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World No. 304 Wins AIG Women's Open, Taurasi Receives Foul for Inappropriate Language

August 24, 2020
AIG WOMEN’S OPEN/TWITTER
AIG WOMEN’S OPEN/TWITTER

LPGA: You should always expect the unexpected in golf...but we did not expect this. Yesterday, No. 304 world-ranked Sophia Popov made history herstory when she won the first LPGA major of the season, the AIG Women’s Open (aka the British Open), making her the first female golfer (and second ever) to win a major from outside of the top 300.

  • Not only was it Popov’s first major title, but it was her first ever Tour win too. And it gets better: she entered the tournament on a special-event qualifying pass, and just three weeks ago, Popov caddied in an LPGA event. Now, she’s winning them. Maybe there’s hope for our golf game too.

WNBA: Things are getting heated in the Wubble. WNBA GOAT Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi has been caught using some unsavory language on the court lately, but she may have crossed a line on Friday.

  • After a particularly bad call in the Mercury’s loss to the Minnesota Lynx, Taurasi was caught saying, “I’ll see you in the lobby later,” to an official. Not the best look. Of course, she picked up a technical foul for the threat.

🏒Vegas Golden Knights Advance to Second Round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

August 20, 2020
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING/TWITTER
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING/TWITTER

The GIST: After the Vegas Golden Knights became the first team to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday, four teams had the chance to follow their lead yesterday. Only three did.

Who advanced?: We’ll break it down for you real quick. First the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5–4 in overtime, then the Boston Bruins took the Carolina Hurricanes 2–1 and the Colorado Avalanche absolutely embarrassed the Arizona Coyotes with a 7–1 win.

  • All three teams won their series 4-1 (eerie) to advance to the second round (which should start early next week), but the Philadelphia Flyers broke the trend, losing to the Montreal Canadiens last night to make the series 3-2.

What’s next?: Four series remain undecided, so every game really counts now. The New York Islanders and Dallas Stars can both advance to round two if they win tonight, and the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks, and the Flyers and Canadiens will all have to hash it out tomorrow.

  • Even with so many decided series, the pairings for the second round matchups will be reseeded, so advancing teams won’t know who their opponent will be until this round is over. Check out the full playoff bracket here.

🏀NBA Scores, Standings and Highlights for this Week

August 20, 2020
ASHLEY LANDIS-POOL/GETTY IMAGES
ASHLEY LANDIS-POOL/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: We heard you love highlights, so we’re bringing you more! Here are a few of our favorite NBA highlights — and lowlights — from the past few days.

Dance it out: Portland Trail Blazer Damian Lillard can do it all: Score 34 points in a game? Check. Nail three-pointers? Check. Dance? Check. And he did all of it while beating the Western Conference’s best team, the LA Lakers, to lead the series 1-0. Casual.

Spin doctor: Utah Jazz’s Donovan “Spida” Mitchell is a good teammate. Check out this figure-skating inspired assist to Georges Niang as the Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 to even the series.

“What the hell was that?”: The Brooklyn Nets do not know how to play it cool, as you can see from this v. embarrassing game-ender against the Toronto Raptors. The Raps are, unsurprisingly, up 2-0 in this series.

A true lowlight: A newly released bodycam video shows that Deputy Alan Strickland was the aggressor in the courtside altercation with Raptors president Masai Ujiri, just minutes after the Raptors won the NBA Championship last year.

🏈SEC Football and the NFL to Have Fans in the Stands this Fall

August 20, 2020
RANDY SARTIN/USA TODAY SPORTS
RANDY SARTIN/USA TODAY SPORTS

The GIST: Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, the still-competing college football conferences and the NFL insist on playing in front of fans this season. Wish we were kidding.

Remind me where we’re at: In college football, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have postponed all fall sports. The Big 12, SEC and ACC will forge ahead with sports this fall. And get this: those conferences are also preparing to have fans in the stands.

Seriously?: Sadly, yes. On Tuesday, the SEC released their guidelines for fan attendance. Luckily, masks are required, but the conference is leaving most other decisions up to the schools. The schools that have released their plans will all limit stadium capacity to under 30%.

And what about the NFL?: On Monday, the NFL announced that the first game of the season (Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans on September 10th — mark your calendar!) will be held with fans, filling the stadium to 22% capacity. Just like college football, fans will be required to wear masks in the stadium, but tailgating will be permitted...with masks “encouraged.” Hmmm.

  • Also similar to college football, NFL teams are making patchwork decisions regarding in-person attendance, too. You can’t beat live sports, but we’ll be happy to watch this NFL season cozied up on the couch.

I heard Washington’s in the news again?: You heard right. Two former LSU students said they were raped by former LSU and recently released (for domestic violence allegations) Washington Football Team running back Derrius Guice in 2016. It appears that LSU did not investigate the women’s allegations. A sad, stark reminder that we still have a lot of work to do and must continue to support survivors.

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Women's British Open Begins Today, Seattle Storm en Route to League Record, Athletes Unlimited to Introduce Women's Lacrosse

August 20, 2020
CHIANG YING-YING/AP
CHIANG YING-YING/AP

LPGA: This weekend belongs to women’s golf, as the first major of the season gets underway today. The Women’s British Open teed off early this morning at the legendary Royal Troon in Scotland, where most of the top golfers in the world are facing off once again.

  • While Americans Danielle Kang and Stacy Lewis have already notched wins in this stunted new season, this will be the first LPGA tournament since January for the Canadian phenom Brooke Henderson, a top contender who’s looking to win her second major.
     
  • Unfortunately, world No. 1 Jin Young Ko and No. 3 Sung Hyun Park, both South Korean superstars, have opted out of the major, so it won’t truly be the battle of the best we’ve been waiting for.

WNBA: Don’t look now, but the league-leading Seattle Storm have won nine games in a row in the Wubble. Led not only by the legend that is Sue Bird, but also 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart, the Storm are halfway to setting a new league record.

  • The Storm can beat the 2001 Los Angeles Sparks’ record of 18 consecutive wins if they win their next nine games, which actually seems feasible. Their 10th win should come tonight against the ho-hum Indiana Fever, but the real test will be the No. 2 Las Vegas Aces on Saturday. Follow their run here.

Lacrosse: We have some good news and some bad news. The bad news? The Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL) has folded after just two seasons. The league, which also acted as a national development program, had to cancel its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and wasn’t able to recover. Sad.

  • The good news? Athletes Unlimited, a new organization of underrepresented sports leagues, is planning to introduce women’s lacrosse as its latest venture (adding to softball and volleyball, which are already on the way), giving the WPLL players a chance to continue their careers on a national stage.