UConn women rally to beat G'town, 68-63

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UConn women rally to beat G'town, 68-63

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Georgetown knows all about Maya Moore and Connecticut's rich postseason history, and the Hoyas were determined to rock the bracket with one of the NCAA tournament's biggest upsets ever.

Backed into a corner, Moore got some help from fellow senior Lorin Dixon and the Huskies responded.

Moore had 23 points and 14 rebounds, leading Connecticut to a 68-63 victory after the Hoyas led by seven in the second half of their regional semifinal Sunday.

"Me and Maya decided we didn't want our careers to end here today," Dixon said. "That's just a great feeling. I think everyone wanted to continue the tournament."

While Moore put up the numbers, Dixon was the catalyst for the game-changing run.

Connecticut trailed 53-46 with 9:36 left, but responded with a 16-2 run sparked by the 5-foot-4 guard.

"Today was a great reflection of what she's been doing for the last month for every single day," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said of Dixon, who finished with four points, four assists and four steals.

Bria Hartley got the spurt started with a 3-pointer and Dixon followed with a layup off a steal. She then had another steal and fed Hartley for an easy lay-in that tied it at 53 with 7:12 left.

Moore then scored four straight and, after Alexa Roche's basket, Hartley capped the run with a 3-pointer that made it 62-55 with 4:03 left.

Monica McNutt's 3-pointer got Georgetown within four with 1:41 remaining, but Moore answered with a long jumper from the corner to seal the win.

"My players aren't in these situations very often and it's good to be tested," Auriemma said. "It's easy to be a winner when you're winning. You find out a lot about yourself when you have to go and win. We found out a lot about us today."

Hartley added 17 points for UConn (35-1), which is now three victories away from a third straight national championship that would match the school's own run from 2002-04 and Tennessee's from 1996-98.

This was the third meeting between the two Big East teams in the past 30 days. UConn won the first two games by double digits, but Georgetown was able to remain close in those games by forcing the Huskies into a combined 47 turnovers with its relentless pressure.

The Hoyas (24-11) showed no fear from the start on Sunday, giving the top-seeded Huskies all they could handle. McNutt led the way with 17 points.

"Our program is on the rise," McNutt said. "We're past moral victories - we should be in the Elite Eight."

It was Auriemma's 80th victory in the NCAA tournament, moving him into second on the career wins list for men or women. Tennessee coach Pat Summitt is tops with 109, and Duke men's coach Mike Krzyzewski is third with 79 victories.

Auriemma has had a lot of success in Philadelphia, making his first Final Four in 1991 after playing at the regional at the Palestra. In 2000, Auriemma's team won its second national championship here.

While UConn is a regular in the round of 16, Georgetown is a relative newcomer. The Hoyas have been this far only once before in 1992-93. That team lost to Virginia in the regional semifinals.

Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, who was an assistant on that 1993 team, doesn't think it will be another 18-year wait for the Hoyas to return to this level.

"I think we're only a few notches away," she said. "Really one more player."

Sensing the buzz around the women's program, the school sent up two bus loads of boisterous students to the game and the Hoyas gave their fans plenty to cheer about.

Sugar Rodgers had said on Saturday that the coaching staff put together a highlight film showing the team the two good halves they had played against UConn in the previous two meetings. They added one more Sunday, but couldn't close it out after leading 35-32 at halftime.

The Hoyas continued to press UConn in the second half, building their lead with the 3-pointer. McNutt and Rodgers hit back-to-back 3s to make it 47-42 with 15:41 left.

Tia Magee then added four straight points to give the Hoyas a seven-point lead before UConn took over.

"We didn't hit shots," Williams-Flournoy said. "Sugar missed a layup, we turned the ball over twice. Against a team like Connecticut you can't make those kinds of mistakes. That's the only way you're going to give yourself any kind of cushion to beat Connecticut. They have Maya Moore, she hit those big shots."

The Huskies haven't lost in the round of 16 since Stanford beat them in 2005. It has been 12 years since they lost as a one seed in the regional semifinals, falling to Iowa State in 1999.

Even Auriemma kidded in the press conference Saturday that his family and friends weren't going to show up until the championship game Tuesday night when the Huskies will play the winner of the Duke-DePaul game.

They would have missed a great game.

The Huskies have won 23 straight overall and 70 in a row against Big East schools.

-- The Associated Press

Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

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Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

Bruins left wing Brad Marchand definitely altered a lot of people’s perceptions about him as a hockey player when he scored 37 goals this season, and embraced more of a leadership role on a B’s team getting younger by the year. The B’s agitator started to reap the rewards of those changed opinions with a gold medal at the IIHF World Championships in Russia earlier this month, and on Friday with his inclusion on a ridiculously talented Team Canada roster set for the NHL and NHLPA-organized World Cup of Hockey in the fall.

Marchand will join linemate Patrice Bergeron and head coach Claude Julien as part of the Team Canada contingent, and could even be part of a reunited Marchand-Bergeron-Tyler Seguin line if Mike Babcock and Co. are looking for instant chemistry.

Either way Marchand was excited about suiting up for his country, and being part of a World Cup tournament that will include Bruins players Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, David Pastrnak, David Krejci (who may not be available to play due to his hip surgery), Loui Eriksson and Dennis Seidenberg along with the Team Canada contingent.

“It’s an incredible honor to play for Team Canada. It’s something that I think we all take a lot of pride in, and something that is…it’s not an easy accomplishment,” said Marchand. “It’s not something you get to do very often, and to have that opportunity twice this year is very special and it’s not something I take for granted

“I think being part of a team like this is on a different level, and people may give a little more respect to that fact and may look at more of the kind of player I am, other than just the stuff they’ve seen in the past, with the hits and being a pest and stuff like that. Maybe those people will realize that I’m an OK hockey player, and I do play the game as well. But regardless, that’s not why I play the game. I play it to help our team win and just because I love the game, so however they feel, then that’s their opinion. But [earning more respect league-wide] is a possibility.”

This is the fifth time Marchand has been selected to compete for his home country of Canada in international play. The 5-foot-9, 181-pound forward tallied four goals and three assists in 10 games while helping Canada earn a gold medal at the aforementioned 2016 IIHF Men’s World Championships, held earlier this month in Russia. Marchand previously won gold with Team Canada at the U-20 World Championships in 2007 and 2008. He also earned a bronze medal with Team Canada Atlantic at the 2005 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will take place from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. The two-week tournament, featuring eight teams comprised of more than 150 of the best players in the NHL, will progress from the Preliminary Round to the Semifinals and ultimately the Final. 

The involvement of so many Bruins players along with Julien will make for a spare NHL camp in Boston come September with so many important pieces out for what is traditionally the first two weeks of camp. 

First Impressions: Kelly’s setback unsettling

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First Impressions: Kelly’s setback unsettling

First impressions of Red Sox 7-5 loss to Toronto:

 

Joe Kelly still has to prove he can be trusted to start for the Red Sox.

With the demotion of Clay Buchholz to the bullpen after Kelly’s lockdown start in his return from the DL, Kelly went back to his old ways.

After mixing pitches well in his first outing, Kelly threw 94 pitches -- 70 fastballs -- in 4.2 innings. In his previous start, he threw 66 fastballs over 104 pitches.

That approach won’t fly, especially if his fastball command is as subpar as it was against Toronto.

The Blue Jays’ batters seemed very comfortable in the box, despite Kelly throwing as hard as he does with so much movement. That can’t become the norm for opposing hitters.

 

The Red Sox offense can handle any starting pitcher -- but they can’t do it alone.

After Jon Gray shut down Boston in the final game of the Colorado series, Red Sox hitters faced a familiar foe that had already had success against them earlier in the year in Aaron Sanchez.

Despite using his curveball much more than his start earlier in the season, Boston’s hitters made adjustments. He did hold them down for much of the early going, but Red Sox hitters still scraped out four runs in his seven innings.

But the pitching staff didn’t hold up it’s end, essentially letting Josh Donaldson beat Boston by himself.

 

Xander Bogaerts made sure Sanchez didn’t ruin the streak.

Now hitting safely through 20 games, Bogaerts extended his streak against the starter who had him baffled when they faced off earlier in the year. The biggest difference from their last matchups was Bogaerts put good swings in against Sanchez mistakes -- and he didn’t appear off-balance after every swing.

 

Matt Barnes will not be Carson Smith’s replacement in 2016.

Despite his upper 90s fastball and 12-6 curveball, Barnes still can’t put together dominant appearances. His lack of command -- with a straight fastball -- is the big reason. Boston will have to look elsewhere -- internally or from another organization -- to give the bullpen another reliable set-up man given Koji Uehara’s age and durability.

 

The baseball gods are on Boston’s side -- for now.

As if Jose Bautista sitting out after appealing an earlier suspension wasn’t enough, the Red Sox scored their first run without a hit. Then the red Sox tied the game in the eighth on an error, after Dustin Pedroia had reach on a double that landed because Michael Saunders and Kevin Pillar had a communication breakdown.

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Phil Kessel emotional about reaching Stanlery Cup Final

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Haggerty's Morning Skate: Phil Kessel emotional about reaching Stanlery Cup Final

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while picking the San Jose Sharks over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final.

 

*Patrick Lalime hopped on sports radio in Ottawa, and said the Chris Phillips/Zdeno Chara defense pairing was the best he ever played behind.

 

*Don Cherry had a major problem with Steven Stamkos suiting up and playing in the losing Game 7 to the Penguins.

 

*Phil Kessel gets pretty emotional about finally getting to the Stanley Cup Final after years of struggle in Toronto.

 

*USA Today’s Kevin Allen says the gap between the No. 1 goaltender and the backup isn’t what it used to be.

 

*Speaking the Sharks, the trip back to Pittsburgh for the Cup Final brings back memories for Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

 

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) writer has the news about Dustin Brown getting stripped of the captaincy with the LA Kings.

 

*Bryan Rust was in the AHL to start this season, but much like Mike Sullivan and Matt Murray he killed it for the Penguins in the playoffs.

 

*For something completely different: It’s official that moving Jackie Bradley Jr. in the lineup wasn’t what killed his hitting streak.