Sacramento Republic FC makes statement en route to U.S. Open Cup semifinals

  • Slug: Sports-Dalen Terry Watch Party, 790 words.
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By Dexter Zinman
Cronkite News

CARSON, Calif. – The Los Angeles Galaxy gave Luis Felipe too much space. He fired a long shot from way outside the box toward goalie Jonathan Klinsmann, who dove a little too late.

Dignity Health Sports Park was stunned, and Sacramento Republic FC held onto the lead Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the 2022 U.S. Open Cup in a historic victory.

Such upsets show the value of tournaments like the U.S. Open Cup. Smaller clubs like Sacramento Republic, who play in the USL Championship, have the chance to test their skills against bigger teams like those in MLS. And sometimes, as Sacramento Republic proved, the smaller clubs win. Continue reading “Sacramento Republic FC makes statement en route to U.S. Open Cup semifinals”

‘I beat the odds’: Friends, family help Arizona’s Dalen Terry celebrate NBA draft selection

  • Slug: Sports-Dalen Terry Watch Party, 790 words.
  • 2 photos available

By Max Campodall’Orto
Cronkite News

SCOTTSDALE – After the 10th pick, Terry family members huddled. After each subsequent pick, they would do the same: stand, inch closer together and listen to see if Dalen Terry’s name was called in the 2022 NBA Draft. The 11th pick passed. Twelve, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. Each time another prospect was selected, they sat down, laughed and hugged.

At 18, Chicago was on the clock. A buzz went through the Old Town Scottsdale restaurant. The news was out: The former Arizona guard would become the newest member of the Chicago Bulls.

Thursday night, Terry was surrounded by friends, family, coaches and former teammates at Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles for his NBA Draft party, celebrating the hard work he had put in to get there. Continue reading “‘I beat the odds’: Friends, family help Arizona’s Dalen Terry celebrate NBA draft selection”

Perry grad Jalen Williams set to become first-round NBA draft pick as brother Cody follows his footsteps

  • Slug: Sports-Jalen Williams Draft, 1016 words.
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By Austin Green
Cronkite News

GILBERT – When Jalen Williams hears his name called in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft Thursday, it will complete a journey that came as a surprise to many people around basketball. His younger brother is not one of those people.

“I don’t know why, but when I was little, I always saw him going to the NBA,” Cody Williams said. “It was never like a question. I don’t know if that was just because I looked up to him because he’s my older brother, but I always saw him in the league.”

Like Jalen before him, Cody is now a key part of a powerhouse Perry High School basketball team. The older Williams still has a strong legacy with the Pumas, as he starred on some of the first teams that played under coach Sam Duane Jr. at Perry. Continue reading “Perry grad Jalen Williams set to become first-round NBA draft pick as brother Cody follows his footsteps”

Title IX at 50: As opportunities evolved for female athletes, so did ASU

  • Slug: Sports-Title IX ASU, 2,446 words.
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By Ike Everard
Cronkite News

TEMPE – When Julie Cart arrived at Arizona State in 1975, the women’s track program was barely a blip on the radar of the athletic department. The team trained with the men, sweating and practicing on the same field and at the same time.

“It was great for us to be around them, and it was great for them to be around us,” said Cart, who would become the university’s first female discus thrower to win a conference championship. “We enjoyed being together and there was this huge camaraderie.”

The time and place of their practices, though, is where the similarities stopped. At the track, the female athletes didn’t have access to locker rooms, Cart said. Instead, she recalls biking to and from the old gym in between classes in order to change in facilities that she refers to as “glorified bathrooms.” Continue reading “Title IX at 50: As opportunities evolved for female athletes, so did ASU”

No All-Star Game starters for Phoenix Mercury; Brittney Griner given honorary title

  • Slug: Sports-Mercury No Stars, 544 words.
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By Sameer Malla
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – As the Phoenix Mercury reached the midpoint of the WNBA season with a 6-11 record, the starters for July’s All-Star game in Chicago were announced Wednesday.

No Mercury player was selected among the 10 starters. This is the first year without an All-Star starter from Phoenix since 2009, when guards Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter were selected by the coaches as reserves. The last time the whole franchise was shut out of a WNBA All-Star selection? In 2002, when coach Cynthia Cooper’s Mercury finished 11-21, the fourth-worst record (out of 16 teams) in the WNBA.

Taurasi was in her sixth year in the league in 2009, with a Rookie of the Year (2004) and four All-WNBA First Team awards to her name. Surprisingly enough, 2009 – the year she came off the bench at the All-Star game – was the only year Taurasi won the regular season MVP award out of her 18 seasons in the league. That team finished with a 23-11 record and defeated the Tamika Catchings-led Indiana Fever to capture its second WNBA Finals title in franchise history. Continue reading “No All-Star Game starters for Phoenix Mercury; Brittney Griner given honorary title”

Durant? Lillard? What a Deandre Ayton sign-and-trade deal could look like

  • Slug: Sports-Ayton Sign and Trade, 922 words.
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By Alex Amado
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns? What about Damian Lillard? Pascal Siakam? When it comes to the Deandre Ayton saga, Suns fans have had a field day putting trades together.

As a restricted free agent, Ayton, 23, has the opportunity to sign an offer sheet from any franchise that presents one, and the Suns can match any offer.

While it would make sense for the Suns to keep their ​No. 1 overall pick, the relationship between the two appears strained. Continue reading “Durant? Lillard? What a Deandre Ayton sign-and-trade deal could look like”

Viral explosion brings attention to Funny Car competitor, ASU student Bobby Bode III

  • Slug: Sports-Bobby Bode Explosion, 825 words.
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By Marcos Granda
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The most shared image from the NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park was not the winners with their trophies but an explosion that became viral, reaching more than 36,000 views combined on different YouTube videos.

It happened during the final race of the Funny Car category, in which Bobby Bode III, a business and entrepreneurship major at Arizona State, came short of winning his first major title in this sport, giving the victory to his rival, Matt Hagan.

“Yeah, so the car was going along great,” Bode III said about the April race. “I really didn’t feel like anything was going wrong in it. And then it happened so fast. And all of a sudden, there’s just a big, big concussion in the car. I was under the body one second, the second later, I wasn’t.” Continue reading “Viral explosion brings attention to Funny Car competitor, ASU student Bobby Bode III”

Eat, Pay, Glove: Caesars Sportsbook, Guy Fieri restaurant open at Chase Field

  • Slug: Sports-NBA International, 792 words.
  • 3 photos available

By David Rodish
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Baseball, meet betting.

Arizona Diamondbacks fans have a new sports gambling site and eatery to attend as Caesars Sportsbook has launched the Caesars Sportsbook at Chase Field.

Located on 4th and Jefferson streets, the sportsbook is at a central location for downtown Phoenix and its sports venues.

“It’s pretty convenient,” Caesars spokesperson and former ESPN host Kenny Mayne said. “You can throw a rock across the way and you’re at the game. You can get some good food before (a game). With Cesears and the Diamondbacks partnering up, (the sportsbook) is a cool spot.” Continue reading “Eat, Pay, Glove: Caesars Sportsbook, Guy Fieri restaurant open at Chase Field”

International call: Arizona’s Mathurin, Koloko symbolic of talent pool in NBA Draft

  • Slug: Sports-NBA International, 792 words.
  • 2 photos available

By Taylor Corlew
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – If this season’s NBA MVP race sent one message, it was this: The impact of international basketball on the league is undeniable.

For the first time in NBA history, all three MVP finalists – Nikola Jokić, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo – were foreign players.

The 2022 NBA Draft, set for Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, will also have an international flair. One potential top-five pick is Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin, who grew up in Montreal. Continue reading “International call: Arizona’s Mathurin, Koloko symbolic of talent pool in NBA Draft”

From Damian Lillard to Patrick Ewing, stars come out for Section 7 high school basketball tournament

  • Slug: Sports-Section 7 Basketball, 700 words.
  • 6 photos, 1 graphic available

By Max Campodall’Orto
Cronkite News

GLENDALE – Hundreds of college coaches attended the Section 7 tournament this last weekend and doled out college scholarship offers to deserving players who shined on the biggest stage of June high school basketball. The event drew over 500 college coaches, including Arizona’s Tommy Lloyd, Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley, Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing, Memphis’ Penny Hardaway and many more who were looking to scout some of the top players in the nation.

 Lloyd was grateful to have a top-notch tournament in his own state with prospects practically coming to him.

 “The decision-makers out there that allow this to happen, they need to be commended,” Lloyd said. “This is becoming the best event in the country for the June high school recruiting window. I think it is really second to none and will continue to grow.” Continue reading “From Damian Lillard to Patrick Ewing, stars come out for Section 7 high school basketball tournament”

Work in progress: Rattlers want to achieve more after clinching playoff berth

  • Slug: Sports-Rattlers Goals, 605 words.
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By Michael Burgess II
Cronkite News

MESA – The Arizona Rattlers are fresh off a weekend when they clinched their 12th-consecutive playoff berth following a 58-38 victory over the Duke City Gladiators.

However, for coach Kevin Guy, the team still has a lot to achieve before the season ends.

“The bigger goal is to get home field advantage and compete for a championship,” Guy said. “So, you know, it’s a work in progress. We still got some work to do these last five weeks.”

Continue reading “Work in progress: Rattlers want to achieve more after clinching playoff berth”

‘Stabilizing the ship’: Despite turmoil, Vanessa Nygaard determined to keep Mercury on track

  • Slug: Sports-Mercury Coach Nygaard, 600 words.
  • File photo available

By Ruby Arora
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – As Vanessa Nygaard walked the Footprint Center court days after being named the Phoenix Mercury’s new coach, she quickly envisioned a championship trophy.

Preseason predictions supported her dream, especially with a superstar trio of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith, and the addition of Tina Charles in free agency.

Then reality hit. Injuries. Lineup changes. And a star player’s imprisonment overseas.

Continue reading “‘Stabilizing the ship’: Despite turmoil, Vanessa Nygaard determined to keep Mercury on track”

Hamilton High’s Gavin Turley hopes to make impression at MLB Draft Combine

  • Slug: Sports-MLB Combine Turley, 1,100 words.
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By Matthew Legere
Cronkite News

SAN DIEGO – Hamilton High School graduate Gavin Turley is among the talent at the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft Combine hoping to boost his stock in the draft.

The four-day event at Petco Park provides draft-eligible players with an opportunity to participate in pro-style workouts, as well as interview and interact with MLB general managers and scouting directors. High school players also have the option to compete in a series of scrimmages against one another, though Turley opted not to participate.

“Me, my family and the rest of my team feel like scouts have seen what they needed to see,” Turley said. “What I’m really excited about and looking to get out of the combine is just shaking hands and getting to know some of the higher-ups with each team.”

Continue reading “Hamilton High’s Gavin Turley hopes to make impression at MLB Draft Combine”

‘Beyond the disc’: Ultimate Frisbee takes off in Arizona

  • Slug: Sports-Ultimate Frisbee, 1,100 words.
  • File photo available

By Ricky Weipz
Cronkite News

TEMPE – On a recent Thursday night in south Tempe, two fields reserved at the Benedict Sports Complex featured typical athletic activities: drills, competition and a bit of trash-talking.

Welcome to the world of ultimate Frisbee, which often is simply called “ultimate.”

The sport combines elements of football and soccer while participants fling a plastic disc up and down a narrow field, looking to find their opponents’ end zone. Ultimate’s easy-to-play nature – who needs referees? – draws the interest of many.

Continue reading “‘Beyond the disc’: Ultimate Frisbee takes off in Arizona”

Man vs. machine: Even when Suns dominated, analytical models loved the Celtics

  • Slug: Sports-NBA Analytics, 900 words.
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By Alex Amado
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – In mid-February, even though the Phoenix Suns had the best record in the NBA, they only had the third-best chance to win the NBA Finals, according to FiveThirtyEight’s popular analytical model.

The favorite? The Boston Celtics at 21%, even though they sported a 34-25 record and 10 teams in the league boasted more wins, including the NBA-leading Suns at 47-10.

As the Golden State Warriors take a 3-2 lead into Boston tonight for Game 6, the models’ “opinions” have shifted, although a healthy respect for the Celtics remain. Continue reading “Man vs. machine: Even when Suns dominated, analytical models loved the Celtics”

Los Angeles quick to embrace women’s soccer with addition of Angel City FC

  • Slug: Sports-Angel City FC Impact, 540 words.
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  • 1 video here.

By Matthew Legere
Cronkite News

LOS ANGELES – Whether it’s taking a stand against gun violence or riding down Hollywood Boulevard for the return of the LA Pride Parade, the Angel City Football Club has taken the city by storm and immersed itself into the downtown community during its first few months of operation.

The National Women’s Soccer League in 2020 announced that an expansion franchise would be coming to Los Angeles for the 2022 season, ending a more than 10-year drought of women’s professional soccer in the area.

Angel City took the field April 29 for its first regular season match at Banc of California Stadium, playing in front of a sold-out crowd of 22,000. Continue reading “Los Angeles quick to embrace women’s soccer with addition of Angel City FC”

Orange County Riptide of the California Collegiate League offers competitive atmosphere for top baseball prospects

  • Slug: Sports-Summer League Baseball, 570 words
  • 3 photos available

By Aayush Gupta
Cronkite News

IRVINE, California – Orange County, once known for growing one-sixth of the nation’s Valencia orange crop, now is producing some of the nation’s top baseball prospects.

Since 2015, the Orange County Riptide summer baseball team has seen 27 former players either drafted or signed as a free agent in Major League Baseball, including Dominic Fletcher, a right fielder with the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A Reno Aces. OC Great Park, in the heart of Irvine, is a hub for collegiate baseball players looking to sharpen their craft. Continue reading “Orange County Riptide of the California Collegiate League offers competitive atmosphere for top baseball prospects”

Love high school basketball? Section Seven lures nation’s top players, college coaches to State Farm Stadium

  • Slug: Sports-Section Seven Basketball, 670 words
  • 1 photo available

By Max Campodall’Orto
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – More than 500 college coaches will be at State Farm Stadium from Thursday through Sunday to watch 229 teams from around the country duke it out on 12 hardwood floors in the premier tournament for all of Arizona high school basketball: Section Seven.

In 2018, the NCAA changed legislation regarding recruiting in men’s college basketball. The NCAA wanted to create more opportunities for high school athletes to play on high school teams in front of Division I coaches.

To make the most of these changes, David Hines, executive director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, and Matt King, executive director of the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association (ABCA), came together to form the Section Seven tournament. Continue reading “Love high school basketball? Section Seven lures nation’s top players, college coaches to State Farm Stadium”

Phoenix Suns vs. Seattle, Las Vegas? NBA expansion rumors pick up steam

  • Slug: Sports-NBA Expansion, 670 words
  • 1 photo available

By Alex Amado
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Will the Suns soon be playing opponents in Las Vegas and Seattle?

Rumors of league expansion have picked up steam, even though commissioner Adam Silver shot them down ahead of the NBA Finals.

“Las Vegas is a world-class city and our residents have an appetite for major league sports,” Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman said in an email to Cronkite News. “The success of the Las Vegas Raiders, Vegas Golden Knights and Las Vegas Aces shows what kind of sports town this is. It is only a matter of time before we add an NBA franchise.” Continue reading “Phoenix Suns vs. Seattle, Las Vegas? NBA expansion rumors pick up steam”

Mercury in retrograde? Not any more during WNBA team’s 3-game winning streak

  • Slug: Sports-Mercury Win Streak, 1,450 words
  • 2 photos available

By Sameer Malla
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Mercury is no longer in retrograde.

That’s good news for fans of the WNBA team, which has won three straight games following a 2-8 start and is back in the thick of the playoff race two months into the season.

The astrological phenomenon, which refers to the optical illusion that the closest planet to the sun has started orbiting backward, started on May 10 and ended on June 2. Believers suggest it signifies bad omens that would not otherwise happen during Mercury’s normal orbit. Continue reading “Mercury in retrograde? Not any more during WNBA team’s 3-game winning streak”