A Sports Filled Weekend It Was
South Carolina won its first women’s basketball championship, defeating Mississippi State 77-65 in Dallas. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who went to three Final Fours as a player at Virginia, also got her first championship.
It came, oddly, at the expense of the team that ended Connecticut’s 111-game winning streak in overtime on Friday night, keeping the Huskies from trying to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive title. Mississippi State’s 66-64 win over the Huskies was all the more remarkable because UConn had beaten them by 60 points in the tournament last year.
Gonzaga and North Carolina, winners respectively over South Carolina and Oregon in the men’s semifinals Saturday, play Monday night for the championship (9:20 p.m. ET, CBS). This is Gonzaga’s first title game; North Carolina has won five.
Golf: Justice delayed may not be justice at all. Lexi Thompson was leading the ANA Inspiration at Rancho Mirage, California, on Sunday by two strokes and had just bogeyed the 12th hole when she got the news. A viewer of the event had informed the LPGA of a possible rules violation by Thompson in Saturday’s round; the LPGA reviewed the video, agreed, assessed Thompson a two-stroke penalty and then another two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. Goodbye, lead. But Thompson managed to extend the tournament to a one-hole playoff, where she lost to So Yeon Reu. … On the PGA Tour, Russell Henley posted 10 birdies on his way to a 7-under 65 to win the Shell Houston Open. The victory earned him a trip to this week’s Masters in Augusta, Georgia.
NASCAR: Brad Keselowski became NASCAR’s first two-time winner this season with his victory Sunday at Martinsville. He also took over the playoff points lead with 10. Kyle Busch was second by 1.806 seconds.
Baseball: It’s back. Three games were played on Sunday. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-2, the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the San Francisco Giants 6-5 despite Giants’ pitcher Madison Bumgarner’s two home runs, and the St. Louis Cardinals topped the Chicago Cubs, the defending World Series champs, 4-3. Monday brings a full slate of action and, no, President Donald J. Trump will not throw the first pitch at the Washington National’s home opener against the Miami Marlins. While purists have gasped in horror, the Washington Post noted President Barack Obama also skipped that ceremonial toss in 2009 and several other times. Before that, President George Bush passed on a few offers as well.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman