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In Sports from United Press International

By United Press International   |   Nov. 8, 2001 at 12:59 AM   |   Comments

Diamondbacks celebrate with parade

PHOENIX, Ariz., Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks paraded around downtown Phoenix Wednesday, then thanked fans at Bank One Ballpark and made a bold prediction.

The Diamondbacks celebrated the first World Series championship in franchise history with a modest parade that started and ended at Bank One Ballpark, where a banner was raised to the rafters in the domed stadium.

In a tribute to those fighting the effects of terrorist attacks in New York, players and family members rode firetrucks through the streets of Phoenix, which attracted thousands of fans.

Once returning to their home ballpark, the Diamondbacks, adorned in black World Series champion T-shirts and purple hats, stood on a stage constructed near second base and thanked fans.

"We're all proud of you for the way you came out in the World Series, stood up to those Yankee fans and showed them what you're made of," said manager Bob Brenly, whose team won the series in seven games.

The loudest ovation was reserved for Randy Johnson, partly because ace righthander Curt Schilling had left town to join his family on a cruise. Johnson won the final two games of the series, the second in relief.

"Before you can have destiny, you have to have a dream," said Johnson, who shared series Most Valuable Player honors with Schilling.

Arizona Gov. Jane Hull, who rode with the team in the parade, told the crowd, "it doesn't get any better than this."

Veteran third baseman Matt Williams thought differently.

"With all respect to the governor, it does get better than this, especially if we win another one," said Williams, whose team became the quickest to a World Series, needing only four years.


Pierce gets the best of Jordan

BOSTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Paul Pierce had a pair of blocks on Michael Jordan in the fourth quarter and Antoine Walker scored 31 points Wednesday night as the Boston Celtics posted a 104-95 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Pierce snubbed an invitation to join Jordan's private workouts over the summer and the pair went at each other during a heated exhibition contest on Oct. 26. Afterward, Jordan stated that he would be ready for Pierce in Wednesday's game.

Pierce blocked Jordan with 5:05 left, but Jordan later scored on a fadeaway jumper to forge an 89-89 tie with just under four minutes to go.

Walker converted a three-point play and Kenny Anderson added a pair of free throws for a 94-89 lead with 3:17 left.

The Wizards isolated Jordan on Pierce once again, but Pierce failed to go for Jordan's headfakes and made an emphatic block. That triggered a two on one fast break as Jordan failed to get back and rookie Joe Johnson dunked and a 96-89 lead with 2:52 to go.

Jordan made 12 of 26 shots for a season-high 32 points while Laettner made 13 of 17 shots for a season-high 29 points.

Other NBA results: Toronto 109, Golden State 92; New York 82, Cleveland 64; Indiana 116, Sacramento 104; Detroit 97, Chicago 73; Los Angeles Clippers 108, Memphis 92.


Sharks battle Stars to tie

DALLAS, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Owen Nolan's shorthanded goal in the second period erased his team's second deficit of the game and Evgeni Nabokov was dominant in the final 38 minutes Wednesday night as the San Jose Sharks battled to a 2-2 tie with the Dallas Stars.

The Sharks have killed off 24 of their last 26 penalties and were able to benefit from having the man disadvantage in the second period, when Nolan beat Ed Belfour on breakaway to tie it with 10:33 remaining.

Nabokov allowed two goals to Dallas' Jere Lehtinen through the first 27 minutes, but stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period and three in overtime. He made 30 saves overall, but San Jose failed to extend its winning streak to six games.

Belfour stopped 29 shots, including five in overtime, when he thwarted a pair of quality chances from Nolan and Mike Ricci. He also recorded his 23rd career assist on Lehtinen's first goal 5:24 into the game.

Dallas remained unbeaten (7


3) in its last 10 games against Pacific Division opponents and is 3-1-2 in its last six meetings with San Jose.

Other NHL results: New Jersey 3, Atlanta 2; Florida 2, Pittsburgh 0; Detroit 3, Phoenix 1.


Galarraga files for free agency

NEW YORK, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- San Francisco Giants first baseman Andres Galarraga and Chicago Cubs second baseman Eric Young were among 12 players to file for free agency Wednesday.

It was the lightest day of the free agency period, which began with 104 players filing Monday. Another 22 filed Tuesday.

Galarraga started the 2001 season in Texas and ended it in San Francisco, where he hit .288 with seven home runs and 35 RBI in just 156 at bats.

Galarraga totaled 17 homers and 69 RBI in 399 at bats during the entire season, his 16th.

Young hit .279 with six homers, 42 RBI and a team-best 31 stolen bases in his second season as the Cubs' leadoff man. He has 377 steals in parts of 10 major league seasons.

Also filing Wednesday was veteran righthander Kevin Tapani, a teammate of Young's the past two seasons. He lost his last four starts and 13 of his final 14 decisions in 2001, going 9-14 with a 4.49 ERA for the year.

Seattle Mariners third baseman David Bell also filed. He helped his team match a major league record with 116 wins, hitting .260 with 15 homers and 64 RBI.

Others to file Wednesday were pitchers Kent Bottenfield of the Houston Astros and Cal Eldred of the Chicago White Sox; catchers Benito Santiago of the Giants, Pat Borders of the Mariners and Carlos Hernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals; and infielders Ron Coomer of the Cubs and Bill Spiers of the Astros.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, who celebrated their World Series title with a parade Wednesday, had one player file, little-used righthander Russ Springer.


Belgium wins in Fed Cup

MADRID, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters set the tone with straight-set victories Wednesday as top seed Belgium blanked Germany, 3-0, in the opening match of the 2001 Fed Cup.

Henin coasted to a 6-3, 6-1 win over Martina Mueller. Clijsters also enjoyed a 6-3, 6-1 rout of Bianka Lamade. In the doubles match, Els Callens and Laurence Courtois of Belgium outlasted Lamade and Barbara Rittner, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1.

In Wednesday's other matchups, fourth seed Russia rallied past the Czech Republic and host and third seed Spain outbattled Australia at the Institute Ferial Madrid.

With the two-time champion United States having withdrawn, Belgium is the favorite heading into the finals because it has the event's top players in Clijsters and Henin.

The seventh-ranked player in the world, Henin earned three titles, reached the final of Wimbledon and was a semifinalist at the French Open.

Clijsters, ranked fifth, also won three tournaments and was within two points of claiming the French Open crown from American Jennifer Capriati.


Ecuador, Paraguay qualify for World Cup

LA PAZ, Bolivia, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Ecuador and Paraguay both clinched berths in next year's World Cup Wednesday, but Brazil missed a chance to do so and finds itself still scrambling to reach soccer's biggest event.

Brazil is the only country to have qualified for every World Cup and has won the title a record four times.

But with just one round of games remaining in the South American qualifying tournament, Brazil has yet to earn its way into the event.

Brazil could have qualified Wednesday night with a victory in the rarefied air of La Paz, but Bolivia scored twice in the second half to hand Brazil a 3-1 setback.

The top four countries from the 18-month South American qualifying tournament earn a spot in next year's World Cup and going into action Wednesday, Argentina was the only nation from that continent to have clinched a spot.

But Ecuador ensured it would finish among the top four by rallying in the second half to record a 1-1 tie against Uruguay.

And when Uruguay could manage only a single point, that meant that Paraguay also would finish in the top four.

Argentina has 39 points, Paraguay 30, Ecuador 30, Brazil 27, Uruguay 26 and Colombia 24. Colombia reached its total with a 3-1 win over Chile Wednesday.

The final round of South American matches will come next Wednesday with Brazil facing Venezuela. A win in that match will see Brazil through to the World Cup, but if the Brazilians should lose or tie and Uruguay should upset Argentina, Brazil would finish fifth.

The fifth-place team from South America will play Australia in a home-and-home series to determine the final berth in the World Cup.


Basketball player charged with terrorist threat

MURRAY, Ky., Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Murray State forward Jamar Avant faces a felony count of first-degree terroristic threatening after allegedly sending e-mailed bomb threats Monday.

The school made the announcement Wednesday, a day after Avant was arrested and placed in Calloway County Jail following an investigation by Murray State University Public Safety.

Avant, a sophomore from Murphysboro, Ill., allegedly sent bomb threats to two individuals on campus via e-mail Monday and was subsequently suspended from the team.

"The university has a zero-tolerance policy regarding this type of action and we regard this as a serious offense, particularly after the events of Sept. 11," athletic director E.W. Dennison said.

Dennison added that Avant will be suspended "from all team activities" until the matter is resolved in court.


NFL fines Damien Robinson $20,000

NEW YORK, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- New York Jets safety Damien Robinson was fined $20,000 Wednesday for "violently and unnecessarily" grabbing the facemask of New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks last Sunday.

The hit provoked a tantrum from Saints tackle Kyle Turley, who responded by grabbing Robinson's facemask. After a scrum at the Superdome, Turley jumped to his feet, tossed Robinson's helmet and used an obscene gesture before being ejected.

The incident occured with the Saints driving for a possible game-tying touchdown in the final two minutes, when Brooks scrambled for a short gain and was on the ground when he met Robinson.

Robinson proceeded to drive Brooks backward by grabbing and twisting his facemask -- something that did not go unnoticed by NFL director of football operations Gene Washington.

"On a run play, after the New Orleans quarterback had been tackled by your teammates, you grabbed him by the facemask and repeatedly pulled and twisted it violently and unnecessarily," Washington wrote in a letter to Robinson.

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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