Monday’s Sports In Brief
SEATTLE (AP) — Elizabeth Kitley scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, Georgia Amoore added 24 points and top-seeded Virginia Tech advanced to the Final Four for the first time in school history with an 84-74 win over No. 3 seed Ohio State in the Seattle 3 Regional final.
For the seventh time in the past 10 Final Fours there will be a first-time participant and it’s the champions of the ACC, adding another accomplishment to the best season in school history.
Playing in its first regional final, Virginia Tech (31-4) won its 15th straight game and will head to the Final Four having not lost in more than two months. The Hokies will face LSU in the national semifinals on Friday in Dallas.
Kitley, the Hokies 6-foot-6 center and leading scorer this season, took over on the interior in the second half. She scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter and her three-point play gave Virginia Tech a 70-60 lead.
Amoore hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game to push the lead to 13. Ohio State pulled within six in the final minute, but the Hokies were nearly perfect at the foul line down the stretch.
After the final buzzer sounded and Virginia Tech was celebrating at midcourt, the sounds of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica blared through the speakers of Climate Pledge Arena, setting off an even louder party for the Hokies fans in attendance.
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Aliyah Boston had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Zia Cooke scored 18 points and top-seeded South Carolina used its smothering defense to take control in the second quarter, outlasting second-seeded Maryland 86-75 to reach its third straight Final Four.
Coach Dawn Staley’s team improved to 36-0 this season with its 42nd straight victory dating to last year’s NCAA title run. The Gamecocks are now two games away from repeating as champions and completing the 10th undefeated season in the women’s game.
South Carolina will play Iowa and do-it-all star Caitlin Clark in the national semifinals in Dallas on Friday night.
The Gamecocks hugged and jumped when it was over. It’s the fifth Final Four since 2015, all under Staley. She’ll try for her third national title next week.
Boston, the 6-foot-5 senior, made 10 of 14 shots. The three-time All-American added five assists and blocked two shots.
PHOENIX (AP) — Dan Snyder’s future in the NFL as owner of the Washington Commanders remains in standby mode while his peers gathered at a posh resort for the league’s annual meetings and waited for news on the potential sale of the team.
A discussion on Snyder isn’t on the formal agenda this week, three people familiar with those details told The Associated Press. Still, Snyder was a hot topic of conversation despite his absence and even while quarterback Lamar Jackson’s trade request dominated headlines.
Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos recently joined groups led by Josh Harris and Tilman Fertitta to bid on purchasing the Commanders. Once Snyder accepts an offer, he must submit the bidder’s name to the NFL for approval. That hasn’t happened yet, a person told the AP.
Last fall, with multiple investigations ongoing into the team’s workplace culture, finances and Snyder himself, he and wife Tanya hired a firm to “consider possible transactions.” Tanya continues to represent the team at league events.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has said there’s “merit to remove” Snyder as owner of the Commanders. That would take an unprecedented vote of 24 of the other 31 team owners to happen.
BALTIMORE (AP) — Lamar Jackson said he has requested a trade from the Baltimore Ravens, saying the team “has not been interested in meeting my value.”
In a series of tweets, the star quarterback said he requested a trade as of March 2. On March 7, the Ravens put the nonexclusive franchise tag on Jackson and said they were still hopeful they could reach a long-term deal with him.
Jackson may not need a trade to join a new team. The nonexclusive franchise tag allows him to negotiate with other clubs. However, it also gives Baltimore a chance to match any agreement he makes. The decision to make the trade request public may be an attempt to deter the Ravens from matching another team’s offer — or an attempt to spur more interest among other teams by declaring that he wants out of Baltimore.
If Jackson makes a deal with another team and the Ravens don’t match, that team would owe Baltimore two first-round draft picks.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sergio Romo retired as a San Francisco Giant just the way he wanted, pitching one final time for the team he helped to win three World Series championships and then calling it a career Monday night.
In a moment more special than he could have possibly imagined, the entertaining right-hander faced three Oakland batters in the seventh inning at Oracle Park in the exhibition finale for both clubs.
Bay Area baseball fans were treated to a last listen of Romo’s long-time signature “El Mechon” walk-up tune, too, and he basked in the cheers.
Ahead of unleashing his nasty slider, Romo got a dose of what he’ll be missing in the new, modern baseball world — he was immediately called for two clock violations by the plate umpire, resulting in a pair of automatic balls. The first was for taking too long to finish his warmup tosses. The second was for taking too long to throw his first pitch.
Going against one of his former teams, and starting with a 2-0 count, Romo quickly walked his first batter. He threw a wild pitch and surrendered two singles that scored a run before former teammate Hunter Pence walked out to make a pitching change.
The 40-year-old Romo soaked it all in as he made his way to the dugout, tipped his cap and hugged Giants manager Gabe Kapler and others in a sensational sendoff. Romo got a curtain call and fought tears as he went back into the dugout.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Jaden McDaniels scored 20 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves spoiled Sacramento’s hopes for a clinching party by beating the Kings 119-115.
The Kings were hoping to end the longest playoff drought in NBA history in front of their fans, but sent them home unhappy.
The Timberwolves won their fourth straight game and swept a back-to-back set at Golden State and Sacramento to tie the Warriors for sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race. The top six teams avoid the play-in tournament.
Minnesota wasn’t fazed by the frenzied sellout crowd and pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Sacramento now will look to clinch its first playoff berth since 2006 later this week, when the Kings travel to Portland for two games.
Sacramento’s 16-year stretch without a playoff appearance is the longest in NBA history and the longest active postseason drought among any team in the NBA, NFL, NHL or Major League Baseball.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nicolas Batum got all of his season-high 24 points on eight 3-pointers, and Eric Gordon added 22 points in the Los Angeles Clippers’ comfortable 124-112 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
Kawhi Leonard scored 22 as the Clippers rebounded from an embarrassing loss to New Orleans with 20 3-pointers in an impressive outside shooting display led by Batum. The Frenchman replaced ailing Marcus Morris in the starting lineup and produced a spectacular game from the perimeter, hitting eight of his first nine 3-point attempts while Los Angeles ran away in the first three quarters.
Gordon had his biggest scoring performance since returning to the Clippers in a trade last month, and Russell Westbrook added 12 points, 10 assists and five rebounds. The Clippers finished with a season-high 41 assists, topping 40 in a game for the first time since January 2015.
Los Angeles (40-36) kept hold of fifth place in the Western Conference standings and moved a half-game behind fourth-place Phoenix.