National Sports Briefs
HOUSTON ó Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman has checked into the Detroit Shock’s WNBA game against the Houston Comets.
The Shock signed the 50-year-old Lieberman to a seven-day contract on Thursday and she expected to make a one-time appearance in Houston.
Lieberman entered the game with 1:01 left in the first quarter and Detroit leading 19-13. She had a sleeve protecting her left knee.
Lieberman lost the ball to Shannon Johnson the first time she touched it, 40 seconds after entering. She checked out with 8:34 left in the second quarter with all zeros on her stats line.
Lieberman surpassed by 11 years her own league record ó in 1997, she became the oldest player in WNBA history at 39 while playing for the Phoenix Mercury. She stopped playing after that and served as the Shock’s coach and general manager from 1998-2000.
Lieberman took the roster spot that opened when forward Cheryl Ford sustained a season-ending knee injury during a bench-clearingmelee in Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Sparks (see story, page 6D).
RALEIGH ó North Carolina State has agreed in principle to a home-and-away series with Marquette that Wolfpack officials hope will upgrade the men’s basketball schedule.
The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that while the contract hasn’t been completed, Marquette has agreed to play at N.C. State on Dec. 22 and host the Wolfpack the following season.
Because the Wolfpack was the 12th seed in the 2008 ACC tournament, it was left out of the upcoming ACC-Big Ten Challenge. School officials then searched for an opponent to replace the high-profile Big Ten opponent it might have faced.
N.C. State’s 2008-09 nonconference schedule also includes games at New Orleans on Nov. 15, Davidson in Charlotte on Dec. 6, at home against East Carolina on Dec. 16, and at Florida on Jan. 3.
NEW YORK ó Two former high school classmates of disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy were both sentenced to more than a year in prison Thursday for their roles in a betting scandal that embarrassed the league.
A federal judge in Brooklyn gave James Battista, a professional gambler and admitted drug addict, 15 months in prison for making bets based on inside tips. Thomas Martino, the scheme’s middleman, was sentenced to a year and one day for paying the referee thousands of dollars for the tips.
The men, both 42 and former classmates of Donaghy in Springfield, Pa., apologized before being sentenced.
“I’m not blaming either one of my co-defendants,” Battista said. “I made bad choices.”
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France ó Lorena Ochoa shot a 7-under par 65 Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Evian Masters.
The 26-year-old Ochoa started with a birdie on the first hole and added six more on the back nine in a bogey-free round.
– OAKVILLE, Ontario ó Mike Weir, Anthony Kim and Eric Axley shot 6-under 65s on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the rain-plagued Canadian Open.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ó The U.S. Olympic Committee says it will send 596 athletes to the Beijing Games.
Swimmer Michael Phelps, gymnast Paul Hamm and sprinter Tyson Gay are among the 310 men on the team. Swimmer Dara Torres, gymnasts Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin and sprinter Allyson Felix are among the 286 women.
U.S. athletes will compete in 30 sports, including the newest disciplines ó motocross, open water swimming and women’s steeplechase. The U.S. will send teams in women’s field hockey for the first time since 1996 and baseball for the first time since 2000. Baseball goes off the Olympic program after the Beijing Games.
– LOS ANGELES ó Swimmer Jessica Hardy’s trip to the Beijing Olympics could be in jeopardy after she tested positive for a banned substance. Hardy’s “A” sample from the recent U.S. Olympic trials tested positive.
– BAGHDAD ó The International Olympic Committee has upheld a ban on Iraqi teams at the Beijing Games, saying Thursday the government missed the deadline to address accusations of political interference.
RALEIGH ó The son of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is suing Duke University, claiming his golf coach manufactured accusations against him to justify kicking him off the team to whittle the squad.
Andrew Giuliani, a 22-year-old who will be a senior this fall, contends he had dreams of becoming a professional golfer and was dismissed without cause from the golf team in February without a chance to defend himself.
TORONTO ó Chicago midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored one goal and helped set up another, and Houston midfielder Dwayne DeRosario snapped a tie with a penalty kick to give the MLS All-Stars a 3-2 victory over English Premier League team West Ham United 3-2 on Thursday night.
Los Angeles midfielder David Beckham played the entire game and earned an assist in his first MLS All-Star appearance.