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ALABAMA NOTEBOOK: Tide breaks losing streak, back in win column

Alabama women s basketball is back in the win column. UA broke its five-game losing streak by piecing together one of its best all-around performances of the season against Tennessee, defeating the Lady Vols for the second-straight time, and the fourth time in program history. Ball security was a huge reason Alabama was successful. Crimson Tide coach Kristy Curry has stressed that limiting turnovers to under 13 per game is crucial in conference play. On Thursday, she was spot-on. Alabama turned the ball over just 10 times against Tennessee, and no player had more than two turnovers for the game. Shelton State transfer Coco Knight had her best game at Alabama, while leading the way to the upset win. The junior guard used 25 minutes to score 16 points, grab eight rebounds and dish three assists. Knight s standout performance set career-highs in minutes, points, assists and rebounds.

The 5-foot-7 Knight trailed only juniors Hannah Cook and Ashley Williams in rebounds against the Lady Vols, and despite her small stature she was able to generate second-chance points by grabbing four rebounds on the offensive end.

The coaches kept telling us to go to the (glass), and that s what I did, Alabama guard Knight said. As a team we had 22 (offensive rebounds), and I think that s the highest we ve had in a while. Teams that finish in the top 10 of the Southeastern Conference standings will get a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament that begins March, 1. Alabama starts the final week of the regular season ranked eleventh in the conference with three games left to play.

Drew Hill

New season marks new careers

The start of the Greg Goff era for the University of Alabama baseball team (2-1) was also the start of several new players careers. Nine players made their UA debut over the weekend, including three of the five relievers used in Alabama s series win over Presbyterian. Freshman Sonny Potter pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Saturday and redshirt freshman Davis Vainer needed just seven pitches to work through the ninth inning on Sunday. Junior college transfer Garrett Suchey pitched three innings on Sunday, giving up two runs.

There will likely be more newcomers on against Southern Miss. The game, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, has been moved to 6 p.m. on Wednesday due to threat of rain.

I definitely think you ll see some guys throw that haven t thrown yet, head coach Greg Goff said. We re still trying to decide who we re going to lock in and throw and our bullpen. When you have a bunch of new guys, in a first year, I ve never seen these guys play a game. For me, we ll kind of get our feet wet as we go. Sophomore righty Brock Love is expected to pitch at some point Wednesday, but some freshmen are still awaiting their turn. Freshman lefthander Garret Rukes hasn t pitched yet, nor has righty Deacon Medders.

Ben Jones

Transfer sees more playing time

In late January, there was reason to wonder if Ar’Mond Davis was going to have a role for the University of Alabama men’s basketball this season. Davis, a junior college transfer from Tacoma, Washington about as far as one can get from Tuscaloosa and still remain on the continental United States was far down the Alabama bench. He played just two two minutes against Georgia and didn’t play at all in a home win against Mississippi State. Then improvement met opportunity. Davis started to see a slight increase in playing time. Then, with the Crimson Tide in foul trouble and fighting to hang on in a four-overtime win at South Carolina, Davis came off the bench to play 38 minutes and score a career-high 19 points. Last Saturday, he added a 16-point performance against LSU.

Crimson Tide coach Avery Johnson said it was part of a season-long maturation for Davis that was not unusual for a junior college transfer.

“I think sometimes when a junior college kid enrolls at a Division I school, especially in a Power Five conference, the immediate thinking is that he really is a junior,” Johnson said after the Crimson Tide victory over LSU. “I disagree with that.

“With some juco kids, it takes a while to understand the entire process — school life at a Power Five (college), the way we travel, the way we practice. Especially when you’re playing for me, that’s not an easy thing to do.

“So there were a lot of growing pains for a long time. But I would say that about three weeks ago, we started to see some progress in the way he practiced, in the maturity level, and we started to get a little more confidence to play him a little more in games.”

Johnson said he was still advising Davis on various matters, on the court and on social media as well.

“In the last game (at Missouri), he didn’t feel well. So he tweeted about it. I told him that probably wasn’t a good thing to tweet about because you don’t to send people thinking that you’re making excuses about going 0-for-4 from the 3-point line.

“He’s a a kid I get after every day (at practice.) He and A.J. (Avery Johnson, Jr.) have some tough skin, because they get it a lot. But he’s responded.”

Cecil Hurt

Gymnastics improves score before postseason

It s time to shake things up in the college gymnastics world. Since most teams have now completed in at least six meets, rankings are determined by regional qualifying score (RQS). This takes a team s top six scores (three of which have to be from away meets), drops the highest and then averages out the remaining five. The University of Alabama is No. 4 with a 197.085 RQS. Oklahoma (197.89), LSU (197.655) and Florida (197.435) go down in order for the top three. Those are the only four programs in the nation with a 197-plus RQS.

Without the RQS, the Crimson Tide would have remained No. 6 with an overall average of 196.803. Scores dropped this week for Alabama included the Arkansas meet (195.325), the Elevate the Stage meet (195.85) and the Florida meet (197.825). All of this is meant to give a more consistent representation of each team s abilities before postseason.

Close call

On Monday, Alabama coach Dana Duckworth said Aja Sims is fine after being pulled from the lineup last Friday. While warming up, Sims fell off the uneven bars, took a hit to the head and underwent concussion protocol. The senior is tied for 10th on the floor exercise with a 9.895 RQS. She also has a season-high 9.975 and is the Crimson Tide s anchor performer.

Guest appearances

Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin will be at Coleman Coliseum on Friday for Alabama s meet against No. 12 Boise State. She was a member of the 2008 U.S. women s gymnastics team that took home the team silver from Bejing, China.

Terrin Waack

Alabama’s Coco Knight (13) moves toward the goal during the first half of a game against Tennessee at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa on Thursday. [Staff Photo/Erin Nelson]

Jordan confronts protesters, finds no common ground

Jordan Confronts Protesters, Finds No Common GroundChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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FREMONT, Ohio (CNN) – Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan acknowledged protesters outside two events in his home district Monday — a break with many other Capitol Hill colleagues who have largely avoided such scenes — but was met with shouts of disapproval. The Ohio Republican, a 10-year veteran of the House and one of its most ardent conservatives, spoke with what his staff and protesters estimated were upward of 150 demonstrators in Marion, Ohio, at the historic home of former President Warren G. Harding. He then headed about an hour north where he talked briefly with a much smaller group of protesters at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library in Fremont, Ohio, before heading into a presidential trivia contest for children (which prompted his former Democratic opponent to claim he was using the kids as “human shields”).

Jordan’s tour of his sprawling Ohio district Monday showed the dilemma for lawmakers eyeing up a repeat of the tea party protests which swept Democrats out of power in Congress in 2010 — but with the fire and the threat coming from the left this time. And it also shows how deep the anger has bled into staunchly conservative territory. Jordan beat his Democratic opponent 68 percent-32 percent last year and President Donald Trump won the district by a similar margin. The first hint of trouble for Republicans came two weeks ago, when Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz was confronted by hundreds of angry protesters at his town hall. Since then, Republican lawmakers have canceled town halls, while others have split town entirely — heading on Congressional delegation trips to spots like the Mexican border and Europe. Meanwhile, some Republicans have fully embraced the fury: Rep. Mark Sanford huddled hundreds of protesters at his South Carolina town hall this past weekend, even walking outside to address an overflow crowd.

Jordan didn’t give it the “Full Sanford” Monday, but he did attempt some outreach — with varying success.

“They may not agree with me, we may share different perspectives,” Jordan said, as a group of protesters laughed outside the Hayes Library. (“No, we don’t agree with you,” yelled one woman, interrupting Jordan.)

“But they’re allowed under the first amendment to speak up, and my job is to listen and tell them where I’m at,” Jordan said, which resulted in one man mocking him: “Listen and give the party line, no real reasons, no in-depth analysis.”

The sight of hundreds of protesters packed outside the Harding presidential home earlier in the day was compelling enough, Jordan said, for him to take questions from the angry crowd. But protesters claimed they had to force him to address them. As Harding Home director Sherry Hall attempted to read through a history of Harding from the wraparound porch, with Jordan by her side, angry protesters chanted at the “Stop Reading!” and yelled “Hold a town hall!” according to video of the event taken by one group of protesters. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell implored his Republican colleagues last week to face protesters and address them (even though he isn’t hosting any town halls himself — opting instead for a trio of closed-door fundraisers).

But the House of Representatives’ chief security officer urged House lawmakers to coordinate police protection for their public events while they were back in their home states. (A pair of Fremont police cars pulled up to Jordan’s second event, but the small number of police just watched while a few dozen protesters milled around outside.)

The showdowns are likely to be a common sight this week — with town halls in Arkansas, New Jersey and Florida acting like magnets for irate Democrats and even some independents who stayed out of politics until Trump took the White House.

Cheryl Laugherty, 62, a retired librarian from Fremont, Ohio, said she didn’t get active in protesting until Trump emerged as a force last year. Since his election, she’s been organizing with other women in northwest Ohio, and stood with a small group protesting Jordan in Fremont.

“It’s been off and on through the years, but his (Trump’s) behavior on the campaign trail this year just clinched it for me. I could not tolerate the way, like he made fun of the handicapped columnist, just things he said,” Laugherty said. “And it hasn’t changed, the belittling of people and the nicknames. It’s juvenile. It’s juvenile bullying.”

Jordan said Monday that it’s up to other Republicans to decide what they want to do, but suggested they honor the First Amendment and hear out the protesters. But Laugherty and others gathered outside the Hayes home Monday quickly pointed out that Jordan has yet to schedule any town halls himself.

Trump’s orders on immigration could shift Mexico’s thinking

A huge surge in detention. Illegal immigrants who came up through Mexico[1] being shipped quickly back to Mexico[2]. National Guard[3] troops arresting illegal immigrants across the West. After years of neglect, immigration enforcement is proving to be a fertile space for action and for speculation, as draft reports leak out of Homeland Security, frightening immigrant rights groups and thrilling President Trump s backers who have longed to see this sort of crackdown. The White House[4] has shot down some of the reports, including a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press that envisioned 100,000 National Guard[5] troops patrolling from Oregon to Louisiana, empowered to arrest illegal immigrants.

There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard[6] to round up illegal immigrants, White House[7] press secretary Sean Spicer[8] told reporters last week, responding to the AP report.

Still, Mr. Trump has gotten off the blocks quickly on immigration, issuing a series of executive orders that, if fully carried out, could fundamentally shift the risk calculus for Mexico[9] and for the hundreds of thousands of Central American illegal immigrants who have streamed through that country en route to the U.S. in recent years.

We ve taken historic action to secure the southern border. And I ve ordered the construction of a great border wall, which will start very shortly. And I ve taken decisive action to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country, Mr. Trump said Saturday night in Florida, holding a campaign-style rally to take stock of his first month in office. He was deploying Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly on Wednesday to Guatemala, source of some of the new surge of illegal immigrant children and families. Mr. Kelly is expected to meet with President Jimmy Morales and observe a return flight of deportees from the U.S. to Guatemala. He ll then travel to Mexico[10], where he and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson will talk border security and trade with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Back home in the U.S., Mr. Kelly is dealing with the fallout from a series of raids rounding up illegal immigrants earlier this month.

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References

  1. ^ Mexico (www.washingtontimes.com)
  2. ^ Mexico (www.washingtontimes.com)
  3. ^ National Guard (www.washingtontimes.com)
  4. ^ White House (www.washingtontimes.com)
  5. ^ National Guard (www.washingtontimes.com)
  6. ^ National Guard (www.washingtontimes.com)
  7. ^ White House (www.washingtontimes.com)
  8. ^ Sean Spicer (www.washingtontimes.com)
  9. ^ Mexico (www.washingtontimes.com)
  10. ^ Mexico (www.washingtontimes.com)
  11. ^ Mexico (www.washingtontimes.com)
  12. ^ Mexico (www.washingtontimes.com)
  13. ^ National Guard (www.washingtontimes.com)
  14. ^ Mr. Spicer (www.washingtontimes.com)
  15. ^ White House (www.washingtontimes.com)
  16. ^ comments powered by Disqus. (disqus.com)
  17. ^ blog comments powered by (disqus.com)
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