Tag Archives: title

Arizona, Stanford carry Pac-12 banner in women’s title game

The last time that Tara VanDerveer and Stanford were playing for a national championship, the Pac-12 had just 10 schools and the Cardinal were the standard bearer for the conference.

Now 11 years later, the Pac-12 is on top of the women’s basketball world with the Cardinal facing Arizona on Sunday night for the title. The conference is guaranteed its first champion since the hall of fame coach and the Cardinal won their last title in 1992.

“I’m really proud of the Pac-12 to have two teams in the national championship game,” VanDerveer said. “You know, this is not something that a lot of people could have imagined … 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago. And it’s really, really exciting.”

Stanford was last in the title game in 2010, losing to UConn in the Alamodome — the same building the Cardinal will be playing in on Sunday night. The conference became the Pac-12 a year later after expansion. The league has had six different schools in the Final Four since 2013, but none reached the title game until Friday night when both Stanford and Arizona advanced.

“In the Pac-12 we’ve been saying all along we have the best teams in the country and to have two Pac-12 teams speaks for itself,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. “Stanford won the Pac-12 championship and we were second. Both of us in the Final Four and championship game, it means a lot for our conference.”

To get to Sunday night’s game the Cardinal held on to beat South Carolina 66-65 on a basket by Haley Jones with 32 seconds left Friday night. After Jones’ shot but the Cardinal up, Stanford survived two last-second misses by the Gamecocks.

Arizona didn’t need any last-second karma to beat the Huskies 69-59. Wildcats All-America Aari McDonald scored 26 points and the team played stifling defence to put the clamps on UConn

“No one thought we’d win, no one thought we’d be here,” Barnes said. “We don’t care. We believed in each other. We believed, our team believed.”

McDonald has been a huge reason why. The 5-foot-6 guard, who is lightning quick, is one of the rare two-way players in the game who can impact contests on both ends of the court.

Sunday night’s game will pit two teams from west of the Mississippi against each other for the first time since 1986.

A few tidbits to look for in Sunday’s women’s title game:

Third time the charm?

Arizona lost twice to Stanford during the regular season, but both teams are much improved from their last meeting on Feb. 22 which the Cardinal won 62-48.

“What’s on our side is it’s hard to beat a team three times in a season,” Barnes said. “We’re a lot better and so is Stanford. Speaking about us, we’re shooting the ball better, defending better and playing better basketball than when we played them.”

Barnes has turned to VanDerveer many times over the course of the season for advice. The Arizona coach’s respect goes back to her playing days for the Wildcats in the late 1990s.

“She’s someone who will always be honest, and it’s never honesty to benefit Stanford,” Barnes said. “She’s someone who wants to support you. She’s very secure and wants to help women develop and wants to grow the game. She’s an advocate for women’s basketball and I have the most respect for her.”

Growing the game

Barnes became the fourth Black woman to lead a team to the championship game, joining C. Vivian Stringer, Carolyn Peck and Dawn Staley.

Pokey Chatman guided LSU to the Final Four in 2005 and 2006.

“It just means the world. I think I represent a lot of different things, but representation matters, opportunities matter. When we’re given opportunity, we can flourish,” Barnes said. “I was given an opportunity by an (athletic director) that believed in a young coach that had only been coaching five years. This is only my fifth-year as a head coach. I was a five-year assistant, a 13-year pro.

“Someone believed in me, saw something in me that maybe I didn’t even see in myself at the time.”

There have also been two Black men to have guide teams to the women’s Final Four. Quentin Hillsman led Syracuse to the title game in 2016 and Winthrop McGriff took Cheney to the national semifinals in 1984.

WATCH | How the trade deadline affected Canadian NBA stars:

On the latest episode of North Courts, Vivek, Jevohn, and Meghan discuss Canadians in the NBA, how the trade deadline affects them, and the first ever all-female NBA broadcast. 16:07

Only 13 Black women were head coaches at Power Five programs this season. Barnes said there is a perception that female Black coaches are just recruiters since a majority of their players are Black.

“We can recruit but we’re not only recruiters,” Barnes said before offering advice to other Black female coaches “Don’t allow yourself as a female, as a black female, to be pigeonholed into one thing. Learn, work on your trade, study, pull someone else along as a woman, as a woman of colour. Aspire big, do big things. Don’t let yourself be pigeonholed in one thing.”

Canadians playing in final

Two Canadians will be playing on Sunday’s final as Stanford has Toronto’s Alyssa Jerome on its roster. Arizona, meanwhile, has Shaina Pellington of Pickering, Ont. 

Jerome has played in 27 games and started one this season and is averaging 1.6 points. She has appeared in three games in the tournament but has yet to record a point.

Pellington, meanwhile, has had a much bigger role as she has played in 26 games including seven post-season games. In the post-season, she is averaging 4.3 points in 14 minutes per game.

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Canadian teen Leylah Annie Fernandez wins Monterrey Open, captures 1st WTA title

Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez has captured her first career WTA Tour title.

The 18-year-old Fernandez, from Laval, Que., beat Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic 6-1, 6-4 in the Monterrey Open final on Sunday.

Fernandez said she tried to focus as much as she could on executing her coach’s game plan, while not trying to think about the magnitude of Sunday’s match.

“I didn’t think it was a final or anything. I just tried to think of it as another match,” Fernandez said after claiming the WTA 250 event.

WATCH | Fernandez wins Monterrey Open in straight sets:

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., defeats Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 6-1, 6-4 in the final of Monterrey Open. The 18-year-old did not drop a set for the entire tournament. 5:22

Fernandez needed 89 minutes to defeat Golubic in a match that featured two players who hadn’t lost a set all tournament long.

The Canadian cruised to win the first five games of the opening set, facing little trouble from her opponent.

Golubic finally won her first game 31 minutes into the contest, but Fernandez easily took the set.

Fernandez broke Golubic to take a 5-4 lead in the second set before serving out the match.

“I played an incredible first set,” Fernandez said. “The second set she started picking up her game, making less mistakes and being a little more offensive. I just tried to match that as much as I could. I’m happy in those key moments near the end I was able to stick to my game plan and the balls just went in for me and I’m happy for it.”

Fernandez lost her only other tournament final appearance, falling to Great Britain’s Heather Watson in last year’s Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco.

Fernandez said she used the emotions she felt from last year’s loss as fuel for Sunday’s win.

“It definitely helped today,” Fernandez said.

The Canadian won’t be able to celebrate her victory for long, however.

Fernandez is expected to be in Florida for the Miami Open where she is scheduled to play in a qualifying match against Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu on Monday afternoon.

“We’re just taking this one hour at a time,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez will rise to a career-high 69th in the world in the WTA rankings after Sunday’s victory.

Golubic, who made her second final appearance this season, is projected to rise to 81st from 102nd.

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Kevin Koe secures direct berth in Brier final, eyes 5th title

In a Canadian men’s curling championship loaded with uncertainty, one of its most consistent performers keeps on delivering.

The next step for top-seeded Kevin Koe is a chance at another Tim Hortons Brier title and a spot in the record books.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Brier at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as streamed live on CBC Gem and CBCSports.ca

The Wild Card Two skip defeated Wild Card Three’s Wayne Middaugh 7-6 on Saturday night to earn a direct berth into the final. Koe’s Alberta-based team secured the first seed in the championship pool at 10-2.

Koe will face the winner of Sunday’s semifinal between Saskatchewan’s Matt Dunstone and Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher.

WATCH | Kevin Koe leads his Wild Card rink to a 7-6 win over Wayne Middaugh:

Kevin Koe led his Wild Card rink to a 7-6 win over Wayne Middaugh, finishing with the best record in pool play and claiming a spot in the final. 0:58

“That’s why we curl,” said Koe second John Morris. “It’s to play in major championship finals because that’s where it’s the most exciting and that’s what really gets your blood pumping.

“That’s what separates the champions from coming really close.”

Dunstone and Bottcher also posted evening victories to make the three-team cut at 9-3. The semifinal winner will meet Koe in the evening final at the Markin MacPhail Centre.

Dunstone beat Manitoba’s Jason Gunnlaugson 9-6 and Bottcher dumped Canada’s Brad Gushue 8-2.

Bottcher has made the last three Brier finals and settled for silver each time. Dunstone finished third in last year’s playoff.

WATCH | That Curling Show catches up with Pat Simmons, the Nedohins and Earle Morris:

Hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux also get Curling Canada’s Communications Director to break down tiebreaker scenarios that could go on late into Saturday night. 59:34

Koe is looking to win his fifth Brier title as a skip, which would give him sole possession of a record he shares with Ernie Richardson, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin.

Koe locked up the win when Middaugh settled for two points on a double-takeout attempt in the 10th end. A third point would have forced an extra end.

“I’m really happy for the guys to stick in there and battle,” Koe said. “We got fortunate, put them under some pressure, they had a few misses and obviously it feels great. Any game you can save is monstrous here.”

Middaugh’s remarkable run ended with an 8-4 record. Originally tabbed as an alternate, he switched positions with injured skip Glenn Howard and threw fourth stones in his first competitive event in over five years.

Gushue also missed the cut at 8-4. Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs defeated Ontario’s John Epping 9-3 in the other night game to leave both teams at 7-5. Gunnlaugson finished at 6-6.

WATCH | David Nedohin tells story of replacing his wife as mixed doubles partner for their daughter:

The legendary fourth for the Fab Ferbey Four says he hasn’t been curling competitively, but has thoroughly enjoyed watching his daughter Alyssa learning the game. 6:14

Earlier in the day, Koe dumped Gunnlaugson 12-4 and Middaugh dropped a 6-3 decision to Gushue to create a four-way tie for second place. Dunstone edged Jacobs 5-4 and Bottcher topped Epping 8-3.

Wild Card Three was caught off guard by the sanding of rocks before the afternoon draw.

Howard planned to protest after not being told about the papering beforehand. Some players on other teams learned of the sanding by talking to the ice crew but not everyone was aware.

Freshly sanded stones have a significant effect on a rock’s curl and speed.

Curling Canada admitted that teams were not formally informed due to a regrettable “communication breakdown.” The federation said it will “review its procedures going forward.”

WATCH | Koe on potential 5th Brier championship:

The Wild Card 2 skip is heading into the championship pool atop the Pool B standings and tells That Curling Show hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux what it would mean to win a record fifth Canadian title as skip. 54:41

Jacobs and Gunnlaugson knew they would miss the cut after the afternoon draw.

A variety of tiebreaker scenarios were still in play entering the evening. Late night and early morning tiebreakers were a possibility along with a double semifinal in the event of a four-way tie for first place.

Gushue, who has won the Brier in three of the last four years, beat Bottcher to win gold last year in Kingston, Ont. Bottcher was 3-8 in his Brier debut in 2017 before taking silver the next three years.

“Personally I can say I’ve learned a ton from each of the three experiences,” Bottcher said of playing on the closing Sunday. “One of the biggest things is you’ve got to find a way to relax.

“I mean it’s just a game of curling. You’ve got to go back to the roots and go back to the basics and do all the things that got you to here.”

The Brier winner will represent Canada at the world men’s curling championship next month in the same Canada Olympic Park venue.

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Charles Hamelin captures 1,500m world title at short track worlds

Canada’s Charles Hamelin secured the 1,500m world title at the ISU world short track speed skating championships Saturday in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

The three-time Olympic champion and 2018 world champion added the 2021 title by skating to a time of two minutes, 18.143 seconds.

Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie, Que., finished ahead of Dutch skater Itzhak de Laat (2:18.202) and Russia’s Semen Elistratov (2:18.296).

Earlier on Saturday, fellow Canadian Courtney Sarault earned her first podium at the world championships with a silver medal in the women’s 1,500m.

WATCH | Canada’s Hamelin earns 2021 world title in the 1,500: 

Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., won Saturday’s 1,500 metre world championship short track speed skating title in Dordrecht, Netherlands. 3:46

The Moncton, N.B., native skated to a time of two minutes, 37.089 seconds to split Netherlands’ Suzanne Schulting (2:36.884) and Xandra Velzeboer (2:37.109) on the podium.

You can watch all the action from the short track world championships, which stream live on CBCSports.ca all weekend, as well as on Road to the Olympic Games.

WATCH | Canada’s Sarault grabs silver at short track worlds: 

Courtney Sarault of Monton, NB won Silver Saturday at the world short track speed skating championships in Dordrecht, Germany. 4:31

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Brier in the bubble: Gushue begins title defence with opening draw win over Epping

Brad Gushue picked up where he left off at the Canadian men’s curling championship on Friday night.

In his first game with the full foursome of Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker since winning the Tim Hortons Brier a year ago, the defending champs showed few signs of rust in a clinical 6-2 win over Ontario’s John Epping.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Brier at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as streamed live on CBC Gem and CBCSports.ca

Canada shot 91 per cent as a team while Gushue threw a perfect 100 per cent, numbers he felt may have been a little too kind.

“To use a golf expression, there’s no pictures on the scorecard,” Gushue said with a smile. “There were some throws out there that were pretty gross. But we got a lot out of every shot.

“I think we only had one shot [that] we didn’t get anything out of. That was a goal that we had coming into this game and I thought we executed that very well.”

THAT CURLING SHOW | Setting the table for a stacked 2021 Brier:

Hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux break down the 2021 Brier field with guests Colin Hodgson, Brendan Bottcher and Glenn Howard. 54:13

It was the long-awaited return of top-flight domestic men’s curling after a season limited to just a few bonspiels due to the pandemic.

The opening draw at the Markin MacPhail Centre came on the heels of a successful Canadian women’s curling championship, the first of seven events to be played in a so-called bubble setting at Canada Olympic Park.

In other Draw 1 games, Saskatchewan’s Matt Dunstone dumped Nunavut’s Peter Mackey 10-2, Wild Card Two’s Kevin Koe beat Nova Scotia’s Scott McDonald 7-4 and Quebec’s Michael Fournier edged Greg Smith of Newfoundland and Labrador 7-6.

Gushue’s team played in a couple events last fall in Halifax with substitute players as the Alberta-based Walker remained out west.

WATCH | Gushue kicks off Brier defence with win over Epping:

Team Canada’s Brad Gushue makes a nice shot in the 6th end to set him up for 2 points, goes on to defeat Ontario’s John Epping 6-2 in Draw 1 of the 2021 Brier. 0:51

The teams blanked the first three ends as they got a feel for playing on arena ice again.

Gallant made a brilliant triple takeout early on and jokingly waved to the cardboard cutouts stationed throughout the spectator-free arena.

Epping was heavy on a hit-and-roll attempt in the fourth end that set up a Gushue draw for two.

Ontario settled for a single in the fifth before a Gushue hit and roll set up another deuce in the sixth end. The teams shook hands after a Canada single in the ninth end.

“That was fun,” Nichols said. “The leadup to this has been tough in terms of the isolation and stuff like that. So to get out there and play a competitive game — it felt exactly how I thought it would.

“There was no easing into it or anything. We were just right back to it so it felt really good.”

THAT CURLING SHOW | Colin Hodgson discusses importance of maintaining mental health:

The Team McEwen lead says he doesn’t play to win gold medals and hopes to use his curling platform to encourage young people to be themselves on social media. 2:22

Ontario finished at 82 per cent overall and Epping was at 72 per cent.

For most teams, it was their first competitive game action in several months.

Some provincial and territorial teams were able to play down in recent weeks, but most rinks were invited by their respective associations when championships were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Two more wild-card entries were added this year, boosting the field to 18 teams. Gushue’s team had an automatic entry as returning champions.

“The first game — we were trying not to fall down and hurt ourselves,” Gushue said with a smile. “The nervous legs and everything that we had. I felt pretty shaky from the combination of nerves and not practising as much as we normally do coming in. So my focus was just on that.”

Players are staying in a hotel across the road from the WinSport Arena and are being tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis. Coaches and team alternates wore masks on the end benches.

Electronic hog-line sensors on the stone handles were not used for the second straight event due to equipment delays as a result of the pandemic. The honour system was in effect.

Three draws were scheduled for Saturday. Preliminary-round play continues through Thursday night.

The top four teams in each pool will advance to the two-day championship pool starting March 12. The top three teams will move on to the playoffs on March 14.

THAT CURLING SHOW | Jamie Korab remembers Walter Gretzky:

2006 Olympic gold medallist curler Jamie Korab tells That Curling Show about the time he met The Great One’s dad and how it felt like visiting an old friend. 1:59

The second- and third-place teams will meet in an afternoon semifinal with the winner to play the first-place team for the championship.

The Brier winner will earn $ 100,000 of the $ 300,000 total purse, return as Team Canada at the 2022 Brier in Lethbridge, Alta., and earn a berth in the Olympic Trials in November at Saskatoon.

The champions will also represent Canada at the April 2-11 world men’s curling championship in the Calgary bubble.

Kerri Einarson won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts last weekend. She’ll represent Canada at the April 30-May 9 women’s world curling championship, which was added to the bubble calendar Friday.

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Alberta’s Laura Walker beats Jennifer Jones, moves within 2 wins of Scotties title

Alberta’s Laura Walker advanced to the semifinal of the Canadian women’s curling championship with a 9-8 win over Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones in Sunday’s tiebreaker game in Calgary.

Walker faces defending champion Kerri Einarson in an afternoon semifinal with the winner taking on Ontario’s Rachel Homan for the championship in the evening.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

Jones missed an attempted double takeout in the 10th end, which left Walker an open draw to score three for the win in the tiebreaker.

Manitoba and Alberta were tied for third at 9-3 after the championship round, which required a tiebreaker game to solve.

WATCH | Walker wins tiebreaker against 6-time Scotties champ:

Laura Walker and her team from Alberta eliminated Jennifer Jones of Manitoba 9-8 Sunday in the tiebreaker match at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary. 0:52

Jones, a six-time champion at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, was chasing a record seventh title.

Einarson’s foursome out of Manitoba’s Gimli Curling Club beat Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges 7-4 on Saturday before suffering a 10-9 loss to Jones in the evening draw.

“We’re definitely just focusing on ourselves and what we need to do,” Einarson said. “We’re in control of our own destiny.”

$ 100,000 to Scotties champion

Einarson is attempting to win the first back-to-back Hearts titles since Homan in 2013-14.

Sunday’s victor earns $ 100,000 in prize money and a return trip to the 2022 Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay, Ont., as Team Canada.

The runner-up earns $ 60,000 and $ 40,000 goes to the third-place team.

The winner doesn’t have a world championship, however, in which to wear the Maple Leaf.

The March 19-28 tournament in Schaffhausen, Switzerland was cancelled by the World Curling Federation because of the pandemic.

The 2020 world championship in Prince George, B.C., was called off for the same reason, so Einarson wasn’t able to represent Canada there.

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With 8 teams remaining, Scotties title feels like anyone’s game

When this year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts began one week ago, many expected the usual curling characters to rise to the top. Jennifer Jones, Kerri Einarson and Rachel Homan were picked by many to advance to the championship pool and that’s exactly what happened.

But what many curling fans and prognosticators didn’t see developing was a young Quebec team and veteran Saskatchewan skip also rising to the top. 

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

Quebec skip Laurie St-Georges has been fearless in the face of pressure in her first Scotties appearance. And her team seems to be soaking up every second on the ice, smiling, laughing and embracing the big stage. The team finished the preliminary round with a 6-2 record and is one of the eight teams remaining, battling it out for the final three spots.

Then there’s Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson, who at 57 is playing in her 10th Scotties and led her team to first place in Pool B with a 6-2 record. (In fact, Anderson got her first Scotties victory 27 years ago today. She’s won 56 games at the national championship throughout her career and is becoming one of the great stories at this year’s event.)

Team Fleury (5-3), skipped by Chelsea Carey, Quebec (6-2) and Manitoba (6-2) also advanced out of Pool B. 

In Pool A, Homan and Einarson lead the way with 7-1 records, but Homan finished first by defeating Einarson in their final preliminary game. Also advancing out of Pool A are Team Peterson and Alberta, each at 5-3. 

WATCH | That Curling Show breaks down moving day at Scotties:

From tiebreaker scenarios to championship round matchups, hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux get you caught up. 47:55

The teams will carry over their records from the preliminary round to the championship round, making each game that much more important the rest of the way. The four teams from Pool A will play the four teams from Pool B. 

The top three teams after the championship pool advance to the playoffs, with the first-place team moving directly to Sunday’s final while the second- and third-place teams battle it out in the semifinal. 

Throughout the week of competition there were moments of drama, shots were made and shots were certainly missed. The curlers are in a situation like no other having not been able to properly practice heading into the national championship.

Under normal circumstances, teams would have played anywhere from 10 to 12 events by this point of the curling season. The rust was noticeable. But now with a week on the ice behind them, it appears the teams are getting a grasp on the ice conditions and seem more comfortable. 

Team Einarson, outside of the loss to Homan, has been one of the most consistent teams and looks a good bet to repeat their championship last year in Moose Jaw. Not since Homan won in 2013 and 2014 has a team repeated. 

Homan, eight months pregnant, is making another championship push at the Scotties, looking to erase her back-to-back losses in the championship game the past two years.

Jones is looking to make more history. Earlier in the tournament she surpassed Colleen Jones for most wins ever at the Scotties. If she wins Sunday’s championship, it will be her seventh, moving her past Colleen Jones for most titles as a skip. 

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Tom Brady wins 7th Super Bowl title as Buccaneers defeat Kansas City

Tom Brady made his seventh Super Bowl title look familiar — despite moving south to a new team and conference during a pandemic.

Brady threw two touchdown passes to old friend Rob Gronkowski and one to good pal Antonio Brown, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City 31-9 on their home field in Super Bowl LV on Sunday.

The GOAT, as Brady is known, earned his fifth Super Bowl MVP award and extended his Super Bowl titles’ record in his 10th appearance, his first without Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The 43-year-old Brady broke his own mark for oldest player to win a Super Bowl and joins Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to win one with multiple franchises.

“I’m not making any comparisons,” Brady said. “Experiencing it with this group of guys is amazing.”

The Buccaneers (15-5) won their second NFL title and first in 18 years while becoming the first team to play the big game at home, capping an unusual and challenging season played through the novel coronavirus. They won three road games as a wild-card team to reach the Super Bowl, and joined the NHL’s Lightning as a 2020 season champion. The Rays also went to the World Series but lost to the Dodgers.

“I’m so proud of all these guys,” Brady said. “We had a rough November but we came together at the right time. We knew this was gonna happen. We played our best game of the year.”

NFL completes 269-game season on time

Tampa’s victory prevented Mahomes and Kansas City (16-3) from becoming the first repeat champions since Brady’s Patriots did it in 2003-04.

The NFL completed its 269-game season on time without any cancellations, a remarkable accomplishment that required nearly 1 million COVID-19 tests for players and team personnel.

Due to the virus, only 25,000 mask-wearing fans were allowed in, including approximately 7,500 vaccinated health-care workers who were given free tickets by the NFL. About 30,000 cardboard cutouts made the stadium look full.

A streaker wearing a hot-pink onesie eluded security and slid into the end zone with 5:03 left in the game. Mahomes and Kansas City’s high-powered offence never got that far against Tampa’s ferocious defence.

Bruce Arians became the oldest coach at age 68 to win the Super Bowl. His mom, 95-year-old Kay Arians, witnessed it in person. Brady, Gronk and defensive co-ordinator Todd Bowles helped Arians get that Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Bowles devised a masterful plan to frustrate Mahomes and shut down the Chiefs, the complete opposite of Kansas City’s 27-24 win in Tampa in Week 12, when the Chiefs jumped to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Tyreek Hill had 269 yards receiving and three TDs in that one. He was held to 73 yards on seven catches.

After Kansas City took a 3-0 early lead, it was all Brady and the Bucs.

Gronkowski catches 13th and 14 post-season TDs from Brady

Brady accomplished a career-first when he tossed an 8-yard TD pass to Gronkowksi to give the Buccaneers a 7-3 lead with 37 seconds left in the first quarter. Brady’s nine Super Bowl teams in New England produced just three points total in the first quarter. Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to play with his buddy, caught his 13th and 14th post-season TDs from Brady. That broke the record they shared with Jerry Rice and Joe Montana, who combined for 12.

Despite playing at home, the Buccaneers weren’t allowed to fire the cannons from their famed pirate ship after touchdowns and big plays. They did it soon after the clock expired as red, white and black confetti fell onto the field.


Rob Gronkowski #87 and Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate after defeating Kansas City in Super Bowl LV on Sunday. (Mike Ehrmann.Getty Images)

Fans still enjoyed the thud of Gronk’s thunderous spike after his first score.

Tampa missed an opportunity to extend the lead when Brady’s 2-yard pass to offensive lineman Joe Haeg was knocked out of his hands by Anthony Hitchens in the end zone. Ronald Jones was stopped short on consecutive carries as Arians stuck to his “No risk it, no biscuit” philosophy and went on fourth down.

But Kansas City didn’t gain any momentum off the stop. Instead, they made one costly mistake after another.

First, All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce dropped a pass that would’ve been a big gain on third down. Then punter Tommy Townsend shanked a 29-yarder after a penalty forced him to kick again. The Bucs started at Kansas City’s 38 instead of their 27.

A holding call on Kansas City cornerback Charvarius Ward negated an interception by All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu. Kansas City’s defence held but an offside penalty during Ryan Succop’s successful field goal gave the Buccaneers a first down. Sarah Thomas, the first woman official in a Super Bowl, threw that flag.

Brady needed one play, firing a strike to Gronkowski for a 17-yard TD and a 14-3 lead. Gronk hesitated before spiking the ball, waiting to make sure the flag on the play was again against Kansas City

Mahomes drove the offence for a 34-yard field goal by Harrison Butker that cut it to 14-6, but Kansas City’s defence fell apart in the final minute of the first half — allowing 42 yards on two pass interference penalties. One against Mathieu in the end zone set up Brady’s TD pass to Brown for a 21-6 halftime lead.

It was Brady who convinced his new team to give Brown a chance after the troubled former All-Pro came off suspension. His TD toss to Brown was his 50th of the season, including 10 in the post-season.

Mathieu took an unsportsmanlike penalty after the TD pass for getting into it with Brady as he ran to the sideline.

Leonard Fournette, like Brown an in-season addition, ran 27 yards untouched for a touchdown in the third quarter, extending Tampa’s lead to 28-9. Arians pumped his fist after that score and pointed toward offensive co-ordinator Byron Leftwich, who made the call.

Succop’s 52-yard field goal increased the lead to 31-9.

Buccaneers hadn’t reached the playoffs since 2007

Last year, Mahomes rallied Kansas City from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against San Francisco and earned MVP honours in leading Kansas City to its first NFL championship in a half-century. But Tampa’s pass rush gave him no chance in this one.

Shaq Barrett had one of three sacks on Mahomes, who spent most of the game trying to escape Jason Pierre-Paul, William Gholston and a relentless group.

Brady was 6-3 in Super Bowls during 20 seasons in New England before he signed a $ 50 million US, two-year contract with Tampa in March. The Buccaneers hadn’t reached the playoffs since 2007 and hadn’t won a post-season game since Jon Gruden led Tampa over Oakland in Super Bowl 37.

Despite the home-field advantage, it wasn’t until Brady hooked up with Gronkowski for a 21-6 lead that fans chanted: “Let’s Go Bucs!” They were roaring in the fourth quarter.

There were plenty of red-clad Kansas City fans doing the tomahawk chop for part of the first half until the Bucs made it a rout.

Brady avenged his loss against Kansas City defensive co-ordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who held the same position for the Giants when New York stifled the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, preventing New England from a perfect season.

Brady’s New England teams won their titles by a combined 30 points, an average margin of five per victory. A 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams two years ago had been the most lopsided score until this one.

The warmer climate suited Brady perfectly. He passed Michael Jordan for more championships and it doesn’t seem he’s ready to slow down. He already said he might play past age 45,

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Dustin Johnson posts record score in running away with his 1st Masters title

Nothing ever comes easily for Dustin Johnson in the majors, except for slipping into that Masters green jacket.

Johnson overcame a jittery start that conjured memories of past majors he failed to finish off. He turned that into a command performance, making sure this one-of-a-kind Masters with no fans also had no drama.

Not even close.

Johnson tapped in for par on the 18th for a 4-under 68 to finish at 20-under 268, breaking by two shots the record set by Tiger Woods in 1997 and matched by Jordan Spieth in 2015.

His five-shot victory at Augusta National in Georgia was the largest at the Masters since Woods won by 12 in his record-breaking win in 1997. All that was missing were the roars for any of his pivotal putts early and his birdie putts on the back nine that put it away.

“It still feels like a dream,” Johnson said. “As a kid, you’re dreaming about winning the Masters, having Tiger put the green jacket on you. I’m here and what a great feeling it is. I couldn’t be more excited.”

WATCH | Dustin Johnson completes memorable Masters performance:

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson’s 5-shot victory at Augusta National was the largest at the Masters since Tiger Woods won by 12 in his record-breaking win in 1997. 2:41

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., finished tied for 10th after shooting a 69 and finishing at 9-under for the tournament. The 28-year-old made history with his 65 in the second round — the lowest round ever by a Canadian at Augusta National.

Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., finished in a tie for 29th, while Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., tied for 51st. The 50-year-old Weir, who won the tournament in 2003, made his first Masters cut since 2014.

WATCH | Corey Conners earns berth to 2021 Masters:

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., finished the 2020 Masters tied for 10th at 9-under to earn him an automatic invitation to next year’s event. 1:07

The Masters, postponed from April because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was forced to do without patrons for the first time. Johnson still received a warm reception coming up the 18th from club members and their wives, his partner, Paulina Gretzky, and a few champions.

Two-time champion Bubba Watson was there to congratulate him.

“I always dreamed of having one of those,” Johnson said as he went to sign his card. “Now I got one.”

11 straight sub-par rounds at Augusta

Johnson’s four-shot lead was reduced to one after five holes, and then he quickly restored control. Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im each shot 69 and were the only ones who really had a chance.

Smith got quite the consolation. He became the first player in Masters history to post all four rounds in the 60s, and all it got him was a silver medal. Johnson became the 12th Masters champion to never trail after any round, and his closing 68 broke another record held by Woods — it was his 11th consecutive sub-par round at Augusta National.


No one had a better finish than defending champion Tiger Woods, but only after the five-time Masters champion posted the highest score of his career — three balls in Rae’s Creek for a 10 on the par-3 12th hole. He finished with five birdies over the last six holes to salvage a 76.

The betting favourite and biggest basher in golf, Bryson DeChambeau, couldn’t even beat 63-year-old Bernhard Langer, who shot 71 and wound up one shot ahead of the U.S. Open champion.

These were only sideshows on a quiet Sunday at Augusta National.

Johnson, the first No. 1 player in the world to win the Masters since Woods in 2002, was the main event. He won for the 25th time worldwide and his second major — he won the U.S. Open from four shots behind at Oakmont in 2016 — comes with some big perks. He can return for the rest of his life and will host the Masters Club dinner next April for champions.


But even a record score, and the widest margin of victory since Woods won by 12 in 1997, didn’t mean it was easy. This is Johnson, after all, who for all his talent has dealt with more than his share of misfortune, not all his own doing.

He was the 16th player to take at least a four-shot lead into the final round of the Masters, and only four had failed to win, most recently Rory McIlroy in 2011.

That lead was down to one shot after five holes.

Change in momentum

From short of the bunker on the par-5 second, Johnson muffed his flop into the bunker and had to scramble for par at the easiest hole on the course Sunday. After he settled himself with a birdie on No. 3, he came up short of the green and took three putts for bogey, then found a fairway bunker off the fifth tee, had to lay up and made another bogey.


Im started with two birdies in three holes, and saved par with a fabulous flop over a bunker behind the fifth green. Suddenly, he was one shot behind. Ahead of them was Smith, suddenly two shots behind.

Just when it looked as though Johnson might he headed to a meltdown, it all changed on one hole.

Johnson’s tee shot to a pin on the top-right shelf at the par-3 sixth settled six feet away for birdie. Im chipped from just behind the green to three feet and missed the par putt. Johnson’s lead was back to three.

Then, with Johnson blocked by pine branches and having to punch low into a front bunker at No. 7, Im from the fairway sailed the green into a bunker, blasted out through the green and made bogey.

Smith was still within two shots when they made the turn, and the wind was stronger that it had been all week, but the Aussie could manage only one birdie, and by then it was too late.

Nothing is sweeter than that walk up the steep hill to the 18th green with a five-shot lead and a green jacket waiting. Except in this case, there was no one to cheer, hardly anyone to watch.

There were no roars this week. White and pink blooms of azaleas and dogwoods were replaced by gold and brown hues of Augusta in autumn. It really was a Masters unlike any other, except there was no mistaking that green jacket.

It’s a good fit for Johnson.

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Lewis Hamilton wins in Turkey for record-equalling 7th F1 title

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton took a record-equalling seventh world championship and became Formula One’s most successful driver of all time after winning a wet and slippery Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Mercedes driver matched Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s seven titles in style, lapping sole title rival and team mate Valtteri Bottas on a nightmare afternoon for the spinning Finn.

Hamilton already had more race wins, pole positions and podium finishes than any other driver in the history of the sport.

More to come

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