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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Women's Basketball: Set to Host NCCU

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Going into the 2011-12 season, the West Virginia University women’s basketball team knew that the year wasn’t going to be easy.

The team suffered its first loss of the season to St.
Sophomore Jess Harlee posted her first career double-double against St. Bonaventure on Friday night with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks Photo
Bonaventure on Friday night at the Coliseum. It was a rough outing for the young team, as they struggled to stay out of foul trouble while trying to find a consistent scoring rhythm.

Coach Carey attributed the team’s loss to a lack of offense, not defense. The Mountaineers (1-1) held the Bonnies (3-0) to just 32.7 percent (16-of-49) from the field and to just 31.3 percent (5-of-16) shooting from beyond the arc. It was costly foul trouble and poor shooting on West Virginia’s end that allowed the Bonnies to stay ahead, as they took advantage by shooting 90.5 percent (19-of-21) from the charity stripe.

“Shoot 28 percent from the floor and 52 percent from the foul line, and you are probably not going to win,” Carey said after the game. “There is a good chance you are not going to win. We fouled them at the end and put them at the line, without that, we probably would have held them in the 40’s. Again, if you hold a team to 32 percent from the floor, that is pretty good as a team. They sagged on us and didn’t press us and we shot 28 percent.”

West Virginia has a chance to bounce back on Sunday afternoon when it plays host to North Carolina Central in a 2 p.m. tip.

Leading scorers for North Carolina Central include junior guard Chasidy Williams, who averages 16.0 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game. She’s followed by senior guard Blair Houston who averages 7.3 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game. Junior guard Jasmine Alston rounds out the top three scorers, averaging 5.3 points per game.

"They are athletic," Carey said. "They are not going to be as patient, but they are going to drive you. They are going to get up and down the floor and they like to play mostly man. They get out into you, they don’t play soft and double in there. They will double the post some."

Last year, the Mountaineers saw five players post double-digit scoring performances against the Eagles (0-3) en route to a 71-39 victory. Liz Repella paced the team with 17 points, and was followed by Madina Ali and Korinne Campbell with 11 each, and Asya Bussie and Jess Harlee who each scored 10.

Despite being limited to only three points against St. Bonaventure, Taylor Palmer continues to lead the Mountaineers in scoring, averaging 18 points per game. She is followed by Christal Caldwell, who posts an average of 11 points per game.

On the defensive end, Ayana Dunning continues to pace West Virginia in rebounding, as she averages 12.5 boards per game. She’s followed by Asya Bussie, who averages 8.5 rebounds per game.

The first 500 fans at Sunday’s game will receive wristbands provided by Mini USA flags will also be handed out on a first-come first-serve basis as part of Military Appreciation Day.

Kentucky basketball downs Penn State 85-47

Penn State Kentucky Basketball
Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, left, fights for a rebound with Penn State's Billy Oliver during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament in Uncasville, Conn., on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham) / Fred Beckham/AP
UNCASVILLE, Conn. - The University of Kentucky basketball team trounced Penn State 85-47 in the Wildcats’ opening game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic at the Mohegan Sun Casino.
Sophomore guard Doron Lamb led the way with 26 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal, and freshman forward Kyle Wiltjer came off the bench to score 19 points as second-ranked Kentucky improved to 3-0 on the season.
The Nittany Lions (3-1) shot an abysmal 6 of 37 from the field in the first half, including just 1 of 15 from 3-point range. They also sank just 2 of 9 free throws in the first 20 minutes.
With 15:50 left in the game, Lamb was outscoring Penn State 24-23 by himself. The Wildcats led 56-23 at that point and eventually got the lead as big as 41 points.
Sophomore forward Terrence Jones had 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists, a block and a steal. Star freshman forward Anthony Davis had a quiet game – just three points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in 23 minutes – after his big night against Kansas earlier in the week.
The Wildcats blocked eight shots in the game and have swatted 34 in the first three games.

New Contract Will Enable Baseball to Test Blood for H.G.H.

Major League Baseball’s owners and players are close to completing a new collective bargaining agreement that for the first time will include blood testing for human growth hormone, according to two people in baseball briefed on the matter. The testing will be a significant step for baseball, allowing it to move ahead of other professional sports leagues, including the N.F.L., in confronting the troublesome issue of a drug that has long evaded detection.
The bargaining agreement, which could be announced early next week, calls for blood testing to begin in February, when players report to spring training. Players who test positive will face a 50-game suspension, which will be the same as the first-time penalty for a positive steroid test, according to the two people.
Baseball will be the first of the major North American professional sports to do any type of blood testing for drugs among their unionized players. In 2010, baseball introduced blood testing for H.G.H. on minor league players because the step could be taken without the consent of the union.
Commissioner Bud Selig, who is sensitive about his legacy and the longstanding criticism that he was too slow to react to the use of performance-enhancing drugs in his sport, will now be able to cite the H.G.H. testing as proof of how seriously baseball now treats the issue of drug use. And without mentioning the N.F.L. by name, he will be able to take satisfaction in accomplishing what his biggest rival has been unable to do.
Last summer, the N.F.L. and its union reached agreement on a new labor contract that included blood testing for human growth hormone, leaving the details of the testing to be worked out after the deal was signed. But the players have since refused to sign off on the testing, citing various reservations.
Members of Congress have become involved in the stalemate, but the N.F.L. players union continues to raise questions about the testing, in particular expressing concerns that the natural level of H.G.H. in football players might be higher than that of the general population, and that too many players would unfairly test positive as a result.
Although there is no urine test for H.G.H., Olympic athletes have been blood-tested for the substance for nearly a decade. Baseball officials and players had long expressed skepticism about the test, however, pointing to the fact that it was not producing any positives. Meanwhile, evidence mounted that the substance was being used in the sport.
In 2007, an investigation into a ring of pharmacies and doctors in Florida led to disclosures that tied numerous players to H.G.H. And at the end of 2007, George J. Mitchell, at the behest of Selig, produced a report on drug use in baseball that tied a number of players — including Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens — to the substance.
“Players who use human growth hormone apparently believe that it assists their ability to recover from injuries and fatigue during the long baseball season,” Mitchell said in his report. “This also is a major reason why players used steroids.”
Sentiment in baseball began to change in 2010, when a professional rugby player in England was suspended for testing positive for H.G.H. The blood test had seemingly worked.
Selig embraced the development and several months later implemented blood testing at the minor league level. This year, first baseman Mike Jacobs, who had played in the major leagues for a number of seasons, became the first minor league player to test positive for the substance.
Agreement on H.G.H. testing was not the only issue that the two sides in baseball had to wrestle with as they moved toward completion of a labor deal that would last for five seasons and will guarantee two decades of a peace in a sport that suffered numerous work stoppages before that.
In particular, the owners wanted a tougher financial slotting system for draft picks so that some teams with huge financial resources would not spend far more on players coming out of high school and college. In the end, the sides agreed on a luxury tax of sorts that would penalize teams that go over a threshold for spending on draft choices.
The agreement also makes official a new playoff system, in which an extra wild-card team will qualify in each league.
But most significant for Selig and everyone else in the sport is that an agreement was reached without public rancor in a year in which the N.F.L. went through a protracted lockout and the N.B.A. is in a labor standoff that could cost it the entire 2011-12 season. And that the agreement will have a drug-testing clause that will put baseball ahead of other sports.

The Joy of badminton

Sports Star Joy Lai holds her national trophies. PAUL LOUGHNAN N20DT211
Sports Star Joy Lai holds her national trophies. PAUL LOUGHNAN N20DT211

TEMPLESTOWE teenager Joy Lai has the makings of a future Olympic badminton champion.
Joy, 13, won the “triple crown” - the under 15s singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles - at the recent Australian championships in Perth.
The closest she came to being headed was by five points in the deciding set of the singles final, in which she defeated her doubles partner - and friend - Grace Ngiam, from Brisbane.
Joy, who also enjoys sculpting and painting, said she loved the “fun” sport.
Former Olympian and one of Joy’s coaches, Lenny Permana, said the Ivanhoe Grammar year 7 student, who trains with Badminton Australia, was probably the best player of her age in the country.
Ms Permana, who competed in badminton at the 2004 Athens Olympics, described Joy as “such a hard worker” and said she had the necessary drive to succeed at international level.
Joy’s mother, Kanny Lai, said she was proud of her daughter and would support her.
“We do whatever we can to make sure she succeeds,” Ms Lai said.
Joy, who has been playing badminton for six years, is this week’s Manningham Leader Sports Star.

I want to wrap it up in style: Djokovic

LONDON: It's as yet the unfinished sentence. For all the surprises the 2011 tennis calendar threw on its unsuspecting audience - Novak Djokovic's bruising dominance, Roger Federer's late season flourish, Andy Murray's gritty run in Asia and through it all some combative, rearguard action from Rafael Nadal - its statement is yet to reach a conclusive fullness.

The last touches, strokes of colour and character, will be applied at London's dazzling O2 Arena where the Barclays ATP World Tour Final, the season-ending championships, will be played.

After losing just one match in the first eight months of the year, Djokovic's body protested post the US Open. A fortnight ago he returned from a six-week injury enforced break only to discover a shoulder problem that hindered his service action, stalling his effort in Basel and Paris. Federer, on the other hand, has been in sparkling form, coming into London on the back of a 12-match winning streak. Murray has been no less impressive, winning three titles in the Asian swing of the Tour. The Spaniard, meanwhile, has been quiet, pulling out of successive tournaments after a shock, early-round loss in Shanghai last month.

Djokovic, slighter in person than he looks on television, heads Group A of the season-ending finale, which also has Murray, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych. The Serb, who opens his campaign against Czech Berdych on Monday, said: "I've been practicing here for the last two-three days, my shoulder feels good. I feel no pain while serving. I want to finish the year in style. Everybody would like to crown their achievements with this title. It's a tough tournament. You have to play well every single match."

Federer, who will take on Tsonga in his tournament opener on Sunday, said: "I feel the players ranked one to four are the favourites, from five to eight they all have the potential to upset the top guys and go all the way to the final and win it even. They have big games, they can beat anyone on any given day."

Nadal, who will complete Sunday's schedule, playing American Fish in the last match of the day, explained that his straight-sets loss against German Florian Mayer in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last month hit him hard, forcing him to reassess his schedule. "To lose in Shanghai was difficult because I felt I was in a positive frame of mind," he said.

Opening match crucial: Bhupathi For now India's doubles players - Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna - in action in the Barclays ATP World Tour Final, starting Sunday, are looking no further than the coming week's competition. Bhupathi and Paes, in Group A of the eight-team tournament, and seeded fourth, open their campaign on Monday afternoon against Sweden's Robert Lindstedt and Romania's Horia Tecau.

Kambli puts BCCI and Sports ministry at loggerheads

New Delhi: Sports minister Ajay Maken wants the match-fixing claims made by former cricketer Vinod Kambli investigated by the BCCI and says his Ministry might step in if the cricket board doesn’t order a probe.
But even though might have called for a probe, a defiant BCCI said it would not give any importance to the former cricketer’s allegations.
Kambli has created quite a flutter by claiming that something was “amiss” in India’s loss in the 1996 World Cup semifinal against Sri Lanka and Maken said the claim should be investigated by the BCCI or else his ministry might order a probe.
But, senior cricket board official Rajiv Shukla said Kambli’s claims are not worth investigating.
The Sports Ministry also wants the BCCI to come under the ambit of the RTI. Reuters
“We are not giving any importance to the claims made by Kambli. If a person wakes up after 15 years and makes some allegations, that is not worth taking note of,” Shukla told reporters.
Shukla, the chairman of the IPL governing council, said the BCCI has acted tough on corrupt cricketers and has never forgiven such players.
“Many of the Boards have forgiven players after they were found to be involved in corrupt practices but BCCI has never forgiven such players,” he said.
Kambli has created quite a flutter by claiming that something was “amiss” in India’s loss in the 1996 World Cup semifinal against Sri Lanka and Maken said the claim should be investigated for all its worth.
“When a player of the team has made a charge, it should be thoroughly investigated. People of the country have the right to know what exactly happened. Whether the accusations made by the player are true or false, the people have the right to know,” Maken said on the sidelines of an NSS felicitation ceremony here.
The minister said if the BCCI doesn’t act, the sports ministry might conduct an inquiry of its own.
“We will see. As you know, the BCCI has not come to the Sports Ministry for any recognition so far but I would want, whatever agency is there, BCCI should order a probe into it. If the BCCI doesn’t conduct a probe, we will look at it,” he said.
ICC President Sharad Pawar entered the discussions, saying he would rather believe in what players like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have to say on the matter.
“I honestly feel that his allegations are irresponsible statements,” Pawar said on a day when a defiant BCCI refused to give importance to Kambli’s allegations despite call of a probe by Sports Minister Ajay Maken.
“I would rather believe in what Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar or Ajit Wadekar say,” Pawar said. Pawar, a former BCCI chief, said if Kambli was an honest and committed cricketer, he should have made the allegations after the mega tournament in 1996, instead of raking it up
“If he was an honest and a committed cricketer he should have spoken about it then. But he kept quiet, so I hold him irresponsible,” said Pawar.
Kambli’s claims have, however, been rejected by the then skipper Mohammad Azharuddin, the then coach Ajit Wadekar and Sanjay Manjrekar.