Other Sports

Sports briefs: April 30

NASCAR

Edwards and Stewart left race in Richmond unhappy

Not even a meeting with NASCAR officials helped Carl Edwards understand why he was given a penalty at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia. "We had to just agree to disagree and that's the way it is," Edwards said.

In contrast, Tony Stewart knew exactly why he lost Saturday night's race. "We did everything we could to throw it away, it got taken away," the defending Sprint Cup champion said. "I'm pretty ticked off about it."

Both drivers were less than pleased when they left Richmond, where late drama spiced up what had been yet another bland NASCAR race. There were just three cautions — one was a NASCAR-planned competition yellow— through the first 310 laps and none had much impact on the race.

That changed when Jeff Burton smacked the wall, leaving behind debris that brought out the yellow with 89 laps remaining. It was Stewart and Edwards on the front row for the restart, and both thought they were the leader. Edwards sailed away at the green flag, and was immediately penalized for jumping the restart and passing the leader before it was permitted. The penalty dropped Edwards to 15th, he briefly fell a lap down, and wound up finishing 10th.

Stewart wasn't any happier about his race, which ended with a second-place finish to Kyle Busch. Stewart had led four times for 118 laps, and was out front when NASCAR called a caution for debris 12 laps from the finish. The leaders pitted, and Busch beat Stewart off of pit road, and easily handled the champion on the restart.

College basketball

WKU's Heard reshaping women's team

New Western Kentucky women's basketball coach Michelle Clark-Heard knows she can't rebuild the Lady Topper program in two months. That hasn't stopped her from trying.

Heard started recruiting for WKU when she was hired March 22, making calls shortly after her introductory news conference.

Since then, she has secured four recruits, completed her coaching staff and tried to prove to everyone that a once-nationally prominent program is headed back in the right direction.

"It has been a short period of time, but I feel very fortunate," Heard told the Daily News of Bowling Green. "That's why I love what I do. I feel like some people have the gift to relate to people in general and love doing it."

Heard entered the job with a reputation as a proven recruiter, and has put that to use with four spring recruits. She first signed junior-college guard Bianca McGee, Manual's LeAsia Wright and Perry County Central's Kendall Noble in less than a week.

On Saturday, Belleville East (Ill.) senior Mariah Sunkett confirmed to the Daily News that she had committed to WKU, too.

Sunkett, a 6-foot-1-inch forward, averaged 13.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.2 assists last season.

The new commits praised Heard's personality and said they felt comfortable with the team's future.

"I think it's great," Noble said. "I wouldn't want to start school there and then have a coaching change. I'm glad that happened. If it didn't, I probably wouldn't be there, actually. Everybody's starting fresh, and everybody's going to be excited to work hard and have a chance to show her what we can do."

Golf

Dufner needs playoff for first PGA win

Jason Dufner's recent late-tournament struggles made it easy to understand why a putt under 2 feet on a playoff hole at the Zurich Classic made him more nervous than the thought of getting married next weekend.

"There's a been a good bit of pressure," Dufner said Sunday in Avondale, Ariz. "People talking about, 'Why aren't you winning? Why can't you close the deal? ... Friends, family, media, even people in my inner circle. And not in a negative way, but when you're leading tournaments going into weekends and you're finishing 24th, there's going to be some questions."

Not anymore. Dufner maintained his composure through not one, but two playoff holes against one of the more accomplished veterans in the game, beating Ernie Els with a birdie on their second extra trip up the par-5 18th to win for the first time in 164 starts on the PGA Tour.

The win should also stamp out some of the bad memories haunting Dufner since the Masters, when he shared the lead after two rounds but faded to 24th. The 35-year-old Dufner also held five previous leads through two rounds — two this year — only to fade down the stretch.

Brown follows win with 2nd-place finish

Even with a six-time NGA Tour winner right behind him, Chas Narramore didn't fold in pursuit of his first tour victory. Narramore opened the final round in McCormick, S.C., with three straight birdies and shot a 5-under 67 en route to a three-shot win over Brandon Brown in the Savannah Lakes Village Classic on Sunday.

Brown, a former Eastern Kentucky standout from Shelbyville, started the day four shots back and fell even further behind after Narramore's stellar start. However, he crept back into contention with a 4-under 32 on the front nine. He cut the lead to one shot with a birdie on No. 10, but that was as close as he could get.

Brown earned $13,981 for the runner-up finish to push his season winnings to a Tour-high $60,093.

Stacy Lewis won the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on Sunday in Alabama for her second LPGA Tour title, holding off hard-charging teen Lexi Thompson by a stroke.

UK Sports

Softball wins series against No. 2 Florida

Rachel Riley's bases-clearing double led a four-run sixth inning scoring burst to push Kentucky's softball team to a series-clinching 5-1 victory at No. 2 Florida on Sunday in Gainesville, Fla. The series loss to the Cats was the first of the season for the Gators. UK pitcher Chanda Bell held Florida to one run in 14 innings of work in her team's two victories in the series. She had 13 strikeouts Sunday.

Luis Orta ran the second-fastest 3,000-meter steeplechase in UK history and Josh Nadzam won the sixth heat of the men's 1,500 meters at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. Orta finished fourth in the steeplechase in a 8:47.52.

Etc.

Kentuckian 2nd at open water nationals

Ashley Twichell won the women's 5-kilometer title Sunday to go with her earlier win in the 10k in Miromar Lakes, Fla. Emily Brunemann, who starred at Notre Dame Academy, challenged Twichell over the final 500 meters, but Twichell touched first in 58 minutes, 54.17 seconds. Brunemann was second in 58:54.47.

Briere's goal sends Flyers past Devils

Danny Briere scored the winning goal 4:36 into overtime to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 win over the visiting New Jersey Devils on Sunday to open the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Asbury baseball wins conference tourney

Asbury's baseball team defeated Indiana Southeast 2-1 and won its first conference championship Saturday in the finals of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament in Kingsport, Tenn.

The last word

Golfer Jason Dufner, who won the PGA event Sunday, is getting married next weekend. He earned $1,152,000 for the victory:

"It helps with paying for the wedding, obviously. They're a little more expensive than I thought or had imagined. ... The honeymoon is going to be at The Players Championship. They got an island green."

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