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Women’s basketball looks to improve conference record in Arizona

first_imgFreshman guard Desiree Caldwell looks for the basket against Fresno State Nov. 28 at the Galen Center. (Josh Dunst/Daily Trojan) “Our kids practice hard,” head coach Mark Trakh said. “That’s why you win games. Kids talk, and you get after it and you just have to keep competing so hopefully we can keep it going.” The Wildcats and the Sun Devils are currently No. 7 and No. 5 in the Pac-12 standings, respectively. Even though the teams have not been playing at the level they were hoping to coming into this season, they are both eight games above .500. The Trojans have a quick turnaround this week as they prepare to play the Arizona Wildcats and the No. 16 Arizona State Sun Devils over a three-day span. After already losing to the Bruins earlier this season, the Trojans came into Saturday’s game with a chip on their shoulder. With great performances all around, the Trojans managed to pull off their first conference win in a 72-67 victory to extend their overall record to 11-6. Coming into the season, the USC women’s basketball team was projected as one of the top teams in the Pac-12, after they finished 20-11 overall and 9-9 in conference play last year. The Women of Troy started off the season living up to expectations by winning ten out of their first eleven games, only to lose five straight matchups to start conference play. In what seemed to be a lost season, the Trojans are looking to turn things around after beating crosstown rival UCLA. “If we play like this the rest of the way, we’ll be very competitive,” Trakh said following the UCLA game. Mazyck had her breakout game last week against the Bruins, scoring 26 points and shooting 100 percent from the free throw line in all 40 minutes of play. In her senior year, the Trojans hope that Mazyck can repeat her success from previous seasons to lead the team to their first NCAA tournament appearance since the 2013-2014 season.center_img “This was my last USC-UCLA game,” Mazyck said. “Our pride was on the line. It’s hard to be positive when you’ve been losing, but we stayed positive and got positive results.” The Wildcats will look to even their conference record when they host USC, while the Sun Devils aim to extend their recent success after upsetting No. 9 Oregon State in a double-time thriller on Jan. 20. If the Trojans hope to beat both these teams, they will have to rely on senior guard Aliyah Mazyck and junior guard Minyon Moore to repeat their successes from Saturday. Against the Wildcats, the Trojans will have to pay attention to redshirt sophomore guard Aari McDonald, Arizona’s star player. In 18 games this season, McDonald has had a total of 449 points, 113 rebounds, and 45 steals. She is a force to reckoned with on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. As for the Sun Devils, they bring in key freshman guard Iris Mbulito. Also playing 18 games this season, Mbulito leads all Arizona State players in points, free throw percentage, and steals, with 265, .838, and 25, respectively. Moore was on fire in her last five games,, averaging 39.4 minutes played, 14 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Against the Bruins, Moore had one of her best games, playing all 40 minutes and finishing with a double-double. The Women of Troy hope to win two more conference games this weekend when they travel to Arizona to take on the Wildcats this Friday at 6 p.m. and the Sun Devils this Sunday at 12 p.m.last_img read more

U17 World Cup: Mali, Nigeria set up all-African finale

first_imgNigeria and Mali have set up an all-African final at the ongoing 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.Both teams won their respective semis on Thursday.Mali, African champions, have reached the final of the for the first time ever after coming from behind to defeat Belgium in the first semi. Dante Rigo gave the Europeans the lead on 16 minutes before Boubacar Traore leveled with a sublime effort on 22 minutes. Sidiki Maiga gave the Eaglets the lead ten minutes after the break and Sekou Koita wrapped up the win in the 85th minute.A game later, Nigeria joined them after defeating Mexico 4-2 . The Mexicans dominated the opening half hour, and deservedly took the lead after just seven minutes through a Kevin Magana snap shot from close range.However after wasting a couple of glorious chances, the Nigerians made them pay when skipper Kelechi Nwakali equalised with a well-struck free kick from just outside the area in the 35th minute. A stunning shot from distance ensured Orji Okonkwo gave the reigning champions the lead in the 43rd minute. After the break a magical solo run from Diego Coates ended with the Mexican pulling his team level on the hour mark.Parity lasted just seven minutes before Osinachi Ebere restored Nigeria\’s lead with a powerful angled shot that the goalkeeper got his hand to but could not keep out.Top striker Victor Osimhen then capped the lead from the spot on 83 minutes to become one of three joint-top scorers in the competition’s history. He ties France’s Sinama Pongolle (2001) and Cote d’Ivoire’s Souleymane Coulibaly (2011) with nine goals. He however has a chance to go one better against Mali in the final.It is the second all-African final in the tournament’s history, with Nigeria also involved in the first in 1993 when they beat Ghana 2-1 in Japan.Nigeria, who are the defending champions, have a chance to win their fifth title and pull two clear of the closest rivals. For Mali it is a chance to win their first title in the competition. –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

NBA Finals 2019: Steve Kerr in awe of injury-ravaged Warriors after loss to Raptors

first_imgThe best fans in the world.Thank you, #DubNation pic.twitter.com/GZvrHMbiav— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 14, 2019″I want to congratulate Toronto,” Kerr told reporters. “They’re a fantastic basketball team. Great defensively, share the ball, play a beautiful style, a lot of great two-way players and a lot of veteran players who have been in this league contributing for a long time.”And so I’m very happy for them. Winning a championship is the ultimate in this league, and they have got a lot of guys who have earned this. Congrats to Toronto, to their organization, to their fans, they are a worthy champion.”Let me say a couple of words about our team. It’s actually, it’s hard to put into words how I feel about our team. What I’ve witnessed as their coach over the last five years is just an incredible combination of talent and character and commitment to each other.”This just doesn’t happen. A group of guys like this doesn’t come around together and do what they did over the last five years. And I’ve been lucky enough to be their coach. That’s what I told them in the locker room. I can’t tell you my gratitude in terms of just being put in this position to be with this group and to coach them and to help them.”But I could not be any luckier as a coach to be with these guys every day and to watch them compete and, boy, do they compete. I think they showed that throughout this series and throughout the playoffs.”This team is special. pic.twitter.com/O8fxxma9tu— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 14, 2019Thompson poured in 30 points before he suffered a knee injury midway through the third quarter — the Warriors star later seen on crutches.”It’s amazement that we’re sitting in this position with, during the game we have a chance to win the game and force a Game 7 and go back to Toronto, and you just think, how? How has this group of guys put themselves in position to do it?” Kerr continued. Already missing star Kevin Durant after he ruptured his Achilles in Game 5, Klay Thompson went down with a knee injury as the Raptors went on to seal their first NBA title thanks to a 4-2 series win.It snapped Golden State’s domination after five successive Finals but Kerr was in awe of his team postgame in the Bay Area. Related News Warriors coach Steve Kerr praised his “incredible” team after they dealt with “devastating” injuries in their loss to the Raptors in the NBA Finals.The two-time reigning champions Warriors were dethroned by the Raptors on Thursday following a 114-110 defeat in Game 6 at Oracle Arena. Three questions the Raptors will have to answer this offseasoncenter_img Three questions the Warriors will have to answer this offseason “And then when Klay goes down and is out for the game, it’s just sort of a, you’ve got to be kidding me, like this has to stop. But it’s just the way it’s gone. I don’t know if it’s related to five straight seasons of playing 100-plus games and just all the wear and tear, but it’s devastating.”Kerr added: “It’s just the nature of these injuries, the severity of these injuries. And we’ll know more about Klay. But we can sit here and say, well, if this hadn’t happened or that hadn’t happened, that doesn’t matter.”What matters is Kevin Durant is going to miss next season with an Achilles tear and Klay suffered a knee injury. And we’ll know more before too long. But it’s just brutal. It’s just brutal of what these guys have had to deal with and what they’re dealing with right now.”last_img read more

Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has built a compelling case for world’s best player from the back

first_imgLiverpool allowed 38 goals in the 2017-18 Premier League season, but only eight in the 15 games van Dijk started. When goalkeeper Alisson Becker joined the club for 2018-19, the goals-allowed total plunged to 22 for the season, with 21 clean sheets.”Isn’t everything written about that?” manager Jurgen Klopp asked when the subject of van Dijk’s excellence was broached again. “Good player, good person — it’s awkward to say the same things so often. But it’s part of my life, and so I should get used to it, actually.”Virg was the constant figure in that last line. It felt always good when you saw he’s there. He organized a lot of things on the pitch. One reason is because he wants to make life easier for him. But the other reason, and the other reason is, because it’s right. He’s a fantastic player, and a pretty good signing.” Virgil van Dijk, to date, has scored six goals in this calendar year: two in the UEFA Champions League and three in the Premier League for Liverpool FC, and one in a World Cup qualifier for the Netherlands. He still has another four months to bolster that number before the award is presented, but everyone involved recognizes he could play brilliantly and not score once. A dozen seasons of world soccer have passed since the award known as the Ballon d’Or has been won by someone whose primary duty does not consist of getting the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net.A whole lot of people who do not speak French understand Ballon d’Or translates as “the best footballer on the planet.” The question for 2019 is whether someone who rarely scores can be deserving of the sport’s highest honor.center_img Watch Liverpool vs. Sporting live on fuboTV (7-day free trial) His job as a center back is to keep the other team from scoring, and no field player is doing that better. He handled those duties well enough to be named Premier League Player of the Season for 2018-19. He does it all so well the trophy that has been almost the exclusive province of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi since 2008 might find its way to a defender for the first time since Fabio Cannavaro was chosen for his brilliant World Cup performance in 2006.Wednesday at Yankee Stadium (8 p.m., TNT), van Dijk will be with Liverpool for the final game of its one-week preseason tour of the United States, which will be contested against Sporting CP of Portugal. The first competitive game of the season for LFC will come Sunday, Aug. 4, against Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, and Liverpool’s 2019-20 Premier League season opens Aug. 9 with a home game against Norwich City.Is van Dijk currently the best player on the planet?”He has the head. He has the legs. He has the quality on the ball. He’s very powerful in the air,” Liverpool great Sami Hypia told Sporting News. “I think he’s one of the most complete defenders at the moment. Certainly he deserved to be the best player in the Premier League, and let’s see now if he can extend that to winning the Ballon d’Or, as well.”Ronaldo won the award five times since 2008. Messi won it five times. They finished 1-2 in the balloting nine times in 10 years. But Ronaldo’s 21 goals for Juventus in Serie A and six in Champions League play were similar to many other attacking players in Europe, and Juventus was eliminated from the UCL quarterfinals. Messi produced 36 goals in La Liga and 12 in the Champions League and thus remains a viable candidate, but the specter of Barca’s collapse in the UCL semis — and Messi’s helplessness on that night – lingers. Messi also experienced another frustrating finish with Argentina at the Copa America.Van Dijk does not have obvious, gaudy statistics to impress the voters for the award, primarily journalists who cover the sport.He does have the obscure, nerdy stats they might notice if they’re paying attention. For instance, Opta declared after Liverpool’s victory in the 2019 Champions League that no opponent in van Dijk’s last 64 appearances for the Reds had successfully completed a dribble past him. That’s a staggering statistic that Tottenham’s Lucas Moura, for instance, chose to doubt, but there are people whose business it is to keep track of such things.MORE: The story of 2018 winner Modric’s magnificent careerHypia played 10 years for Liverpool and played the full game when Liverpool executed its miraculous comeback to win the 2005 Champions League title over AC Milan. He also started next to Jamie Carragher in the 2006 FA Cup final, another comeback win for LFC, so he knows a bit about playing center back.“When you see him on the field, he makes everything look so easy,” Hypia told SN. “When you see a game, he is guiding the others, and that’s so important. I think the team is playing better when everyone is communicating, but there are two, three, four players who are a very important part of the puzzle, and Virgil is a very important part of the team.”He’s so powerful and he’s so quick,” Hypia said. “I wasn’t the quickest player. That was maybe my weakness. I wasn’t quick on the field; I was quick in my head. I anticipated and saw the situations earlier than others. I think he has everything.”Liverpool purchased van Dijk from Southampton in December 2017 for $93 million, considered to be a record number for a defender, by others to be outrageous whether or not it was a new high. It has turned out to be, incredibly, a bargain.last_img read more