- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 31, 2015


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Getting to the Final Four never gets old for Geno Auriemma and his UConn Huskies.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 27 points to help UConn beat Dayton 91-70 in the Albany Regional final to advance to the national semifinals for an eighth straight season. Now the Huskies stand two wins away from a third straight national championship. They accomplished that same feat from 2002-04.

Unlike the first three games of the tournament when UConn won by an average of nearly 48 points, the Huskies got all they could handle from the seventh-seeded Flyers, who weren’t intimidated by the top seed for the game’s first 20 minutes. Trailing at the half for the first time in two seasons, UConn scored the first nine points of the second half during a 15-3 run to take a 58-47 lead with 13:56 left.

A little more than a minute later, Mosqueda-Lewis hit her fifth 3-pointer of the game giving her 393 in her career to break the NCAA record for 3s. That made it 62-49. Dayton (28-7) couldn’t get within seven the rest of the way.

UConn will play Maryland in the national semifinals Sunday night.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Lexie Brown felt the need to apologize.

Every shot she took in the regional semifinals failed to fall through the net and even though Maryland advanced, she believed an expression of regret was in order.

Words weren’t needed. Brown’s actions on Monday night were plenty, helping lead Maryland back to the Final Four for the second straight year.

Brown scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half, Brionna Jones added 14 points and nine rebounds and top-seeded Maryland advanced to its second straight Final Four with a 58-48 win over Tennessee in the Spokane Regional final.

Brown hit three 3-pointers in the second half as the Terrapins (34-2) overcame their lowest-scoring first half of the season to knock out Tennessee from the NCAAs for the second straight year.

Last year, it was an upset of the Lady Vols in the round of 16. This time, Maryland was the favorite and played as such, closing the game on a 17-4 run and holding Tennessee to just one field goal over the final 5 minutes.


NEW YORK (AP) - St. John’s has decided its basketball future rests with the best of its past.

Chris Mullin, St. John’s all-time leading scorer and still the face of its basketball program three decades after his career ended, has agreed to coach the Red Storm, a person with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on Monday.

Mullin, who led St. John’s to the Final Four in 1985, has never coached at any level. He replaces Steve Lavin who agreed to leave last week, after five seasons during which the Red Storm reached the NCAA Tournament twice.

Mullin, a New York native, was a five-time All-Star with Golden State, a member of the USA’s gold-medal winning “Dream Team” in 1992 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. He was presented for induction by his coach at St. John’s, Hall of Famer Lou Carnesecca.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) - East Tennessee State has hired Wichita State assistant Steve Forbes as its next basketball coach.

Forbes replaces Murry Bartow, who was fired March 13 after going 224-165 with three NCAA Tournament appearances in 12 seasons. ETSU earned the most recent of those NCAA invitations in 2010.

The 50-year-old Forbes spent the past two seasons at Wichita State after going 62-6 in two seasons as the head coach at Northwest Florida State, a junior college in Niceville, Florida.

Forbes has connections within the Volunteer State from his five years working as an assistant on Bruce Pearl’s Tennessee staff.


ATLANTA (AP) - In the midst of two losing seasons, the Atlanta Falcons tried to pump up the noise.

It’s going to cost them.

The NFL announced it had fined the team $350,000, stripped away a draft pick and suspended team president Rich McKay from the league’s powerful Competition Committee for at least three months after the Falcons conceded pumping artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta must forfeit its fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft. If the team has multiple picks in that round, the highest selection will be taken away.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Peyton Manning will have to do without his top target this offseason unless the Denver Broncos reach an agreement with Demaryius Thomas on a long-term contract.

The star receiver said that without a deal, he’ll skip the team’s offseason workouts that begin April 13 and bypass Manning’s annual passing camp next week at Duke.

Thomas said he’ll stay in Georgia, where he’ll continue rehabbing his right ankle, which was hurt Dec. 3 when a teammate stepped on him, hampering him down the stretch.

Thomas echoed general manager John Elway’s recent assertion that the goal was to get a long-term deal done “as soon as possible.” If the talks do reach an impasse, he said he’d sign the Broncos’ $12.8 million franchise tender by the July 15 deadline.


NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Oklahoma has suspended running back Keith Ford indefinitely for academic and team rules violations

Ford was Oklahoma’s top rusher and one of the Sooners’ top receivers last season before he broke his right leg in the third game against Tennessee and missed the next five games. Samaje Perine took over as the lead back and finished with 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Ford finished last season with 392 yards and five touchdowns rushing and 140 yards and another score receiving. He was the team’s best pass catcher out of the backfield, and he was good enough to temporarily regain his starting spot after returning from his injury.


KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) - Venus Williams beat former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 7-6 (1) to reach the Miami Open quarterfinals. Williams is a three-time Key Biscayne champion, but her most recent title came in 2001. Seeded 16th, she’s into the quarterfinals at the tournament for the first time since 2012.

She could meet her sister Serena in the final. Serena, who has won the tournament a record seven times, advanced by beating 2006 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3.

American Sloane Stephens made it to the final eight at Key Biscayne for the first time by beating 18-year-old Belinda Bencic 6-4, 7-6 (5).

In men’s third-round play, four-time champion Novak Djokovic defeated qualifier Steve Darcis 6-0, 7-5 and will next face Alexandr Dolgopolov. No. 4 Kei Nishikori and No. 5 Milos Raonic also won.

No. 22 John Isner, the lone remaining American in the men’s draw, defeated No. 9 Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (2), 6-2.

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