Weekend Sports In Brief
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Haley Jones scored 17 points and Stanford beat Arizona 54-53, giving the Cardinal and coach Tara VanDerveer their first national championship in 29 years on Sunday night.
It wasn’t a masterpiece by any stretch with both teams struggling to score and missing easy layups and shots, but Stanford did just enough to pull off the win.
Stanford (31-2) built a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter before Arizona (21-6) cut it to 51-50 on star guard Aari McDonald’s 3-pointer.
After a timeout, Jones answered with a three-point play with 2:24 left. That would be Stanford’s last basket of the game. McDonald got the Wildcats with 54-53 with 36.6 seconds left converting three of four free throws.
The Cardinal, after another timeout couldn’t even get a shot off, giving Arizona one last chance with 6.1 seconds left, but McDonald’s contested shot from the top of the key at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jalen Suggs banked in a shot at the buzzer from just inside the half-court logo Saturday night to lift Gonzaga to a 93-90 overtime win over UCLA and move the Bulldogs one win away from an undefeated season and a national title.
This Final Four thriller was the best game of the tournament, and, considering the stakes, it served up possibly the best finish in the history of March Madness — a banker from near midcourt to keep a perfect season alive.
After the shot went in, Suggs ran to the mostly empty press row, jumped up and pumped his fists a few times. The refs checked to make sure he got the shot off before the buzzer sounded. He did, and the Bulldogs moved onto Monday night’s final, where they’ll play Baylor for the title.
They are the first team to bring an undefeated record into the championship game since Larry Bird and Indiana State in 1979.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nearly two decades ago, Scott Drew decided to leave his comfort zone at tiny Valparaiso for the scandal-plagued basketball program at Baylor, explaining to his father that there was nowhere for the Bears to go but up.
Now, they’re one win away from the top.
Led by Jared Butler and the rest of their brilliant backcourt, a defense that refused to give Houston an inch, and a coach intent on making the most of his first trip to the Final Four, the Bears roared to a 78-59 victory Saturday night in their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament semifinals in 71 long years.
Butler scored 17 points, but just about everyone from Baylor (27-2) got in on the act. The Bears had five players score in double figures. They built a 45-20 lead by halftime and coasted the rest of the way to their second title game.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jordan Spieth ended a slump that lasted nearly four years, closing with a 6-under 66 on Sunday to win the Valero Texas Open for his first victory since the 2017 British Open at Royal Birkdale.
Now he heads to Augusta National as one of the favorites at the Masters.
“This is a monumental win for me,” Spieth said. “It’s been a long road. There were a lot of times that I didn’t know I would be here.”
Spieth sealed it with a 5-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole, and he won by two shots over Charley Hoffman.
Spieth went 82 starts on the PGA Tour without a victory since Royal Birkdale. He missed the Tour Championship the past two years and nearly fell out of the top 100 in the world at the start of this year.
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Patty Tavatanakit survived Lydia Ko’s final-round charge to win the ANA Inspiration for her first LPGA Tour victory.
Five strokes ahead entering the day and six in front after a chip-in eagle on the par-5 second, Tavatanakit shot a 4-under 68 in 100-degree heat to beat Ko by two strokes in the first major championship of the year.
Ko matched Lorena Ochoa’s tournament record with a 62, shooting 7-under 29 on the front nine for the best nine-hole score in event’s 50-year history. The New Zealander began the day tied for seventh at 6 under, eight strokes behind Tavatanakit in the tournament played without spectators for the second time in seven months.
Winless since April 2018, the 23-year-old Ko played the first 11 holes in 9 under and added a birdie on the par-4 15th. On the par-5 18th, she drove into rough near the water that lines the left side, laid up and hit a wedge 30 feet long and right. Her birdie try missed to the left, stopping inches away.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani hit a 451-foot homer and pitched two-hit ball into the fifth inning in a historic two-way performance, and Jared Walsh hit a walkoff homer in the Los Angeles Angels’ 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday night.
Walsh hit two homers, including a big three-run shot off Matt Foster to end the Angels’ third win over Chicago in their four-game, season-opening series.
Ohtani reached another milestone in his unique career when he took the mound and occupied the No. 2 slot in the batting order for the Angels. He was just the third pitcher in 45 seasons to hit for himself in a game with the designated hitter available, and the first to bat second since Jack Dunleavy did it for the Cardinals in 1903.
In the first inning alone, Ohtani both threw the hardest pitch by any starting pitcher in baseball this season and produced the hardest hit by any batter this season. Ohtani touched 101 mph with a fastball, and his first-pitch homer off Chicago’s Dylan Cease left his bat at 115 mph.
With the Big Three absent at the Miami Open, and tennis’ next generation scrambling to fill the void, it was Hubert Hurkacz of Poland who made a breakthrough.
The 24-year-old Hurkacz won the biggest title of his career by beating 19-year-old Jannik Sinner of Italy 7-6 (4), 6-4 on Sunday. Hurkacz improved to 10-0 in Florida this year, including the Delray Beach title in January. Ranked 37th, he is projected to climb to a career-high 16th in next week’s rankings.
The matchup in the final was a surprise even though Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer skipped the tournament, as did reigning U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem. It was Hurkacz who took full advantage. Along the way he eliminated No. 2-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 4 Andrey Rublev — the first time he has beaten two top-10 opponents in a tournament.
Hurkacz became his country’s first Masters 1000 champion.