#SportsReport: UConn Coach Geno Auriemma Tests Positive For COVID-19; Nets Beat Knicks
The bracket for the NCAA women's basketball tournament is set. Stanford is the No. 1 overall seed, with UConn, NC State, and South Carolina also earning top spots. While UConn may be used to its position in the tournament, it is facing some uncertainty after coach Geno Auriemma tested positive for COVID-19. UConn says the Hall of Famer isn't experiencing any symptoms and hasn't had close contact with any other team member since Friday, but he'll miss at least the first two rounds of the tournament, incuding the Huskies' opener against No. 16 High Point on Sunday and a potential second-round matchup with either No. 8 Syracuse or No. 9 South Dakota State.
“I’m an innocent bystander right now. I’m going to sit back and watch them do their thing,” he said. "(Assistant coach Chris Dailey) is undefeated in tournament play. I don’t think you can get a coach who has a better record in the tournament than she does.”
The rest of the UConn's travel party has tested negative for the virus so far.
Joining High Point as NCAA rookies are No. 14 Stony Brook, No. 16 Utah Valley, and No. 11 Bradley. No. 3 Tennessee continued its streak of making the NCAA Tournament all 39 years. Meanwhile, Notre Dame's run of 24 straight tournament apperances came to an end.
In other college basketball news:
Ali Jaques is out as Siena College’s women's basketball coach after nine years. Under Jaques, the MAAC team was 116-148, and went 22-13 in 2015 en route to the Women’s Basketball Invitational championship game. But the Saints never reached a MAAC championship game during Jaques’ tenure.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has eliminated its rule requiring athletes to sit out a season if they transfer within the league. The move is the latest across college sports to loosen restrictions on transferring athletes so they can switch schools and play right away. The NCAA is moving toward making the so-called one-time exception available for all athletes. Currently, athletes in high-profile Division I sports such as football and basketball must sit out a season when they transfer to another DI school.
Boston College has hired Earl Grant from the College of Charleston as its men’s basketball coach. Grant replaces Jim Christian, who was fired with three weeks remaining in his seventh season. Grant had a 127-89 record in seven seasons with the Cougars. They won the Colonial Athletic Association regular season and tournament championship in 2018.
Indiana has fired coach Archie Miller after four mediocre seasons. The move was confirmed Monday by a person with knowledge of the decision who spoke to The Associated Press. Miller was 67-58 with the Hoosiers. His teams never made the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa State and men’s basketball coach Steve Prohm have agreed to part ways after one of the worst seasons in program history. The Cyclones were 2-22 overall, 0-18 in the Big 12. They lost their last 18 games. Prohm was 97-95 in six seasons and led the Cyclones to the NCAA Tournament three times.
Minnesota has fired men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino. The Gophers went 14-15 this season after losing 11 of their last 14 games. The university will owe Pitino a $1.7 million buyout of his contract that had three years remaining.
DePaul fired coach Dave Leitao six years into his second tenure. The Blue Demons went 5-14 overall in a season that started about a month late because of COVID-19 issues. They finished last in the Big East for the fifth straight year at 2-13.
Kyrie Irving scored 34 points, James Harden welcomed himself to New York’s basketball rivalry with his 10th triple-double of the season, and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Knicks 117-112. Harden finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in his first game against the Knicks since arriving in Brooklyn two months ago and turning the Nets into one of the NBA’s best teams.
In other NBA action:
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists for his third consecutive triple-double to lead the Milwaukee Bucks past the Washington Wizards 133-122 for their fourth consecutive victory. The Bucks pulled away late after letting a 26-point third-quarter lead slip to five midway through the fourth. When the Wizards got within seven in the final minutes, Antetokounmpo scored the next four points to make it a double-digit game again. He combined for 64 points, 26 rebounds and 21 assists in the two-game series at Washington that Milwaukee swept. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 37 points after sitting out Saturday to rest a sore left knee.
LeBron James had a triple-double with 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, leading the injury-depleted Los Angeles Lakers past the Golden State Warriors 128-97. Montrezl Harrell backed up James’ fourth triple-double of the season by scoring 27 points off the bench, making 11 of 14 shots, as the Lakers won the season series with Golden State. Stephen Curry became the Warriors’ career leader for assists and scored 27 points.
Nikola Jokic notched his 35th double-double with 32 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Denver Nuggets over the travel-weary Indiana Pacers 121-106. Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton had 20 points apiece for the Nuggets, who used a big fourth quarter to get the win. Malcom Brogdon led Indiana with 24 points and Justin Holiday had 19. Domantas Sabonis finished a rebound shy of a triple-double with 10 points and 10 assists.
Devin Booker scored 27 points, Chris Paul added 18 and the Phoenix Suns rolled to a 122-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Suns have won six of their past seven games and bounced back emphatically from a 122-111 loss to Indiana on Saturday.
Terry Rozier scored 26 points, Gordon Hayward added 25 and the Charlotte Hornets overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to beat the Sacramento Kings 122-116 for their fourth straight win. De’Aaron Fox led the Kings with 29 points, while Richaun Holmes had 17 points and 15 rebounds.
Dejounte Murray had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead a balanced attack as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Detroit Pistons 109-99. Detroit’s leading scorer, Jeremi Grant, left the game in the third quarter after falling hard on his hip. San Antonio had six players in double figures. The Spurs had lost three of four, including a 35-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. Josh Jackson had 15 points for the Pistons, who have lost four straight.
Alexander Ovechkin matched Phil Esposito for sixth on the NHL’s career list with his 717th goal and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-0. Ovechkin scored in the third period, helping send the Capitals to their fifth straight win with his 1,299th career point — one shy of becoming the 35th player to reach 1,300. He scored from the slot off a pass from former Sabre Conor Sheary, who found Ovechkin cutting toward the net. Ovechkin snapped a quick shot past Carter Hutton, who was screened. Vitek Vanecek stopped 23 shots and improved to 4-0-1 against the Sabres.
Elsewhere on the ice on Monday:
Jakub Voracek scored at 3:47 of overtime to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers. Claude Giroux, Joel Farabee and Ivan Provorov each had a goal and an assist, and James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Flyers, who won for the third time in eight games. Carter Hart finished with 20 saves. Keith Kinkaid stopped 25 shots.
Evgeni Malkin scored on a power play for his 1,100th career point and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Boston Bruins 4-1. Malkin is the third Russian-born player to reach 1,100 points in the NHL, joining Alex Ovechkin and Sergei Fedorov. Malkin has eight goals on the season and had an assist while extending his points streak to eight games. Tristan Jarry made a season-high 42 saves for Pittsburgh.
Tyler Toffoli had two goals, including an empty-netter in the final minute, and the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Josh Anderson also scored for the Canadiens. Carey Price, playing in his 700th game, made 34 saves. Montreal ended its two-game slide and improved to 13-8-7. Kyle Connor scored two power-play goals for Winnipeg.
Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone each had a goal and an assist to help the Vegas Golden Knights beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Marc-Andre Fleury, making his 16th start in 17 games, finished with 23 saves to improve to 14-5-0 this season. Fleury earned his 481st career win, inching closer to Ed Belfour, who ranks fourth with 484. Pacioretty scored in the first period and delivered a perfect backhand pass early in the third to Stone, who one-timed a wrist shot to make it 2-0. It ended up being Stone’s sixth game-winning goal. Timo Meier scored late for San Jose, and Devan Dubnyk stopped 34 shots. The Golden Knights are 12-1-3 in 16 regular-season meetings with San Jose.
Elias Lindholm, Dillon Dube and Andrew Mangiapane each had a goal and an assist, Noah Hanifin also scored and the Calgary Flames beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 for their third straight win under new coach Darryl Sutter. Mikael Backlund had two assists and Jacob Markstrom stopped 28 of 31 shots. Sutter replaced Geoff Ward, who was fired March 4. Leon Draisaitl, Josh Archibald and Adam Larsson scored for Edmonton, which played its third game in four days. Mike Smith had 23 saves.
J.T Miller scored in overtime and Thatcher Demko made 44 saves as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Miller beat a defenseman and then deked Joey Daccord before scoring the winner 1:40 into OT. Jayce Hawryluk and Tanner Pearson scored in regulation for Vancouver. Josh Norris and Colin White scored for Ottawa.
Aleksander Barkov scored a tiebreaking short-handed goal in the third period, and the Florida Panthers beat the slumping Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Barkov poked in a loose puck from right in front with 6:34 left. It was the Panthers’ first short-handed goal this season. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots and won his sixth straight start. Down 3-1, the Panthers scored five unanswered goals to win their fourth straight game. Patrick Kane, Philipp Kurashev and Brandon Hagel scored for the Blackhawks, who lost for the fourth time in five games. Kevin Lankinen made 30 saves.
Calle Jarnkrok had a short-handed goal and three assists, helping the Nashville Predators beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1. Pekka Rinne stopped 38 shots and picked up his 14th career assist in Nashville’s first victory against Tampa Bay in six meetings on the season.
The Patriots have agreed to sign free agent tight end Jonnu Smith. Agent Drew Rosenhaus tells The Associated Press, Smith agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Smith had been a consistent presence for the Tennessee Titans, with 53 starts over the past four years. He is coming off his best season, catching 41 passes for 448 yards for eight touchdowns. Also, a person familiar with the deal says the New England Patriots are trading tackle Marcus Cannon, a mainstay on the right side of their offensive line, to the Houston Texans. The Patriots will send Cannon to Houston in exchange for the swap of fourth, fifth and sixth-round picks with the Texans in next month’s NFL draft. Cannon opted out last season because of COVID-19 concerns.
In other NFL news:
Linebacker Shaquil Barrett has agreed to a four-year, $72 million contract to remain with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Barrett has been one of the NFL’s top pass rushers over the past two seasons. The 28-year-old’s new deal includes $36 million guaranteed and was facilitated by Tom Brady signing an extension that cleared $19 million in salary cap space.
The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms on a contract with former New York Giants defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. His agency, SportsTrust Advisors, announced the deal on Twitter. The 6-foot-3, 318-pound Tomlinson started every game for the Giants over the last four seasons. In 2020, Tomlinson had 3 1/2 sacks, eight tackles for loss and 10 quarterback hits.
Kevin Colbert is sticking with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team’s long-time general manager has signed a one-year contract extension that runs through the 2022 NFL draft. The 64-year-old Colbert has been with the franchise for more than two decades but has recently started working on a year-to-year basis.
The Denver Broncos have agreed to a three-year deal to keep defensive end Shelby Harris in Denver. They also have agreed to a three-year deal to bring in veteran free agent cornerback Ronald Darby. The seventh-year cornerback had a productive season in Washington last year when he played on a one-year, $4 million contract.
The Dallas Cowboys are set to bring back defensive tackle Antwaun Woods and a pair of receivers lower on the depth chart in Cedrick Wilson and Noah Brown. The team says Woods and Wilson are expected to be offered tenders as restricted free agents. Brown has agreed to a one-year contract as an unrestricted free agent.
A person familiar with the negotiations tells the AP that the Cleveland Browns have agreed to terms with free agent safety John Johnson III. He spent the past four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. The Browns ended their long playoff drought last season and want to upgrade their defense this offseason.
The Arizona Cardinals have re-signed linebacker Markus Golden to a two-year deal. The 30-year-old has spent most of his career with the Cardinals after being selected by them in the second round of the 2015 draft. He returns to a defense that recently signed three-time NFL defensive player of the year J.J. Watt. The team did not disclose financial terms.
Guard Kevin Zeitler has agreed to a three-year, $22 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens. The nine-year veteran was released by the New York Giants last week. Zeitler just turned 31 and has also played for Cincinnati and Cleveland. The durable guard has started all 16 games in six of his NFL seasons, including five of the past six.
The San Francisco 49ers are bringing back Jason Verrett on a one-year deal. NFL Network reported the contract has a $5.5 million base value with the chance to make more. Verrett has been plagued by injuries throughout his career but stayed healthy in 2020 and excelled at cornerback for the 49ers. That made him a high priority to keep this offseason.
A person familiar with the situation says defensive end Romeo Okwara has agreed to stay with the Detroit Lions. Reports say the unrestricted free agent landed a $39 million, three-year contract. Okwara had a career-high 10 sacks last season in his third year with the Lions and fifth in the NFL.
Linebacker Vince Biegel has agreed to terms on a one-year contract to remain with the Miami Dolphins. Biegel had the best season of his three-year NFL career in 2020 for Miami, starting 10 games while totaling 59 tackles and 13 quarterback hits.
New York Yankees left-hander Zack Britton has had surgery to remove a bone chip from his pitching elbow. The reliever is likely to be out until at least May and perhaps until summer. The team has not specified a timeframe. Yankees head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad operated at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Left-hander Aroldis Chapman is the Yankees’ closer, and manager Aaron Boone said he will mix and match during the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Boone has said right-hander Chad Green, side-arming right-hander Darren O’Day, right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga and left-hander Justin Wilson are options.
In other MLB news:
The District of Columbia is giving the Washington Nationals the go-ahead to have 5,000 spectators at their home games this season. The Nationals were one of the few Major League Baseball teams that didn’t already have permission to allow fans. Washington will host the New York Mets on April 1 at night to begin the season. That is the beginning of a three-game series. That will be followed by another three games at Nationals Park against the Atlanta Braves. The Nationals will begin talks this week with city officials about increasing the number of fans permitted to attend games.
YouTube will broadcast a Major League Baseball package of games for a third season. The series of 21 telecasts starts April 7 when the Boston Red Sox host the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays in the finale of a two-game series. The games are exclusive and will not be televised by club broadcast partners. YouTube telecasts include live chats. MLB’s primary national agreements are with Fox, Turner and ESPN.
Former U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland is among three players who had to withdraw from the Honda Classic because of a positive test for the coronavirus. The others were Doc Redman and Scott Piercy. The three positive tests are the most in pre-tournament screening since the RSM Classic at Sea Island in November. The Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit also had three players withdraw because of positive tests in early July. The positive tests follow two weeks of Florida events allowing for limited attendance at Bay Hill and at The Players Championship.
RUN FOR WOMEN
The Freihofer’s Run for Women is moving from June 5th to September 25th. The 43rd iteration of the downtown Albany event will feature in-person races. Organizers say the event, which brings thousands of runners to the city, will adhere to CDC and state-mandated safety measures. Organizers say postponing the race gives them additional time to see how the pandemic plays out, and for attendees to get a vaccine. Registration for the race will open in late spring.
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