In Sports from United Press International

Jan. 17, 2003 at 12:27 AM
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Del Rio becomes Jaguars coach

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Jack Del Rio accepted the head coaching position with the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday.

A team spokesman confirmed the hiring to the Jacksonville Times-Union and said a news conference would be held Friday to introduce Del Rio.

Del Rio, a linebacker during his playing days, was hired off the staff of the Carolina Panthers. He was Carolina's defensive coordinator for one year and the Panthers finished this season with the second-ranked defense in the league.

He will replace Tom Coughlin, who had been the only coach in team history until being dismissed on Dec. 30.

Del Rio played collegiately at Southern California and then in the NFL with New Orleans, Kansas City, Dallas and Minnesota. He began his coaching career in 1997 as an assistant with New Orleans, moved to Baltimore in 1999 and joined the Panthers in 2002.

With Del Rio taking over in Jacksonville, the only the NFL team without a coach is San Francisco.

Davenport, Venus advance at Australian

MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Lindsay Davenport stormed to a third-round victory at the Australian Open Friday.

Venus Williams, meanwhile, needed to turn it on to keep from having to endure a third set.

Davenport, the ninth seed, continued to dispel any concerns about her form by coasting past Tatiana Panova, 6-2, 6-1. Williams, seeded second behind sister Serna, found herself trailing, 4-2, in the second set against Germany's Anca Barna. But Williams won the last four games of the match to dispose of Barna, 6-1, 6-4.

Davenport, winner of this Grand Slam event two years ago, struggled to get past world No. 57 Iroda Tulyaganova in three tight sets in the previous round. But there was no difficulty against the Russian, winning in 53 minutes.

She became the first woman to reach the fourth round and will next meet fifth-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne, who easily defeated Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, 6-2, 6-0.

Davenport was joined in the fourth-round by unseeded Australian Nicole Pratt, who defeated Argentinean Paola Suarez, 7-5, 6-4, in front of a boisterous home crowd on Rod Laver Arena.

It is the first time in 10 years that an Australian woman has made it through to the round of 16. Nicole Provis was the last to do so in 1993.

Pratt, the highest ranked Australian at No. 54, was down a break at 3-4 in the second set against her higher-ranked opponent, but managed to run away with the final three games to seal the match.

Jordan carries Wizards with 32 points

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Michael Jordan scored 20 of his 32 points in the first quarter Thursday night to carry Washington past Orlando, 108-93.

Larry Hughes added 22 and Brendan Haywood chipped in a season-high 16 for Washington, which overcame the loss of leading scorer Jerry Stackhouse with a balanced attack.

Christian Laettner scored 15 points and Haywood made six of nine shots as Washington shot 51 percent and improved to 13-0 when scoring more than 100 points.

Jordan made six of nine shots in the first quarter as Washington jumped to a 38-22 lead. The Magic rallied to tie it in the third, but the Wizards pulled away with a 14-2 run early in the fourth.

Senators stay unbeaten since bankruptcy

OTTAWA, Ontario, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The Ottawa Senators finally yielded a goal but not much else Thursday night in a 3-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Marian Hossa celebrated his addition to the All-Star team with a pair of goals.

Since filing for bankruptcy protection a week ago, Ottawa has reeled off four wins and outscored opponents, 13-1. The Senators' bid for a fourth straight shutout ended with 5:41 to go when rookie Stanislav Chistov scored a power-play goal. But they remained atop the NHL standings with 64 points.

Hossa and Ottawa defenseman Zdeno Chara were among 15 players added to the Eastern Conference roster for next month's All-Star Game in Florida. The announcement came after the 24-year-old Slovakian scored his 29th and 30th goals to climb within one of the league lead.

Patrick Lalime recorded shutouts in each of the last three games but was given the night off as rookie Martin Prusek returned from a six-game absence due to a groin injury.

Prusek extended the Senators' shutout streak to a team-record 244 minutes, 5 seconds before Chistov converted a centering pass from Patric Kjellberg to get Anaheim within 2-1.

Other NHL results: Philadelphia 4, Montreal 1; New York Islanders 3, St. Louis 2 in overtime; Minnesota 5, Vancouver 2; Nashville 2, Calgary 2; Detroit 4, Colorado 2; Edmonton 2, Los Angeles 0.

Goosen, Perry lead in Hawaii

HONOLULU, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- South African Retief Goosen and Kenny Perry carded 6-under-par 64s Friday to share the lead after one round of the Sony Open.

The tournament is the first full-field event of the season on the PGA Tour.

Goosen and Perry were one shot ahead of Chris Riley, Chris DiMarco and Brenden Pappas and two in front of a large group that included Ernie Els.

After last week's birdie fiesta in the season-opening Mercedes Championships on Maui, low scores were considerably harder to come by in a moderate breeze at Waialae Country Club.

But they were not impossible as Goosen and Perry showed. After tying for fourth last week, Goosen's hot start was no surprise. Perry, however, turned in an unexpected performance.

Perry spent the offseason revamping his swing and arrived here with few hopes. He was 1-over after eight holes when he suddenly caught fire, picking up an eagle at the ninth and adding five back-nine birdies.

Baseball hopes to spice up All-Star Game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Less than a year after baseball's All-Star Game went unresolved, the annual contest may take on more significance than ever.

Major League Baseball owners voted unanimously Thursday to give the league that wins the All-Star Game home-field advantage in the World Series.

The move must be approved by the MLB Players Association and it is by no means certain that it will do so.

The sport suffered a public relations disaster last July when the All-Star Game ended in an 11-inning tie.

"We really think this takes the All-Star Game to a level it deserves," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "And frankly, the people who are paying $200 a ticket and all the other costs involved also deserve it. I think the fans, once they see the game under these circumstances, will appreciate how good this can really be."

While the All-Star Game has had little impact on the national pastime, home-field advantage in the "Fall Classic" has been critical. All but two of the last 17 World Series champions have had home-field advantage and the last eight decisive Game 7s have been won by the home team.

Yao Ming picked for rookie game

NEW YORK, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Yao Ming of China and Pau Gasol of Spain are among a record six international players selected for the NBA Rookie Challenge.

That game will be played Feb. 8 as part of All-Star Saturday in Atlanta.

Yao the first overall pick in the 2002 draft, would miss the rookie game if he is selected for the Western Conference's All-Star team. He led the latest fan balloting at the center position.

Yao is one of three international players on the rookie team while Gasol, the reigning Rookie of the Year, heads the squad of second-year players. Each team was selected by a panel of 14 former NBA players and broadcasters that cover the league.

Joining Yao on the rookie team are Memphis' Gordan Giricek of Croatia and Denver's Nene Hilario of Brazil. International players teamming with Gasol on the sophomore squad are Utah's Andrei Kirilenko of Russia and San Antonio's Tony Parker, who hails from France.

Jim Phelan announces retirement

EMMITSBURG, Md., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Mount St. Mary's Jim Phelan, the nation's winningest active coach, will retire at the end of this season.

Phelan is fourth on the career wins list with 824, behind only Dean Smith (879), Adolph Rupp (876) and Clarence "Big House" Gaines (828). The 73-year-old Phelan is in his NCAA-record 49th season as a coach at Mount St. Mary's.

Known almost as much for his trademark bow ties as for his coaching, Phelan has coached in more basketball games than anyone -- 1,339 entering Saturday's meeting with Long Island.

"The decision to step down was made much earlier," Phelan said Thursday. "I had discussed it with several of my close friends and decided that the time was right. Certainly, healthwise, I feel fine, but the energy needed for the virtual year-round recruiting just isn't there."

Phelan has led the Mountaineers to 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1962 College Division national title, when the school competed at the Division II level. He led the team to five trips the semifinals of the Division II Tournament.

NBA reinstates Stanley Roberts

NEW YORK, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- More than three years after being banned from the league for drug use, Stanley Roberts was reinstated by the NBA Thursday.

A 7-foot center, Roberts was expelled Nov. 24, 1999 after testing positive for an amphetamine-based designer drug. He could not apply for reinstatement for at least two years.

Roberts, who turns 33 next month, was with the Philadelphia 76ers at the time of the expulsion. If the 76ers decide against signing Roberts, he will become a free agent.

The Sixers have an immediate need at center with Todd MacCulloch suffering from a condition that affects his nervous system. He sat out Wednesday night's 108-107 victory over New Jersey and is expected to miss at least two more games.

In five games during the 1999-2000 season, Roberts scored 10 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

Also plagued by injuries during an eight-year career, Roberts has averaged 8.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in 300 NBA games. He has battled weight problems as well, playing at 290 pounds three years ago.

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