Sports briefs: Feb. 24

February 24, 2014 

UK Sports

Reed still rolling with 2 more homers in Bat Cats' victory

A.J. Reed hit two home runs to give him five homers and 11 RBI on the weekend, leading Kentucky (5-2) to a 13-0 victory over St. John's in the finale of the Old Dominion Tournament on Sunday in Norfolk, Va.

Reed became the first player in the modern-era history of the program (2003-present) to hit five home runs in a three-game span. And he's the first UK player to homer in three consecutive games since Ryan Wilkes in 2008.

Sunday's starter, Kyle Cody, picked up his first win of the year. He pitched six shutout innings, allowing six singles and no walks with one strikeout.

Softball team bounces back with 8-1 win

Senior pitcher Lauren Cumbess picked up her fourth win of the season and went 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBI, while senior outfielder Emily Jolly hit her fourth home run of the season in the Kentucky softball team's 8-1 victory over Penn State on the final day of the FAU Invitational in Boca Raton, Fla.

Kentucky (13-2), which dropped both games of its Saturday doubleheader, had started the year with its best start in program history at 12-0. The Cats' home opener is next. They'll face Eastern Kentucky at 3 p.m. Friday at John Cropp Stadium.

■ Kentucky's gymnastics team completed a rare two-meet weekend with a 195.200 team score at eighth-ranked Nebraska. That score gave the Cats two of their best three scores of the season within the last three days after UK posted a 195.975 on Friday in a loss at No. 13 Arkansas. Nebraska won Sunday's meet with a 196.850, while UK (6-9, 1-4 SEC) defeated both Bridgeport (142.275) and Wisconsin-Stout (141.250).

College basketball

Taylor leads U of L women past Rutgers

Asia Taylor missed last season with a hip injury. Now healthy, she's a big reason for Louisville's success this year.

Taylor had 25 points and 15 rebounds — both career highs — to help the third-ranked Cardinals to a 73-58 win over No. 25 Rutgers on Sunday before a crowd of 14,327 in Louisville.

"She's really a mismatch problem for a lot of people," Louisville Coach Jeff Walz said. "She's got the ability to knock down the 15 to 18 foot shot, then when they put a bigger four on her to stop her from scoring in the post, that's what she does. When they have to come out and guard her, they can't guard her. She's just too quick off the dribble."

Sara Hammond (Rockcastle County) added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Cards (27-2, 15-1 American Athletic Conference).

Tiffany Mitchell scored 20 points, Alaina Coates added 16 points and 12 rebounds as No. 4 South Carolina won its ninth straight game with a 69-55 victory over visiting Florida. The Gamecocks (25-2, 13-1 Southeastern Conference) matched their overall win totals of the past two seasons and won their record 13th game in SEC play.

Meighan Simmons scored 20 points and Mercedes Russell grabbed 11 rebounds to help No. 10 Tennessee edge Missouri 56-50 in Columbia, Mo.

Jessica Jackson scored 25 points to lead Arkansas in an upset of No. 19 LSU 57-53 in Baton Rouge, La. Keira Peak added 10 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals.


Wizards win with defense, back at .500

The Washington Wizards lost Nene to a knee injury, and then won the game with a strong effort on defense. John Wall scored 21 points, Bradley Beal had 17 and the visiting Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-83 on Sunday night.

Washington had a 66-63 lead midway through the third quarter when Nene departed with a sprained left knee. The Wizards then held the Cavaliers to 11 fourth-quarter points to return to .500 at 28-28 on the season. They also strengthened their hold on the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

"We're a team right now that's just trying to play the right way and get on a roll," Wall said.

Wall ended the first half with a dunk and two 3-pointers in the final 1:21. He banked in a 30-footer to beat the halftime buzzer, giving Washington a 58-52 lead.

■ A South Florida Sun Sentinel source said that the Miami Heat are considering adding former University of Kentucky standout DeAndre Liggins to its roster this week. Liggins, a D-League All-Star this season, is averaging 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and a league-leading 2.5 steals per game for the Sioux Falls SkyForce.

Golf Nordqvist ends skid with win in Thailand

Anna Nordqvist won the LPGA Thailand on Sunday to end a five-year victory drought, holding off top-ranked Inbee Park.

Nordqvist, the LPGA Championship and LPGA Tour Championship winner in 2009, led wire-to-wire. She closed with a 4-under 68 to beat defending champion Park by two strokes.

"I'm speechless to be honest," Nordqvist said. "It's been a couple years since I won. I've been working very hard. Had my ups and downs. Just couldn't be happier to be here. It was such a hard push on the back nine."

■ LPGA Tour player Alena Sharp won the Symetra Tour's season-opening Visit Mesa Gateway Classic, beating Marissa Steen by two strokes in the tournament in Arizona.

Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods' niece, had a 71 to tie for 14th with former University of Kentucky standout Mallory Blackwelder (71) and others at 3 under. Sara-Maude Juneau (U of L) shot a 73 and finished tied for 12th at 4 under.

■ Former Heath standout Rick Cochran III finished tied for second to Columbia's David Vanegas in his first start on the PGA's Latin America-based developmental tour. Cochran III, a nephew of Champions Tour star Russ Cochran of Paducah, shot a 69 to finish three shots behind at 14-under par in the Columbian Open. He earned $13,200 for the finish. Kent Bulle (Glasgow) tied for 32nd at 5-under par.

Harness racing

Bee A Magician named Horse of the Year

Bee A Magician was voted harness racing's Horse of the Year following a 17-for-17 campaign. She became the first 3-year-old trotting filly to earn the sport's top honor since Continentalvictory in 1996. Bee A Magician earned a divisional record $1.54 million last season for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman, driver Brian Sears and owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee.

She got 94 votes in the balloting by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, easily outdistancing Foiled Again with 19. Captaintreacherous was third in the voting with 16.

Captaintreacherous was voted Pacer of the Year by a 68-57 margin over Foiled Again.

The last word

Sean Doolittle had a cast covering his right wrist three years ago, the latest in a series of injuries that cost him nearly three years of his professional career. With his dreams of reaching the major leagues as a first baseman slowly fading, he made sure he wasn't going to spend the rest of his life wondering if he could have reached the big time: he returned to his roots as a pitcher. The Oakland A's reliver said:

"It is not lost on me on how crazy it is. I've seen enough guys in Triple-A who spend their whole careers there and couldn't catch a break. I've been here two years and we have two division titles. I still take nothing for granted."

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