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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Canes shatter Habs 6-2; Sabres also win

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 7:27 AM

RBC CENTER, RALEIGH—Whether or not the Hurricanes make the playoffs this season, this will be known as the season Jeff Skinner came to Raleigh. Photo by D. L. AndersonTuomo Ruutu shattered two sections of glass in Carolina's 6-2 rout of Montreal.The rookie’s pair of first-period goals—giving him 29 on the year thus far—paced Carolina to a 6-2 rout of the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night as the Canes kept the pressure on the bottom of the playoff bracket. Carolina’s other talented rookie, Jamie McBain, added a pair of goals of his own, and Joni Pitkanen and Cory Stillman also tallied as...

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Season ends on a downer but had its ups; 2011-12 could be even better

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 2:57 PM

The Atlantic Coast Conference portion of the women’s basketball season ended with a dull thud on Tuesday night with Duke’s 75-40 loss to Connecticut. File photo by Rob RoweSylvia Hatchell and Joanne P. McCallie could have even better teams next season.And it’s going to be very unfortunate if that night turns out to be the way the 2010-11 Blue Devils are remembered. The two losses to two-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut, which is still an odds-on favorite to win the title again in Maya Moore’s senior season, were simply out of context. Maybe the “UConn” on the front of the...

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Canes top Caps in SO; Sabres fall

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 10:26 AM

FSN SOUTH (TV)—Down a goal, and with their playoff chances hanging in the balance, the Hurricanes took the ice for the third period in Washington last night needing someone to step up and make a play. File photo by Peggy BooneSkinner, winner, chicken dinner! The rookie's third period goal and shootout tally keyed the Canes' 3-2 win in Washington to brighten playoff hopes for another day.Enter Jeff Skinner. The rookie’s seeing-eye shot through a puck-sized gap between Caps netminder Semyon Varlamov and the near post set up Carolina’s 3-2 shootout victory. Combined with Buffalo’s regulation loss to Toronto, the Canes...

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Duke falls hard to Moore, UConn in second half

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 8:58 PM

Duke put up a pretty good fight for nearly a half, but once again Maya Moore and Connecticut were just too much. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke guard Jasmine ThomasMoore finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven steals, leading the top-ranked and two-time defending NCAA Women’s Champion Huskies to a 75-40 romp over the No. 6 Blue Devils in the championship game of the Philadelphia Regional. Connecticut (36-1) advanced to a Final Four game against Notre Dame on Sunday in Indianapolis, while the Blue Devils finished 32-4. Connecticut had won the teams’ regular-season meeting 87-51 on Jan. 31...

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Canes take flickering playoff hopes to DC

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 8:11 AM

Five points back, seven games remaining. This is what the Carolina Hurricanes' season has come to. File photo by Peggy BooneJeff Skinner, seen here earlier this year against the Islanders, has raised his game in recent weeks. Will it be enough to push the Canes into the playoffs?If the Canes can't string together a quartet of victories this week, then it will be time for retrospection on a season that fell just short of the playoffs. But if Carolina can win two sets of back-to-back games, which would match its longest winning streak of this up-and-down season, then the team...

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Duke gets second shot at UConn in Elite Eight

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 10:44 PM

Duke gets a second chance tonight, and it’s coming in a very important situation. File photo by Al DragoDuke hopes it can play the kind of defense to pull a big upset tonight.On Tuesday at 7 the Blue Devils, ranked No. 6 nationally and the No. 2 seed in the region, will take on defending champion and No. 1 Connecticut in the championship game of the Philadelphia Region in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. Connecticut, which demolished the then-unbeaten Blue Devils 87-51 on Jan. 31 in Storrs, is on a 23-game winning streak. The Huskies — led by Maya Moore...

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Tar Heels fall to Kentucky in the Elite Eight; NBA decisions loom

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 5:19 PM

CBS — Sometimes, even championship basketball isn’t enough. North Carolina proudly and defiantly challenged a talented Kentucky team at the apex of its game, but the Tar Heels fell short in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal and were handed their walking papers 76-69. Carolina fell behind early and appeared to be on the verge of getting blown out, but the Tar Heels clawed back from an eight-point halftime deficit and had the ball down only one point with just over one minute remaining. Kendall Marshall’s drive attempt was blocked, however, and the Wildcats put the game on ice from the...

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Duke holds off DePaul to earn rematch with Huskies

Posted By on Sun, Mar 27, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Duke will get another shot at defending NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion Connecticut. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke forward Karima ChristmasThe No. 2 seed and sixth-ranked Blue Devils led for the entire second half and held on in the end, ousting No. 3 seed and 10th-ranked DePaul 70-63 in the semifinals of the Philadelphia Regional. Duke and UConn will play for the regional championship on Tuesday night. Connecticut, which beat the visiting Blue Devils 87-51 on Jan. 31, advanced in the earlier game with a 68-63 comeback win over No. 4 seed Georgetown. Karima Christmas led the Blue Devils (32-3) with a...

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Blue Devils take on DePaul for spot in Elite Eight

Posted By on Sun, Mar 27, 2011 at 2:11 AM

Duke will try to earn a spot in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Elite Eight today at 2:30, when the No. 6 Blue Devils take on No. 10 DePaul in the semifinals of the Philadelphia Regional. File photo by Al DragoDuke seniors Jasmine Thomas (left) and Karima Christmas hope to survive and advance.The winner will play in the regional final on Tuesday night at 7 against the winner of today’s noon game between defending NCAA champion Connecticut and fellow Big East member Georgetown. Duke (31-3) is the No. 2 seed in the region while DePaul (29-6) is No. 3. “Our keys...

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Tar Heels give Stanford a scare but come up short

Posted By on Sun, Mar 27, 2011 at 2:03 AM

UNC saw its women’s basketball season come to an end Saturday night in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, dropping a 72-65 decision to favored Stanford in the semifinals of the Spokane Regional. Photo courtesy UNC athleticsUNC guard Italee LucasThe Cardinal (32-2), ranked No. 2 nationally and the No. 1 seed in the region, advanced to Monday night’s game against No. 11 seed Gonzaga. Nnemkadi Ogwumike led Stanford, which scored the final seven points of the game, with 19 points, while her sister Chiney added 16 and Kayla Pedersen 15. Italee Lucas scored 22 in her final game for...

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tar Heels steamroll Marquette to join Elite 8

Posted By on Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 1:07 PM

CBS — One easily could submit to the temptation to describe North Carolina’s 81-63 victory over Marquette as a tale of two halves, but really it was a tale of one half. The Tar Heels played sensationally during the opening 20 minutes, taking a nearly insurmountable 40-15 advantage into the break. The Golden Eagles actually won the second half 48-41, shooting 52 percent and holding UNC to 38 percent, but they never created any meaningful suspense due to the immense size of the deficit. Carolina was so effective in the first half that even the lackluster second frame failed...

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Tar Heel women hope to join men's squad in Elite Eight with victory tonight

Posted By on Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 1:14 AM

UNC will look to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament with an upset late tonight. File photo by Al DragoUNC, shown here in its regular-season finale against Kennesaw State, goes for an upset tonight.The No. 14 Tar Heels (28-8), seeded No. 5 in the Spokane Regional, will face No. 2 and top regional seed Stanford (31-2) tonight at 11:30. Tar Heel coach Sylvia Hatchell said tonight’s contest may be a battle of depth. “They (Stanford players) all know their roles, they play well together, and that's a really big part of a team being successful...

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Friday, March 25, 2011

"It's just one of those nights": Thoughts on Duke's exit from the NCAA Tournament

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 4:44 PM

Getty ImagesNolan Smith on the bench after Duke's season-ending loss to ArizonaWith just under four minutes left to play in Duke's stunning 93-77 blowout loss to Arizona last night, ending the Blue Devils' bid to repeat as NCAA champions (they themselves are the last team to do it, nearly 20 years ago ed. we meant "ACC team to do it"—sorry about that, Gators!), Kyrie Irving missed the first of two free throws. The television broadcast cut to a shot of Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski looking on morosely at his team's 17-point deficit. Krzyzewski turned to an assistant next to...

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Canes keep pace in East with comeback win over Sens

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 4:00 AM

RBC CENTER, RALEIGH—How many times do you hit the snooze button before you get up in the morning? File photo by Rob RoweCam Ward's 36 saves allowed Carolina to overcome another slow start and beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Tuesday night.The Hurricanes hit the button twice, falling behind the Ottawa Senators 2-0 and continuing their season-long trend of slow starts, before roaring back for a 4-3 win thanks to a pair of goals from Chad LaRose and an impressive 36-save performance from Cam Ward. Tuomo Ruutu and LaRose provided the wake-up call, scoring to tie the game within a...

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

T-minus 10 games: Canes aim desperation at Senators tonight

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 8:42 AM

Many clichés describe the Carolina Hurricanes' situation with 10 games remaining in the regular season. It's crunch time. There's no tomorrow. Every game's a must-win game. Their backs are against the wall. There's no crying in hockey. Photo by D. L. AndersonTuomo Ruutu has been trying to amp the Canes by throwing hits on his first shift. It hasn't worked.Well, maybe not that last one. However you describe it, the Hurricanes have to win practically all of their remaining games, and get a bit of help from the teams ahead of them, to make the NHL playoffs this year. Tonight...

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Tar Heels top Kentucky to return to Sweet 16

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 1:33 AM

Now both Tar Heel basketball teams are going to the Sweet 16s, just like Duke’s. Photo courtesy UNC athleticsUNC forward Jessica BrelandItalee Lucas led the way with 22 points while fellow senior Jessica Breland added 18, giving No. 14- ranked and No. 5 seed UNC an 86-74 win over 17th-ranked and No. 4 seed Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament in Albuquerque. The Tar Heels (27-8) will play the regional’s top seed, Stanford, on Saturday in Spokane, Wash. Krista Gross added 14 points and 10 rebounds for UNC, while Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had 10 rebounds to go...

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Old and new: Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and U.S. men's soccer team train in Cary [Slideshow!]

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 1:12 AM

Photo by Peggy BooneTwo stars of the U.S. national team, Clint Dempsey (left) and Tim Howard, also faced off against each other Saturday in Liverpool.WAKEMED SOCCER PARK / CARY—On Saturday, two English soccer teams, Everton and Fulham, met at Goodison Park in Liverpool in a battle of clubs fighting for survival: Fulham to avoid relegation out of the English Premier League, Everton for a coveted spot in the UEFA Europa League. In the 62nd minute of play, Fulham’s Clint Dempsey fired a 20-yard strike past Everton goalkeeper and compatriot Tim Howard to become the first American to score 10 goals...

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Duke once again comes up with a big finish, eliminates Marist to advance to Philly

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Photo by Al DragoJasmine Thomas doesn't let anyone get in the way of her 17 total points, leading her fellow Blue Devil's to victory. CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke comes into the finale of the local NCAA Women’s Tournament subregional as a favorite, but the assignment is not a piece of cake. The opponent for the No. 2 seed and No. 6-ranked Blue Devils (30-3) is No. 10 seed and No. 19 Marist (31-2), the champions of the MAAC who have won 27 games in a row. Duke should have the advantage in depth, but Marist is a frequent participant in...

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Exhale: Tar Heels survive Husky attack to advance to Sweet 16

Posted By on Sun, Mar 20, 2011 at 11:22 PM

CBS — North Carolina defeated Washington 86-83 on Sunday afternoon in the NCAA Tournament, catapulting the Tar Heels to the final 16 for the fifth time in the past seven seasons. The game brought a great deal of anxiety into the living rooms of Carolina fans everywhere, as the Huskies built an early lead and held a small advantage for most of the second half. Unlike Carolina’s first game in the tournament, a win over Long Island in which three players accomplished most of the scoring, numerous Tar Heels elevated their games against Washington. Freshman point guard Kendall Marshall...

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Blue Devils, Tar Heels play for Sweet 16 women's spots Monday

Posted By on Sun, Mar 20, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Both Duke and UNC will try to duplicate Monday night in women’s basketball what they’ve already done on the men’s side. File photo by Al DragoDuke's Jasmine Thomas and UNC's Cetera DeGraffenreid hope to extend their senior seasons tonight.The Blue Devils and Tar Heels are both seeking wins to make them subregional “champions” and vault them into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Duke’s assignment is helped by the fact the Blue Devils will be playing their final home game of the season. Tonight at 7 the No. 6 Blue Devils (30-3), seeded No. 2 in the Philadelphia Region,...

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sainey Touray, we hardly knew ye — RailHawks and Battery draw 0-0 in preseason scrimmage

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Carolina RailHawksSainey Touray during headier timesWAKEMED SOCCER PARK / CARY — On a beautiful almost-spring day, the Carolina RailHawks drew 0-0 with the Charleston Battery in a preseason scrimmage before an estimated crowd of 300-400 fans whose folding chairs and blankets encircled the touchline at Field 4 at WakeMed Soccer Park. The match itself was a rather lackluster affair. Neither team seriously threatened on the offensive end, although the RailHawks enjoyed more frequent forays into the attacking third. However, while Charleston has already played three friendlies against MLS competition (including a win over Toronto FC and a draw versus the...

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Lucas, Tar Heels shoot by Fresno State into second round

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Italee Lucas poured in 22 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead No. 14 UNC to an 82-68 win over Fresno State in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in Albuquerque. Photo courtesy UNC athleticsUNC guard Italee LucasThe Tar Heels, seeded No. 5 in the Spokane Region, will play their next game on Monday night against either Kentucky or Hampton. Chay Shegog added 12 points for UNC (27-8) while Cetera DeGraffenreid added 11 and Jessica Breland and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt chipped in 10 each. Hayley Munro led Fresno State (25-8) with 15 points while Jaleesa Ross and Rosie Moult...

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Tar Heels race by Long Island

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 4:48 PM

CBS — North Carolina didn’t quite erase the doubts that surfaced during the three-day slog through last weekend’s ACC Tournament, but the Tar Heels did advance past Long Island 102-87 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Carolina was a three-man show. Tyler Zeller broke the 30-point mark against the much smaller Blackbirds, finishing with 32 points and nine rebounds. John Henson also punished LIU’s frontline, finishing with 28 points and 11 boards. Harrison Barnes continues to improve, and his 24 points and 16 rebounds further aided the Heels’ cause. As you may have surmised based on those...

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Duke's huge second half blows away UT-Martin in Blue Devils' NCAA opener

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Photo by Al DragoJasmine Thomas (5) guards Heather Butler (11) in the first half.CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM It’s a No. 2 seed vs. a No. 15 seed on the higher seed’s home court. And when ACC champion and No. 6 Duke (29-3) hosts a Tennessee-Martin team that is in its first NCAA Tournament after winning the Ohio Valley Conference title, we’ll see whether or not it’s a big mismatch. Four of Duke’s 11 players are under six feet tall and everybody plays, while only five players on UTM’s roster are over six feet. All five Duke starters’ eyes are at the...

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Marist builds big early lead, holds off Iowa State to advance in Durham

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Photo by Al DragoMarist forward Kate Oliver (10) steals the ball from Iowa State's Kelsey Bolte in the second half. CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM It’s the opening game of the NCAA Women’s Tournament subregional at Duke, and the two participating teams came here from very different places. The No. 7 seed is Iowa State (22-10) from the solid but shrinking Big XII Conference, while No. 10 is Marist (30-2), a frequent champion of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Cyclones might be favored “on paper,” but a 30-win Marist season with a 26-game winning streak is pretty hard to ignore.The Red...

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