UK softball freshman throws no-hitter in rout of Tar Heels
Freshman pitcher Katie Henderson threw the ninth no-hitter in school history, striking out four batters with only one walk, while sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner went 4-for-4 with two home runs and a career-high six RBI in the 17th-ranked Kentucky softball team's 18-0 victory against No. 24 North Carolina on Tuesday at the UK Softball Complex.
Henderson allowed a two-out walk in the first inning and the leadoff batter for UNC in the second inning reached on an error before Henderson retired the next 12 batters she faced to clinch the no-hitter for the Cats (19-4, 2-1 Southeastern Conference).
"It feels good," Henderson said. "I am not even for sure what to say right now. I was able to get my inside pitch going, as well as my fastball, screw ball and changeup. I was a lot more relaxed (after UK jumped out to a 12-0 lead after the first inning) and just threw my game and didn't have to worry about it."
Kentucky's 18 runs and four home runs both tied school records.
"It is always good to have a midweek game because you can find yourself and get some momentum into the weekend," Joiner said. "I think that our entire team did that tonight and hopefully we can keep it rolling this weekend."
Due to the expectation of winter weather in the Lexington area over the next two days, the UK softball team canceled Wednesday's game against Southern Illinois. The Cats' next game is at 7 p.m. Friday at No. 13 LSU. Bat Cats closer Gott breaks school record
Junior Trevor Gott broke a Kentucky baseball record with his 16th career save and senior Zac Zellers hit a two-run home run in the ninth-ranked Wildcats' 6-3 victory against Ohio on Tuesday evening at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Gott, who tied the record held by Lorhn Frazier (1990-93) with his 15th career save on Sunday, came on to get the final two outs of the game.
"It is an honor, all the good arms that have thrown here, even to be mentioned in that category is an honor," said Gott, the 2010 Gatorade Kentucky High School Player of the Year out of Tates Creek High School. In his three-year career, Gott has a 7-4 record, a 2.49 ERA and has saved 16 of 17 games.
"There is some comfort in there from a coaching perspective," UK Coach Gary Henderson said about Gott. "There is some real confidence from a player perspective. It has been really fun to watch him and he keeps getting better."
Kentucky (14-2) picked up the win behind the strength of a four-run second inning and a two-run third — which included Zellers' first homer of the year.
Kentucky freshman Ryne Combs worked a career-high four innings in his second career start, allowing five hits and one run, walking one and striking out three.
■ Three Kentuckians — Kaelon Fox (St. Xavier), Napo Matsoso (St. Francis) and Sam Miller (East Jessamine) — were part of a five-player incoming class announced by men's soccer coach Johan Cedergren. The other newcomers are Ohio native Alex Bumpus and Wright State transfer Justin Laird. Fox is Kentucky's Mr. Soccer.
Cousins defends elbowing of Dunleavy
When discussing the latest blowup involving DeMarcus Cousins, Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie said there was "no defense for the indefensible." But Cousins spent about four minutes defending his elbow to the back of Milwaukee forward Mike Dunleavy's head that led to a flagrant foul 2 and an automatic ejection Sunday.
Cousins spoke after Tuesday's practice, which he sat out because of a bruised left leg suffered when Dunleavy went low to box out Cousins. That maneuver triggered the Dunleavy-Cousins incident.
The NBA did not announce Tuesday if it will discipline Cousins, but he is expected to be suspended for Wednesday night's game against the Chicago Bulls.
Cousins said he is a victim of a negative perception by league officials that led to the flagrant foul 2 and ejection, his league-leading fourth this season. "The whole decision was based off my reputation, which is unfair," Cousins said.
Cousins yelled angrily at the Bucks' bench after the boxout but maintained he was calm and in control of the situation. After a timeout, Cousins confronted Dunleavy while walking back onto the court, where Cousins asked if the low boxout was intentional.
"Actually, I was cool about it because I really didn't know if he did it on purpose," Cousins said. "And that's what I asked him, 'Was that on purpose?' And his response was, 'What if it was? What you going to do about it?'"
Eight seconds after play resumed, Cousins caught Dunleavy with an elbow to the back of the head. "He got him good," Kings guard Isaiah Thomas said. "That's all I can say. He got him with an elbow. Hopefully, his consequences aren't too bad."
Cousins said the elbow wasn't "really" intentional.
"If you see the replay, it's really not as hard as he acted it out to be," Cousins said. "It really wasn't."
So if the elbow wasn't meant for Dunleavy's head, what was Cousins doing? Did he know Dunleavy was there?
"I was just trying to get around the screen," Cousins said.
If there was no intent, was it just a coincidence the elbow came right after Cousins confronted Dunleavy?
"It was really bad timing," Cousins said.
■ Brook Lopez scored 26 points and had a big dunk over twin brother Robin, Deron Williams added 21 points and 13 assists, and the Brooklyn Nets beat the New Orleans Hornets 108-98 on Tuesday. Former Kentucky star Anthony Davis had 17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots for New Orleans. "He's learning how to play at this level," Williams said. "You can just tell he's going to be a real special player."
■ John Wall led Washington with a season-high 27 points in a 95-90 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wall also had season highs with 14 assists and seven rebounds.
■ Dwight Howard scored a season-high 39 points, had 16 rebounds and was sent to the free-throw line 39 times by his former team as the Lakers beat the Magic 106-97. The win came in Howard's first return to Orlando since his drama-filled off-season trade to the Lakers. He endured a chorus of boos throughout, and tied his own NBA record for free-throw attempts. He made 25 of them.
■ Dwyane Wade scored 23 points and the Heat extended their winning streak to 19 games, beating the Atlanta Hawks 98-81.
Bills cut Fitzpatrick; Gonzalez not retiring
New coach Doug Marrone and the Buffalo Bills are moving on without Ryan Fitzpatrick by releasing the quarterback after two-plus inconsistent seasons as starter. The team announced the move Tuesday, shortly after the NFL's free agency period opened, and a day before Fitzpatrick was due a $3 million bonus. Fitzpatrick went 20-33 as a starter over four seasons in Buffalo.
■ Tony Gonzalez announced he is returning for another year after his near-retirement. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said the new contract for Gonzalez "is not done but it will be done quickly." Gonzalez had said he was 95 percent sure he would retire after the 2012 season. The future Hall of Famer, who turned 37 last month, led the Falcons with 93 catches for 930 yards and eight touchdowns. Each total set a high for his four seasons in Atlanta.
The last word
Steve Stricker, in semi-retirement from the PGA Tour, has made $1.82 million in three starts this season. And now he is jokingly referred to as the part-time putting guru of Tiger Woods. During a practice session Wednesday, Stricker noticed that Woods had his hands behind the ball and his posture was out of sync. Over the next four days at Doral, Woods had his fewest number of putts (100) ever on the PGA Tour, made 27 birdies and won by two shots — over Stricker, no less. Woods said of Stricker, who is known for putting well:
"Now I know how he feels every day. No wonder he's always in a good mood."