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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pitkanen's OT winner lifts Canes over Isles

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 7:33 AM

RBC CENTER, RALEIGH—The "Cardiac" Canes won this game in their locker room during the second intermission. Photo by Peggy BooneJeff Skinner netted the game's first goal to buoy the Hurricanes. Carolina beat the New York Islanders 3-2 in OT.Whatever was said, and whoever said it, a different team came down the tunnel Friday night for the final twenty minutes of regulation, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 overtime victory over a stalwart New York Islanders squad that's nonetheless ignoring the fact that they're just playing out the string. Unlikely hero Joni Pitkanen slapped the winner into the far corner...

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Blue Devils, Tar Heels begin journey in NCAA Women's Tourney today

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 1:50 AM

File photo by Al DragoDuke's Karima Christmas and UNC's Italee Lucas hope to end their careers in the Final Four.Duke will be a very heavy favorite at home while UNC will be a solid favorite on a neutral court. That’s the situation today as the two local ACC teams in blue begin play in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The No. 6 Blue Devils (29-3) have the No. 2 seed in the Philadelphia Region and will host No. 15 seed Ohio Valley Conference champion Tennessee-Martin (21-10) at about 1:45 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Duke-Martin winner will play at...

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

U.S. men’s soccer team, including Donovan, Dempsey and others, to train in Cary next week

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Things are getting cranked up at WakeMed Soccer Park. In a Wednesday press release, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley named the 24-player roster that will train beginning March 20 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. in advance of international friendlies versus Argentina on March 24 in New Jersey and Paraguay on March 29 in Nashville, Tenn. In contrast to the USMNT’s January camp roster of less-known MLS stars, next week’s training camp will include 16 members of last summer’s FIFA World Cup squad, including Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Jonathan Spector...

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Canes down Sabres 1-0 in tense contest

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 6:26 AM

FSN SOUTH (TV)—They didn’t have to have this one, but they had to have this one. Photo by D. L. AndersonErik Cole, seen here against the New York Rangers earlier this season, had several breakaway chances against the Buffalo Sabres.The Carolina Hurricanes bookended their four-game losing streak with a 1-0 win over the host Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. Brandon Sutter scored the only goal and Cam Ward saved all 40 shots that he faced, accomplishing his 15th career shutout. Consequently, the Eastern Conference standings shifted, as all but one of the teams in seventh through twelfth were in action. Combined...

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Help wanted: State job, pays well — but not that well

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Know any coaches who'd be interested? (Or maybe an ex-military officer?) Help Wanted Basketball coach for once-great program. Requirements: 1) Must win championships. NCAA preferred (Final Fours acceptable as stepping stones only); but ACC titles sufficient if always followed by Sweet 16 appearances or better. Must be undeterred by fact that two national powers always finish ahead of hiring entity and are coached by basketball legends. 2) Must be proven recruiter of best basketball talent on planet. Past success at national level a plus. 3) If unproven recruiter and/or no such past success, must win championships within reasonable time...

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Canes have no margin for error after lost weekend

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 12:34 AM

The question has been asked all season long: Are the Carolina Hurricanes a playoff team? We may have the answer in the next few days. File photo by Peggy BooneCaptain Eric Staal had seven shots against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, but no goals.After dropping back to back one-goal games this past weekend in Washington and to Columbus in Raleigh, the Canes are on the outside looking in, and their pursuers are closer to them than they are to the teams ahead. Currently occupying the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference, the Canes trail the seventh-place Buffalo Sabres and...

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Duke hosts Tennessee-Martin while Tar Heels travel far to play Fresno State

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 12:05 AM

Duke was hoping for a little more favorable seed, while UNC was hoping for a more favorable site. But both will be in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament starting on Saturday, two of a half-dozen ACC teams in the field of 64. File photo by Rob RoweBoth Duke and UNC have high hopes for solid runs in the tournament.The No. 6 Blue Devils (29-3), who already had an automatic bid after winning the ACC Tournament, have the No. 2 seed in the Philadelphia Region and will host No. 15 seed Ohio Valley Conference champion Tennessee-Martin (21-10) on Saturday at about...

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tar Heels tune up for NCAA with rout of Kennesaw State

Posted By on Sun, Mar 13, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Photo by Al DragoUNC's She'la White guides the ball into the net in the final minutes of the game. CARMICHAEL ARENA UNC plays its unique version of a “bonus game” again this afternoon, when for the third year in a row the Tar Heels play a regular-season game after the ACC Tournament. The opponent is Atlantic Sun Conference member Kennesaw State (9-20), the first such opponent which is not in “transition” from NCAA Division II and was eligible to play in the NCAA Tournament this time. The Tar Heels (25-8) are ranked No. 14 after finishing second in the ACC...

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Tar Heels return to regular season, host Kennesaw in finale

Posted By on Sun, Mar 13, 2011 at 12:54 AM

UNC will play its Sunday home game between the ACC and NCAA Tournaments for the third straight season today at 4, when Atlantic Sun member Kennesaw State visits Carmichael Arena. File photo by Al DragoUNC seniors Italee Lucas, Jessica Breland and Cetera DeGraffenreid will play their final home game today.The No. 14 Tar Heels are coming off a runner-up finish in the ACC Tournament, and are expecting a pretty good seed when the NCAA pairings are announced on Monday night. The teams have met each of the previous two seasons in Chapel Hill, with the Tar Heels’ victory margin averaging...

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

ACC semifinal No. 1: the Iowan assassin (Hello and goodbye, Harrison?)

Posted By on Sat, Mar 12, 2011 at 4:28 PM

GREENSBORO COLISEUM—This may or may not be one of the greatest understatements in ACC Tournament history. Fresh after dropping 40 points on Clemson, Harrison Barnes said "I tried to fill in for what the team needs. Today we had a lack of production on the offensive end and I tried to make up for that." Barnes filled in with a legendary performance, becoming the first Tar Heel in more than 40 years to tally 40 points in an ACC Tournament game to lead Carolina back from yet another double digit deficit in the second half. Barnes nailed 12 of...

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Duke takes Maryland's best punch, moves on—but without Smith?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2011 at 10:35 PM

GREENSBORO COLISEUM—Maryland came ready to play and with what Gary Williams termed a belief they could defeat Duke in the third ACC Tournament quarterfinal Friday night. With 10:15 to play they trailed just 63-60, but the Blue Devils pulled away in the final 10 minutes to win 87-71. Kyle Singler led the way with 29 points while Miles Plumlee grabbed 8 offensive boards and Mason had a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards. The star of the end game, however, was Seth Curry, who took over point guard duties after Nolan Smith left the game with a toe...

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ACC Tournament, afternoon edition: classic Carolina comeback; comfortable Clemson

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2011 at 5:03 PM

GREENSBORO COLISEUM—North Carolina's players and coaches were not at a loss for quips moments after the Tar Heels saved the fortunes of themselves as well as all the ticket scalpers and concession stands in Greensboro by rallying from a 19-point deficit in the final 9:55 to defeat Miami-Florida 61-59. The comeback is believed to be the largest in any Tar Heel game since the 1993 home victory over Florida State. Tyler Zeller scored Carolina's last eight points, including the game-winning layup at the buzzer on Kendall Marshall's dish. "People always make fun of me for not dunking," said Zeller,...

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

ACC Tournament: Friday Quarterfinal Preview

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 11:14 PM

The first round of the ACC Tournament Thursday held no major surprises, as the 10, 11, and 12 seeds, by some margin the worst teams in the conference, did little to dispel the view that the ACC needs to shrink the tournament to those with a realistic chance of winning it. Two coaches, Sidney Lowe of N.C. State and Paul Hewitt of Georgia Tech—a former national champion player and a former national runner-cup coach—likely coached their last games at their respective schools. The Yellow Jackets in particular turned in a shocking performance against Virginia Tech. If Thursday is remembered at...

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Sadly, Sidney Lowe will have to go — and then what?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Thesis: We need a public search for a new State basketball coach. You know, same as the N&O is always wanting for your next university president or Durham police chief. Open forums, why do you want the job? what'll you do if you get it? — a public Q&A type of thing. Sir or madam, what's your strategy for putting State back up there with Duke and UNC? Put it to a public vote, even. Why? Because Sidney Lowe's successor needs to be somebody who is absolutely fearless, who wants the job so badly he'll risk everything to get it,...

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Thrashers stifle Canes in overtime

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 7:18 AM

RBC CENTER, RALEIGH—The Hurricanes had more than one opponent tonight—the Atlanta Thrashers and the league schedule-makers who gave them four nights off this late in the season. Photo by D. L. AndersonJeff Skinner, seen here earlier this year against the Rangers, seemed effective running a late power play from the half-wall against the Thrashers Wednesday night.After a slow start, Carolina fought back to overcome an early deficit but fell in overtime 3-2 and remain on the outside looking into the playoff bracket. Tim Stapleton finished off a 2-on-1 rush the other way off a well-directed rebound of a Jussi Jokinen...

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

RailHawks hold off Seahawks: Trialists score in 2-0 victory over UNC-Wilmington. Rennie talks prospects.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Photo by Triangle Offense Picture GnomeThe ATM machine shines brightly in the gloom of the Cary evening.Let's hope it works all season long.WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—The Carolina RailHawks began their preseason training last week, five and a half weeks before the April 9 start of the regular season, and a mere 19 days before a sure-to-be-difficult friendly against the Charleston Battery. With only a baker's dozen signings announced, and the knowledge that several of last year's best players are not returning, the team must rebuild, and fast. On a cool, overcast afternoon, we ventured out to Field 7, located southeast...

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The price of upheaval: Carolina RailHawks announce 2011 preseason schedule

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 12:02 PM

File photo by Jeremy M. LangeOnce and future RailHawks: Jonny Steele, who played for the RailHawks in 2007, is seen here in a Puerto Rico uniform clashing with Cary mainstay Matt Watson, right, in a 2009 game.The Carolina RailHawks released their 2011 preseason schedule Monday, along with revealing a number of new player signings. Together with perennial scrimmages against area college teams such as UNC-Wilmington (4 p.m. today at WakeMed Soccer Park) and UNC-Chapel Hill (March 29), the preseason is highlighted by four friendlies regional USL PRO sides, three of them to be played at WakeMed Soccer Park: Charleston Battery...

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Story in Photos: Duke outlasts Tar Heels for ACC women's title

Posted By on Sun, Mar 6, 2011 at 11:10 PM

Read our write-up of the game here Despite hard work by the Tar Heels, Duke powered through to win the ACC Championship for the second year in a row. Here are the photos by Al Drago of the game:...

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Heels vanquish Devils, win ACC men's title

Posted By on Sun, Mar 6, 2011 at 10:19 PM

UNC athletic communicationsRespect underlies the Duke/UNC hoops rivalry CHAPEL HILL/SMITH CENTER — No entity visiting Chapel Hill elicits hatred more than Duke. On Saturday night, North Carolina rode the energy wave of an electrifying home crowd to soar past the Blue Devils 81-67. More than bragging rights and hurt feelings from Carolina’s earlier loss at Cameron this season was at stake. The two teams entered the game with identical 13-2 conference records, and the winner would win the regular season outright, get the top seed in the ACC Tournament and position itself more strongly for a high seed in the...

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Duke explodes down the stretch to top Tar Heels for title

Posted By on Sun, Mar 6, 2011 at 5:02 PM

See a slideshow of the game here Photo by Rob RoweDuke poses for a photo after winning the 2011 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament.GREENSBORO COLISEUM It’s the championship game of the 34th ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, and the two teams most expected to be here at the beginning of the season are here in the final. It’s the (insert your own three-digit number here) game between Duke and UNC, two athletic programs that may not like each other much on a daily basis but each of whose very existence contributes plenty to the other’s success. Duke (28-3) — ranked No. 8...

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Story in Photos: Devils, Heels win in ACC Women's Semis

Posted By on Sat, Mar 5, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Duke and UNC both had convincing victories Saturday to setup yet another showdown Sunday. Here are the photos by Al Drago of both games:...

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Tar Heels crush Hurricanes to set up another final against Duke

Posted By on Sat, Mar 5, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Photo by Al DragoUNC guard Cetera DeGraffenreid blocks a Miami shot in the second half. GREENSBORO COLISEUM UNC has become a pretty regular fixture in the semifinals of the ACC Women’s Tournament.Not so for Miami, which is here for the first time. Duke alumnus Katie Meier’s club (27-3) finished last in the conference last season but, after finishing second in the WNIT, has made a massive turnaround and finished second in the league to the Blue Devils on a tiebreaker. UNC (27-3) finished sixth in the conference, but has won twice in the tournament including an impressive victory over Florida...

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Christmas leads Blue Devils past Jackets in semifinal

Posted By on Sat, Mar 5, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Photo by Al DragoDuke Coach Joanne P. McCallie encourages her team to succeed in the final minutes against Georgia Tech. GREENSBORO COLISEUM Duke is once again in the ACC women’s semifinals, taking on a Georgia Tech squad that is — like the Blue Devils — a lock for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Georgia Tech (23-9) is the No. 5 seed in the event, and is somehow not in the nation’s Top 25. The Blue Devils (27-3) are the No. 1 seed and the defending champion and ranked No. 8 in the country. They met once in the regular...

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Tar Heels get momentum back, blow past FSU into semis

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 11:22 PM

Photo by Rob RoweTar Heel Cetera DeGraffenreid lays the ball in.GREENSBORO COLISEUM UNC had an easy assignment in the first round of the ACC Women’s Tournament, but things should get a lot tougher in tonight’s quarterfinals. The opponent for the No. 6 seed Tar Heels (23-7) is No. 3 seed Florida State (23-6). The 19th-ranked Tar Heels had one of their better wins of the season in an 84-75 victory over the No. 14 Seminoles on Feb. 2 in Tallahassee. Both teams are almost certainly headed for the NCAA Tournament regardless of this week’s results in the Gate City. UNC...

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Wolfpack fights hard before Miami advances to semifinal

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Photo by Rob RoweNC State's Breezy Williams dribbles past Miami's Sylvia BullockGREENSBORO COLISEUM N.C. State is hoping to make a Cinderella run through the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, just like the Wolfpack did last season when it lost to Duke in the final. If any miracle is going to happen, tonight will be the first test. The No. 10 seed Wolfpack (14-16) is taking on No. 2 Miami (26-3), which is ranked tenth nationally and topped the Wolfpack 84-77 in their regular-season meeting on Jan. 27 in Coral Gables. The Wolfpack fights very hard after getting into a deep, deep...

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