UConn was the unanimous choice for the top spot in the Associated Press women’s college basketball preseason poll released Thursday. The entire 32-member national media panel picked the Huskies first, marking the fifth time the team has been the lone choice atop the preseason poll. Texas was No. 2, followed by Big 12 rival Baylor. Defending national champion South Carolina came in at No. 4, with Ohio State at No. 5 and Notre Dame sixth. Mississippi State, which broke UConn’s record 111-game winning streak in the national semifinals, was seventh, with UCLA, Louisville, and Stanford rounding out the top 10 . . . UConn coach Geno Auriemma thinks Rick Pitino should get another chance to coach and that he’s already suffered enough by losing his job at Louisville amid an investigation into corruption in men’s college basketball. ‘‘There are people running for office and winning that have been accused of a lot worse who are given another chance,’’ Auriemma said at ESPN during women’s basketball national media day. ‘‘As far as I'm concerned he’s already served his punishment. He lost one of the best jobs in the history of college basketball.’’ Auriemma originally said on Barstool Sports podcast ‘‘Pardon My Take’’ Wednesday that he'd hire Pitino if he had a job opening. He clarified that remark saying he would hire him for a job in professional women’s basketball only . . . Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer was given a four-year contract extension through the 2020-21 season worth $3.4 million. Stringer will start her 23rd season at Rutgers.
Georgia Tech suspends two starters
Georgia Tech suspended starters Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie indefinitely after learning the players accepted benefits in violation of NCAA rules. The school announced that its internal investigation showed Jackson and Okogie received apparel, meals and transportation valued at less than $525 and less than $750, respectively, from the same person. The school says the person who provided the benefits is not a booster and is not employed by the school. Georgia Tech said it is awaiting a ruling from the NCAA . . . Auburn will hold out sophomores Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy indefinitely in connection with a federal investigation into suspended associate coach Chuck Person. The athletic department said the decision was made ‘‘to avoid any potential eligibility issues.’’ Wiley and Purifoy are two of the Tigers’ top players. Person faces federal charges for allegedly receiving $91,500 in bribes to steer Auburn players to a Pittsburgh-based financial advisor when they turn pro. He indicated that he paid $18,500 of the bribe money to the families of two unnamed recruits, according to documents.
Upton, Angels agree on $106m extension
Left fielder Justin Upton agreed to a $106 million, five-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels that adds one season and $17.5 million in guaranteed money. Upton was owed $88.5 million over the next four seasons as part of a $132.75 million, six-year deal he signed with the Detroit Tigers. The Angels acquired him on Aug. 31 for their playoff push, but Los Angeles finished 80-82 and missed the postseason . . The home of Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig was burglarized while his team was losing Game 7 of the World Series. Police report that officers answered a burglary alarm at the Encino home Wednesday evening and found a smashed window with several items taken . . . The Washington Nationals introduced new manager Dave Martinez to the media. The Nationals also agreed to hire Kevin Long as hitting coach. Long was the hitting coach for the Mets over the past three seasons and held that job with the Yankees from 2007-14 . . . Minnesota Twins All-Star third baseman Miguel Sano is scheduled to have surgery Nov. 13 for a persistent leg injury that knocked him out for six weeks during the season . . . Jed Lowrie’s $6 million option for 2018 was exercised by the Oakland Athletics. The switch-hitting second baseman, who played for the Red Sox from 2008-11, had a deal that included a $1 million buyout if the option was declined . . . A sports agent and a baseball trainer convicted of illegally smuggling Cuban players into the US were sentenced to prison. A Miami federal judge sentenced agent Bartolo Hernandez to just under four years behind bars and trainer Julio Estrada to a little more than five years. Prosecutors had sought more lengthy sentences for what they called a sophisticated and violent scheme. Trial evidence showed the pair ran an international operation to smuggle Cuban players off the communist-run island in return for a cut of lucrative baseball contracts. The players include Jose Abreu of the White Sox, Adeiny Hechavarria of the Rays, and Leonys Martin of the Cubs.
Dempsey lifts Sounders to West finals
Clint Dempsey curled a left-footed shot past Vancouver goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic early in the second half for his first playoff goal in two seasons, added a second goal in the closing minutes, and the host Seattle Sounders beat the Whitecaps, 2-0, to advance to MLS Western Conference finals . . . The Ford family joined the group, including Pistons owner Tom Gores and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, trying to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Detroit, and the bid now proposes that the team play at Ford Field, home of the NFL’s Lions. The response from the MLS was lukewarm. The league said in a statement it continues to prioritize soccer-specific stadiums when evaluating expansion markets.
Cavaliers’ Thompson (calf) out for a month
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson could be out a month with a strained left calf. Thompson was injured in the second quarter Wednesday night in a loss to the Indiana Pacers. Thompson left Quicken Loans Arena using crutches. The team said he'll need as much as four weeks to recover before he plays again . . . The NBA said it will hold its draft lottery in Chicago next spring . . . Rafael Nadal remains on track for an elusive Paris Masters title after beating Pablo Cuevas, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, to reach the quarterfinals. Other winners were Juan Martin del Potro, who ousted Robin Hasse, 7-5, 6-4, and last year’s runner-up, John Isner, who beat Grigor Dimitrov, 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 7-6 (7-3) . . . CoCo Vandeweghe, Ashleigh Barty, and Anastasija Sevastova all advanced to the semifinals at the WTA Elite Trophy tournament in Zhuhai, China. Vandeweghe had 11 aces and saved all four break points she faced to beat Elena Vesnina, 6-3, 6-2. Barty defeated former top-ranked player Angelique Kerber, 6-4, 6-3. Sevastova pushed aside Barbora Strycova, 6-3, 6-4 . . . Whee Kim birdied two of his final three holes for a 6-under-par 65 and a one-stroke lead in the PGA Tour’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament . . . Joost Luiten, Haydn Porteous, and Nicolas Colsaerts all shot 7-under 64s to tie for the lead after the first round of the European Tour’s Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya.