Rodgers, Bartoletta take 100m titles at U.S. Championships

Mike Rodgers
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World and Olympic relay medalists Mike Rodgers and Tianna Bartoletta captured individual 100m titles at the U.S. Championships in Sacramento, Calif., on Friday night.

Rodgers, part of the silver medal 4x100m relay team at the 2013 World Championships, clocked 10.09 seconds into a 1.7 m/s headwind. Ryan Bailey, who was fifth at the London Olympics, took second in 10.23.

Rodgers now looks forward to facing top U.S. sprinters Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay at the next Diamond League meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday. Gatlin has run 9.86 this year. The American record holder Gay’s presence in Lausanne will be his return race from a yearlong doping suspension.

Bartoletta, fourth in the 2012 Olympic 100m running as Tianna Madison, prevailed in 11.15 seconds into a 2.1 m/s headwind in Friday’s final. Defending U.S. champion English Gardner stumbled out of the blocks and finished fourth.

“I really believe that track and field is a metaphor for life, and last year I got hurt,” Bartoletta, who dabbled in bobsledding after the London Olympics but didn’t make it to Sochi, told Lewis Johnson on NBCSN. “Just like a lot of people, there are setbacks, but you find out what you’re made of and what the people around you are made of, and you just keep pushing. I feel like that’s what made me a success so far this year and throughout the whole trajectory of my career.”

The fastest woman Friday withdrew from the final. Tori Bowie ran a personal best 10.91 in the semifinals (with a 2.0 m/s tailwind) and appeared to suffer a left leg injury.

The U.S. Championships continue Saturday with finals including the men’s and women’s 400m and women’s 100m hurdles.

[WATCH LIVEU.S. Championships, Saturday at 4 p.m. ET]

In other Friday events, Olympic silver medalist Trey Hardee won the decathlon with 8,599 points, the highest total in the world this year.

Hardee, set back by injuries last year, had not completed a decathlon since the London Games until posting 8,518 points in Gotzis, Austria, four weeks ago.

He won the 2009 and 2011 World Championships before Ashton Eaton took over as the world’s greatest athlete. Eaton is focusing on the 400m hurdles this year and expected to return to decathlons in 2015.

“I haven’t lost a step, I’m still in it,” said Hardee, 30. “I’m going to love it [the decathlon] ’til I die.”

Olympic champion Jenn Suhr won the U.S. pole vault title for the eighth time, matching 2000 Olympic champion Stacy Dragila‘s record number of titles in the event.

Will Claye beat Christian Taylor in the triple jump, reversing their one-two finish from the London Olympics. Claye leaped a personal best 17.75m on his final jump, having already topped Taylor’s 17.37m. Claye, in a backwards hat, climbed into the stands immediately after his final jump and began hugging and kissing spectators.

Bernard Lagat recorded his seventh U.S. 5000m title, passing Andrew Bumbalough with 100m to go and crossing in 13:31.41. Molly Huddle captured her second 5000m title in 15:01.56.

Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross matched the fastest 400m time in the world this year, 50.03, to reach Saturday’s final. Richards-Ross, plagued by toe problems last year, chopped 1.16 seconds off her previous best time of 2014.

“To be back, close to my old self, I feel so blessed,” said Richards-Ross, who won the Olympic title in 49.55.

World champion LaShawn Merritt scratched out of the 400m semifinals, leaving Gil Roberts as the fastest qualifier for Saturday’s final.

World champion Brianna Rollins, 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson and three-time Olympian Lolo Jones were among 16 qualifiers into the 100m hurdles semifinals Saturday.

The 2011 World champion Jenny Simpson and 2013 Worlds finalist Mary Cain, 18, advanced to Sunday’s 1500m final.

Olympic and World silver medalist Michael Tinsley shockingly failed to advance out of the first round of the 400m hurdles.

USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships broadcast schedule

U.S. women’s basketball team, statistically greatest ever, rolls to FIBA World Cup title

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The revamped U.S. women’s basketball team may have been the greatest of all time.

The Americans completed, statistically, their most dominant global championship ever by routing China 83-61 in the FIBA World Cup final on Saturday in Sydney — giving them 60 consecutive wins between the Olympics and worlds dating to 2006.

It marked the largest margin of victory in a World Cup final since the event converted from a fully round-robin format in 1983.

For the tournament, the U.S. drubbed its opponents by an average of 40.75 points per game, beating its previous record between the Olympics and worlds of 37.625 points from the 2008 Beijing Games. It was just off the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s Dream Team’s legendary margin 43.8 points per game. This U.S. team scored 98.75 points per game, its largest at worlds since 1994.

“We came here on a mission, a business trip,” tournament MVP A’ja Wilson said in a post-game press conference before turning to coach Cheryl Reeve. “We played pretty good, I think, coach.”

Since the U.S. won a seventh consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo, Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles retired. Tina Charles ceded her national team spot to younger players. Brittney Griner was detained in Russia (and still is). Diana Taurasi suffered a WNBA season-ending quad injury that ruled her out of World Cup participation (who knows if the 40-year-old Taurasi will play for the U.S. again).

Not only that, but Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach, implementing a new up-tempo system.

“There was probably great concern, and maybe around the world they kind of looked at it and said, ‘Hey, now is the time to get the USA,'” Reeve said Saturday.

The U.S. response was encapsulated by power forward Alyssa Thomas, the oldest player on the roster at age 30 who made the U.S. team for the first time in her career, started every game and was called the team’s glue and MVP going into the final.

Wilson and Tokyo Olympic MVP Breanna Stewart were the leaders. Guard Kelsey Plum, a Tokyo Olympic 3×3 player, blossomed this past WNBA season and was third in the league’s MVP voting. She averaged the most minutes on the team, scored 15.8 points per game and had 17 in the final.

“The depth of talent that we have was on display,” Reeve said. “What I am most pleased about was the trust and buy-in.”

For the first time since 1994, no player on the U.S. roster was over the age of 30, creating a scary thought for the 2024 Paris Olympics: the Americans could get even better.

“When you say best-ever, I’m always really cautious with that, because, obviously, there are great teams,” Reeve said when asked specifically about the team’s defense. “This group was really hard to play against.”

Earlier Saturday, 41-year-old Australian legend Lauren Jackson turned back the clock with a 30-point performance off the bench in her final game as an Opal, a 95-65 victory over Canada for the bronze. Jackson, who came out of a six-year retirement and played her first major tournament since the 2012 Olympics, had her best scoring performance since the 2008 Olympics.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. women’s basketball team won its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headlined a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, included neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team had nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 60 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The U.S. beat China in the final, while host Australia took bronze to send 41-year-old Lauren Jackson into retirement.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), wasn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule, Results

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium 85, Bosnia and Herzegovina 55 Group A
11:30 p.m. Serbia 81, Mali 68 Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA 145, South Korea 69 Group A
2 a.m. France 67, Japan 53 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 95, Puerto Rico 60 Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia 75, Canada 72 Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 92, South Korea 73 Group A
11:30 p.m. China 81, Belgium 55 Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA 121, Bosnia and Herzegovina 59 Group A
2 a.m. Canada 88, Mali 65 Group B
3:30 a.m. Serbia 68, France 62 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 71, Japan 54 Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. USA 88, Serbia 55 Quarterfinals
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Canada 79, Puerto Rico 60 Quarterfinals
4 a.m. China 85, France 71 Quarterfinals
6:30 a.m. Australia 86, Belgium 69 Quarterfinals
Fri., Sept. 30 3 a.m. USA 83, Canada 43 Semifinals
5:30 a.m. China 61, Australia 59 Semifinals
11 p.m. Australia 95, Canada 65 Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. USA 83, China 61 Gold-Medal Game