Sports Briefs

Posted: Sunday, April 04, 2004

Ice Hawks suffer loss at Nationals

The KPHA Ice Hawks finished the USA Hockey National Under-16 tournament with an 0-3-0 record Friday, dropping a 5-4 decision to the Casco Bay (Maine) Gulls.

After a scoreless first period, the Ice Hawks got off to a good start in the second Friday, when Garrett Bossert converted a pass from Brian Herring to give the Ice Hawks a 1-0 lead just 29 seconds into the period.

The rest of the second belonged to the Gulls, as Casco Bay answered with three scores in the next nine minutes of play.

Nelson Kempf got the Ice Hawks back into the game early in the third period with his first goal of the tournament, but Casco Bay's Adam Horgan scored his second goal of the game just 59 seconds later to give the Gulls a 4-2 advantage.

KPHA didn't quit, however, and got back-to-back goals from Corey Hetrick and Trevor Baldwin to tie things up. The tie score didn't last long, as Alex Arthur got his second goal of the game just 49 seconds after Baldwin's goal to put the Maine team up to stay.

Baldwin led the Ice Hawks in the tournament with three goals and two assists for the tournament. Bossert was second on the team in scoring, finishing with two goals and two assists.

Ice Hawks goalie Lauren Baldwin made 23 saves in the loss, while Casco Bay's Kevin Santillo turned back 17 KPHA shots to give the Gulls their first win of the tournament.

Mitchell retains interim IBF crown

MANCHESTER, England Sharmba Mitchell knocked down Mike Stewart three times and retained his interim IBF junior welterweight title by unanimous decision Saturday night.

Mitchell used a stinging right jab and big left hand to dominate the 12-round fight and improve his record to 54-3.

He opened a cut under Stewart's left eye in the second round and floored him with left shots in the fourth, fifth and ninth rounds.

Stewart got up quickly after each knockdown but never gave Mitchell much of a fight. A computer count showed that Mitchell landed 186 of 500 punches, compared to 87 of 378 for Stewart.

The judges scored the fight 117-109, 120-106 and 120-105 for Mitchell.

''I made easy work tonight,'' said the 33-year-old Mitchell, of Tacoma Park, Md. ''I just wanted to show my fans I have it all together again.''

Stewart, the 26-year-old USBA champion from Dover, Del., fell to 35-2-2.

Serena Williams wins Key Biscayne final

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. Serena Williams skipped and grinned and blew kisses, a little surprised to be a champion so soon after an eight-month layoff following her Wimbledon title.

The boldest, brashest player in women's tennis exceeded even her own expectations at the Nasdaq-100 Open. Williams culminated her Key Biscayne comeback Saturday with a performance worthy of her Wonder Woman outfit, routing Elena Dementieva 6-1, 6-1.

The 50-minute women's final was the most one-sided in the 20-year history of the tournament.

''I think the rust has definitely worn off,'' Williams said. ''Honestly, I didn't expect to win my first tournament back.''

The top-seeded Williams, returning from knee surgery Aug. 1, lost just one set en route to her third consecutive Key Biscayne title. And she was at her most overwhelming against Dementieva.

''She's a great player,'' Dementieva said, ''and it's just amazing how well she played after this break.''

Williams wore the tank top and hot pants she refers to as her Wonder Woman ensemble, and she looked the part, winning 12 consecutive points early to take control and running off 11 consecutive games.

Kenseth takes lead just in time to win Busch

FORT WORTH, Texas Matt Kenseth took the lead from Bobby Hamilton Jr. just before a caution flag with six laps left, and went on to win the NASCAR Busch series race Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.

As Kenseth was passing under Hamilton in the third turn on the 195th lap, Tracy Hines spun out on the frontstretch, taking out Kasey Kahne.

By time the caution came out and the field was frozen, Kenseth had completed the pass in his Ford. NASCAR reviewed replays to confirm the pass the gave Kenseth his first lead in the O'Reilly 300.

After a red flag, Kenseth was strong on the restart with three laps left and went on to his 15th Busch victory. His average speed was 126.865 mph, and he finished ahead of polesitter Kyle Busch in a Chevrolet.

''I had a really pushing car all day, I'm surprised we won it,'' said Kenseth, who took a Cup race at Texas two years ago. ''It's always cool to win in Texas.''

Beard, Curl win awards in women's basketball

NEW ORLEANS For two years, Alana Beard made basketball and studying her life at Duke.

OK, she was boring, but the time she put in became her stepping stone to success.

Beard was selected as The Associated Press player of the year in women's basketball on Saturday. Also honored was Houston's Joe Curl, who was chosen as the coach of the year after guiding his team to a school record for victories in a 28-4 season.

The AP award was the latest in a string of honors for Beard, a 5-foot-11 senior who led the best four-year run in Duke history. It happened, she said, because of what she did as a freshman and sophomore.

''You can't come in looking to party and live the college life,'' Beard said. ''I used my first two years to develop myself, develop my game, develop as a person. You could probably call me incognito, anti-social, whatever you wanted to call me, because I was in the gym or in my books the whole time.

''I knew where I wanted to be, so I used my first two years to do that.''

Beard's journey has been filled with achievements. The Blue Devils earned their first No. 1 ranking when she was a junior, won the ACC regular-season and tournament championship in each of her four years and reached the Final Four twice.

Along the way, Beard became just the second three-time AP All-American and the first women's player at Duke to have her jersey number retired. This season's team was 30-4, finished at No. 1 in the final poll and reached the regional finals.

If the Blue Devils could have taken that next step to the Final Four, Beard would have felt much better about her awards. She received another player of the year award, the Wade Trophy, earlier Saturday.

''If I was here playing, it would mean my team was here,'' she said. ''But I'm here by myself accepting these awards. If I was accepting these awards with my teammates, it would be awesome. It's an honor to have the awards, but we all know I couldn't have accomplished any of this without my team.''

Beard averaged 20.2 points and 5.2 rebounds during the regular season, shot 50.8 percent and led the team in steals. With 2,697 points, she's the leading scorer in Duke basketball history, men or women. She's also the first player in NCAA men's or women's history to get more than 2,500 points and 400 steals.

Voting for the awards was done before the NCAA tournament by the media panel that picks the weekly AP Top 25. Beard was the overwhelming choice, receiving 39 of 47 votes. Connecticut's Diana Taurasi, the 2003 player of the year, had four votes, while Penn State's Kelly Mazzante received three and Stanford's Nicole Powell one.

Curl received 19 votes and Duke's Gail Goestenkors had nine. They were followed by Jody Conradt of Texas with seven, Penn State's Rene Portland (5), Tennessee's Pat Summitt (3) and Purdue's Kristy Curry (2). Mississippi's Carol Ross and West Virginia's Mike Carey each had one vote.

''It's overwhelming to me, it really is,'' Curl said. ''It's something I can't put into words, the personal pride I have in this award. But I realize this is a total program award and it needs to be given to them.''

Houston won the Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles and reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in 12 years. Just five years ago, in Curl's first season at the school, the Cougars were 5-22.

''I'm really not a coach first,'' Curl said. ''First I'm a Christian, second I'm a husband, third I'm the father of two daughters plus the whole basketball team, fourth on the list I'm a teacher and fifth, I'm a coach.

''I take that coaching title very seriously, but to be the best coach you can be, you have to be better at the first four things on the list than the last one.''



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