Kobe scores 40, Lakers hold off Blazers 111-107
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored 40 points, Dwight Howard had 19 points and 16 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers capped a trying week with a gritty 111-107 victory over the slumping Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Hours after longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss was buried, and a day after a moving memorial service punctuated by eulogies from Bryant and other franchise greats, the team got back to basketball with a much-needed victory at Staples Center.
Bryant scored 11 points in the final 5½ minutes and the Lakers won for the seventh time in 10 games. They remained ninth in the Western Conference playoff race, 3½ games behind Houston for the final spot with 26 remaining. Portland trails Los Angeles by 1½ games.
Judge rejects case challenging Seattle arena deal
SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington state judge has rejected a lawsuit aimed at undoing a deal to build a new professional basketball and hockey arena in Seattle — a key part of plans to bring the NBA back to town.
King County Superior Court Judge Douglass North held that the agreement between the city of Seattle, King County and an investment group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen does not violate state environmental law.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is concerned that adding a third stadium to the area south of downtown would choke freight traffic and cost jobs. The union sued, saying an environmental review should have preceded any agreement.
The judge disagreed, saying the agreement technically set out a framework for a future deal, but didn't commit the city or King County to building an arena south of downtown.
Gyorko slam leads Padres over Mariners 9-3
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Second base prospect Jedd Gyorko hit a grand slam off Hector Noesi in a six-run first inning, and the San Diego Padres rolled to a 9-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Friday in the spring training opener for both teams.
In a game that marked the 20th anniversary of the Peoria Sports Complex, the shared home of both clubs, Chris Denorfia had a go-ahead RBI single in the first following an error by new Mariners left fielder Raul Ibanez. Noesi forced in a run with a bases-loaded to Will Venable, his 11th batter, and departed after 42 pitches.
Noesi, the loser, allowed six runs — four earned — four hits and four walks while retiring just two batters.
Winner Sean O'Sullivan pitched two hitless innings.
Seattle's Casper Wells hit a two-run homer in the ninth.
No. 4 Stanford women rout Oregon State 90-53
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Chiney Ogwumike (ah-GWOO'-mih-kay) had 19 points and 12 rebounds and No. 4 Stanford rolled past Oregon State 90-53 on Friday night for its 11th straight victory.
Amber Orrange added 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting, six assists and two steals for Stanford (25-2, 14-1 Pac-12), which has won 27 straight games against Oregon State and also owns a 27-game home winning streak against the Beavers at Maples Pavilion.
Joslyn Tinkle went over the 1,000-point mark early in the second half and hit two late 3-pointers to finish with 11 points as Stanford stayed unbeaten in its last 11 games since a 67-55 loss to rival California at home on Jan. 13. The sixth-ranked Golden Bears beat Oregon 77-55 in Berkeley, so Stanford kept pace atop the conference standings.
Beavers leading scorer Jamie Weisner scored 12 points to lead cold-shooting Oregon State (9-18, 3-12).
Cal women beat Ducks for school-record 12th in row
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Layshia Clarendon scored 14 points and No. 6 California won its school-record 12th straight game with a 77-55 victory over Oregon on Friday night.
Afure Jemerigbe added 13 points for the Bears (24-2, 14-1 Pac-12), who early on looked somewhat ragged offensively without starting point guard Brittany Boyd, who sat out with a strained groin.
Cal started pulling away with a 12-2 run to close the first half en route to matching the record win streak set by the 2008-09 team. The Bears can break the mark against Oregon State on Sunday.
Jordan Loera and Ariel Thomas scored nine points each to lead the Ducks (4-23, 2-13).
No. 20 Colorado women beat Washington State 59-45
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Arielle Roberson had 17 points and 13 rebounds Friday night to lead No. 20 Colorado to a 59-45 victory over Washington State.
Chucky Jeffery had 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists while Jen Reese scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Buffaloes (21-5, 10-5 Pac-12), who have won six in a row.
Lia Galdeira led Washington State with 12 points, but made just 2 of 13 shots from the field. The Cougars (10-16, 6-9) shot 19 percent.
Colorado shot 34 percent and benefited from a 34-14 advantage on points in the paint.
The Buffs are in fifth place in the Pac-12, one game behind UCLA and Washington who are tied for third. Colorado hosts Washington on Sunday.
Utah women defeat Washington 60-46
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Michelle Plouffe and Iwalani Rodrigues scored 17 points apiece to lead Utah to a 60-46 win over Washington Friday night.
Rachel Messer had 11 points and Taryn Wicijowski grabbed 11 rebounds for the Utes (15-11, 6-9 Pac-12), who trailed only once in the game, at 19-17 just past the midway point of the first half.
Plouffe also had eight rebounds, and Plouffe and Danielle Rodriguez each had four blocked shots for Utah. The final score was the Utes' biggest lead in the game.
Jazmine Davis scored 22 points and Aminah Williams had 14 rebounds for Washington. But they couldn't prevent the Huskies (19-7, 11-4) from falling back into a third-place tie with No. 17 UCLA in the Pac-12.
Tyson Gay back on track and healthy again
For the first time in years, Tyson Gay is feeling healthy again on the track.
The American sprinter went through practice recently in Clermont, Fla., and experienced no twinges in his surgically repaired hip. He had no tightness in his hamstring, either.
That hasn't been the case lately for the U.S. record holder in the 100 meters.
Said Gay: "Things are finally going in a good direction."
At 30 and in the twilight of his career, Gay is training wiser to give his body a break. He intends to be around for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, hoping to capture that elusive individual Olympic sprint medal and maybe, just maybe, do what no one has been able to do — close the gap on Usain Bolt.
Alaska-based soldier wins Army honor
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska-based soldier from Kingman, Ariz., is the U.S. Army's Female Athlete of the Year for 2012.
U.S. Army Alaska officials say in a release that the award winner is Sgt. Ashley A. Walker, who is a military police officer based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.
She played third base on the All-Army Women's Softball Team, which last year won an annual tournament against competition from the Marines, Navy and Air Force.
She credits her teammates and her late husband, Sgt. Brian L. Walker, for the award. Her husband was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan last May.
Walker soon plans to become a member of the Arizona National Guard following active duty and will pursue a degree in criminal justice. She wants to become a police officer.