Indiana, Maryland battle for NCAA crown
ATLANTA, April 1 (UPI) -- The Indiana Hoosiers and Maryland Terrapins will play for the national collegiate basketball championship tonight in a game that will have a shadow cast over it by a man who will not even be in the Georgia Dome.
Two years after Bob Knight was expelled as coach of the Hoosiers, the man who replaced him will try to guide Indiana to its sixth NCAA title.
Mike Davis, critized by Indiana fans during his first year on the job, has not spoken with Knight during the Hoosiers' run through the NCAA Tournament. But Davis said on the eve of the championship game that even if his team wins, he will not have severed Knight's relationship with the university.
"I think that is the history of this kind of situation," Davis said. "You think of UCLA and Coach (John) Wooden. You think of Alabama and Coach (Bear) Bryant. It will always be there. He will always be remembered. I hope if I am here for a long time or even somewhere else, there will be respect for me."
Maryland, with star guard Juan Dixon leading the way, will be the decided favorite Monday night to win its first national championship. Indiana will try to become the first No. 5 seed to win the title.
But the game itself was shoved somewhat into the background Sunday by comments from Davis, who did not attempt to hide the fact that his style of coaching is different from that of Knight's and that his relationship with the school is not perfect.
Although Davis was hired as interim coach after Knight was fired, he was not given a permanent contract until the 2000-2001 season was almost over. Even then, Knight was still the favorite of many Indiana fans.
Knight is known for his intimidating, confrontational style of coaching and although Knight's name was not mentioned in the question, Davis was asked during his Sunday news conference whether that type of coaching was falling out of favor.
"I hope so," Davis said. "I have a 16-year-old son and I don't want anyone to intimidate him. I get on my guys. But I want them to like me. I think if they like you, they will play hard for you.
"If you have a fear factor, they may play for you. But at the end, they may not. They may say they are tired of it."
Connecticut fights off Oklahoma
SAN ANTONIO, April 1 (UPI) -- The Connecticut Huskies, behind a 20-point effort from Swin Cash, completed an unbeaten season Sunday night by fighting off the Oklahoma Sooners, 82-70, to win the NCAA women's basketball championship.
Connecticut became the second women's team in NCAA history to record a 39-0 season, joining the 1998 Tennessee Lady Vols. It is the third national title for the Huskies, who won all but one of their games this season by at least 10 points.
The Huskies, however, saw what had been a 16-point lead trimmed to six in the final minutes and Oklahoma had a chance to get closer than that with 91 seconds to play when Connecticut's Diana Taurasi missed a three-point shot.
But Cash swept in for the offensive rebound and fed it to Taurasi, who hit a layup and was fouled. The resulting free throw gave the Huskies a 76-67 cushion and six free throws down the stretch by superstar Sue Bird ended any hopes of what would have been a huge upset.
The Sooners, making their first appearance in the Final Four, played the powerful Huskies on even terms for most of the night, but two Connecticut runs in the first half proved to be the decisive moments.
Bird ended a nine-point surge with a basket with 9:18 to play in the first half and she started a streak of eight straight points to end the opening period -- giving Connecticut a 42-30 halftime lead.
Oklahoma (32-4) gave Connecticut what was easily its toughest test of the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies' five previous wins in the tourney came by an average of almost 30 points.
Sorenstam wins fourth major title
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif., April 1 (UPI) -- Wearing bright red shoes, Annika Sorenstam won the first major of the LPGA season Sunday, defending her Kraft Nabisco Championship title in a duel with fellow Swede Lisolette Neumann.
After two-putting for par at the final hole, Sorenstam watched Neumann miss a birdie putt and claimed her fourth career major victory with a four-round total of 8-under-par 280.
Sorenstam became the second repeat winner at this event and the first since it became a major in 1983. Sandra Post won in 1978 and 1979, when the tournament was known as the Colgate Dinah Shore.
The 35-year-old Neumann was unable to hold onto the share of the lead she had through 10 holes. After missing a 15-foot birdie putt at the 18th, she remained winless since 1998, but had her first runner-up finish in two seasons.
Singh captures Houston Open
THE WOODLANDS, Texas, April 1 (UPI) -- Vijay Singh, demonstrating his game is primed for the upcoming Masters, stayed comfortably in front throughout the final round Sunday and won the Houston Open by six shots over Darren Clarke.
Singh has been among the top five money winners on the PGA Tour list each of the last four seasons and he had 15 top-10 finishes in 2001. But this was the first victory on the tour for the native of Fiji since he captured the 2000 Masters.
He shot a 4-under 68 over the TPC-Woodlands course for a four-day, tournament-record total of 22-under 266. Clarke, finished alone in second at 272 following a 71 and Jose Maria Olazabal, also showing he will be a threat in Augusta, fired a 70 for a 273 total. Tied for fourth at 275 were Jay Haas, the leading American in the tournament, and Shigeki Maruyama.
Singh began the day with a three-shot lead over Clarke and it was never less than that. The eventual winner put the tournament away by boldly going for the green at the par-5 13th despite the fact he had a comfortable lead. His second shot just cleared the water and his two-putt birdie gave him a five-shot cushion.
Indians capture Major League opener
ANAHEIM, Calif., April 11 (UPI) -- Bartolo Colon opened the 2002 Major League Baseball season with a dominant five-hitter Sunday night and Travis Fryman homered and scored twice to carry the Cleveland Indians past the Anaheim Angels, 6-0.
Cleveland trimmed its payroll during the offseason with superstars Juan Gonzalez and Roberto Alomar and longtime leadoff hitter Kenny Lofton no longer on the roster. But one of the stars remaining is Colon, a hard-throwing 28-year-old who has a reputation for underachieving.
He was in control throughout Sunday night and became the first pitcher to throw a shutout on Opening Day since former teammate Dwight Gooden accomplished the feat on April 5, 1993 for the New York Mets.
Colon scattered four singles and a double, walked two and struck out five. He allowed a leadoff single in the ninth, but got Troy Glaus to bounce into a double play and retired Brad Fullmer on a weak bouncer to first.
The Sunday night game was the only one schedule, but there are 10 contests on today's schedule.
Lakers rally past Spurs'
LOS ANGELES, April 1 (UPI) -- Derek Fisher's two free throws with 15 seconds left Sunday gave the Los Angeles Lakers a 96-95 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, who lost a lead late in the game because of struggling play from Tim Duncan.
The Spurs then went to Duncan, who was short on a jumper. Los Angeles had a chance for the lead, but Horry committed an offensive foul.
Duncan took a long jumper and was short again and Fisher grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Malik Rose. After Fisher made his free throws, the Spurs called a timeout and Duncan took a practice shot before going to the huddle.
San Antonio isolated Duncan on Shaquille O' Neal and Duncan backed him in before attempting a turnaround. O'Neal blocked the shot as Duncan and the Spurs clamored for a foul as time expired.
Duncan finished with 26 points but had just two in the fourth quarter while making one of nine shots.
Other NBA results: Boston 110, Milwaukee 80; Sacramento 92, Atlanta 91; Dallas 110, Washington 103; Indiana 100, Miami 81; Orlando 97, New York 90; Minnesota 86, New Jersey 85; Toronto 72, Philadelphia 70; Detroit 86, Denver 82.
Blackhawks nip Wild
CHICAGO, April 1 (UPI) -- Alexei Zhamnov and Tony Amonte accounted for the offense and Jocelyn Thibault made 18 saves Sunday as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Minnesota Wild, 2-1.
Chicago inched closer to securing home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The two points earned gives Chicago 91 for the season, second only to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference. The three division winners are guaranteed home-ice advantage in the opening round and Chicago needs 11 points over its final seven games to secure the fourth seed among the eight playoff teams.
Amonte scored his 350th career NHL goal and 25th this season with a hard slap from the slot 5:48 into the third period, beating Manny Fernandez over his left shoulder.
It was the only NHL game played Sunday.
Kent goes on DL
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 1 (UPI) -- Jeff Kent's controversial wrist injury will cost him a week of the regular season.
The 2000 National League Most Valuable Player was placed on the disabled list Sunday by the San Francisco Giants, ending speculation that a speedy recovery might have the second baseman in the Opening Day lineup.
Kent fractured a bone in the wrist on March 1, reportedly while washing his truck. But in the weeks following the injury, reports began to surface that he suffered the injury while riding a motorcycle.
The injury was supposed to sideline Kent four to six weeks, but he was able to participate in exhibition games over the weekend and was hoping to be in the lineup Tuesday against Los Angeles.
Instead, he will not be eligible to be activated until Saturday.
Agassi wins in Miami
MIAMI, April 1 (UPI) -- Ninth-seeded Andre Agassi outdueled No. 12 Roger Federer of Switzerland, 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, Sunday to capture a record fifth career Miami hardcourt title at the $6.44 million NASDAQ 100 Open.
The 31-year-old American collected the $456,000 winner's check and became the oldest player to earn the trophy, which he also won in 1990, 1995, 1996 and 2001.
Agassi became the ninth player in the Open Era (since 1968) to record 700 career singles matches, joining Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Guillermo Vilas, John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras, Ilie Nastase and Boris Becker.
The Las Vegas native also equaled the feat of German Steffi Graf -- his wife -- who won the women's title at Miami a record five times.
Schumacher claims Brazilian Grand Prix
SAO PAOLO, Brazil, April 1 (UPI) -- Four-time World Champion Michael Schumacher of Germany took advantage of a mishap by pole-sitter Juan Montoya and held off younger brother Ralf Sunday to win the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix.
Schumacher recorded his 50th career victory and celebrated on the podium for the 100th time in his distinguished career.
He gained the lead early in the first lap and once Montoya's front wing lifted off his Williams BMW on the same lap, the German driver had virtually little competition the rest of the way.
Schumacher averaged 123.860 miles per hour in his new F2002 Ferrari and finished .588 seconds ahead of his brother, who made it close in his Williams BMW but did not have enough power to take the lead.
David Coulthard of Scotland earned his first points of the year, finishing third in in his McLaren Mercedes.
Michael Schumacher has 24 points and two wins to lead the standings. Ralf Schumacher is second with 16 points while Montoya is third with 14.