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Breanna Stewart top pick in WNBA draft
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Breanna Stewart is the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, going to the Seattle Storm on Thursday night.
UConn’s 6-foot-4 star averaged 19.4 points and 8.7 rebounds to lead the Huskies to a fourth consecutive national championship. She became the first player in NCAA history to earn most outstanding player of the Final Four all four years. Stewart is the fifth Huskies player to be taken first in the draft.
It marked the second straight season that the Storm had the top pick in the draft. Seattle took Jewell Loyd first last year. The team also had back-to-back No. 1 selections in 2001 and 2002 when Seattle drafted Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird.
Rip City Return: Blazers make playoffs despite doubters
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — For the regular season finale, the Portland Trail Blazers passed out T-shirts reading “Never Doubt Rip City.”
Just in case there are still some doubters, the “never” is underlined.
The Blazers defied preseason expectations and made the playoffs, claiming the fifth seed in the Western Conference. They open their third straight postseason on Sunday in Los Angeles against the Clippers.
It’s almost as if the Blazers succeeded despite the cynics.
“One person picked as what, 15 out of 15 in the West? I mean, the list goes on. I think everybody felt disrespected, like that’s not what our season is gonna be,” guard Allen Crabbe said. “It was everybody’s goal since training camp that we were gonna play hard and it was us against everybody. Everybody stuck with that: We got better as the season went along and we had a helluva season.”
Portland was expected to reach the playoffs last season — and did — with a starting lineup that included Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez. But Matthews’ late-season Achilles injury messed with the team’s chemistry, and they were eliminated in the first round by a strong Memphis team.
Going into this season, the playoffs seemed a longshot.
PORTLAND ST-PLAYER DEATH
Portland State OL Kyle Smith dies, circumstances unknown
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland State senior offensive lineman Kyle Smith died Wednesday night at his downtown apartment, the team said.
Additional details were not immediately known. Smith was a three-year starter at left tackle for the Vikings after redshirting his first year.
The team’s Thursday morning practice was cancelled.
“Right now we have two concerns, Kyle’s family and our football players,” coach Bruce Barnum said in a statement. “The program is being tested but we will come out of this on top.”
Another Portland State player, linebacker AJ Schlatter, died in January after complications from tonsil surgery.
Players involved in video game settlements seeing payoff
SEATTLE (AP) — College athletes who sued the NCAA and video-game maker Electronic Arts over the use of their likenesses are seeing the payoff.
Attorneys at the Hagens Berman firm said Thursday they mailed out the first checks last week to roughly 15,000 of the 24,000 players eligible to receive money. The law firm said the median check was about $1,100, though some were written for as much as $7,600.
The money comes from two settlements reached in 2014 for a combined total of $60 million. The plaintiffs said the NCAA and EA illegally used college football and basketball players’ names and likenesses in video games for years.
Hagens Berman also has extended a deadline for another 7,000 athletes to send in a W-9 to avoid paying taxes on the settlement.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.