Eagles2018Ryan PaceChicago Bears
Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker reacts against the Minnesota Lynx in the second half of a single elimination WNBA basketball playoff game, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Sparks won 75-68. (Keith Birmingham/The Orange County Register via AP)LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chelsea Gray scored 26 points, helping the Los Angeles Sparks beat the defending champion Minnesota Lynx 75-68 Tuesday night to advance to the second round of the WNBA playoffs.It was the fourth straight year Los Angeles and Minnesota have met in an elimination playoff game — with each team winning the past two WNBA championships. The Lynx hadn’t been eliminated in the first round since 2004.After Minnesota’s Maya Moore missed two free throws with 1:56 remaining, Gray sank a long jumper to extend Los Angeles’ lead to 70-65. Minnesota turned it over on its next possession and Nneka Ogwumike hit two free throws.Temi Fagbenle made an open corner 3-pointer to pull Minnesota to 72-68 with 52.4 seconds to go, but Moore was off on a contested 3-pointer on the next possession and Ogwumike sealed it at the free-throw line.Sixth-seeded Los Angeles (20-15) will play at No. 3 seed Washington on Thursday.Ogwumike added 19 points for Los Angeles and Riquna Williams scored 17. Candace Parker, who averages nearly 18 points, was held to two.Gray and Ogwumike combined to score 23 of Los Angeles’ 25 second-quarter points. The Sparks closed the half on a 15-3 run for a 40-37 lead.Sylvia Fowles had 18 points and 12 rebounds for her 21st playoff double-double for seventh-seeded Minnesota (18-17). Fagbenle scored a career-high 15 points and Moore added 14.Four-time WNBA champion Lindsay Whalen, who announced her retirement last week, scored nine points in her final game.Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook sat courtside, as did Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo.