U.S., Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce star to end World Indoor Championships

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
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The U.S. won 12 medals and eight golds to lead all nations in both categories at the finish of the World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Sopot, Poland, on Sunday.

The U.S. led the medal counts for the fourth straight World Indoors, boosted Sunday by the first global championship medals — golds — from Chanelle Price (800m) and Omo Osaghae (60m hurdles) and the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams.

The U.S. men’s 4x400m closed the meet with its only world indoor record — 3 minutes, 2.13 seconds.

The marquee event on the third and final day was the women’s 60m. Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won in 6.98 seconds, the second fastest time this millennium.

Fraser-Pryce, the two-time reigning Olympic 100m champion and world champion in the 100m and 200m, joined countrywoman Veronica Campbell-Brown as the only women to win world titles in the 60m, 100m and 200m.

The Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure took silver in 7.01, followed by American Tianna Bartoletta (formerly Madison) in 7.06.

The seven-time Olympic medalist Campbell-Brown finished fifth in her first meet since it was revealed she failed a drug test in May.

In the 800m, Price shocked the field by winning in 2:00.09, the fastest time in the world this year. Price was the world’s 28th fastest woman in the 800m last year.

Osaghae took the 60m hurdles in a world-leading 7.45, prevailing by .01 and .02 over the French silver and bronze medalists. The U.S. has won every global 60m/110m hurdles championship since 2010, shared among four men.

American Bernard Lagat won silver in the 3000m. Lagat, at 39 years, 87 days old, became the oldest men’s medalist in World Indoor Championships history. Teammate Galen Rupp was fourth.

U.S. Olympic champion Jenn Suhr tied for fifth in the pole vault, won by Cuba’s Yarisley Silva. Silva was second to Suhr at the London Games.

Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba blew away the 3000m field, prevailing by 2.68 seconds but was more than 38 seconds slower than her world record set Feb. 6.

Track and field now enters the outdoor season. Key events include Diamond League meets beginning May 9, the U.S. Championships in Sacramento, Calif., from June 26-29 and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, beginning in late July.

Big road races come first, though. The New York City Half Marathon is next Sunday and includes Mo Farah. Farah is prepping for his marathon debut in London on April 13. The Boston Marathon is April 21.

U.S. Paralympian in good spirits after scary crash

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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