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WAMC Sports Report 7/11/24: USA Basketball tops Canada in exhibition opener on the road to Olympics

United States center Bam Adebayo (13) dunks during the first half of an exhibition basketball game against Canada, Wednesday, July 10, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)
Steve Marcus/AP
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FR171387 AP
United States center Bam Adebayo (13) dunks during the first half of an exhibition basketball game against Canada, Wednesday, July 10, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)

OLYMPICS

For USA Basketball, the road to the Paris Olympics has started with a win. Anthony Davis scored 13 points, Stephen Curry added 12 and the United States opened its tune-up schedule for the Paris Games by topping Canada 86-72 on Wednesday night. Jrue Holiday scored 11 points and Anthony Davis finished with 10 for the U.S., which has four more exhibitions before getting to France. RJ Barrett scored 12 points for Canada, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillon Brooks each had 10. President Barack Obama was at the game, as were many NBA coaches and dozens of USA Basketball dignitaries in town for the federation’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Derrick White has been named to the U.S. men’s basketball team for the Paris Olympics as a replacement for Kawhi Leonard. The announcement Wednesday from USA Basketball marked the first shakeup to a roster that was announced in the spring. Leonard missed 12 of the Los Angeles Clippers’ final 14 games this past season with right knee inflammation, though he said in recent days that he felt fine and the knee was doing well. USA Basketball said it, along with the Clippers, made the decision on Leonard’s status for Paris. He was replaced by White, who averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists for the NBA champion Boston Celtics this past season.

WIMBLEDON

Lorenzo Musetti has reached his first Grand Slam semifinal by eliminating Taylor Fritz at Wimbledon and will face Novak Djokovic next. The 25th-seeded Musetti beat the 13th-seeded Fritz 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. It was the 37th five-setter at the All England Club this year, the most at any Grand Slam tournament. Djokovic’s trip through the bracket was made even easier when he moved into a record-tying 13th semifinal at the tournament via a walkover. Alex de Minaur withdrew before the match with a hip injury. Elena Rybakina and Barbora Krejcikova earned spots in the women's semifinals. Rybakina won Wimbledon in 2022. Krejcikova won the 2021 French Open.

Elena Rybakina understands why people see her as the favorite to win her second Wimbledon title. The 2022 champion beat No. 21 Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2 to reach the semifinals Wednesday. Rybakina says “I have a huge serve, so it’s a big advantage.” Rybakina will next face No. 31 Barbora Krejcikova. She reached her first Wimbledon semifinal by eliminating No. 13 Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 7-6 (4) in a match between former French Open champions. Ostapenko hadn’t dropped a set on her run to the quarterfinals and instructed her coach to leave during the second set. Krejcikova won the French Open in 2021 and Ostapenko won it in 2017.

SOCCER

Gregg Berhalter was fired as U.S. men’s soccer coach, nine days after his team’s first-round exit from the Copa America flamed doubts he was the right person to remain in charge for the 2026 World Cup. Berhalter’s second term as coach was cut short 10 months after he returned to the bench with high hopes and proclaimed the team’s goal was “to change soccer in America forever.” The U.S. had seven wins, six losses and one draw in his second stint, leaving his overall record at 44 wins, 17 losses and 13 draws.

England has reached a second straight European Championship final by beating the Netherlands 2-1 thanks to substitute Ollie Watkins’ stoppage-time winner. Watkins came on for captain Harry Kane in a bold call by coach Gareth Southgate. He turned and smashed a fierce shot into the bottom corner in the first minute of added-on time. It was a late goal that left King Charles III on the edge of his seat. England will play Spain in Sunday’s final in Berlin. It will be the nation’s first title match on foreign soil having won the World Cup in 1966 and lost to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

MLB

Jose Iglesias had three more hits, including a two-run single that snapped a sixth-inning tie and vaulted the New York Mets (beat) over the Washington Nationals 6-2. Brandon Nimmo homered for a career-best third straight game and Mark Vientos hit a tying double as the Mets won for the 10th time in their last 12 at home to move over .500 at 46-45. New York was 11 games under .500 on June 2. Luis Severino pitched effectively into the seventh inning and a struggling bullpen came through, with three relievers combining to allow one hit in 2 2/3 scoreless innings. José Buttó retired all four batters he faced, striking out two, for his first career save. Buttó became the eighth Mets pitcher to earn a save this season.

Trent Grisham drove in two runs and made a nice running catch in center field to help the struggling New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Wednesday night for only their seventh victory in 24 games. Relievers Tim Hill (3-0) and Luke Weaver each worked out of jams to protect a one-run lead, and All-Star closer Clay Holmes came on to bail out the Yankees from yet another tight spot in the eighth as the Rays finished 0 for 10 with runners in scoring positions and stranded 12 runners. Grisham ran down Yandy Díaz’s potentially troublesome drive toward the gap in right-center for the final out in the eighth. Holmes got his first save since June 9 with a perfect ninth.

Lawrence Butler hit a two-run double to back a solid outing from JP Sears as the Oakland Athletics beat the Boston Red Sox 5-2. Oakland improved to 1-4 this season against the Red Sox, who had won seven of eight overall. Nick Pivetta took the loss despite striking out eight consecutive batters, tying a Red Sox record for the second time. He also fanned eight straight Detroit Tigers on May 30. The only other Red Sox pitcher to accomplish the feat was Roger Clemens, when he whiffed a record 20 total hitters against Seattle on April 29, 1986. Pivetta went 6 2/3 innings, giving up four runs and six hits. He struck out 10, reaching double digits for the 15th time in his career and third this season.

Kyle Schwarber hit his eighth leadoff homer of the season, All-Star reliever Matt Strahm struck out Shohei Ohtani in the seventh inning to preserve the lead and the Philadelphia Phillies won again without Bryce Harper, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Wednesday night. The Phillies won the first two games of the three-game set in a showdown of two NL division leaders. The Phillies continued to build on the best record in baseball and hit 60 wins. At 60-32, only the 1976 team reached that mark faster in a season in franchise history.   

Salvador Perez homered in both games and MJ Melendez added a solo shot in the nightcap to help the Kansas City Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-5 for a sweep of a day-night doubleheader Wednesday. Kansas City took the opener 6-4. The Royals have won three in a row to improve to 51-43 — a season after winning just 56 games. Former Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha (6-6) went five innings for the victory in the second game. Closer James McArthur picked up his 17th save of the season and second of the day. Alec Marsh (7-6) win the opener, giving up three runs and three hits in six innings.

Bryce Miller threw six innings to extend his mastery over NL opponents, Julio Rodriguez made a stellar defensive play and the Seattle Mariners beat the San Diego Padres 2-0 on Wednesday. Jorge Polanco factored in both runs to help the AL West-leading Mariners sweep the two-game series and hand the Padres their fourth straight loss. Miller (7-7) is 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in six starts against NL opponents. The right-hander went at least six innings without allowing a run for the fourth time this season. Rodriguez made the defensive play of the game in the second inning when the center fielder threw out Donovan Solano at home trying to score.

Shota Imanaga outdueled Corbin Burnes in a matchup of All-Star pitchers, and Christopher Morel homered to help the Chicago Cubs beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-0. Imanaga (8-2) allowed six hits over six innings, striking out six with one walk. Imanaga is the first Cubs rookie to be selected to play in the All-Star Game since Kris Bryant in 2015. The Orioles went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position against the left-hander. Burnes (9-4) gave up three runs and nine hits over six innings, walking none and striking out five. Next week he will be heading to Texas for his fourth All-Star Game.

Framber Valdez struck out a season-high 10 and allowed one run in seven innings, and rookie Joey Loperfido homered and tripled to lead the Houston Astros to a 9-1 victory over the Miami Marlins. Valdez (8-5) allowed just six singles and earned his third straight win. Loperfido hit a two-run homer as the Astros scored four runs in the second to take a 5-0 lead. His first career triple came in the fourth inning. The win was the eighth straight at home for the Astros, who have won eight of their last 11 games overall to improve to 48-44. Rookie Xavier Edwards had two hits and drove in Miami’s only run.

Ernie Clement hit a three-run homer for the second straight night and had an RBI single in Toronto’s six-run sixth inning, and the Blue Jays beat the San Francisco Giants 10-6. Clement and Alejandro Kirk each had three hits, and George Springer drove in three runs as Toronto had its highest scoring total since a 14-11 loss at Detroit on May 26. Patrick Bailey and Matt Chapman hit back-to-back homers in the ninth for San Francisco. Chris Bassitt (8-7) grinded through five innings, allowing three runs and five hits with six strikeouts and four walks to win for the fifth time in his last six decisions. Giants All-Star Logan Webb (7-7) was charged with seven earned runs, matching a career high.

Brooks Lee and Carlos Correa hit consecutive homers and Ryan Jeffers added the go-ahead RBI as the Minnesota Twins split a doubleheader with Wednesday afternoon’s 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Jeffers brought home Byron Buxton in the seventh to break a 2-2 tie and give the Twins the lead for good. They’ve won nine of 10 against their AL Central rivals this season. Martín Maldonado homered for Chicago, which won the opener 3-1 to end a three-game skid.

Matt Vierling hit a home run and drove in three and the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Guardians 5-4. Reese Olson (4-8) improved to 3-0 with a 2.40 ERA in his past five starts, allowing three runs on six hits in six innings as Detroit won for the fifth time in six games. The Tigers led 5-3 going into the ninth, but the Guardians pulled within a run before Jason Foley secured his 15th save. Vierling hit a two-run homer in the third to put Detroit ahead 4-2, but Daniel Schneemann replied with a solo home run in the fourth.

Mickey Moniak and Zach Neto both homered and drove in three runs as the Los Angeles Angels ended the Texas Rangers’ season-best five-game winning streak with a 7-2 victory. Neto finished a triple short of the cycle for the Angels, who had lost four in a row and eight of nine. He combined with Moniak to give Los Angeles five hits and three runs from the bottom two batters in the lineup. Moniak, the No. 9 hitter, launched a three-run homer to make it 4-0 in the second inning. Neto added an RBI double in the third and a two-run homer in the eighth, his 12th of the year. Leody Taveras hit a two-run homer for Texas.

Sam Hilliard homered twice, his first homers since last April, and Kyle Freeland had a season-high nine strikeouts, and the Colorado Rockies held on to beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-5. Freeland (1-3) has given up two or fewer earned runs in four straight starts, allowing two runs and eight hits with one walk in 6 2/3 innings. Hilliard hit a two-run home run in the third and a solo shot in the fifth for his third career multi-homer game, first since April 24, 2023, when he homered twice against Miami while with the Braves. Jonathan India hit a solo homer for Colorado. Reds starter Frankie Montas (4-7) gave up five earned runs and eight hits in seven innings.

Tobias Myers pitched eight scoreless innings and Rhys Hoskins and Willy Adames homered as the Milwaukee Brewers cruised past the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-0. Myers (6-3) didn’t allow a hit until Bryan Reynolds’ leadoff single in the fourth. The rookie right-hander gave up four hits, struck out six, walked one and threw 103 pitches in his 13th start. Adames hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning and finished with four RBIs. The Pirates had homered in 12 consecutive games at American Family Field entering Wednesday — including five on Tuesday.

Eugenio Suárez had a homer, double and three RBIs, Geraldo Perdomo added three hits and a stellar defensive play in the ninth inning, and the Arizona Diamondbacks outlasted the Atlanta Braves 7-5 on Wednesday night. The Diamondbacks beat the Braves for the first time this season after Atlanta won the first five meetings. Paul Sewald worked the ninth for his 12th save of the season, breaking a streak of three blown saves. He was helped by Perdomo, with the shortstop diving to his right for a grounder before jumping to his feet and throwing to first to get Travis d’Arnaud for the first out.

WNBA

Sabrina Ionescu scored 21 points and made a key block on the final possession, Breanna Stewart had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and the New York Liberty beat the Connecticut Sun 71-68 for sole possession of first place in the WNBA standings at 18-4. Ionescu made her first basket of the fourth quarter with 1:58 remaining to give New York a 69-68 lead. Ionescu missed a shot on New York’s next two possessions, but she got another shot in the closing seconds after Stewart blocked a DeWanna Bonner attempt. Ionescu dribbled down the clock before driving into the lane and sinking an off-balance shot for a three-point lead with 4.4 seconds left. Connecticut passed it around the 3-point arc before Ionescu made New York’s fourth block of the fourth.

Chennedy Carter scored 19 points, Angel Reese secured her 14th straight double-double in the closing seconds to extend a WNBA record and the Chicago Sky beat the Atlanta Dream 78-69. Carter sank a jumper from the free-throw line for a 72-69 lead. After an Atlanta miss, Carter found Reese wide open under the basket for a five-point lead with 25.8 left. Evans stole an inbounds pass and was fouled with 20.6 left before making two free throws for Chicago. Marina Mabrey blocked an Atlanta shot and quickly passed it to Reese, who was fouled with 6.4 seconds left. Reese got a friendly roll on the first attempt to complete the double-double. Reese passed Candace Parker for the longest double-double streak in league history on Sunday.

Ariel Atkins scored 26 points, including a key basket in the final minute, and the Washington Mystics held off the Indiana Fever 89-84 on Wednesday to spoil Caitlin Clark’s 29-point performance. Washington led 76-55 after three quarters before Indiana rallied behind 15 fourth-quarter points from Clark. After Clark capped a 14-0 run with a free throw with 1:05 left, Atkins answered with an off-balance shot in the lane. Clark made two more free throws and a jump ball was called with 20.3 seconds left. Indiana forward Aliyah Boston tapped it back, but Atkins grabbed it and fell to the ground before a timeout was called with 16.9. Julie Vanloo secured an inbounds pass and made two free throws with 16.2 left for a five-point lead to secure it.

A’ja Wilson had 24 points and 20 rebounds for her first career 20-20 game and the Las Vegas Aces beat the Seattle Storm 84-79 on Wednesday. It was the 21st 20-20 game in WNBA history. Jackie Young scored 27 points to lead the Aces. Wilson sank a contested jumper from the free-throw line with 48.2 seconds left for an 82-76 lead. Jewell Loyd was fouled on a 3-point attempt at the other end, and she made all three free throws to pull Seattle within three points. The Storm had a good opportunity to tie it on their final possession, but Nneka Ogwumike was short on an open 3-pointer and Loyd was well off on a heave from distance. Wilson secured the rebound and made two free throws.

Kahleah Copper scored 32 for her seventh 30-point game of the season, Brittney Griner added 23 points and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Dallas Wings 100-84 on Wednesday for their third straight series victory. Phoenix (12-10) scored 100-plus points against Dallas for the second time in a week, following a 104-96 victory on July 3. Copper scored 18 points in the first half and Griner added 13 to help Phoenix build a 49-46 lead. Copper scored seven of Phoenix’s 31 third-quarter points to help pull away. The Mercury improved to 10-0 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter this season. Natasha Howard and Odyssey Sims each scored 19 points for Dallas.

NBA

The NBA has agreed to terms on its new media deal, an 11-year agreement worth $76 billion that assures player salaries will continue rising for the foreseeable future and one that will surely change how some viewers access the game for years to come. A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the networks have the terms sheets, with the next step being for the league’s board of governors to approve the contracts. The deal sets NBA records for both its length and total value and goes into effect for the 2025-26 season.

Former NBA player Jontay Porter has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a federal criminal case. The charge is tied to the betting scandal that got Porter banned from the league. The former Toronto Raptors center entered the plea Wednesday at his arraignment in a New York federal court. Porter admits he agreed to withdraw early from games so that co-conspirators could win bets on his performance. He says he's undergone inpatient treatment for a gambling problem and remains in therapy. The former center is free on $250,000 bond while awaiting his sentencing Dec. 18.

HORSE RACING

Saratoga Springs’ 40-day summer meet begins today, with gates opening at 11 and the first race of the season, a 1 and one-eighth mile dirt race for four-year-old and older horses set for 1:10. I Am The Law, jockeyed by Luis Rivera and trained by John Terranova, is the morning line favorite at 3-to-1 odds. The 2023 season saw the Belmont Stakes in the Spa City for the first time.

© 2024 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.