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Sports Log

WNBA postpones playoff game for inconclusive coronavirus test results

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert answers questions about the postponement of Game 1 of the Seattle-Minnesota playoff series.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert answers questions about the postponement of Game 1 of the Seattle-Minnesota playoff series.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The first game of the WNBA semifinal playoff series between the Seattle Storm and Minnesota Lynx was postponed because of what the league said were the Storm’s inconclusive coronavirus test results. Players have entered isolation and were undergoing additional tests, the league said. The first game will be played Tuesday, following the best-of-five series schedule. The decision to postpone the game was made, the WNBA said, “out of an abundance of caution.” The WNBA has had no positive cases since it set up its bubble at the IMB Academy in Bradenton, Fla., in July. However, there have been inconclusive results or false positives and those resulted in extended quarantine and missed games. In every case, players were retested and cleared. The decision came shortly before tipoff Sunday. In a statement, the Storm said it “fully supports the decision” with the “health and safety” of everyone the top priority." The Lynx already had arrived at the arena and some of the players were warming up when they were told the game was postponed.

Suns' two Thomases enough to beat Aces

Jasmine Thomas had a career-high 31 points, Alyssa Thomas scored 18, and the Connecticut Sun pulled away early and cruised to an 87-62 win over the Las Vegas Aces in Game of 1 of the best-of-five WNBA semifinals. Alyssa Thomas had 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. Natisha Hiedeman made 4 of 4 from 3-point range and finished with 14 points for Connecticut. The seventh-seeded Sun lost their first five games, and six of seven, but rebounded to make the playoffs. They beat No. 6 seed Chicago and third-seeded Los Angeles in the first two rounds of the postseason. A’ja Wilson led top-seeded Las Vegas with 19 points and Jackie Young scored 16 . . . The WNBA announced earlier Sunday that Las Vegas’s Dearica Hamby won the sixth woman of the year award and Aces general manager Dan Padover was given the executive of the year award.

SOCCER

No reason given for Utah coaching moves

Sophia Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in the National Women’s Soccer League draft this year, scored in her Portland debut as the host Thorns beat the Utah Royals, 3-0, in a fall series match. There was drama before the start. The Royals placed head coach Craig Harrington and assistant Louis Lancaster on a leave of absence, and assistant Amy LePeilbet was named interim head coach. No reason was given for the move. It was the first game at Providence Park for the Thorns since last October. The NWSL suspended the season March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league restarted with the Challenge Cup tournament in Utah before returning to local markets for the fall series. The Thorns were scheduled to open the series at home against OL Reign on Sept. 12, but smoky conditions in Portland due to wildfires in the Pacific Northwest forced that game to be rescheduled for Sept. 30. Simone Charley danced around two defenders before beating Royals goalkeeper Abby Smith, giving the Thorns the lead in the 35th minute. Sophia Smith, who played for Stanford, scored on a header in the 72nd minute . . . Kealia Watt scored two goals and added an assist and the Chicago Red Stars downed the visiting Sky Blue, 4-1 . . . Son Heung-min was set up four times by Harry Kane — a first for assists Premier League play — as Tottenham beat host Southampton, 5-2. Kane also got his name on the scoresheet by driving home a rebound after Erik Lamela hit the post.

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GOLF

Jim Furyk goes 2 for 2 on Champions Tour

Jim Furyk joined Arnold Palmer and Bruce Fleisher as the only players to win their first two PGA Tour Champions starts, beating Jerry Kelly with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff in the Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach, Calif. Furyk and Kelly both laid up on the par-5 18th in the playoff, with Kelly hitting his approach to 10 feet and Furyk following with a 90-yard wedge to 3 feet. Furyk holed his birdie try after Kelly pulled his attempt. The 50-year-old Furyk closed with a 5-under-par 67 — a day after losing the lead to Ernie Els with a second-round 73 — to match Kelly at 12-under 204. Playing three groups ahead of Furyk and four in front of Els, Kelly birdied the 18th for a 65. Els, who shot his second straight 70, missed a 2-foot putt on the 18th to finish a stroke out of the playoff. Furyk won The Ally Championship last month in Michigan in his tour debut. The 2003 US Open winner played the first six holes Sunday in 5 under — making an eagle on the par-5 second and three birdies —- then parred the final 12. Palmer won his first two events in 1980, and Fleisher accomplished the feat in 1999 . . . Georgia Hall won the Cambia Portland (Ore.) Classic for her first LPGA Tour victory in the United States, beating Ashleigh Buhai with a par on the second hole of a playoff. Hall won after falling into a tie with a bogey on the part-4 18th in regulation. The 24-year-old Englishwoman matched Buhai with a par on 18 on the first extra hole and won on the par-4 first at Columbia Edgewater. Hall closed with a 4-under 68. She bogeyed the par-4 third, birdied Nos. 5-7 and 10-12 and made five straight pars before closing with bogey to fall into the playoff. The 31-year-old Buhai, from South Africa, missed a chance for her first LPGA Tour victory. She birdied four of the last five holes for a 65 — matching Danielle Kang for best round of the day. Moriya Jutanugarn (67) and Yealimi Noh (69) finished a stroke out of the playoff.

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MISCELLANY

Once again, Novak Djokovic loses control on court

Exactly two weeks after he was defaulted from the US Open, and a day after he was warned by the chair umpire for breaking his racket in a fit of rage, Novak Djokovic received an obscenity warning midway through a 7-5, 6-3 win over Casper Ruud in the Italian Open semifinals in Rome. The obscenity came in the third game of the second set, by which time Djokovic had a running dialogue with the chair umpire over a series of contested calls. “I deserved the warning,” Djokovic said. “I didn’t say nice things in my language . . . As I understood, I was three out of three right, but doesn’t matter. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s fine. It was a kind of the heat of the battle. There is a lot of intensity on the court. A lot of pressure for him, for both players. It’s kind of whatever happens, happens.” As opposed to his previous two outbursts, this time there were fans in the stands who could clearly hear how Djokovic dealt with his frustration. With 1,000 spectators allowed in to the Foro Italico for the first time this week, a large proportion of those in attendance were children. Ruud was Nick Kyrgios’s opponent during last year’s Italian Open when the Australian walked off the court and threw a chair onto the red clay, leading to him being defaulted and fined. In Djokovic’s 10th Rome final on Monday — he has won four — he’ll face eighth-seeded Diego Schwartzman, who edged 12th-seeded Denis Shapovalov, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), in a match that lasted 3 hours, 15 minutes. In the women’s final, top-seeded Simona Halep will face second-seeded Karolína Plíšková, the defending champion. Halep reached her third Rome final by beating Garbiñe Muguruza, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, to improve her record in tennis’s restart to 9-0. Plíšková defeated fellow Czech and last year’s French Open finalist Markéta Vondroušová, 6-2, 6-4 . . . Two players in the qualifying rounds for the French Open have tested positive for the coronavirus, the French Tennis Federation said late Sunday, while three others have been in close contact with a coach who also tested positive. The FFT said in a statement that all five players will isolate for a period of seven days, and none of them will participate in the qualifiers starting Monday for the tourney, which begins Sept. 27. Organizers did not name any of the players or the coach concerned, but the website of sports daily L'Équipe named the coach as Petar Popovic and one of the players as 114th-ranked Damir Dzumhur . . . A week before Big Ten teams become eligible again for the Associated Press college football poll, No. 25 Marshall is ranked for the first time since 2014 and Miami jumped to No. 12 after a conference road victory. Clemson remained a nearly unanimous No. 1 in the AP Top 25 after another light week in college football. The Tigers received 59 of 61 first-place votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters . . . . Albert Langlois, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Montreal Canadiens, has died. He was 85. The team announced the death Sunday. Langlois, a defenseman, played four seasons with the Canadiens (1957-61), winning the Stanley Cup with the team in ’58, ’59, and ’60. He also played three seasons with the New York Rangers, two with the Detroit Red Wings, and his final one with the Boston Bruins, appearing in 497 NHL games from 1957 to 1966.

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