Shaun White skips Copper Mountain halfpipe

Shaun White
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Shaun White is not entered in the halfpipe but still plans on competing in slopestyle at the second Olympic selection event in Copper Mountain, Colo., as he returns from an ankle injury.

The two-time reigning Olympic champion was not on the halfpipe start lists released Tuesday for Wednesday’s qualification heats. The public relations director for Shaun White Enterprises confirmed White’s absence from halfpipe Tuesday night.

White, 27, was questionable for Copper Mountain after suffering an ankle injury in a crash in the Dew Tour halfpipe final in Breckenridge on Saturday. He pulled out of the slopestyle final Sunday.

U.S. Snowboarding and the public relations director for Shaun White Enterprises previously said White planned on competing in both halfpipe and slopestyle in Copper Mountain this week.

White’s absence in the halfpipe will not have much impact on his Olympic qualification given he already has a second-place finish from Breckenridge, there are three more selection events after this week and he could be placed on the U.S. Olympic Team as a discretionary selection.

The Olympic selection standings are based on an athlete’s two best results over the five-event series.

White’s entry in his second event, slopestyle, is more important. Those entry lists should come out late Wednesday for Thursday qualifying.

The Copper Mountain slopestyle is key for White because he doesn’t have the necessary International Ski Federation (FIS) points in slopestyle to qualify for the Sochi Olympics yet.

Copper Mountain is the single Olympic selection event of the five-event series that doubles as an FIS World Cup event, meaning White can pick up the necessary FIS points this week if he competes.

If White doesn’t compete in Copper Mountain slopestyle, he would have to travel to Stoneham, Quebec, in January for an FIS World Cup that takes place at the same time as the final Olympic selection event in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

NBCSN will have coverage of action from Copper Mountain on Saturday from 2-3 p.m. ET. NBC will have coverage on Sunday from 2-4 ET.

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Dmitriy Balandin, surprise Olympic swimming champion, retires

Dmitriy Balandin
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Dmitriy Balandin, the Kazakh swimmer who pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2016 Rio Olympics, retired at age 27.

“Today I would like to announce the end of my sports career,” Balandin said last week, according to Kazakhstan’s Olympic Committee. “I am still inspired. A new phase of my life begins. I have a lot of cool projects in my head that will soon be implemented.”

Balandin reportedly has coaching aspirations.

In 2016, he won the Olympic men’s 200m breaststroke out of lane eight as the last qualifier into the final. He edged American Josh Prenot by seven hundredths of a second and became Kazakhstan’s first Olympic swimming medalist.

He followed that up with 11th- and 17th-place finishes in the breaststrokes in Tokyo last year.

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U.S. women’s basketball team scores most points in FIBA World Cup history

Brionna Jones
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SYDNEY — A’ja Wilson and the U.S. put on quite a show, breaking the World Cup scoring mark in a record rout of South Korea.

Brionna Jones scored 24 points and Wilson added 20 to help the U.S. beat South Korea 145-69 on Monday. Shakira Austin’s layup with 9 seconds left helped the Americans break Brazil’s record of 143 points set in 1990.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a team that can score the basketball like this,” Wilson said. “This is crazy, we put up 145 points. I think when you look at us and just knowing how talented we are, we just came together and we play together very, very well.”

The U.S. always has the most talented and deepest roster of any team in the World Cup with 12 WNBA stars on the roster. Still, the Americans had never come close to that sort of offensive output during it’s storied World Cup history. The previous team record was 119 points against Angola in 2014 and China in 2006. The scoring margin was also the biggest in U.S. history as well surpassing the 75-point win over Angola in 2014.

The win was also the 26th in a row in World Cup play for the Americans, who haven’t lost since the 2006 semifinals when they fell to Russia. The U.S. also won 26 in a row from 1994-2006. The Soviet Union holds the World Cup record with 56 straight wins from 1959-1986.

MORE: FIBA World Cup Results

What started with Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Sylvia Fowles has now been passed on to Breanna Stewart and Wilson. A legacy of excellence that doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon.

The U.S. (4-0), which has been playing stellar defense, was challenged by South Korea early. The teams were trading baskets for the first 8 minutes and it was tied at 21 before the Americans took control, scoring the final 11 points of the period.

Kahleah Copper came off the bench for the first time of the tournament and scored six points during that spurt. The Americans kept the streak going to start the second quarter, scoring nine of the first 11 points to put the game away.

By the time the game reached the half the U.S. was up 68-40, including scoring 44 points in the paint against the undersized Koreans.

“We were trying to get the ball inside,” Jones said. “We had an advantage there.”

The only suspense in the second half was how many records the Americans could break. They took down their own scoring mark on Sabrina Ionescu’s 3-pointer with 6:15 left in the game and kept putting up points with Austin’s layup capping off the contest.

Other records broken on Monday included the 62 field goals made, 36 assists and 94 points in the paint.

“Our size was a problem for them and I thought we shared the ball,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said.

The Americans were well rested for the game after having their first day off of the tournament on Sunday.

Despite the rout, South Korea (1-3) can still advance to the quarterfinals with a win over Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Leeseul Kang, who had 37 points in a win over Bosnia and Herzegovina, scored 10 points. Hyejin Park had 17 to lead the team.

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