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In Brief

BASKETBALL

U.S. women hammer Spain
in world championship semis

Tamika Catchings scored 14 points to lead the United States to a 106-70 victory over Spain on Saturday, putting the Americans in the gold medal game of the women’s basketball world championship in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.

Sylvia Fowles added 13 points and Diana Taurasi 11 for the Americans (8-0), who will face the host Czech Republic for the title today. It sets up a similar situation to the men’s worlds, where the U.S. beat host Turkey to win the gold.

The U.S. again got off to a strong start — scoring 11 of the first 12 points — in making up for a bronze medal finish at the 2006 worlds, where it lost to Russia in the semifinals. The Americans will be trying for their eighth world championship.

In the other semifinal, Eva Viteckova scored 18 of her 21 points in the second half and overtime to lead the Czech Republic to an 81-77 victory over Belarus.

GOLF

Haas builds lead to four shots
at PGA Tour’s Viking Classic

Bill Haas shot 3-under-par 69 to take a four-stroke lead at the Viking Classic in Madison, Miss., overcoming three bogeys and a double bogey after playing error free the first two rounds.

Haas, who had a share of the lead in the first two rounds, was at 15-under 201. He is going for his second PGA Tour title after winning the Bob Hope Classic this year.

Michael Allen, winless in 357 tournaments, and Nathan Green shot 70 and were tied for second at 205 with Brendon de Jonge (73). Former UNLV standout Bill Lunde (73), who shared the first-round lead and was tied for fifth after two rounds, was tied for 14th at 7-under 209.

Also: Fred Couples shot 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Ensure Classic in Conover, N.C.

Couples had a 12-under 132 total after the second round of the Champions Tour event, with Bernard Langer at 133 after shooting 67.

MISCELLANEOUS

Top-ranked Nadal dealt
upset in Thailand semifinals

Less than three weeks after completing his career Grand Slam, Rafael Nadal was a long way from his command performance at the U.S. Open.

The top-ranked Spaniard was knocked out of the Thailand Open, losing 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 to 53rd-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the semifinals in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

Garcia-Lopez will face 60th-ranked Jarkko Nieminen, who beat Benjamin Becker, 6-3, 6-2.

Also: Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki recovered from a slow start to beat Elena Dementieva 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 at the final of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador challenged cycling authorities to freeze his urine and blood samples until technology can show he rode clean in this year’s race and disprove his positive test for clenbuterol.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Contador stuck to his story that contaminated meat is the cause of his positive test July 21 for the fat-burning and muscle-building drug.

“All my urine and all my blood samples are in the lab, and I call for them to be analyzed as many times as necessary to clear up this case,” Contador said. “If it is necessary to freeze either my urine or my blood samples so that five years from now, when the system has been further perfected, it can be analyzed, I authorize this.”

The UNLV cross country team, paced by Lauren Petersen’s seventh-place effort, took 11th at the 41-team Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational in Chicago.

Peterson covered the 5-kilometer course in 18 minutes, 5 seconds, and UNLV finished with 350 points. Jessica Pearo of McMasters took the individual title in 17:33, and Northwestern won the team crown with 53 points.

The UNLV volleyball team lost to New Mexico 25-19, 25-12, 25-21 in Albuquerque, N.M. Sara Nehf led the Rebels (5-11, 1-2 Mountain West Conference) with 10 kills.

The Minnesota Wild and goaltender Jose Theodore agreed to terms on a one-year contract. Theodore was signed to back up starter Niklas Backstrom after Josh Harding went down with a serious knee injury last week.

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