UNCASVILLE, Conn. - Yolanda Griffith made the most of her first appearance in the WNBA Finals, scoring 25 points Wednesday night as the Sacramento Monarchs beat the Connecticut Sun 69-65 to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The Monarchs lost both regular-season meetings but used a strong inside game, anchored by Griffith, to hand Connecticut a rare home loss. The Sun, making its second straight appearance in the finals, had lost only three games all year at the Mohegan Sun arena coming in. Game 2 is tonight in Connecticut.
Cuba erases U.S.
The United States was eliminated from the World Cup with an 11-3 loss to defending champion Cuba in the quarterfinals.
Cuba has won the tournament 11 of the 12 times it has been held.
The United States fielded a team of professionals who were not on major-league rosters.
New Orleans Hornets owner George Shinn and six players will deliver goods to hurricane victims at three evacuation shelters in Baton Rouge today.
Louisiana natives P.J. Brown and Brandon Bass will join teammates J.R. Smith , Chris Paul , Chris Andersen and David West in touring the shelters.
In other developments:
--Philadelphia 76ers forward Chris Webber has set up donation drives in his hometown of Detroit this weekend to help children displaced by the storm.
-- Bruce Clark , a Penn State All-American whose NFL career led him to New Orleans more than two decades ago, has decided to call Happy Valley his home after the storm destroyed his house in the New Orleans area. While Clark has accounted for most of his extended family in Louisiana, he hasn't heard from a sister, two nieces and his 10-year-old daughter, who was with her mother in Covington, La.
--Fair Grounds Race Course will run a 37-day thoroughbred meet at Louisiana Downs without the track's Kentucky Derby prep. Churchill Downs Inc., which owns the New Orleans track, said Tuesday it has reached a preliminary agreement with Louisiana horsemen to hold the shortened meet at the Bossier City track from Nov. 19-Jan. 22.
Top-seeded Lindsay Davenport began her bid for a fourth title this season by beating Rika Fujiwara of Japan 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the Wismilak International on Wednesday in Bali, Indonesia.
CHINA OPEN: Top-seeded Rafael Nadal finally played at the Beijing event Wednesday, beating Taiwan's Wang Yeu-tzuoo 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the second round. Nadal's first match since his third-round defeat at the U.S. Open was delayed two days while Wang completed business in Turkey.
SOCCER: Ronnie O'Brien's unassisted goal in the 20th minute led FC Dallas to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire in the semifinals of the U.S Open Cup. The win advances FC Dallas to the final for the first time since winning the tournament in 1997.
CYCLING: Defending champion Robert Heras retained the overall lead in the Spanish Vuelta and Carlos Garcia Quesada won the 17th stage in a mountain route outside Madrid. Garcia Quesada , who rides for Comunitat Valenciana, won the stage in 3 hours, 51 minutes. Francisco Mancebo of Illes Balears was second, 46 seconds behind, followed by Phonak rider Santos Gonzalez.
DENNIS RODMAN: A judge signed an arrest warrant Wednesday in Breckenridge, Colo., for former NBA star Dennis Rodman after he missed a court appearance on alleged traffic violations, including speeding at 98 mph. Rodman could be arrested if he returns to Colorado.