U.S. women upset by Russia in semis

Published September 22, 2006

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Russia beat the two-time defending champion United States 75-68 in the semifinals of the women's World Championship on Thursday night, snapping the Americans' 26-game winning streak in the event.

Russia took advantage of poor shooting and sloppy ball-handling by the United States to take a 58-38 lead after three quarters. The Americans closed to 73-68 with 45 seconds left, but after two missed free throws by Oxana Rakhmatulina with 30 seconds to go, the U.S. team took up almost all of the 24-second shot clock and Candace Parker missed a layup with 12 seconds left.

Russia (5-3) advanced to Saturday's gold medal game against Australia (8-0), which beat Brazil 88-76 in the other semifinal.

The United States' last loss in the worlds was to Brazil, 110-107, in the semifinals in 1994. The Americans had won 51 straight in the worlds and Olympics dating to that loss.

HAWKS: Guard Speedy Claxton is questionable for the beginning of the NBA season after breaking a bone in his left hand. Claxton, injured during a workout Monday, was examined by Dr. Michael Bernot and will see hand specialist Dr. Stephen McCollam today. The 28-year-old, expected to be the team's starting point guard, signed a four-year, $25.5-million deal in July.

HORNETS: The team has requested an option that would allow it to spend a third season in Oklahoma City as a contingency plan if it is unable to return to New Orleans in 2007-08 as planned.


Discovery, 11 riders part

The Discovery Channel team is parting with several riders who helped Lance Armstrong win one or more of his seven straight Tour de France titles.

George Hincapie of the United States, long considered Armstrong's key teammate, is staying with the squad.

Among the 11 leaving: two-time Giro d'Italia champion Paolo Savoldelli of Italy, climber Jose Azevedo of Portugal, Manuel Beltran of Spain, Viatcheslav Ekimov of Russia and Benoit Joachim of Luxembourg.

Uros Murn of Slovenia and Gianni Meersman of Belgium are joining the squad.

WORLD ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland won the time trial in Salzburg, Austria, while David Zabriskie finished second to give the United States its third medal at the competition. Cancellara ended the three-year reign of Australia's Michael Rogers, who was eighth. Zabriskie, the U.S. champion, was the runnerup, 1 minute, 30 seconds behind. Spanish Vuelta winner Alexandre Vinoukourov dropped his chain early in the race and finished third. The championships end with the men's and women's races this weekend.

MEDALIST BANNED: World championship medalist Barry Forde, 29, has been banned for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after testing positive for high levels of testosterone in October in France.


TENNIS: Top-ranked Amelie Mauresmo won her China Open debut to set up a quarterfinal matchup with fifth-seeded Lindsay Davenport in Beijing. Mauresmo cruised past China's Sun Tiantian 6-3, 6-2, and Davenport eliminated China's Zheng Jie 6-2, 7-6 (7-4). Third-seeded Nadia Petrova and No. 6 Jelena Jankovic also won second-round matches in straight sets. ... Andreja Klepac, ranked 244th and playing before home fans, upset fifth-seeded Romina Oprandi 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals of the Slovenia Open in Portoroz. ... Fifth-seeded Sania Mirza withstood a tough first set before a cheering home crowd and defeated Sandra Kloesel 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Sunfeast Open in Calucutta, India. ... Marat Safin was picked ahead of fifth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko and opens against Andy Roddick today when Russia plays the United States in the Davis Cup semifinals in Moscow. In today's other singles match, Mikhail Youzhny will play James Blake.

HORSES: Mr. Feelgood took the lead coming out of the final turn in Delaware, Ohio, and held off Cactus Creek to win the Little Brown Jug, the second leg of the Triple Crown for 3-year-old pacers. Mr. Feelgood, the 9-5 favorite driven by Mark MacDonald, drew the favorable No. 1 post position for the final but lost the rail out of the starting gate. MacDonald moved the colt from second to first down the stretch and won the Jug for the first time in 1:50 3-5.

SOCCER: Two players in Italy's top league - Sampdoria's Francesco Flachi and Atalanta's Moris Carrozzieri - were suspended for two months for illegal betting. Flachi and Carrozzieri, who played for Sampdoria from 2003-05, were accused of using a third party to place bets on games during the past two seasons after contacting other players for information.