Other Sports

Sports briefs: March 31

College sports

Western Kentucky to join Conference USA

Western Kentucky's athletic programs have been invited to join Conference USA, multiple sources confirmed to the Daily News of Bowling Green. The school has accepted the invitation and an official announcement is expected as soon as Monday.

The Hilltoppers will begin competing in the league in 2014.

WKU will join former SBC members Florida Atlantic, Florida International, North Texas and rival Middle Tennessee in the new CUSA. Other institutions scheduled to be in the league when the Hilltoppers arrive are Charlotte, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Mississippi, Alabama-Birmingham, Texas-El Paso and Texas-San Antonio.

Western Kentucky's teams joined the Sun Belt Conference in 1982, save for the football program, which transitioned out of the Gateway Football Conference in 2007 and into the Sun Belt and the Football Bowl Subdivision starting in 2009.

Former Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, who played and coached under Bear Bryant and hired Nick Saban as football coach, died Saturday at age 73.

The university said Moore died at Duke University Medical Center. Moore had been in the Durham, N.C., hospital since March 13 with pulmonary problems.

No further details were immediately available.

The folksy, silver-haired Moore was part of 10 football national championship teams as a player, coach or administrator in a career intertwined with three of the Crimson Tide's most revered coaches — his old bosses Bryant and Gene Stallings and Saban, who has won three of the last four national titles.


Serena earns sixth Key Biscayne title

Serena Williams danced to the crowd's roar, spinning and grinning, hopping and waving, then spinning some more.

If her victory celebration on the stadium court seemed well-rehearsed, it was. She earned a record sixth Key Biscayne women's title by beating familiar foil Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 at the Sony Open on Saturday.

Sharapova set a new standard for futility in finals. She completed a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open last year, and won Indian Wells two weeks ago, but she's winless in five Key Biscayne finals.

Sharapova playing nearly flawless tennis for an hour, before her serve and groundstrokes began to lose steam. Williams swept the last 10 games and faltered only during the trophy ceremony.

"I felt good today," she told the crowd with a smile. "It's so good to be No. 6 now — I mean, the six-time — oh, gosh. Thank you."

At 31, the No. 1-ranked Williams became the oldest female champion at Key Biscayne. She won the tournament for the first time since 2008 and surpassed Steffi Graf, a five-time champion.


Cink, Haas share lead at Houston

Seven players within four shots of the lead at the Houston Open have never won on the PGA Tour. Twelve of them still aren't in the Masters. One of them includes a journeyman who had to qualify Monday just to get a tee time at Redstone Golf Club.

In a tournament loaded with so many possibilities, one of the big surprises is a major champion.

Stewart Cink has not been heard from very much since that summer day at Turnberry in 2009 when he beat Tom Watson to win the British Open. His highest finish since then was third, and that was in the four-man field at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. In 81 starts since becoming a major champion, he has missed the cut 30 percent of the time. He has plunged to No. 272 in the world ranking.

Cink finished off another solid round Saturday by saving par form the bunker on the 18th hole for a 4-under 68, giving him a share of the lead with Bill Haas.

"Tomorrow is a great learning opportunity for me to get out there and be nervous and perform and try to stay in the moment and let it happen," Cink said. "I can't wait."

Marcel Siem of Germany shot a 3-under 69 Saturday to extend his lead to four shots after the third round of the Hassan II Trophy. The French Open champion made five birdies but was pegged back by a bogey on the first hole and again on No. 17 to move to a 15-under total of 201 in the European Tour event.


CB Brent Grimes signs with Miami

Cornerback Brent Grimes, who missed almost all of last season with an Achilles tendon injury, signed a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins on Saturday.

Grimes started 28 games for the Atlanta Falcons in 2010-11 but was hurt in their opener last year. He declined to predict whether he'll be able to take part in off-season practices beginning in May.

Grimes is expected to start for the Dolphins, who lost Sean Smith via free agency to the Kansas City Chiefs.

A person familiar with talks says the Buffalo Bills are close to completing negotiations to sign free-agent quarterback Kevin Kolb.

ESPN.com first reported that a deal between the two sides was close Saturday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of discussions.

UK SportsNew freshman record at Texas Relays

Rebecca Famurewa won the Texas Relays discus championship, setting the UK freshman record with a mark of 174'-7" on Saturday. Famurewa's mark also ties the fourth best in school history,

The thrower's banner day was the highlight in Austin, while a pair of Wildcats claimed event titles at the Oliver Nikoloff Invitational on the Cincinnati campus.

Hiruni Wijayaratne won the women's 1500 meters with a time of 4:34.94. Megan Wright claimed third in the same event with a time of 4:35.95. Sean Keane won the Nikoloff 800 meters in 1:51.52.


MKG scores 21 in another Bobcats loss

Jrue Holiday scored 10 straight points down the stretch, Evan Turner finished with 21 and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Charlotte Bobcats 100-92 Saturday night.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 21 for Charlotte, which has the worst record in the NBA. Gerald Henderson, who had 35 and 34 in his previous two games, finished with 19.


Mets' Santana likely to miss entire season

Johan Santana is set for another shoulder surgery that he hopes will save his career. The former New York Mets ace will have surgery Tuesday to repair the re-torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder, the team announced Saturday. Santana is likely to miss the entire season for the second time in three years, which means he may have thrown his last pitch for the Mets. The two-time Cy Young Award winner is in the final year of a $137.5 million contract.

The last word

Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim and his incredible 2-3 zone are on the way to another Final Four. Like his career, the Final Four berths have spanned a long time: 1987, 1996, 2003 and 2013.

Most of his former players agreed there isn't a lot different about Boeheim as far as the game goes. There are some very different things about the man himself, though. Said Derrick Coleman:

"He's mellow now. He used to scream, and cuss at us a lot."