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#SportsReport: South Carolina beats UConn for NCAA women's championship title

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South Carolina Gamecocks

NBA:

The Boston Celtics have passed the Milwaukee Bucks for the second seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, while the Dallas Mavericks strengthened its bid for homecourt advantage in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

The Celtics won for the 13th time in 16 games by crushing the Wizards, 144-102. Jaylen Brown provided 32 points and Jayson Tatum had 22 for the Celts, who had three other players with at least 14. Tatum also had seven assists and six rebounds, while Brown added seven boards with five assists.

The win puts Boston a half-game ahead of the Bucks with three games remaining. Milwaukee has a game in hand.

Luka Doncic and the Mavericks were 118-112 winners over the Bucks. Doncic scored 32 points, matched a season high with 15 assists and had eight rebounds.

Dwight Powell had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Dallas, which is two games ahead of Denver for fourth in the West.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 28 points and 10 assists.

In other NBA action:

Kyle Lowry had 16 points and 10 assists against his former team as the Heat topped the Raptors, 114-109. Max Strus scored all of his 23 points in the second half to help Miami end Toronto’s five-game winning streak. Victor Oladipo scored 21 points, Tyler Herro had 18 and Bam Adebayo 16 as the East-leading Heat won their fourth straight to remain two games ahead of Boston.

The 76ers locked up a playoff spot with a 112-108 win over the Cavaliers. Joel Embiid had 44 points with 17 rebounds despite being questionable heading into the game with a sore ankle. James Harden chipped in 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double since joining the Sixers.

The Nuggets moved into fifth in the West as Nikola Jokic delivered 38 points and 18 rebounds in a 129-118 victory over the Lakers. Aaron Gordon scored 24 points and Will Barton had 25 as the Nuggets capitalized on LeBron James’ absence with a fourth-quarter surge to grab their fourth win in five games. Anthony Davis had 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the 11th-place Lakers, who dropped their sixth in a row.

The Timberwolves cruised to a 139-132 win over the Rockets as Anthony Edwards scored 33 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 28. The Timberwolves led by as many as 25 in the fourth and were up by 16 with about five minutes to go before Houston scored the next eight points. It’s the second straight victory for Minnesota, which is in seventh place in the West with three games remaining.

Olivier Sarr scored a career-high 24 points and Aleksej Pokuveski recorded his first career triple-double to lead the Thunder to a 117-96 victory over the NBA-leading Suns. Pokuveski had 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds while playing point guard for the bulk of the game. Phoenix shot just 18% from 3-point range while Devin Booker was given the night off.

Keldon Johnson had 28 points and the Spurs defeated the short-handed Trail Blazers, 113-92 to strengthen their bid for a play-in berth. Spurs center Zach Collins had 18 points and 13 rebounds for his first career double-double. Coupled with the Lakers’ loss to Denver, San Antonio’s magic number for clinching 10th in the Western Conference is two games.

Andrew Wiggins provided 25 points and Jordan Poole added 22 in the Warriors' 109-90 verdict over the Kings. Nemanja Bjelica had season highs of 19 points and 12 rebounds to go with his six assists to help Golden State pick up a second straight win for the first time since early March. Harrison Barnes had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.

The Clippers prevented the Pelicans from clinching a spot in the play-in tournament with a 119-100 victory against New Orleans. Marcus Morris Sr. made four 3-pointers for the Clippers, who were 21 of 44 from beyond the arc. Morris scored 22 points and Ivica Zubac got his 22nd double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

RJ Barrett scored 27 points and Obi Toppin matched his career high with 20 in the Knicks’ 118-88 pummeling of the Magic. Toppin and Alec Burks scored 12 each in a 37-point third quarter for New York, which made 12 of its first 13 shots in the period. Burks finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, and Immanuel Quickley had his first triple double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in 34 minutes off the bench.

Saddiq Bey dropped in 31 points and Fred Jackson had 19 to lead the Pistons to their third consecutive win, 121-117 versus the Pacers. Bey hit 11 of 18 shots, including shooting 7 of 9 on 3-pointers, in 23 minutes. The Pistons sank 21 of 41 3-pointers and won despite being outrebounded, 58-38.

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL:

North Carolina’s Armando Bacot (BAY’-kaht) says his right ankle injury won’t stop him from playing hard against Kansas in the national championship game.

The 6-foot-10 Bacot says he’s “going to go all out” Monday night. Bacot twisted his ankle in a crowd of players near the baseline during the second half of Saturday night’s national semifinal victory over Duke.

Tar Heels coach Hubert Davis says Bacot was cleared to participate in a light practice Sunday after X-rays came back negative. Bacot has averaged 16.3 points, 13.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game this season.

Auburn center Walker Kessler says he plans to enter the NBA draft.

The nation’s reigning defensive player of the year averaged 11.4 points and 8.1 rebounds and ranked second nationally averaging 4.6 blocked shots per game. He helped lead Auburn to the program’s first No. 1 ranking and a regular-season SEC title in his lone season with the Tigers after transferring from North Carolina.

NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

South Carolina has captured its second national championship in women’s basketball.

Destanni Henderson scored a career-high 26 points and Aliyah Boston had a double-double as the Gamecocks shut down UConn, 64-49. Boston finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds to help South Carolina become the first team to beat UConn in 12 NCAA title games.

The Gamecocks outrebounded UConn by 49-24, including a 21-6 advantage on offensive glass. They also clamped down on star Paige Bueckers and the Huskies on defense.

Connecticut trailed 22-8 after the first quarter and shot 4-for-16 from 3-point range. Beuckers was the lone Husky to score in double-figures, finishing with 14.

NHL:

The Florida Panthers have met one of their preseason goals.

The Panthers have wrapped up a playoff berth with a 5-3 win over the Sabres.

Jonathan Huberdeau set Florida ‘s single-season points record with his 97, scoring his 24th goal to extend his point streak to eight games.

Anthony Duclair scored twice as the Eastern Conference leaders established a team record with their 48th win.

MacKenzie Weegar had a goal and an assist in the Panthers’ seventh win in eight games.

Elsewhere on NHL ice:

The Rangers are four points off the Metropolitan Division lead following their 4-3 shootout loss to the Flyers. Former Ranger Kevin Hayes won it for Philly by scoring the lone shootout goal. The Rangers rallied for three goals to send the game to overtime, with Mika Zibanejad and Andrew Copp scoring 12 seconds apart late in the third period.

The Wild rolled to a 5-1 win over the Capitals as Joel Eriksson Ek scored his career-high 20th and 21st goals while drawing an assist. Marcus Foligno built on one career-high with his 20th goal and set another with his 16th assist in Minnesota’s ninth win in 10 games. Tyson Jost and Nicolas Deslauriers also scored as second-place Minnesota extended its lead to five points over St. Louis in the Central Division.

Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists to extend his point streak to 13 games, guiding the Oilers to a 6-1 rout of the Ducks. Leon Draisaitl scored his 50th goal of the season and Edmonton earned its fourth straight win. Tyson Barrie and Brett Kulak each had a goal and two assists in the lopsided victory.

Shea Theodore tallied 2:05 into overtime to complete the Golden Knights’ 3-2 win at Vancouver. Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and assist, and Alex Pietrangelo also scored to help Vegas get its fifth straight victory. The Canucks went down 2-0 in the first period but rallied with goals from J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat in the third.

Jared McCann's 25th goal of the season was a short-handed tally in the first period of the Kraken's 4-1 win over the Stars. Chris Drieger turned back 29 shots and blanked Dallas until John Klingberg's goal with 5:35 left. Yanni Gourde added a breakaway goal with 2:13 left and Karson Kuhlman scored an empty-netter in the final minute.

The Islanders made it four straight wins behind J.G. Pageau’s hat trick and one assist in a 4-3 victory at New Jersey. Kyle Palmieri added New York’s other goal and added two assists. Defenseman Adam Pelech matched his career best with three assists as the Isles improved to 11-3-1 in their last 14.

The Senators handed the Red Wings their sixth straight loss as Josh Norris notched his first career hat trick in a 5-2 downing of Detroit. The 22-year-old Norris has a career-high 30 goals. Artem Zub and Nikita Zaitsev also scored for the Senators and Anton Forsberg made 30 saves.

The Coyotes earned a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Shayne Gostisbehere’s goal with 14.7 seconds showing on the clock in overtime. Michael Carcone and Travis Boyd also scored in Arizona’s second victory in nine games.

The San Diego Padres have bolstered their starting rotation.

The Padres have acquired left-hander Sean Manaea (mah-NY’-ah) from the Athletics. San Diego also received minor league right-hander Aaron Holiday from Oakland for pitching prospect Adrian Martinez and minor league infielder Euribiel Angeles.

Manaea went 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts last year.

In other MLB news:

New York’s baseball teams have swapped relievers, with the Mets sending right-hander Miguel Castro to the Yankees for left-hander Joely Rodriguez. The 27-year-old Castro had a 3.45 ERA over a career-best 69 appearances last season, going 3-4 with 77 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings. Rodriguez gives the Mets a needed southpaw for the bullpen after Aaron Loup (loop) left for the Angels in free agency.

The Reds have informed Shogo Akiyama that he will not make the opening day roster, leaving him to decide whether he’ll go down to Triple-A or become a free agent. A productive player for nearly a decade in Japan, Akiyama wasn’t able to duplicate that success in two seasons with Cincinnati.

Astros ace Justin Verlander pitched five solid innings in his final spring training tune-up Sunday and pronounced himself healthy and ready to start the season. His next start is set to come in the third game of the year, his first since July 2020 due to Tommy John surgery.

The White Sox have acquired Reese McGuire from the Blue Jays for Zack Collins in a trade of reserve catchers.

Major League Baseball is stepping up its experimentation with an electronic communication channel for calling pitches. After trying out the PitchCom system at Low-A West in the second half of last season, big league clubs are tinkering with the technology during spring training. If the development is met with widespread acclaim, the system could be used in the majors this year.

PGA:

J.J. Spaun earned his first PGA victory in 147 career starts by closing with a 69 at the Valero Texas Open.

Spaun survived a double-bogey start to his round by recording five birdies with no bogeys to finish at 13-under at TPC San Antonio. It gave him a two-shot margin over Matt Kuchar and Matt Jones, along with a berth in the Masters this week.

Adam Hadwin, Beau Hossler, Charles Howell III and Troy Merritt tied for fourth at 10-under.

PGA MASTERS:

Tiger Woods has arrived at Augusta National. Still to be determined is whether he plays in the Masters.

Woods says he is at Augusta to continue his preparation, but it’s a game-time decision whether he plays. His right leg so was severely damaged in a car crash 13 months ago that he said doctors contemplated amputation.

NASCAR:

Denny Hamlin ran down William Byron with five laps to go and ended the slowest start to his career with a victory in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.

Hamlin closed a huge gap between Byron and teammate Martin Truex Jr., passing Truex on the outside and Byron shortly thereafter. He then held off a challenge from Kevin Harvick, a three-time winner at Richmond.

Hamlin’s 47th career victory was his first at his hometown track since 2016 and the first for Toyota in the Next Gen car. He is the seventh winner in as many Cup races this season.

Harvick was second, followed by Byron, Truex and Kyle Larson.

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