DeWanna Bonner scored 17 points with 13 rebounds and the seventh-seeded Connecticut Sun eliminated the third-seeded Los Angeles Sparks, 73-59, on Thursday night. The Sun will take on the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces in a best-of-5 WNBA semifinal series beginning Sunday. Newly minted Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half and the fourth-seeded Minnesota Lynx beat the Phoenix Mercury, 80-79, to advance to the semifinals against the second-seeded Seattle Storm . . . Aces star A’ja Wilson is the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player. The No. 1 overall pick three years ago led the Aces to an 18-4 record during the shortened season. Wilson averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2 blocks this year. She received 43 of the 47 first-place votes in easily outpacing the Seattle’s Breanna Stewart, who finished second and Los Angeles’s Candace Parker who was third. Wilson was surprised with the award by WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. The Aces player thought she was going to a meeting with league referees when Engelbert surprised her. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve won another Coach of the Year award.
Tour de France
Roglic maintains lead
Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic safely negotiated the last truly mountainous stage of this year’s Tour de France, moving a big step closer to adding what would be his first Tour win to the Spanish Vuelta title he conquered last year. Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski won the saw-tooth Stage 18, up and down over a leg-burning succession of five Alpine ascents in La Roche-sur-Foron. Roglic remains 57 seconds ahead of Tadej Pogacar overall, and has a lead of 1 minute, 27 seconds over Colombian rider Miguel Angel Lopez, still third.
UMass makes reductions
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst athletics department will cut the work hours or furlough 57 staff members to help overcome a projected $5 million shortfall in the 2021 budget because of the coronavirus pandemic … Forty-two players and staff with the Wisconsin football team have tested positive for COVID-19 as the Big Ten makes plans to get the season started. Twenty-nine of the positive tests were from Sept. 1 through Sept. 15, according to Public Health Madison and Dane County. The counties’ Health officials are urging fans not to gather to watch football games when the Badgers begin their season in October … Saturday’s football game between No. 12 North Carolina and UNC-Charlotte was canceled after the 49ers announced contact tracing had depleted the school’s offensive line …Washington defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike is opting out of the upcoming college football season and is declaring for the 2021 NFL draft. Onwuzurike was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection last season when he had 45 total tackles, six tackles for loss and two sacks. He was an AP preseason second-team All-American selection this season … Brown University and attorneys for student-athletes who challenged the Ivy League school’s decision to reduce several women’s varsity sports teams to club status announced a proposed settlement. In addition to restoring the women’s equestrian and women’s fencing teams to varsity status, the sides also said that a 1998 legal agreement ensuring gender equity in varsity sports at Brown would end on Aug. 31, 2024. The school would still be subject to the federal Title IX law requiring equal opportunities for women in sports.
Connecticut schools may lose funding
The US Department of Education is threatening to withhold some federal funding from Connecticut school districts if they follow a state policy that allows transgender girls to compete as girls in high school sports. In response to a complaint filed last year by several cisgender female track athletes who argued that two transgender female runners had an unfair physical advantage, the federal agency’s office for civil rights determined in May that Connecticut’s policy violates the civil rights of athletes who are not transgender. School districts including New Haven, as well as the Capitol Region Education Council, were asked around the beginning of September to sign a document to receive grants from a program for magnet schools that states they will “not participate in any interscholastic sporting events” unless the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference changes its policy on transgender athletes. The Federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grants are worth about $3 million a year to New Haven and the education council. The athletic conference has said its policy is designed to comply with a state law that requires all students to be treated as the gender with which they identify.
Osaka to skip French Open
US Open champion Naomi Osaka will not play in this month’s French Open. Osaka, ranked third in the world, cited a lingering left hamstring injury and a lack of preparation time on the clay surface as the reasons for her not playing .The number of fans allowed to attend the French Open will be reduced to 5,000 per day amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic … The Fed Cup is changing its name to honor legend Billie Jean King, the woman whose lifelong battle for equality and social justice laid the foundation for generations that followed. The Billie Jean King Cup will become the first major global team competition to be named after a woman, the International Tennis Federation said … Denis Shapovalov recovered from an early break in the second set to beat Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez, 6-4, 6-4, and reached the third round of the Italian Open in Rome. US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka routed Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, 6-0, 6-0. Ninth-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza eliminated 16-year-old Coco Gauff, 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-3, in an error-strewn match that included 24 double-faults — nine from Muguruza and a whopping 15 from Gauff, who was playing her first pro tournament on clay. In another notable men’s match, Dusan Lajovic defeated Milos Raonic, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-2, and will next face nine-time champion Rafael Nadal …The Kremlin Cup was canceled because of a rising number of coronavirus cases in Moscow.
Pole vaulter breaks record
Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis broke Sergey Bubka’s 26-year-old outdoor world record. Duplantis cleared 6 meters, 15 centimeters (20 feet, 2 inches) at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea meet in Rome with his second attempt, besting Bubka’s mark of 6.14 meters (20 feet, 1 1/2 inches) set in Sestriere in July 1994 … Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu faces a vote of no confidence after club members gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on his future. The vote will be held after the club verifies all the signatures. Bartomeu would have to step down if two thirds of the votes are against him, and new elections would have to be scheduled. The opposition members announced their intention to remove Bartomeu from the presidency after Lionel Messi told the club last month he wanted to leave amid one of its worst crises ever … Thiago Alcantara is joining Liverpool after ending his seven-year stint at European champion Bayern Munich. Liverpool will reportedly pay 20 million pounds ($26 million) up front with a potential additional 5 million pounds ($6.5 million) later … Under criminal investigation in his home country of Switzerland, FIFA president Gianni Infantino made a third trip to the White House and met President Donald Trump since the United States became a 2026 World Cup soccer co-host just more than two years ago. Infantino attended a signing ceremony this week for a diplomatic deal to improve relations between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Infantino also spoke with US Attorney General William Barr.