Larry Stone: Aces put a sour twist on Storm's storybook run, but there's still time to write a better ending | Sports |

2022-09-09 20:21:37 By : Mr. Jack Wilgex

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Clear to partly cloudy. Low 59F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph..

Clear to partly cloudy. Low 59F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph.

SEATTLE — In a perfect world, the Seattle Storm playoff game Sunday would have ended in the most storybook fashion possible. It was all written, ready to go to print — a plot line from here to eternity.

The Storm were less than a second away from an emotional masterpiece. It was a finish that would have made a perfect climactic scene for the biopic they'll make one day on Sue Bird's brilliant WNBA career. Game 3 of the semifinal playoff round was stacking up as one of the most exhilarating triumphs of any Seattle basketball team, any level, ever. The roar inside of Climate Pledge Arena was seismic.

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Major League Baseball is prepared to voluntarily accept the formation of a minor league union. It's a key step that will lead to collective bargaining and possibly a strike threat at the start of next season. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the sport was in the process of notifying the Major League Baseball Players Association which launched the unionization drive on Aug. 28. The union told MLB on Tuesday it obtained signed authorization cards from the approximately 5,000 to 6,500 players with minor league contracts. The players’ association’s next step if MLB had declined would have been to ask the National Labor Relations Board to conduct an authorization election.

The Basketball Hall of Fame will officially enshrine 13 new members on Saturday night. George Karl, Manu Ginobili, Tim Hardaway, Bob Huggins, Hugh Evans were selected by the North American committee. Swin Cash, Marianne Stanley and Lindsay Whalen were selected by the women’s committee. Longtime coaches Del Harris and Larry Costello were picked by the contributor committee. Six-time All-Star Lou Hudson was chosen by the veterans committee. Theresa Grentz got the call from the women’s veteran committee. And FIBA Hall of Famer Radivoj Korac was selected by the international committee.

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens open their season with four straight games against the AFC East. It's a scheduling quirk they share with the New York Jets, who have four in a row against the AFC North. Jackson can break a tie with Michael Vick for the most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback in the regular season. Jackson also needs 33 yards passing to reach 10,000 for his career. The Jets hope to end a September swoon having lost 12 straight games during the month going back to 2018. Joe Flacco will be the starting quarterback for New York in place of the injured Zach Wilson.

Jack Colletto is a rare two-way player for Oregon State, playing both at inside linebacker and at running back. He was all over the field in Oregon State’s season-opening 34-17 victory over Boise State. He had three tackles and recovered a fumble on defense, and ran for a 41-yard touchdown on offense. With the season-opening win against the Broncos in hand, the Beavers visit Fresno State on Saturday.

Khamzat Chimaev has missed weight for the main event at UFC 279. He came in 7 1/2 pounds over the welterweight limit, throwing his showdown with Nate Diaz into doubt. Chimaev is a Chechen-born Swede considered one of mixed martial arts’ top rising stars. But he weighed 178.5 pounds Friday morning at the UFC Apex Gym. That’s far over the maximum 171 pounds. The UFC didn’t immediately announce whether Diaz or Chimaev will stay on the pay-per-view card, either in two new bouts or against each other at a catchweight that would mean an enormous boost in pay for the 37-year-old Diaz.

Jimmie Johnson says sponsor Carvana has agreed to fund next year’s racing endeavors. The seven-time NASCAR champion will use the next few weeks to determine his 2023 schedule. Johnson just a week ago said he was still seeking funding for a full IndyCar season. But he’s also impatiently awaiting IndyCar’s upcoming schedule because he wants to be part of NASCAR’s special project to take a Hendrick Motorsports entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He’s not closed the door on running another NASCAR race some day, and explained at Laguna Seca Raceway that he has multiple offers to compete in a variety of motorsports series.

Chase Elliott’s playoff opener was over early after NASCAR's regular-season Cup Series champion lost control of his No. 9 Chevrolet and was hit by Chase Briscoe last weekend at Darlington. The result was a 36th place finish and a big blow to Elliott's title hopes. But the 2020 champ only dropped from the top seed to ninth entering Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway. That is the second of three stops before the playoff field is whittled from 16 to 12. Elliott is still very much in the title hunt.

Pro Bowl defensive end Frank Clark returned to practice with the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday and coach Andy Reid said he should be available when the defending AFC West champions open their season at Arizona. Clark missed Thursday’s practice with an illness. Reid also said he has not heard from the NFL about any potential disciplinary action for Clark, who pleaded no contest this week in Los Angeles to two counts of misdemeanor possession of an assault weapon from separate incidents last year. Clark was sentenced to one year of probation and 40 hours of community service.

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury became the second team in the professional era to repeat as U.S. Open men’s doubles champions, beating Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski 7-6 (4), 7-5. The top-seeded team joined the Hall of Fame duo of Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde in 1995 and ’96 as the only teams to go back-to-back in New York since 1968. Salisbury ensured he will remain the No. 1 player in the doubles rankings with his 17th straight U.S. Open win, combining men’s and mixed doubles. Koolhof and Skupski, the No. 2 seeds, were playing at the U.S. Open for the first time as a team.

It's not just quarterback Russell Wilson who's a newcomer in Denver. The Broncos sport a rookie head coach in Nathaniel Hackett and three first-time coordinators in Ejiro Evero, Justin Ootten and Dwayne Stukes. They also have a new team president and new owners. Wilson swears he's not nervous for his Broncos debut Monday night in Seattle and Hackett concurs, pointing to his many years in the NFL as an assistant coach. Veteran kicker Brandon McManus welcomes all the fresh faces at Broncos headquarters and the team tries to snap out of a six-year playoff drought in 2022.

The International Olympic Committee has finally approved its human rights strategy. It completed a years-long process months after the Beijing Olympics brought scrutiny on how sports engage with a host nation’s record on discrimination and civil liberties. The 50-page Olympic document was guided by United Nations principles. It comes the week after the outgoing U.N. human rights chief suggested China’s detention of Uyghurs and other ethnic groups may be a crime against humanity. The IOC says its new rights framework “will fundamentally shape the working practices of the IOC, the Olympic Games and the Olympic movement.”

Indiana State receiver Dante Hendrix says he sees his team healing slowly since a car crash killed two teammates and injured two others two weeks ago. The wreck also killed another student 11 miles from campus last month. Hendrix says the team has talked about the emotions of loss and that getting back to football has also helped. The Sycamores won last week's season opener. They play at Purdue on Saturday seeking their first 2-0 start since 1986.

North Carolina defensive coordinator Gene Chizik is trying to fix the issues that led the Tar Heels to surrender 40 fourth-quarter points at Appalachian State. The Tar Heels are trying to move past what Chizik called an “implosion” as they head to Georgia State on Saturday. Only Hawaii has allowed more points in two games than North Carolina in the Bowl Subdivision ranks. Hawaii and Charlotte are the only FBS teams to allow more yards than the Tar Heels as well. UNC beat Appalachian State 63-61 last weekend on the road.

Major League Baseball has adopted its first pitch clock, limits on defensive shifts and larger bases for next season in an effort to shorten games and increase offense in a tradition-bound sport. The decision on the clock and shift limits by the sport’s 11-man competition committee was made over the unanimous opposition of players on the panel. The changes had long been pushed by baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred in an effort to combat the increase in dead time and suffocation of offense in the age of analytics.

Ukraine’s national basketball team gathered this summer tasked with lifting the spirits of those back home in a war-torn country. Turns out, it was the other way around. A long summer slate of games didn’t start well for Ukraine. Losses were piling up, tension was mounting, frustration was obvious. Something had to change. That's when the team had a meeting and decided they would draw inspiration from those who are fighting for their nation's freedom in the war against Russia.

Washington hosts the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 in their first game known as the Commanders. Quarterback Carson Wentz makes his Washington debut against Jacksonville's Doug Pederson, who coached him with Philadelphia. Pederson is coaching his first game with the Jaguars. Jacksonville is looking to snap an AFC-record streak of 16 consecutive losses against NFC opponents. Washington has won six of seven meetings since the Jaguars' inaugural season in 1995.

When Georgia State moved into the ballpark formerly known as Turner Field, it was hoping for a day such as this. A Power Five opponent taking the field at the Panthers’ house. North Carolina of the Atlantic Coast Conference will be in Atlanta on Saturday to face Georgia State. The Tar Heels are the first team from one of college football’s major conferences to face the Sun Belt Conference Panthers in their stadium. A forecast of rain could certainly dampen the occasion. But no matter the weather, Georgia State hopes to show it's an athletic program on the rise.

An investigation by Brigham Young University into allegations that fans engaged in racial heckling and uttered racial slurs at a Duke volleyball player last month found no evidence to support the claim. BYU issued the results of its investigation into the Aug. 26 match, reiterating it will not tolerate conduct threatening any student-athlete. As a result of the investigation, the university says it has lifted a ban on a fan who was identified as directing racial slurs toward Duke sophomore Rachel Richardson during the match. It also apologized to the fan for any hardship the ban caused. Duke athletic director Nina King says she stands by the school's volleyball team.

Max Verstappen has been hit by a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix. Verstappen has been handed the penalty for exceeding his allocation of internal combustion engines. Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez has been penalized with a 10-place grid drop for a similar offense. Other Formula One drivers have also been penalized for various infractions. Lewis Hamilton will start at the back of the grid with Yuki Tsunoda. They will be just behind Carlos Sainz Jr. Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas will drop 15 places. Verstappen has never finished on the podium at Monza but heads into the weekend on the back of four straight victories and with a 109-point advantage in the standings.

The grounds crew at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium will be working overtime this weekend to transition the field from a Major League Soccer game on Saturday to the NFL regular season opener between the Carolina Panthers and visiting Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Because heavy rains are predicted in the Charlotte area throughout the weekend, the organization will be painting the lines for both sporting events — soccer in yellow and football in white — on the artificial surface before the weekend. The lines will not impact the NFL game as the yellow MLS lines will be removed immediately after Saturday’s soccer match between Charlotte FC and New York City FC. However, having yellow and white lines prove confusing for the soccer match.

Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta says the Ravens and Lamar Jackson still haven’t agreed on a contract extension and will keep working on it after the season. Jackson had said Friday was his deadline for a new deal, and he’d be pausing talks after that with the season about to start. Jackson is entering his fifth-year option season. The Ravens open Sunday on the road against the New York Jets. Baltimore can use the franchise tag to keep Jackson after this season, if need be.

Remco Evenepoel had no trouble protecting his lead of the Spanish Vuelta on the 19th stage with only one day of competitive racing left. Evenepoel of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl maintained his two-minute lead over Enric Mas over the course of the short and hilly ride that finished in a long, flat arrival to the finish line. Mads Pedersen beat his fellow sprinters to claim the 138.3-kilometer (85.9-mile) ride to and from Talavera de la Reina in central Spain. It was the Dane’s third win of this race for his Trek-Segafredo team. Mas’ last chance to overtake Evenepoel will be on Saturday’s mountainous stage before the largely ceremonial arrival to Madrid on Sunday.

Thousands of people in cities across the U.S. have finished Eliza’s run. Friday morning's nationwide event was organized as a tribute to Eliza Fletcher, who was forced into a vehicle during her pre-dawn run a week ago in Memphis, Tennessee. A man charged with her kidnapping and murder made his first appearance in court on Friday. The killing of the 34-year-old kindergarten teacher and mother of two shocked people nationwide, and is particularly upsetting to women runners. Many female athletes fear working out alone or in secluded places. Such killings are exceedingly rare, but many report being harassed or worse.

New York Jets left tackle Duane Brown will miss the season opener against the Baltimore Ravens with a shoulder injury that could sideline him for a few weeks. Coach Robert Saleh announced Friday that the team was still gathering medical information on Brown’s shoulder but acknowledged there’s a chance the 37-year-old offensive lineman could end up on injured reserve. That would sideline him for at least four games. George Fant will slide from right tackle to left and start Sunday in Brown’s place. Rookie Max Mitchell will start at right tackle.

Tom Brady’s 11-day absence from training camp following a 40-day retirement earlier this year has some people doubting the seven-time Super Bowl champion’s focus entering his 23rd season in the NFL. The 45-year-old Brady didn’t come back to be mediocre. After leading the NFL in yards passing and touchdowns last season, Brady returned to chase “unfinished business.” His goal is an eighth ring and second in three years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For Brady, anything less than a boat parade in February isn’t a success. He has hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy every other season since 2016.

Brazil coach Tite has included Flamengo striker Pedro as a new attacking option for the team’s pre-World Cup friendlies against Ghana and Tunisia in September. Pedro is the top scorer in this season’s Copa Libertadores with 12 goals and was picked ahead of players such as Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus for the matches in France on Sept. 23 and 27. Tite will also test two defenders he called up for the first time: Juventus’ Gleison Bremer and Roma’s Roger Ibañez. The other most notable absences in the squad for Brazil’s last friendlies before the final World Cup squad is announced were defender Dani Alves and midfielder Philippe Coutinho.

Bayern Munich and France winger Kingsley Coman has sustained a right hamstring tear in training. Bayern says its medical department confirmed the injury and that the player will be out of action “for the time being.” The 26-year-old Coman started each of Bayern’s last four games across all competitions. Bayern plays Stuttgart at home in the Bundesliga on Saturday before welcoming Barcelona for their Champions League group-stage game on Tuesday. It then visits Augsburg the following weekend before the league takes a break for international games.

For one night, the Buffalo Bills played up to the weighty expectations many had hung on them this offseason. Josh Allen was in command of an offense that scored on three straight second-half possessions. Von Miller’s offseason addition muscled up Buffalo’s pass rush, which registered seven sacks. And the Bills shook off some early rust before thoroughly routing the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, 31-10, in front of a national prime-time TV audience on Thursday. One game does not a season make, and the two-time defending AFC East champions still have plenty to prove in the coming months.

Adv10(All times Eastern)Schedule subject to change and/or blackoutsMonday, September 12NFL FOOTBALL8:15 p.m.

Adv10(All times Eastern)Schedule subject to change and/or blackoutsMonday, September 12NFL FOOTBALL8:15 p.m.

Scotland and Portugal were handed the advantage of playing at home throughout the European qualifying playoffs for next year’s Women’s World Cup. Friday’s draw for the nine-team playoffs saw Scotland paired against Austria, with the winner advancing to host Ireland. Portugal welcomes Belgium, and the winner gets to host Iceland five days later. Wales was drawn at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina and the winner travels to face Switzerland five days later. Two teams will advance directly to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and one more to the intercontinental playoffs in February. All games are played from Oct. 6 to 11.

This Date in Baseball, Sept. 10: Randy Johnson reaches 3,000 Ks

Today in Sports History, Sept. 10: Randy Johnson reaches 3,000 Ks

Having little soccer experience hasn't stopped American businessman Todd Boehly making some big calls in his first 100 days as the face of Chelsea’s new ownership. Firstly he made himself not just the club’s new chairman but also its interim sporting director in charge of recruitment. Then he oversaw a summer spending spree never seen before in English soccer featuring an outlay of nearly $300 million on new players. Then he ruthlessly fires Chelsea's Champions League-winning coach Thomas Tuchel just one month into the season. It makes for a whirlwind entrance to English soccer. Many are now asking if it will slow down.

Formula One champion Max Verstappen is feeling unusually optimistic about his chances to finally get a good result at the Italian Grand Prix. Monza is the only circuit where Verstappen has never even finished on the podium, with the Red Bull driver’s best result being fifth in 2018. Verstappen did not even manage to finish the past two editions of the Italian GP at all. But the Dutch driver will take to the track on Sunday on the back of four straight wins and with his Red Bull having had a superior straight-line speed all season. He also holds a 109-point advantage over Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and teammate Sergio Pérez.

The start of Spain's women's soccer league is in danger after the country's female referees called a strike as they demand better pay and working conditions. The league is scheduled to start play on Saturday. This will be the first season of a fully professional competition for its players, who had campaigned for years for better working conditions and pay. But the referees argue they have been left behind. They say “we want to get back on the field, but under the appropriate conditions.” The league has replied by saying that the referees and assistants face disciplinary and legal action if they don't show up for work.

The brother of French soccer star Paul Pogba has denied that he took part in extortion attempts against the Juventus midfielder. Mathias Pogba’s lawyer Richard Arbib said in a statement Friday that his client wants “to state emphatically that he is a complete stranger to any extortionate attempt against his brother.” French authorities are investigating allegations Pogba was the target of an extortion plot by his brother and childhood friends who demanded 13 million euros ($13 million) from the former Manchester United midfielder.

Run defense might have been the thing that kept the Miami Dolphins from making the playoffs last year. It also might be the difference between winning and losing when the Dolphins host New England in Sunday’s season opener.

Finally, after years of uncertainty, Tim Hardaway is getting the exclamation mark on his career that he so rightly deserves.


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