BRIDGEPORT, Conn. Each time she recalls how last season ended for the Maryland women s basketball team, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough speaks with a tone of regret. If only she had done more, then perhaps the Terrapins would have been able to send out their seniors amid much more palatable circumstances.
That loss in the second round of the NCAA tournament continues to trouble fellow senior Brionna Jones as well, to the point where she and Walker-Kimbrough indicated they ve been dedicating this season to last year s seniors. The inspiration has pushed Maryland (32-2) one round deeper in this NCAA tournament, where the third-seeded Terrapins will play 10th-seeded Oregon (22-13) on Saturday. The winner of that Bridgeport regional semifinal will face either Connecticut, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, or fourth-seeded UCLA on Monday for a spot in the Final Four in Dallas.
We will never forget how we felt last year, Walker-Kimbrough said. How we sent our seniors out, it shouldn t have went that way, especially all the hard work they ve put in for their four years, so part of us, we ve been playing for them. Like I said, I remember how I felt, so I never want our six freshmen to feel that way.
That s why me and Bri try to lead by example and definitely try to make a statement every time we step on the court. That intent was clear during the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, with Maryland winning by an average of 35 points. During a second-round win against No. 6 seed West Virginia on Sunday in College Park, Jones had 22 points and 11 rebounds for her 24th double-double this season and 57th of her career.
The reigning Big Ten tournament most outstanding player has three straight double doubles and scored at least 22 points in each of her last four games.
I m not sure we ve seen a better post player all year, Ducks Coach Kelly Graves said of Jones. It s incredible. Her positioning, patience, balance, strength, I mean she s the whole package, and I m assuming she s going to have a heck of a pro career.
Walker-Kimbrough, meanwhile, had 28 points on 12-for-18 shooting (67 percent) during a 103-61 victory over No. 14 seed Bucknell in the first round at Xfinity Center. The three-time Big Ten first-team selection has scored at least 19 points in 10 of her last 11 games. Both players also have 681 total points this season, six short of the Maryland single-season record. Vicky Bullett scored 686 in 1988-89.
That s what you expect from your senior leadership, is to bring that kind of experience and then layer it within your team, Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said. I can t say enough for what the two of them have done all season long and continue to do. You can feel their presence on both ends of the floor. I think Bri and Shatori are playing the best defense I ve seen. The Terrapins have limited opponents to 34 percent shooting combined in the NCAA tournament, including just 8 for 32 from three-point range. They ve also forced 38 turnovers in the NCAA tournament while managing to place a premium on their own ball security.
Maryland s 19 turnovers in the first two rounds combined are its fewest over any two-game stretch this season. During the first round, the Terrapins committed five turnovers, their fewest in a game this season, thanks in large part to the poise of freshman point guard Destiny Slocum. The Big Ten freshman has 15 assists and four steals with four turnovers in the NCAA tournament. Slocum is one of six players in program history to log at least 200 assists in a single season. She s also one side to perhaps the most intriguing matchup on Saturday, when Slocum will battle Ducks point guard Sabrina Ionescu, also a freshman. Ionescu was the top-rated point guard coming out of high school last season, according to ESPNw.com, and was selected Pac-12 freshman of the year after collecting four triple-doubles, one short of the conference single-season record.
Slocum was the No. 3 rated point guard as a high school senior and indicated she s somewhat familiar with Oregon s program following an unofficial visit to Eugene when she was in the process of selecting a school. Slocum initially had committed to Washington before reopening her recruitment and deciding on Maryland.
Slocum is part of Maryland s top-rated recruiting class last season that also features Kaila Charles, the 2015-16 Washington Post All-Met Player of the Year. Ionescu was the centerpiece of Oregon s third-ranked class that includes two other freshman starters in 6-foot-4 forward Ruthy Hebard and 6-5 forward Mallory McGwire.
They can score on all three levels, but they re poised, Charles said of the Ducks. They like to run clock. They like to run through their plays, but we like to push the ball. We are poised, but our game is running the floor and pushing the tempo, so if we keep doing that and just play our game, we ll be fine.
- ^ Maryland women s basketball (stats.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ Steinberg: For Terps, ailing 7-year-old is like our little sister (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ against No. 6 seed West Virginia (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ Ducks are Sweet 16 neophytes, but with a blue-chip freshman class (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ 103-61 victory over No. 14 seed Bucknell (www.washingtonpost.com)
Lance Stroll of Montreal, Canada s newest Formula One driver, acquitted himself well during the first and second free-practice sessions for this weekend s season-opening Grand Prix of Australia, even though he was only 16th fastest at end of day.
Because of the time difference, Friday afternoon in Australia was middle-of-the-night in Canada. Those who stayed up late saw Lewis Hamilton who else? go fastest of the 20 cars entered at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne with a time of one minute, 23.620 seconds in his Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel was second fastest in a Ferrari with a time of one minute, 24.167 seconds (he was not happy being a half-second behind) while Valtteri Bottas was third fastest at one minute, 24.176 seconds.
Stroll was 16th fastest, 2.905 seconds slower than Hamilton. However, this was just fine for a driver dipping his toe into F1 waters for the first time and one who was under specific instructions from his team, Williams F1, not to crash his car. Translation: he wasn t pushing.
So far, so good, said Stroll when asked how his day had gone. It was very positive; we had a clean day.
Stroll said the car felt good and that he enjoyed the additional grip, although It made it more physically demanding,
The British commentators – TSN picked up the telecast from the U.K. s Sky Sports were somewhat divided when discussing the 18-year-old Canadian. While most of them had previously labelled Stroll somewhat derisively as a pay driver, conveniently forgetting that all of today s F1 drivers have had to pay their way to race at some point in their careers (Lewis Hamilton had his way paid by McLaren s Ron Dennis), they seemed to be of split opinions this time around.
Ex-driver-turned-TV-commentator Martin Brundle, for instance, was quite favourable when discussing Stroll. He didn t criticize and although not exactly full of praise, was more positive than negative in his analysis of the Canadian s performance.
Some of the others, however, let their attitudes toward anyone from the colonies shine through. When Stroll complained that Kimi Raikkonen was holding him up, the reporting was along the lines of, It s second practice, what do you expect? I guarantee that if any of the other drivers had made a similar complaint, there would have been sympathy in the booth instead of condemnation.
So, as well as being a rookie whose time in the car is limited, as are the laps allowed (Jacques Villeneuve, for instance, had 10,000 miles of testing under his belt before his first race), Stroll has had to take on the media. It s not an easy job.
People forget that the media destroyed Michael Andretti s Formula One career. Yes, he had his problems in the first few races (he stalled on the grid in the first race and crashed at the first corner at the second) but their reporting was frequently beyond the pale. They went after his wife, for instance, for the way she dressed and questioned his dietary habits that included hamburgers rather than muesli.
Ironically, when he quit late in the season, he finished third at the Italian Grand Prix. His podium, I believe, would have been the first of many but he couldn t take the harassment any longer and said the hell with it.
And many of them looked down their noses at Jacques in the beginning. In fact, during the fourth race of his rookie year, the European Grand Prix of 1996, the BBC colour commentator at the time, Jonathan Palmer, spent most of the race criticizing Villeneuve s driving despite the fact that he was in the lead and the second-place driver, a guy named Michael Schumacher, couldn t cut into it, never mind try to pass him.
I was on the Globe and Mail at the time and wrote a column about this lack of objectivity. At that year s Grand Prix of Canada, I was visited in the media centre by a delegation led by a reporter from the Times of London, who wanted to know where I got off criticizing them.
We ve been very fair to him, they harrumphed, but had no reaction when I asked them to show me where, either in print or on the air, they had been as critical toward any of the other Formula One drivers of the day.
When journalists travel in packs, their targets have to have thick skins. I can think of another couple of people who ve found themselves in the crosshairs lately and it s not particularly fun to watch. But I digress.
Pre-qualifying can be seen on TSN5 Saturday morning at 1 a.m. Qualifying comes on at 1:55 a.m. and post-qualifying can be seen at 3 a.m. The race will come on TSN5 Saturday night at 11:30 p.m. with the Australian Grand Prix going to the post on TSN1 and 5 at 12:55 a.m.
POSTSCRIPT: There were several shots of Mercedes pay manager Toto Wolff during the telecast and seeing him reminded me of a story about his wife that I forgot to mention in my column earlier in the week. Suzy Wolff (nee Stoddart), a former test driver for the Williams F1 team and now a promotions representative for Mercedes, has lost her driving licence for six months after being caught going 35 miles an hour in a 30 mph zone. Now, that seems kind of chintzy but it s the old three-strikes-and-you re-out rule, in that she had two previous speeding convictions and had used up nine of the 12 points allowed on her licence. She appealed, citing the embarrassment of the ban, but was rebuffed.
NOW, LET ME get this straight.
Two races ago, Kyle Busch, allegedly an adult, started a fist fight in the pits and then, when he was hauled away by a NASCAR security guard, continued to act like the 10-year-old he is. He embarrassed his team, his sponsors and his sport. He has done this before and as sure as God made those little green apples, will do so again unless somebody lowers the boom on him. For that, though, he was let off Scot-free because, well, according to NASCAR, boys will be boys.
One race ago, Brad Keselowski s car flunked post-race inspection because of what was called a rear-wheel infraction. For this crime, Paul Wolfe, crew chief of Keselowski s car, was suspended for the next three races, fined $65,000 and the team, Penske Racing, and the driver, Keselowski, docked 35 owner and driver points.
I m glad to see that NASCSAR has got its priorities straight.
You can see the Sprint Cuppers in action this weekend on Sunday at California Speedway. The race broadcast on TSN1 and 3 will start at 3:30 p.m. The Xfinity Series race Saturday can be seen on TSN1, 3and 4 at 4 p.m.
TOMMY BYRNE HAS been called the greatest racing driver you never saw. This is not exactly true, because he was employed by Brian Stewart, a team owner from Toronto for a time, and raced at the Molson Indy. But it s true that he never became a household name, which is something that usually happens when racing drivers become great. That Byrne had talent (F3 champion), there is no doubt. But a combination of poor timing, bad breaks and too-hard-living torpedoed his career and he was living in obscurity until Autosport magazine s Mark Hughes wrote a book about him, which has since been made into a documentary film.
The documentary, Crash and Burn (the title of the book is Crashed and Byrned), is going to be shown April 7 and 8 at the Regent Theatre on Mount Pleasant Rd. in midtown Toronto. Presented by Scott Maxwell s Mini Grid shop (just about across the street from the Regent), advance tickets are available at the store or you can purchase them at the theatre.
Tommy Byrne himself is flying to Toronto for the screenings and will be available for autographs and conversation. Says Maxwell: Tommy is quite the story and quite the character. It should be a fun couple of nights.
Bookmark those dates April 7 and 8. I expect most of the racing crowd to show up.
PIT STOPS: The 2017 Toronto International Motorcycle SpringShow, being held this weekend at the International Centre in Mississauga (across from Toronto Pearson airport), is thrilled to announce that Canadian ice road rider Oliver (Brokentooth) Solaro will be appearing. Solar is midway through his latest challenge following the route of French explorer Samuel de Champlain over water and land. Solaro s barely street-legal scalpel -of-a-bike will be on display and he will tell stories of peril, awe, adventure and human kindness. Click on this link to see his featured blog posts: . . . . . NASCAR driver Pete Hamilton has died, age 74. He won the Daytona 500 in 1970 while driving for Richard Petty. He was from Connecticut and was one of the first, if not the first, northern stock car racer to go south to take on the Carolina cowboys and the Alabama Gang. Hamilton ran 64 races in total between 1968 and 1973, winning 12 of 26 races in the Grand American division (now the Xfinity Series). RIP, Pete. . . . . . The top teams in supermodified racing Canadian and American will be shooting for extra points this season in a six-race special series called the Shea Concrete Triple Crown Championship Series presented by ASI Racewear. Participants will race in 10 events at Oswego Speedway in New York (five non-wing events) and along the International Supermodified Association (ISMA) trail (five wing events) and the best three non-wing results plus the three best wing results will determine the six-race points total. The special series will give supermodified owners and drivers chances to earn extra cash. Entered already are Indy 500 veteran Joe Gosek, Dave McKnight Jr. (Gary Morton, owner), Otto Sitterly (John Nicotra, owner), driver-owner Dave Shullick Jr., and car owners Pat Abold, Craig Danzer and Jim Bodnar.
LAS VEGAS (KSNV NEWS3LV)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detectives need your help in identifying and locating two individuals sought in connection with a violent encounter with loss prevention officers of a retail clothing business located in the 4000 block of South Maryland Parkway near Flamingo Road. On March 5, around 6:46 p.m. two men entered the business. While inside, they selected several items and attempted to exit without paying. When confronted by store security, one of the suspects pulled a knife as if he was going to stab the security officer. Both males escaped from the store in a blue, older-model Ford Mustang. The suspects are described as being between 21 to 30 years old, standing about 5 7 and weighing approximately 160 pounds.
Anyone with any information about the identity or whereabouts of these two men is urged to contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 702-385- 5555. Tips leading directly to an arrest or indictment processed through Crime Stoppers may be eligible for a cash reward.