January 30, 2005

(6) Notre Dame 65, (9) Connecticut 59

STORRS, Conn. -- Notre Dame took it right at Connecticut.

The sixth-ranked Fighting Irish snapped Connecticut's Big East home winning streak at 112 games Sunday, beating the ninth-ranked Huskies 65-59.

``We were more aggressive and more physical. We were not going to be intimidated,'' Notre Dame coach Muffett McGraw said. ``To come in here and play where we've never won and play like we did tonight was a real step forward.''

Courtney LaVere led Notre Dame (18-3, 6-2 Big East) with 14 points and anchored a dominating inside game as the Irish won for the first time in eight tries in Connecticut. Notre Dame made good on its quest to avenge a loss to the Huskies just 18 days ago in South Bend.

UConn (13-5, 6-1) hadn't lost a home conference game since a 64-62 defeat to Georgetown on Feb. 27, 1993. The Irish also ended the Huskies' 55-game streak at Gampel Pavilion. UConn's last defeat at Gampel was a 72-71 loss to Tennessee on Feb. 1, 2001.

The Irish led by 10 at the half and countered every UConn move down the stretch with backdoor cuts to LaVere or 3-pointers from Megan Duffy and Charel Allen. Each bucket brought a collective groan from the 10,167 fans.

``The Big East is such a tough conference, and to win on the road against a great team like UConn means a lot,'' LaVere said.

Ann Strother almost single-handedly kept the Huskies in the game with her perimeter shooting. She had a season-high 25 points on 7-of-9 3-point shooting. Her final 3 with 12.6 seconds left cut the Irish's lead to 61-59. But Notre Dame iced it by hitting four straight free throws.

``I'm not really concerned with how many points I scored,'' Strother said. ``Our best player is our team. When everyone's thinking on the same page, all together, there's no team in the country that can beat us. If there's one person who's not concentrating, not focused, we all look horrible.''

The Huskies had several lapses, especially in the first half when they turned the ball over 16 times.

``Our guards are not good and today we were exposed,'' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ``Notre Dame put a lot of pressure on them to find guys and we couldn't do it. The first thing we would do when we got the ball was to look to pass to someone who wasn't open.''

Duffy finished with 12 points, and Teresa Borton matched her career high with 11 rebounds for the Irish. Charde Houston had 10 points and 12 boards for the Huskies.

Notre Dame outscored UConn 36-16 in the paint and had 19 points off 20 UConn turnovers. Led by LaVere, a reserve forward, Notre Dame's backup outscored the UConn subs 29-12.

The Irish established their inside dominance early, outscoring UConn 22-6 in the paint in the first half. LaVere, who had 10 points in the period on 4-of-5 shooting, was nearly unstoppable with her hook shot.

UConn clung to a two-point lead with 7:49 remaining when the Irish went on a 10-0 run to take a 28-20 lead. The Huskies spent most of the period without center Jessica Moore, who picked up her third foul just 8 minutes in.

The Irish also scored 17 points on 16 UConn turnovers in the first half and led 34-24 at the half.

The win gave Notre Dame basketball a clean sweep of both UConn men and women's teams. Earlier in the day, the Notre Dame men beat the 19th-ranked Huskies 78-74 in South Bend.

``I think we are both just trying to position ourselves for the NCAA Tournament,'' McGraw said. ``It was a great win for our guys today and I'm sure they feel the same about us.''

The UConn teams hadn't lost on the same day since Jan. 15, 2001, and hadn't lost to the same opponent since Boston College beat both the men and women on Jan. 26, 1985, in the pre-Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma era.

(22) Penn St. 81, (10) Minnesota 68

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- With fellow Wooden Award candidate Janel McCarville struggling in the first half, Tanisha Wright made her case for college basketball's top honor.

Wright tied a career high with 32 points to help Penn State upset another top-10 team, beating McCarville and No. 10 Minnesota 81-68 on Sunday. Penn State has also defeated North Carolina, Ohio State and Michigan State -- all in the top 10 at the time.

``Tanisha had an All-American night,'' Penn State coach Rene Portland said. ``She really did on both ends of the court, on the offensive end and the defensive end. She's defending the title that she has on the defensive end and she's making them think a whole lot on the MVP of the league.''

Wright was 12-of-23 from the field and scored five points during the Lady Lions' 13-2 second-half run that stretched a two-point lead to a 50-37 advantage with 11:42 left. At the end of the first half, she scored 10 straight points for the Lady Lions and had 12 of the team's final 14 points.

``I thought that Tanisha Wright basically did anything she wanted to tonight,'' Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. ``In the first half, she really kept her team in the game.''

McCarville scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds -- her eighth double-double of the season -- to lead the Golden Gophers (16-4, 6-2 Big Ten), but was just 2-of-8 from the floor in the first half and missed seven straight shots at one point. She also turned the ball over six times, contributing to the Gophers' 17 turnovers.

Jamie Broback scored 14 points and Shannon Schonrock added 12 for Minnesota, which shot just 1-of-11 from 3-point range.

``It has to start from the outside in,'' Portland said of the Lady Lions' defensive effort. ``We were very concerned about their 3-point shooting and I think we did a super job on that tonight.''

Jess Strom finished with 19 points, including a school-record 15-of-15 effort from the free throw line for the Lady Lions (13-7, 8-1). The previous high was 14 free throws in a game, last accomplished by Lisa Shepherd against Purdue on Feb. 22, 2001.

Following Wright's free throw with 15:53 left, Jenny Brenden hit a 3-pointer, made two foul shots, then lobbed a pass to Wright in the low post for a layup for a 45-35 Lions lead.

The Lady Lions hit a season-high 32 free throws in 35 attempts, and outrebounded the Gophers -- the Big Ten's best rebounding team -- 32-26.

Notre Dame 78, (19) Connecticut 74

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It was supposed to be a mismatch up front when Connecticut faced Notre Dame. It was -- only it was the Irish who dominated.

Torin Francis had 19 points and seven rebounds and Dennis Latimore added 12 points as the Irish outscored No. 19 Connecticut 38-20 inside en route to a 78-74 victory on Sunday.

``Latimore and Torin Francis were a little too much to handle,'' UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. ``They completely dominated our frontcourt.''

Connecticut's game plan was to try to take away Notre Dame's outside game and make the Irish beat them inside. The Irish did.

``Everyone always talks about us as a shooting team and they question our frontcourt. After today, I don't think there's anything left to question,'' Francis said. ``I think we have the best frontcourt. We haven't done much to show that yet, but this is a big step.''

The game wasn't decided, though, until the closing seconds. After shooting 50 percent for most of the game, UConn missed its final five shots, including a breakaway layup by Marcus Williams that would have tied the game at 76 with 15 seconds left. Instead, Williams' shot came up short and he fouled Chris Thomas on the rebound. Thomas made two free throws to give the Irish the four-point lead.

``No excuses. I think I was going too fast,'' Williams said. ``I thought he was going to foul me to make the free throws, but there's still no excuse.''

UConn (12-5, 4-3 Big East) missed its final two 3-point attempts as time ran out, giving Notre Dame its first win over a ranked team since beating the ninth-ranked Huskies a year ago.

Thomas had 11 of his 15 points in the second half for the Irish (13-5, 5-3), who had lost two straight.

The student section swarmed the floor to celebrate the victory.

``This is a huge win for us coming off of two losses,'' said Chris Quinn, who added 12 points for the Irish.

The Huskies led by an many as seven points early in the second half, but the Irish used a 9-3 run to tie the score at 61 when Thomas drove the lane for a layup midway through the second half. The game was close the rest of the way.

Thomas hit a 3-pointer with 4:36 left to give the Irish a 70-69 lead. Then Latimore scored inside to give the Irish a 72-71 lead.

Left unguarded, Williams hit a 3-pointer with 3:10 left to give the Huskies a 74-72 lead. But UConn didn't score again. Francis dunked over Charlie Villanueva to tie the score at 74.

Irish coach Mike Brey said he knew then the Irish would win.

``That's one that says to his teammates, `We're going to get this one,''' he said.

Latimore added a basket inside to give the Irish the lead, and Thomas put the game away with his free throws.

Denham Brown led the Huskies with 20 points, while Rudy Gay had 16. Williams had 10 points and tied the school record with 16 assists.

Josh Boone, UConn's leading scorer at 14.8 points a game, had six points on 3-of-6 shooting, and Villanueva, who averages 12.6 points, had six points on 2-of-8 shooting.

``We let it get away,'' Brown said. ``We came out knowing this could happen and it did. This was a game that obviously got away from us.''
Miller Wins Super-G Gold, Maier Fourth

BORMIO, Italy - American Bode Miller won the super-G world championship title on Saturday, eclipsing favorite Hermann Maier and finishing ahead of a trio of Austrians to claim the gold medal.

Miller, joint silver medallist in super-G at St Moritz two years ago, stormed his way down an icy Stelvio slope in a time of one minute 27.55 seconds with Austria's Michael Walchhofer 0.14 seconds behind.

Benjamin Raich picked up the bronze medal but the experienced Maier could manage only fourth place -- the first time he has failed to take a podium place in a world championship super-G.

In St Moritz, Miller took gold in giant slalom and combined and was joint silver medallist along with Maier in super-G. The American all-rounder will now fancy his chances of proving himself to be the undisputed top man in the world.

"It means a lot to me," said Miller. "I've felt for a long time that I could do it in the speed events and this is awesome."

The 27-year-old Miller has struggled for form of late after making a blistering start to the World Cup tour by winning six of the opening 10 races.

But he recovered from an early error when he touched the snow with his backside to deliver an aggressive but controlled run on a challenging, at times bumpy, course on the first day of the two-week world championships.

"Everything was a big fight from the beginning, especially in the upper part where I touched the snow and had to really fight hard," said Miller.

"I made one mistake but maybe I needed that to get me to push and push. I was definitely lucky, normally you wouldn't get a medal with such a mistake," he added.

The result puts the pressure on Maier to deliver in the downhill next Saturday and will raise questions about whether he is beginning to fall from his pedestal at the top of the sport.

The former double Olympic and world champion, who came back from an horrific motorcycle crash in 2001, has managed only one win in super-G this season.
No. 20 Pitt Shocks No. 4 Syracuse 76-69

PITTSBURGH - Carl Krauser and Chevon Troutman led Pittsburgh's second consecutive comeback from a 17-point deficit against a ranked opponent, withstanding long scoreless stretches to drive the No. 20 Panthers to a 76-69 victory over No. 4 Syracuse on Saturday night.

Pittsburgh, rallying much as it did the previous Saturday in beating then-No. 16 Connecticut 76-66, took command with a 13-0 run midway through the second half as the Orange failed to score for 6 1/2 minutes.

Krauser scored all 19 of his points in the second half after not scoring for nearly 23 minutes and Troutman, held scoreless for the first 14 1/2 minutes, had 18 points and nine rebounds for Pitt (14-3, 4-2 Big East).

Keith Benjamin, a seldom-used redshirt freshman guard who had scored only two points in Pitt's previous 13 games, keyed the comeback by coming off the bench for 10 points — as many as he had all season.

The Panthers had lost three of five, including two in a row at home to Bucknell and Georgetown, before beating UConn and Syracuse in succession.

Gerry McNamara scored 26 points on 7-of-17 shooting and Hakim Warrick had 25, but no other Syracuse player scored more than four as the Orange's 13-game winning streak ended. The Orange, the highest-ranked opponent to play at Pitt since the Petersen Events Center opened for the 2002-03 season, were playing their first ranked opponent since losing to then-No. 5 Oklahoma State 74-60 on Dec. 7.

The Orange (20-2, 7-1) opened a 22-5 lead by holding Pitt to two field goals in the first 10 minutes and seemed well on their way to their second consecutive victory in Pittsburgh. Syracuse ended Pitt's 40-game home winning streak last season by becoming the first visiting team to win in the Petersen Center.

Pitt is 9-43 against Top 5 teams, but has won its last three at home against such opponents.

McNamara was in double figures with 10 points before Pitt made its second field goal of the game, but Benjamin came off the bench to hit two quick baskets and start the Panthers on a 22-9 run that cut Syracuse's lead to 31-27.

Pitt tied it for the first time at 38 on Krauser's second 3-pointer in two possessions before Syracuse answered with a quick 6-0 run for a 44-38 lead. But Benjamin's 3-pointer and two free throws and Aaron Gray's tap-in started the 13-0 run that put Pitt up 51-44. At that point, Pitt had outscored Syracuse 46-22 since trailing by 17.

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon went to Benjamin mostly out of desperation after freshman guard Ronald Ramon quickly drew three fouls and starting guard Antonio Graves had trouble getting open shots against Syracuse's zone defense. Graves did not score in nine minutes of playing time.

January 27, 2005

World Remembers Holocaust at Snow-Swept Auschwitz

Dusted by falling snow and surrounded by barbed wire, world leaders mourned the victims of the Holocaust on Thursday, the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the biggest Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Kennedy Calls for U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq

The United States should start to withdraw militarily and politically from Iraq and aim to pull out all troops as early as possible next year, Sen. Edward Kennedy said on Thursday.

P&G Buying Gillette for $57B, Source Says

Procter & Gamble Co. is preparing to buy razor and battery maker Gillette Co. for $57 billion in a stock deal that would create the world's largest consumer-products company, a source familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday.

No. 22 Ga. Tech Upends No. 5 Wake Forest

Jarrett Jack hit two free throws with 4.4 seconds left and Chris Paul missed a shot at the buzzer as No. 22 Georgia Tech ended a three-game losing streak with a 102-101 overtime victory over No. 5 Wake Forest on Thursday night.

January 24, 2005

Johnny Carson Dead

Former "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson dies of emphysema, his nephew tells CNN. He was 79.

Steelers Lose Again in AFC Championship Game

The game sucked. The Pats win again.

January 23, 2005

(21) Pittsburgh 76, (16) Connecticut 66

STORRS, Conn. -- Chevon Troutman and Pittsburgh's rugged defense were more than Connecticut could handle.

In a matchup of Big East heavyweights, the No. 21 Panthers rallied from 17 points down to upset the 16th-ranked Huskies 76-66 before a raucous UConn crowd.

Troutman scored 25 of his career-high 29 points in the second half and the Panther defense did the rest, holding UConn to 27 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes.

``We always dig oursevles a hole and we always come back,'' Troutman said. ``We haven't been getting the big plays down the stretch and we've been taking plays off down the stretch. Tonight is a night when we didn't take a play off down the stretch.''

Pitt and UConn had split six meetings over the last three seasons and played each other in the conference tournament final the past three seasons. It was the first win for the Panthers on UConn's homecourt in five tries.

The snowstorm that pounded the Northeast did little to deter UConn fans. Season-ticket holders who did not make the game donated about 3,000 tickets to students who helped fill the 10,000-seat Gampel Pavilion. And the crowd let the Panthers hear it from the opening tip.

But in the closing seconds they began quietly filing out in droves. Pitt guard Carl Krauser skipped over to the sidelines, grabbed his jersey and let the departing crowd know ``We're not going to lose. We're the beast of the East.''

Troutman was a beast in the second half. The 6-foot-7 power forward scored 10 straight points midway through the second half and gave the Panthers (13-3, 3-2 Big East) their first lead at 55-54 with 8:14 left -- and Pitt would never give it back.

``The guys did an unbelievable job getting it done,'' Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said.

The Huskies (11-4, 3-2) had a nine-point lead at the half but watched it dissolve because of poor shooting and the Panthers' tough post defense.

UConn went nearly nine minutes in the second half without a field goal, while Troutman went on his 10-0 run, built largely on inside baskets.

``We've lost four games this year and far and away this was the most disappointing,'' UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. ``We completely got taken out of our offense.''

It was a matchup of two of the best rebounding teams in the nations. UConn led the nation in rebounding margin (15.6) and the Panthers (10.6) were fifth coming into the game. The Huskies lived up to their billing in the first half, dominating inside even without star center Josh Boone, who was in early foul trouble.

Connecticut used runs of 9-0 and 8-0 in the first half to build a 17-point lead late in the period. They played solid both inside and out, riding the perimeter play of Rashad Anderson, who was 4-of-6 from 3-point range in the half. The Huskies led 43-32 at the half.

But the second half was all Pittsburgh. The Panthers outscored UConn 26-22 in the paint and came up with key blocks down the stretch. Troutman led Pittsburgh with 12 boards and had two of the Panthers' five blocks. Carl Krauser added 15 and Chris Taft had 10 for Pittsburgh.

Anderson led UConn with 19 points and Villanueva had 14 points and 10 boards.

``Troutman played a magnificent game,'' Calhoun said. ``They did what we could not do. They executed their offense, took their time, took the shots they wanted.''

College Basketball: Villanova Stuns No. 2 Kansas

Allan Ray poured in 27 points, including 20 in the second half, as Villanova crushed second-ranked and previously-unbeaten Kansas, 83-62, at the Wachovia Center.

Steelers at their best on the run

It's no shock that the 16-1 Steelers' return to prominence coincides with a renewed emphasis on the run that began with the start of training camp. "Historically, this team has been a running football team. The mentality has been that way," Bettis says.

January 20, 2005

Yow back after two-game absence for cancer treatment

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina State coach Kay Yow decided she needed a new approach to treat her recurrence of breast cancer, the latest in a variety of ailments to hit her in the past year.

The Hall of Fame women's basketball coach decided to follow a new dietary plan -- no meat, no dairy products, no sugar and all organic food. So far, that's her only treatment after having the tumor removed last month.

``For a Southern gal like me, it's a complete overhaul,'' Yow said Thursday before returning from a two-game absence to lead the Wolfpack against Miami. ``It's nothing I'm used to doing.''

Her players wore pink laces in their right shoes -- pink is the symbol for breast cancer awareness -- for the third straight game, and Yow received a rousing ovation when she was introduced before the matchup with the Hurricanes (8-9, 0-4 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Then she got the best tribute of the day: State rallied from eight points down early in the second half to win 73-59. Billie McDowell had 23 points and reserve Khadija Whittington added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack.

``We were more than happy to have Coach Yow back,'' McDowell said. ``It's just a great feeling to see her back over here. We just went out there and were ready to play, and we just got it done.''

While she missed those games to start her new program, the Wolfpack (14-4, 3-2) went 1-1 under longtime assistant Stephanie Glance, including a 76-75 overtime victory over No. 23 Virginia Tech. The loss was by two points to ninth-ranked North Carolina.

``I'm just so proud of my team and my staff,'' the 62-year-old Yow said. ``They embodied everything I believe in and the history of my program.''

Yow first was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, and her oncologist, Dr. Mark Graham, said it was a recurrence. Yow had treatment for skin cancer last year and also had a bout with pneumonia.

``My immune system is just not working like it ought to do, and that can be because of what you're putting in it,'' she said.

Having the cancer come back after 17 years is not rare, something Graham had to tell to another patient earlier Thursday. She has been healthy for the past five years after beating the identical type of cancer that Yow has.

``She wanted me to tell her that she was cured of breast cancer,'' Graham said. ``I had to tell her she was not totally out of the woods.''

But the prognosis remains positive for Yow, who's cancer-free at the moment in tests performed by Graham. If it returns, Graham said Yow probably will undergo traditional treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy.

``As she's sitting here, she is disease-free, and we'd like to keep her that way,'' Graham said. ``All cancer is not created equal, and Coach has an excellent chance to do well with this cancer. The people that have a recurrence like this have a long life.''

Yow has no plans to miss any more games, saying she hopes her new diet will give her even more energy. She has a 666-304 career record in 34 seasons, including a 609-285 mark in 30 years at N.C. State.

She was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and coached the 1988 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal. In 1998, she led the Wolfpack to their only Final Four appearance.

``I'm just going to do everything I can do to make everything work out,'' Yow said. ``I feel great personally, but I don't feel comfortable with all the attention. I'm ever so aware that I'm just one of many people that have this disease.''

January 18, 2005

1940s Film Star Virginia Mayo Dies at 84

LOS ANGELES - Virginia Mayo, the stunning blonde actress who brought beauty and romance to films of the 1940s and 1950s with such co-stars as James Cagney, Bob Hope, Gregory Peck, Danny Kaye and Ronald Reagan, died Monday at a nursing home in suburban Thousand Oaks. She was 84.

Mayo had been in declining health since battling pneumonia about a year ago, her daughter, Mary Johnston, told The Associated Press.

Her honey blonde hair and creamy, flawless face made Mayo ideal for the Technicolor musicals, westerns and adventures that were the rage in Hollywood in the 1940s and '50s.

"I really wanted to be a dancer, but I ended up as an actress, and I got to perform next to some of the greatest actors of our time," she recalled in 2001.

Starting as a chorus girl, she quickly advanced to co-star status, appearing opposite Hope in "The Princess and the Pirate" in 1944. She went on to make five films with Kaye before signing a contract with Warner Bros., where she became one of the studio's biggest stars.

When she signed the contract, Warner Bros. issued an effusive press release that concluded: "At 115 pounds she is potentially as valuable as an acre of land in downtown Los Angeles — and at least several times more desirable."

Mayo did indeed become a valuable property for Warner Bros., appearing in five movies in 1949 alone. She also starred opposite Reagan in the romantic comedy "The Girl from Jones Beach" that year and again in the 1952 musical "She's Working Her Way Through College."

"People always want to hear who was her favorite kisser and stories like that, but those aren't the most important memories to me," her daughter said. "The memories that mean the most to me are that it seems like wherever you were, whoever you were, she always made everything fun for you."

Her mother would acknowledge, however, that it was Peck who delivered the best screen kiss, her daughter added with a chuckle.

She made three films with the legendary director Raoul Walsh. They were "Captain Horatio Hornblower," "Colorado Territory" and "White Heat."

"She was beautiful in pictures, but she was even more beautiful in person," said Mary Walsh, Raoul Walsh's wife and a longtime friend of Mayo. "I guess maybe it was because she was so good inside."

Mayo distinguished herself in two classic movies. In the 1946 Oscar-winner "The Best Years of Our Lives," she played the fickle wife of a returning World War II veteran. In "White Heat" in 1949 she was the neglected wife of a killer.

Born Virginia Clara Jones in St. Louis on Nov. 30, 1920, Mayo got her show biz start as a child, booked to appear in local plays and other events by an aunt who ran a talent studio. She adopted the last name of Andy Mayo, the boss of a vaudeville act where she worked when she was young.

Mayo's first assignment in Hollywood was a small role in "Jack London" (1943), a biography of the author starring Michael O'Shea. In 1956 she recalled how they met on the set: "He just sat there watching me, and then he walked right up and kissed me."

They married in 1947.

Mayo never remarried after O'Shea's death in 1973. She is survived by her daughter and three grandchildren.

'All My Children' Star Ruth Warrick Dies

NEW YORK - Ruth Warrick, the darling of the daytime soap opera "All My Children" who launched her career in Orson Welles' classic "Citizen Kane," has died, ABC-TV said Monday. She was 88.

Warrick died at her New York home Saturday of complications from pneumonia, said ABC.

In "All My Children," which debuted in 1970, Warrick played Phoebe Tyler Wallingford, the grande dame of the fictitious affluent town of Pine Valley. She portrayed the meddlesome and over-the-top personality so believably that her fans often had trouble distinguishing between the stylish actress and her fictitious, equally sophisticated character.

Twice nominated for an Emmy for the role, Warrick often talked about how Phoebe Tyler had become an integral part of her life.

The producer Jorn Winther once said of the actress: "Obviously Ruth and Phoebe are separate and unique, yet they have much in common. All I can say with confidence is that they are both great ladies and that I love them."

Warrick received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the role. She made her final appearance less than two weeks ago to commemorate the show's 35th anniversary.

Susan Lucci, who plays Erica Kane on "All My Children," said Warrick was her first mentor.

"Over the years she not only shared with me her talent and grace, but she did so with the entire country," Lucci said in the ABC statement.

Born and raised in St. Joseph, Mo., Warrick left for New York after graduating from the University of Kansas City. Her interest in acting led her to the Mercury Theater troupe, headed by Welles.

She made her Hollywood debut in 1941 in "Citizen Kane" as Emily Norton Kane. Welles, who co-wrote, directed and starred in the film, hand-picked her for the role of his wife because he said there were no "ladies in Hollywood" who fit the bill.

In 1991, Warrick was honored with a caricature on the wall of the famous New York restaurant Sardi's in honor of the 50th anniversary of her performance in the film.

Warrick later appeared in other movies, including "The Corsican Brothers," with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and "The Great Bank Robbery."

But television turned out to be her medium. Before landing the role of Phoebe Tyler, Warrick had the starring role in the series "Father of the Bride" and received an Emmy nomination for her role as Hannah Cord in the long-running "Peyton Place." She also appeared in two other soap operas: "As the World Turns," from 1956-60, and "The Guiding Light," from 1953-54.

Warrick seemed to find her niche in the role of Phoebe Tyler. She often said it was Welles who was indirectly responsible for the character's development.

In her autobiography "The Confessions of Phoebe Tyler," Warrick wrote that Kane's wife almost seemed to mature into the soap opera character.

"Since Emily's character owes much to the compelling hand of Orson Welles, so, indirectly, must Phoebe's," she wrote.

Warrick also had a strong commitment to the arts in education. She taught at Julia Richman High School in New York as part of former President Carter's City in Schools program and was a dropout prevention consultant for the Labor Department under former President Kennedy and for former President Johnson's Job Training Corps.

She is survived by three children, a grandson and six great-grandchildren.

January 16, 2005

'Sideways,' 'Aviator' Claim Golden Globe Honors

Veteran director Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator" and road comedy "Sideways" earned the top film awards at Hollywood's Golden Globes on Sunday, putting both in front-runner positions in the race for Oscars, the U.S. film industry's top honors.

Mariska Hargitay, the daughter of the late actress Jayne Mansfield, was best actress in a TV drama for her role as a police investigator in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

Brady Leads Patriots Into AFC Title Clash with Steelers

Tom Brady threw for one touchdown and ran for another while the New England Patriots's defense shut down Peyton Manning and the high-powered attack of the Indianapolis Colts to claim a 20-3 playoff victory Sunday.

Eagles Soar to 27-14 Win Over Vikings

Donovan McNabb tossed two first-half touchdown passes to help the Philadelphia Eagles cruise to a 27-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday and reach the NFC championship game for a fourth consecutive year.
Falcons Blow Out Rams, 47-17

Warrick Dunn ran for a 62-yard touchdown, Allen Rossum set an NFL playoff record for punt returns and Atlanta routed the St. Louis Rams 47-17 Saturday night.

(20) Pittsburgh 67, Seton Hall 63

It wasn't easy, but Pittsburgh finally won a home game.

Chevon Troutman scored 10 of his 23 points in the final 4:47 Saturday to lift the 20th-ranked Panthers to a 67-63 victory over Seton Hall in a game of runs.

Pittsburgh had won 43 of its first 44 games in the 3-year-old Petersen Events Center before losing its last two there, 69-66 to Bucknell and by the same score to Georgetown. The Panthers (12-2, 2-1 Big East) won 66-63 at Rutgers last Saturday.

Wake Forest Triumphs Over N.C.

Chris Paul racked up 26 points and Wake Forest shot 32-of-32 from the free-throw line as the fourth-ranked Demon Deacons posted an impressive 95-82 victory over No. 3 North Carolina.

Steelers Defeat Jets, 20-17, in Overtime

Jeff Reed nailed a 33-yard field goal in overtime and the Pittsburgh Steelers somehow beat the resilient New York Jets 20-17 Saturday in a remarkable divisional playoff game filled with wild swings in momentum and emotion.

Pittsburgh rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger overcame two huge mistakes — an interception for a touchdown and another that appeared to doom the Steelers late in the fourth quarter — to lead a decisive drive that began at their own 13 and sent the Steelers to next Sunday's AFC championship game against New England or Indianapolis.

The loss will go down as one of the most excruciating in the Jets' star-crossed history. Kicker Doug Brien missed not one but two makable field-goal tries in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter. The misses were doubly stunning disappointments for a gutty team on the verge of its biggest upset since Broadway Joe's guaranteed win over the Colts in the January 1969 Super Bowl.

Brien's 47-yarder with 1:58 remaining hit the goal post, but Roethlisberger gave the Jets the ball right back when his off-line throw was intercepted by David Barrett — just the kind of mistake rookie quarterbacks are supposed to make in the playoffs, but Big Ben had rarely made during his 13-0 rookie season. The Jets then drove cautiously from the Steelers 37 to the 25, giving Brien a 43-yarder to win it on the final play of regulation.

But the kick sailed far to the left, not even close, and the given-a-reprieve Steelers danced joyously on their sidelines — Roethlisberger right in the middle.

Brien's 28-yarder in overtime beat San Diego last week — yes, by the same 20-17 score — and he hit a 42-yarder to halt Pittsburgh's early momentum and make it 10-3 Pittsburgh early in the second quarter. He was 24-of-29 for the season.

The Jets became the first NFL team to play three consecutive overtime games, including their regular-season ending loss in St. Louis. They dropped to 0-7 in Pittsburgh and 2-16 all-time against the Steelers.

The Steelers won their team-record 15th in a row to advance to the AFC title game for the fifth time since the 1994 season — they are 1-3 under coach Bill Cowher there — but the Jets will wonder for years why they're not going.

The Jets turned two long touchdown returns, Santana Moss' 75-yard punt return and Reggie Tongue's 86-yard interception, into 17 consecutive points and a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter that stunned nearly everyone in a jammed Heinz Field except the Jets.

After the Jets' 17-6 loss there Dec. 12, defensive lineman Shaun Ellis predicted they would win if they returned to Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Last week, it didn't appear anyone in the Steelers' locker room took him seriously.

When Jerome Bettis fumbled at the Jets 24 early in the fourth quarter — his first fumble in 353 carries or receptions this season — Ellis' confidence was looking like more than empty talk. Shades of Broadway Joe Namath?

But just when it appeared as if Roethlisberger was being exposed for the rookie he is, appearing confused at times by the Jets' ever-changing blitzes and fronts, he put together just the kind of drive that has marked the most remarkable season by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.

He sprinted for 20 yards on a first-down scramble, then mostly fed the ball to Bettis and Duce Staley on a 66-yard drive that ended with Roethlisberger's 4-yard scoring flip to Hines Ward — one of only three Roethlisberger completions on the all-important drive. He finished 17-of-30 for 181 yards and two touchdowns.

That drive was reminiscent of last month's game, when the Jets held the Steelers to a 3-all tie for three quarters before the Steelers wore them down with two Bettis-led scoring drives in the fourth.

Bettis outgained the Jets' Curtis Martin 101-77 in a matchup of two of the NFL's top five career rushers. Bettis has rushed for at least 100 yards in all seven starts this season.

The Steelers, who haven't lost a divisional playoff game in seven tries under Cowher since 1993 and are 9-0 at home this season, surged to the 10-0 lead in the first quarter after Troy Polamalu's interception of Chad Pennington's pass. Bettis powered in from the 3 on the fifth play of the 25-yard drive following Roethlisberger's 9-yard completion to Ward.

Reed had given Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead with a 45-yard field goal.

The Jets appeared to be in big trouble then, down 10 points on the road to a Steelers team riding a franchise-record winning streak and coming off its first 15-1 season. The Jets scored only six points in each of their last two regular-season games against the Steelers, including last month's loss, and hadn't scored more than 10 points against them since 1988.

But Pennington, whose arm strength and decision-making were questioned following his three-interception performance in Pittsburgh on Dec. 12, then showed the same resiliency he had in San Diego.

Despite being sacked twice on the drive and dodging a strong rush on nearly every play from Pittsburgh's top-ranked defense, Pennington (21-of-33 for 182 yards and an interception) halted Pittsburgh's momentum by hitting Anthony Becht for 13 yards and Justin McCareins for 11 to set up Brien's 42-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

With the Jets' defense effectively controlling Roethlisberger, just as it did for three quarters last month, Moss found a seam down the sideline and sailed to his tying 75-yard return with three minutes left in the half.

The first punt return score in Jets postseason history was a big jolt to the Steelers' normally strong special teams, who allowed only one punt return longer than 10 yards in their last 11 games.

Kwan Wins 9th U.S. Figure Skating Title

PORTLAND, Ore. - Michelle Kwan held up nine fingers and grinned at the camera. She has her place in history, a run as impressive for its longevity as its dominance.

Kwan won her ninth title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Saturday night, tying Maribel Vinson for the all-time record. She earned four more 6.0s, giving her 42 at nationals in the illustrious career that began more than a decade ago when she was too young to wear makeup.

Now 24, Kwan is a beautiful young woman with one of the most recognizable faces in the world. But she's as dominant as she's always been, with no one in the United States coming close to challenging her.

Certainly not Sasha Cohen, who once again failed to come through when it matters most. Cohen finished second after botching two jumps and was lucky to finish ahead of up-and-comer Kimmie Meissner, who made a bit of history herself with the first triple axel by a U.S. woman since Tonya Harding did it in 1991.

Earlier, Johnny Weir won his second straight men's title. Olympic bronze medalist Tim Goebel was second.

Vinson won nine titles in the 1920s and 1930s, a mark that once seemed certain to stand. Gretchen Merrill, Tenley Albright and Peggy Fleming — they all won multiple titles, but none came close to Vinson.

But it's somehow fitting that Kwan was the one to finally reach the pinnacle. Her former coach, Frank Carroll, trained with Vinson, and Carroll would often tell Kwan stories about Vinson and the lessons she'd taught him. Vinson may not have lived to see Kwan, but she's had a hand in Kwan's success.

"There's a cosmic connection between me and Maribel," Kwan said. "She taught Frank and Frank taught me. To be with her is something."

Vinson died when the plane carrying the U.S. team to the 1961 world championships in Prague crashed in Belgium. Vinson was coaching her daughters, Maribel Y. and Laurence, who had just won the U.S. title.

Her performance Saturday night may not have been Kwan's best — she was a little tentative and slower than she's been in practice. But it was still gorgeous, and more than worthy of one for the record books.

Skating to "Bolero," with a program choreographed by none other than Christopher Dean, Kwan was lovely in her golden costume. She was the picture of grace, perfectly in sync with the music.

She picked up speed with every jump she did, until she was dancing down the ice on her final footwork. The crowd was cheering so loudly she could barely hear the end of her music, throwing back her arms and head in triumph. Fans jumped to their feet, and Kwan pumped her fist, shook her head and clapped her hands as if to say, "I did it."

She patted her chest twice and grinned after taking her bows, and pointed to friends in the crowd. When she saw her 6.0s she beamed and raised her arms in triumph.

The title was Kwan's eighth straight, extending her own record. She's also a five-time world champion, and has silver and bronze medals from the Olympics. The only hole in her impressive resume is Olympic gold, but the 2006 Games are only a year away.

Cohen has yet to win a major title — nationals, world or Olympic — and she won't get one if she keeps skating like this. She crashed hard on a triple lutz and had to put a hand down on the ice to keep from falling on her triple loop.

But that wasn't her biggest problem. Cohen is one of the most beautiful skaters around, a vision of grace and elegance. Even when she botches her jumps, she packs the rest of the program with explosive footwork and emotion — but not this night. Her program was flat, slow and totally lacking of luster.

Even her dress, a salmon-pink number, was bland.

Had Meissner had even a bit more presence on the ice, Cohen might have found herself in third place. But just 15, Meissner's strength is still her athleticism.

Harding was the first U.S. woman to land the triple axel in 1991. No American woman has even tried it, let alone come close to landing it since Harding traded in her skates for boxing gloves. But with nationals in Harding's hometown, Meissner picked the perfect spot to end the drought.

Meissner had been doing the axel in practice all week and landed a perfect one in warmups, drawing loud applause. When it came time to do the jump for real, she almost seemed to be in slow motion as she took off and then turned 3 1/2 times in the air. A huge smile crossed her face as she lightly touched down, and the crowd roared, knowing they'd just seen something special.

"I was very excited about it," said Diane Rawlinson, Harding's former coach. "When she set up for it, I thought she was going to do it. It was nice. Very nice."

The judges thought so, giving Meissner 5.7s to one 5.9 for technical merit. That was enough to boost her ahead of Jenny Kirk, who finished fourth, though Kirk will likely still go to worlds because Meissner is too young.

January 15, 2005

Steelers Must Prove Themselves Again

PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Steelers have never had a season like this, even during the days of Franco and Mean Joe. A 15-1 record. A 14-game winning streak. A star quarterback who still hasn't lost an NFL game.

Still, it's not nearly enough for a team that finally feels ready to win the prize that has eluded one of the NFL's most successful franchises for a quarter-century.

The Steelers take high expectations into Saturday's tricky divisional playoff game against the New York Jets, who weren't supposed to make it this far after losing three of four only to upset San Diego 20-17 in overtime last week.

For all their doubters, the Jets suspected they'd be back in Pittsburgh, believing the Steelers were more than fortunate to have escaped with a Jerome Bettis-led 17-6 victory Dec. 12.

Defensive end Shaun Ellis predicted a win if the Jets returned, saying, "They are a great team but, if we come back here, I really think we'll beat them."

The Jets' confident talk reflects what the Steelers are seeing and hearing: they are one of only four NFL teams in 26 years to go 15-1, but they're hardly everybody's pick to win the Super Bowl.

With the Colts-Patriots playoff rematch Sunday attracting so much attention, it almost seems the Steelers are the side attraction.

"I guess people aren't as interested in us as they are Peyton (Manning) vs. the Patriots," Steelers receiver Antwaan Randle El said. "People can not talk about us all the way to the Super Bowl."

Maybe there's hesitancy to view the Steelers as the Super Bowl favorite because no team has reached the Super Bowl with a rookie quarterback, much less won one, as they are asking Ben Roethlisberger to do. Maybe it's because those consecutive midseason wins over the Patriots and Eagles were so long ago, it's forgotten how significant they seemed at the time.

Or maybe it's those three AFC championship game losses at home in the last 10 years, all when the Steelers were favored — and all with Bill Cowher as coach.

"We'll find out," Cowher said, asked if this is the best Steelers team since the franchise won four Super Bowls in six seasons from 1974-79. "We've put ourselves in a good position but we recognize now we're involved in one-game seasons."

The Jets pulled off a surprise by not being one and done in San Diego. Chad Pennington showed the arm strength and resiliency he lacked while throwing three interceptions in Pittsburgh last month, going 23 of 33 for 279 yards and two touchdowns.

Pennington missed practice Wednesday with the flu, but expects to be fine Saturday. He endured several weeks of under-the-microscope scrutiny after his poor play in Pittsburgh, leading to some verbal jousting with the media that quieted after the Chargers game.

"As far as proving anything to anyone, I quit doing that a long time ago," Pennington said. "There are always going to be critics and doubters. You've got to trust yourself and not second-guess yourself. When you start doing that, that's when you play hesitant and you look like you don't have arm strength."

Pennington hasn't convinced the Steelers he's recovered from the rotator cuff injury that sidelined him for three weeks. Linebacker James Farrior said, "I don't think his arm is that strong. I think the injury's bothering him a little bit."

Yet for all the questioning of Pennington's arm and Roethlisberger's lack of experience, the winner will probably have the stronger ground game. Pittsburgh was No. 2 and New York No. 3 in rushing, and each has one of the NFL's top five career rushers: the Jets' No. 4 Curtis Martin and the Steelers' No. 5 Bettis.

Last month, Pittsburgh's league-leading defense held Martin, the NFL rushing champion, to 72 yards on 24 carries and backup LaMont Jordan to 10 yards on three carries, buying time for the offense before Bettis threw for a touchdown and ran for another in the fourth quarter.

The Steelers may get a boost from wide receiver Plaxico Burress' return after he missed five of six games with a sore hamstring. But the Jets also may be without defensive end John Abraham (sore knee) and his 9 1/2 sacks for a sixth consecutive game.

Jets coach Herman Edwards dismisses talk the pressure's all on Pittsburgh and his team is enjoying a gift game it never expected to play.

"There's always pressure on this football team because I'm going to create it," he said. "You're playing with house money? That's a bunch of talk. This is the playoffs. There is pressure."

This image was returned Friday, January 14, 2005, by ESA's Huygens probe during its successful descent to land on Titan. This is the coloured view, following processing to add reflection spectra data, gives a better indication of the actual colour of the surface. Initially thought to be rocks or ice blocks, they are more pebble-sized. The two rock-like objects just below the middle of the image are about 15 centimetres (left) and 4 centimetres (centre) across respectively, at a distance of about 85 centimetres from Huygens. The surface is darker than originally expected, consisting of a mixture of water and hydrocarbon ice. There is also evidence of erosion at the base of these objects, indicating possible fluvial activity.

Titan Probe Drops Into 'Creme Brulee'-Like Surface

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Data sent back by the Huygens space probe from the Saturnian moon Titan show a frozen, orange world shrouded in a methane-rich haze with dark ice rocks dotting a riverbed-like surface the consistency of wet sand, scientists said on Saturday.

The Huygens probe, part of a $3 billion joint mission involving NASA and the European and Italian space agencies, made its pioneering descent to Titan on Friday, sending back readings on the moon's atmosphere, composition and landscape.

Slowed by parachutes, Huygens took more than two hours to float to the icy surface, where it defied expectations of a quick death and continued to transmit for at least two hours.

Along with scientific instruments that measure the components of Titan's atmosphere, Huygens carried a sound recorder and lamp to look for signs of surface liquid.

One reading from an instrument protruding from the front of the saucer-shaped craft to gauge how deeply it penetrated upon impact suggested that the moon's surface was the consistency of wet sand or clay.

"We think this is a material which may have a thin crust, followed by a region of relatively uniform consistency," John Zarnecki, the scientist in charge of experiments on Titan's surface said at a televised news conference from the control center in Germany.

Zarnecki said one of his colleagues had suggested another analogy: creme brulee. "But I don't suppose that will be appearing in any of our papers," he said.

Titan, believed to be the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere, is larger than the planet Mercury. Scientists believe a study of the icy moon could yield clues about how life developed on Earth.


One of the mysteries of Titan is the amount of methane that surrounds it, prompting speculation that there might be oceans of the element on its surface or below.

Some have also questioned whether the impact of a meteorite -- or some other event -- could have thrown off enough heat to liquefy water on Titan, where the surface is now an extreme cold measured at minus 292 F.

A panoramic picture sent back from Huygens shows what appears to be a coastal area with banks of fog-like clouds just above and a root-like system of rivulets just inland.

"It's almost impossible to resist the speculation that this is a drainage channel, that we're seeing a shoreline," said Martin Tomasko, a University of Arizona professor and the key researcher on images of the moon.

"You have the feeling that maybe this was wet not too far ago," he said.

Other rock-sized objects photographed in an apparent flow channel on the gold-orange surface of Titan measured appear to frozen blocks of water ice, Tomasko said, although he cautioned more study was needed.

"We just don't have the answers to many of the questions you can think to ask," he said. "Given a little bit of time we will mine (the data) for a new understanding of this mysterious world that has been veiled from our view for so long."

The mass spectrometer onboard Huygens, a complex instrument designed to analyze molecules in the atmosphere of Titan and on its surface, picked up evidence of a thick cloud of methane about 11-12 miles above the surface.

Once on the surface, a heated tube from the craft showed surface material evaporating and producing more methane.

European Space Agency officials said they would investigate why a second, back-up radio channel failed to transmit some data back from the Huygens probe.

The loss of that signal made it impossible to get immediate results from an experiment that had been intended to track wind direction and strength in Titan's atmosphere, scientists said.

But using data from radio telescopes in Australia, China, Japan, the United States and Europe, Huygens scientists said they expected to be able to piece together similar information over time.

The Cassini-Huygens mission to study Saturn's rings and moons was launched in 1997 and is named after two 17th-century European astronomers: Christiaan Huygens, who discovered Saturn's rings and Titan, and Jean-Dominique Cassini, who discovered the planet's other four major moons.

New Photos Show Titan Has Orange Surface

DARMSTADT, Germany - New, refined pictures from Saturn's moon Titan released Saturday show a pale orange surface covered by a thin haze of methane and what appears to be a methane sea complete with islands and a mist-shrouded coastline.

Space officials worked through the night to sharpen the new photos taken by the space probe Huygens, which snapped the images Friday as it plunged through Titan's atmosphere before landing by parachute on the surface.

Many scientists at the European Space Agency center in Darmstadt, Germany, looked tired from their overnight work but were still clearly elated about the successful arrival of data from Huygens the day before — a major triumph for the European space program.

"The instruments performed brilliantly," said John Zarnecki, in charge of the surface instruments. "We can't find a single missing data frame. The link and the quality of the data was absolutely superb."

Officials played back sound gathered from Huygens' microphone at the surface — a whooshing noise they did not identify. But the center of attention was the pictures.

One shot taken from an altitude of 10 miles showed dark lines that suggested stream beds carved by liquid flowing into a dark area suspected to be a sea of liquid methane — with light areas in the dark that could be islands.

"It is almost impossible to resist speculating that the flat dark material is some kind of drainage channel, that we are seeing some kind of a shoreline," said scientist Marty Tomasko from the University of Arizona, head of the camera team. "We still don't know if it has liquid in it."

Titan's notorious haze — which has kept astronomers from getting a better picture through telescopes — is obvious in the two refined images shown Saturday.

An image taken on the surface shows chunks of what scientists say looks like water ice scattered over an orange surface overcast by methane haze. On Friday, the chunks were described as boulder-sized, but overnight examination showed they are much smaller and simply look big because they are close to Huygens' camera.

Deep shadows and depressions around the chunks suggest they could have been surrounded by liquid at one time, scientists said.

Titan is the only moon in the solar system known to have a significant atmosphere. Rich in nitrogen and containing about 6 percent methane, its atmosphere is believed to be 1 1/2 times thicker than Earth's.

Shushiel Atreya, part of the group studying the atmosphere, said the instruments revealed "a dense cloud or thick haze approximately 11-12 miles from the surface."

"Presumably there is a reservoir of methane on the surface," Atreya said.

The surface itself appears to be "material which might have a thin crust followed by a region of relative uniform consistency," Zarnecki said. "The closest analogues are wet sand or clay."

The $3.3 billion Cassini-Huygens mission to explore Saturn and its moons was launched in 1997 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in a joint effort by NASA, the ESA and the Italian space agency. Huygens was spun off from the Cassini mother ship Dec. 24.

Titan is the first moon other than the Earth's to be explored. Scientists believe its atmosphere is similar to that of early Earth's and studying it could provide clues to how life arose on our planet.

The heart of Huygens' mission was its 2 1/2-hour parachute descent, during which it also sampled the atmosphere and deployed a microphone to gather sounds.

Scientists want to know whether Titan has lightning and if it has the seas of liquid methane and ethane that have been theorized. Both ethane and methane are gases on Earth, but are believed to exist in liquid form on Titan because of high pressure and extreme temperatures of minus 292.

After entry into Titan's atmosphere, Huygens shed its wok-shaped heat shield and deployed a series of parachutes. The data were transmitted back to Cassini, which relayed them to Earth.

Titan's images came streaking across the cosmos Friday, and scientists grew increasingly ecstatic with the scenes from the probe, named after Titan's discoverer, the 17th-century Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens.

"I think all of us continue to be amazed as we watch our solar system unveil," NASA science administrator Alphonso Diaz said Friday as the extraordinary images were displayed on screens at mission control in Darmstadt. "It challenges all our preconceptions that all these planets are static places."
College, budding basketball career keeps Cowher's daughter from Steelers game

PRINCETON, N.J. -- When the Steelers take the field Saturday in Pittsburgh, Meagan Cowher will be back in New Jersey preparing for some athletic successes all her own.

The 18-year-old freshman -- the eldest daughter of Steelers coach Bill Cowher -- has become a standout athlete in her first season on the women's basketball team at Princeton University, winning the Ivy League Rookie of the Week award four times in seven weeks.

The 6-foot-1 freshman guard-forward has been the Tigers' leading scorer, adding 28 points and nine rebounds in their victory against St. Peter's earlier this month. This Saturday, though, she'll be focused on preparing for final exams instead of sports.

``It's been such a pleasant surprise for me that I'd be able to step in and make an impact,'' Cowher said after an evening practice Friday.

Head coach Richard Barron describes Cowher as agile, graceful and athletic, not to mention focused.

``She's got a real sense of maturity and composure that goes well beyond just basketball, but that's why I think she's been able to have such success as a freshman,'' Barron said. ``Part of it's her talent, part of it is who she is.''

Cowher comes from an athletic family. Besides her father's accomplishments, both her mother and an aunt played basketball in college and went on to play professionally. Her two younger sisters also are basketball players.

Cowher's famous father has brought a fair share of attention to the young player, but Barron said she takes it all in stride.

``She's been Meagan Cowher all her life so I don't think it's anything new to her,'' he said. ``All of the sudden there's a resurgence of it because she's in a new environment.

``I think for the most part it's something she's extremely comfortable with,'' Barron said. ``She has a real sense that being Bill Cowher's daughter is not in itself an accomplishment. She's realistic about it. She appreciates the attention, understands why people would be interested in that and she's very, very proud of her father.''

Cowher said her father is already making plans to catch her games in person after his season is done. And while she's seen two Steelers game this season -- one over the Christmas break and one during the fall break -- she hopes to see one more.

``If we get to the Super Bowl -- fingers crossed -- I'll be there,'' she said.

Olympics influenced Stringer and helped Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Watching Van Chancellor coach the U. S. women's basketball team to a gold medal in the Summer Olympics had a profound effect on Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer.

Not only has Chancellor's laid-back approach helped Stringer deal with her team, some of the plays used by Olympians Lisa Leslie, Diana Taurasi and Dawn Staley have benefited No. 4 Rutgers during its seven-game winning streak.

``I was talking to Van last night, telling him the kinds of things that have helped me,'' Stringer said Friday. ``Maybe I have overcoached. I have been so thorough with everything.''

Such thoroughness has resulted in 707 career wins. Texas' Jody Conradt, former LSU coach Sue Gunter and Tennessee's Pat Summitt are the only other coaches in women's college basketball to amass 700 or more career wins.

But as an assistant in Athens, Stringer was impressed with how he handled the best players in women's basketball. In addition to coaching the Olympians to a gold medal, Chancellor has guided the Houston Comets to four WNBA titles.

``He gave them the freedom and the choices,'' Stringer said in a conference call prior to Sunday's game between Rutgers (12-2) and No. 5 Ohio State (16-2).

Stringer said the U.S. women's team had a lot of talent and pride, and she feels the same way about her team. Rutgers moved up 20 places in the poll in the last few weeks following consecutive upsets of then-No. 8 Tennessee, No. 4Texas and No. 1 LSU.

``I have decided to let them be a little more responsible,'' Stringer said.

Now Stringer is giving her players options in running the offense, much like the U.S. women's team had in Greece.

In the past, if Rutgers made a pass to the post from the wing, a player was assigned to make a specific cut off that pass. The Scarlet Knights now have options on the cuts, provided that they continue to look for the ball.

``It doesn't make them have to think so much, as much as take advantage of the talent,'' Stringer said. ``We have been a lot more free in our offensive executions.''

After upsetting top-ranked LSU, Rutgers avoided a letdown with wins over St. John's, Pittsburgh and Georgetown, three of the midlevel schools in the Big East. The Scarlett Knights beat those teams by an average of 26 points.

The Ohio State game will start another tough run for Rutgers, which has its deepest team in years with seniors Cappie Pondexter, Nikki Jett and Chelsea Newton, junior Michelle Campbell and freshmen Matee Ajavon and Essence Carson.

Rutgers faces Providence at home on Thursday and then plays at No. 7 Notre Dame on Jan. 23 and at No. 14 Boston College on Jan. 26.

``I'm interested to see how we do,'' said Stringer, noting Rutgers will be ranked higher than the other ranked teams for the first time this season.

Ohio State, which has not lost at home this season, beat No. 21 Iowa 80-57 on Thursday, the same night Rutgers beat Georgetown 69-33.

The Buckeyes are led by sophomore center Jessica Davenport, who is averaging 17.4 points and 8.1 rebounds. Redshirt senior guard Caity Matter is averaging 14.9 points.

Campbell leads Rutgers with 13.6 points and 6.2 rebounds. Ajavon is averaging 13.3 points.

Rutgers beat Ohio State 56-53 last year in Piscataway.

January 14, 2005

Michelle Kwan gives a thumbs-up as she receives her scores at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships women's short program Thursday, Jan. 13, 2005, at the Rose Garden, in Portland, Ore. Kwan earned three perfect 6.0s for presentation Thursday night, giving a moving performance that won her the short program.

Michelle Kwan skates during the women's short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2005, in Portland, Ore.
Kwan, Goebel Win Skating Event Programs

PORTLAND, Ore. - There was a moment of silence for the mother of a grieving friend, a glimpse of perfection from a rising star and the soothing steadiness of Michelle Kwan. In other words, drama and emotion marked Thursday's competition at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Kwan led, as expected, after a polished short program, while Timothy Goebel landed a clean quad and displayed a vastly refined style among the men. But a pall was cast over the event as competitors struggled to absorb the death of a beloved member of skating's family.

Dolores Nikodinov, the mother of two-time U.S. bronze medalist Angela Nikodinov, was killed Wednesday when the shuttle the family was taking from the Portland airport to a downtown hotel collided with a car. Dolores Nikodinov was pronounced dead at the scene.

Angela Nikodinov and her father were treated and released from a hospital. Her coach, Igor Pashkevich, remained hospitalized Thursday night with a concussion, a cut to his head and broken bone in his neck.

Nikodinov withdrew from competition and instead made funeral arrangements for her mother, a supportive fixture at skating events. A moment of silence was held before the ladies' short program competition at the Rose Garden.

Kwan ended the night with an elegant, crowd-thrilling performance that earned her three 6.0s for presentation. Kwan has 38 perfect marks over her career at nationals, far and away the most by any skater. Brian Boitano is the closest with nine.

If Kwan wins the free skate Saturday night, she'll win her ninth U.S. title and tie the record set by Maribel Vinson Owen in the 1920s and 1930s. She already has seven straight, the longest streak in U.S. women's history.

Sasha Cohen, second at last year's nationals as well as worlds, was runner-up after a short program that included a few mistakes. But Cohen was nonetheless happy with her performance after a difficult couple of months that included boot trouble, injuries and a big move.

After splitting with coach Robin Wagner and moving from the East Coast to California last month, Cohen reunited with John Nicks, who'd trained her from 1996-02.

"I think Sasha is a much more confident skater — and she's enjoying her skating," Nicks said.

Cohen, who put a hand down on her triple lutz, refused to characterize the Saturday night's free skate as a Kwan-Cohen showdown. But the rivalry talk was fueled by a near-miss with Kwan in the warmups.

Near misses are commonplace in warmups, but any time Kwan has one, Cohen seems to be nearby. At the 2002 nationals, she brushed Kwan in warmups before the free skate, unnerving Kwan and forcing her to take some extra time before she started her program.

The next month, at the Salt Lake City Olympics, the two ended up in the same corner within inches of each other at a practice.

This time, Kwan was in midair, about to land a double axel. Courtesy would give Kwan the right of way — you can't change course when you're in the air — but Cohen began a jump and the two nearly collided. The crowd gasped and Cohen darted out of the way, avoiding disaster.

Jenny Kirk, last year's bronze medalist at nationals, was third.

Goebel was in first after his short program, a passionate performance that ended with tears streaming down his face.

Goebel is close friends with Angela Nikodinov and was drained physically and mentally, but he cleanly landed a quadruple toe loop.

"I came well-prepared and healthy," he said. "I worked too hard and have gone through too much this year to have it all fall apart."

In the past two months, Goebel has overcome serious injury to his neck that kept him off the ice for more than three weeks and an abrupt coaching shakeup that had him leaving Frank Carroll for Audrey Weisiger.

And then his friend's mother.

"I've certainly had stressful situations before, but yeah, this blows anything else out of the water," he said.

Defending champion Johnny Weir was second going into Saturday's free skate after he struggled to hold the landing on his triple axel and triple flip.

Weir watched Goebel's performance and knew he could not match it.

"Even though we're competitors, we're friends first," Weir said. "I wanted to be there for him — just in case."

Evan Lysacek, who won the silver last year in the junior worlds after placing fifth in the nationals, earned a 6.0 for artistry and finished in third.

"I'm so stoked. That's so cool," Lysacek said. "That's the first one of my career."
Kentucky 71, (18) Georgia 63

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Freshman center Sarah Elliott scored 15 points to lead Kentucky to a 71-63 victory over No. 18 Georgia on Thursday night, the Wildcats' first win over a ranked opponent in five seasons.

Kentucky, which snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Bulldogs, last defeated a ranked opponent during the 1999-2000 season, beating Auburn 71-69.

Elliott scored nine points in the second half, including six of Kentucky's final eight points after the Bulldogs used a 12-2 run to close within 63-61 with 3:03 remaining.

Samantha Mahoney added 14 points, Sarah Potts scored 11 and Keiko Tate had 10 for Kentucky (12-5, 1-1 Southeastern Conference).

Tasha Humphrey was 8-for-8 from the free-throw line and finished with 23 points for the Bulldogs (13-5, 2-2). Alexis Kendrick added 18.

Kentucky used a 24-4 run to erase a two-point deficit and take a 35-17 lead with six minutes remaining in the first half.

Georgia battled back behind Humphrey, who scored eight of her 11 first-half points in a 14-2 run that got the Bulldogs within 37-31 with two minutes left in the first half.

Kentucky scored the last six points of the half for a 43-31 advantage at the break.

Georgia was 18-of-19 from the line but shot 30 percent from the field.

January 09, 2005

Pat Summitt's Lady Vols have finally beaten Geno Auriemma (Auri-enema) and his UCan't Hussies!!! Thank God!!! The score was 68-67. Wiley-Gatewood scored the last six points of the game.

January 07, 2005

Retarded Kennedy Sister Dies at 86

WASHINGTON - Rosemary Kennedy, the oldest sister of President John F. Kennedy and the inspiration for the Special Olympics, died Friday. She was 86.

Kennedy, the third child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy, was born mentally retarded and underwent a lobotomy when she was 23. She lived most of her life in a Jefferson, Wis., institution, the St. Coletta School for Exceptional Children.

She died in a Wisconsin hospital with her brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, and her sisters at her side, the family said.

"Rosemary was a lifelong jewel to every member of our family," the family statement said. "From her earliest years, her mental retardation was a continuing inspiration to each of us and a powerful source of our family's commitment to do all we can to help all persons with disabilities live full and productive lives."

"We know our parents and our brothers and sister who have gone before us are welcoming her joyfully home to heaven," the family said.

Rosemary Kennedy's condition became an inspiration to her younger sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who became an activist in the field of mental retardation. Shriver later founded the Special Olympics for mentally disabled athletes, and in 1984 she took over her sister's care after their mother had a stroke.

While Rosemary remained largely out of the public eye for more than 40 years, her retardation became public in 1960, just after her brother John was elected president. The National Association for Retarded Children mentioned in a publication that the president-elect "has a mentally retarded sister who is in an institution in Wisconsin."

The following year, Eunice revealed more about her sister's story in an article for The Saturday Evening Post. "Early in life Rosemary was different," she wrote. "She was slower to crawl, slower to walk and speak. ... Rosemary was mentally retarded."

Born Rose Marie Kennedy on Sept. 13, 1918, in Boston, she was known as Rosemary or Rosie to friends and family. Her retardation may have stemmed from brain damage at birth.

But in her own diaries before the lobotomy she chronicled a life of tea dances, dress fittings, trips to Europe and a visit to the Roosevelt White House.

Preserved by her mother's secretary, the diaries came to light in 1995, in a book. And while they revealed no great secrets, the three diaries — written between 1936 and 1938 — described people she met and concerts and operas she attended.

But as she got older, her father worried that his daughter's mild condition would lead her into situations that could damage the family's reputation.

"Rosemary was a woman, and there was a dread fear of pregnancy, disease and disgrace," author Laurence Leamer wrote in an unauthorized Kennedy biography called "The Kennedy Women: The Saga of an American Family." He wrote that Rosemary had taken to sneaking out of the convent where she was staying at the time.

Doctors told Joseph Kennedy that a lobotomy, a medical procedure in which the frontal lobes of a patient's brain are scraped away, would help his daughter and calm her mood swings that the family found difficult to handle at home.

Psychosurgery was in its infancy at the time, and only a few hundred lobotomies had been performed. The procedure was believed to be a way to relieve serious mental disorders. Leamer wrote that Rosemary was "probably the first person with mental retardation in America to receive a prefrontal lobotomy."

Rosemary lived in several private institutions before her father placed her in St. Coletta, an hour west of Milwaukee. He oversaw construction of a private house there for Rosemary and two nurses. Later, the Kennedy family gave the institution $1 million, in honor of Rose Kennedy's 93rd birthday.

"We are forever thankful to the loving members of the St. Coletta community who cared for Rosemary, loved her, and in a very real sense became extended members of our family," the family statement said.

During the 1980s, Eunice involved Rosemary more in the lives of her siblings and their children. She attended family gatherings in Hyannis Port, Mass., New York and elsewhere more frequently than before.
Holdsclaw takes game overseas

Chamique Holdsclaw is playing overseas in part to see if she still has a love for the game - she says she is passing her self-imposed test.

But while she is enjoying playing basketball again, she stopped short of saying she will return to the WNBA when the 2005 season tips off on May 21.

The five-time All-Star missed 10 of the Washington Mystics last 11 games battling depression. She and Mystics teammate Murriel Page are playing with Ros Casares Valencia and Holdsclaw said Thursday via e-mail from Spain she is having a blast.

"Things are going great for me as far as the team and the city," said Holdsclaw, who has averaged 18.3 points and 9.0 rebounds in her WNBA career. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm just trying to stay progressive in my thoughts and everything else. I can really embrace my free-spirit nature here, because the people and culture are so laid back. I don't feel like it's a rat race here."

The No. 1 pick in 1999, she said life on the court is good, too.

"As far as basketball is concerned I can honestly say that I'm enjoying myself here," said Holdsclaw, 27. "I have the opportunity to play with my partner in crime Murriel Page. She knows she is a big reason why I came here. She gives me a sense of security. I know she has my back and that means a lot to me. ...

"I'm doing well in balancing everything on my plate," Holdsclaw added. "I can't say that it's not like this summer didn't happen, but I'm living with it and taking things one day at a time. I'm just appreciating life and all the blessings that I have. That means focusing on the moment. The past is the past and the future will work itself out as it always does."

The Mystics have been following Holdsclaw's overseas performance and Pat Summitt, the team's director of player personnel, says everyone is excited about her progress.

"I spoke with Chamique (Thursday) and she is having a great experience," said Summitt, who coached Holdslaw at Tennessee and together they won three consecutive NCAA titles. "She is playing well and she is glad that Muriel is playing with her and I'm really happy for her."

Holdsclaw was named the Euroleague player of the week recently after averaging 24 points and 13 rebounds, including a double-double against Dynamo Moscow that featured a front line of 6-4 Kamila Vodichkova (Seattle Storm), 6-5 Elena Baranova (New York Liberty) and 6-3 Elena Shakirova (former member of the Houston Comets and Charlotte Sting).

"The best thing about playing overseas this winter is playing on the road in EuroLeague," Holdsclaw said. "The crowds are so hostile it's like you and your team against the whole arena. It makes you focus a lot more because the refs seem like they're against you too."

January 06, 2005

No. 14 Rutgers Stuns No. 1 LSU 51-49 in OT

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Cappie Pondexter scored 16 points and Rutgers rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half Wednesday night to knock off No. 1 LSU 51-49 in overtime for its third win over a Top 10 team in eight days.

Chelsea Newton, who hit the go-ahead basket in overtime, stole a pass at midcourt with about two seconds left to put the finishing touches on the greatest week-plus of women's basketball in Scarlet Knights history and hand LSU its first loss of the season.

No. 14 Rutgers (9-2) beat then-No. 8 Tennessee at home last Wednesday and then snapped No. 4 Texas' 41-game home winning streak on Sunday, rallying from an 18-point second-half deficit.

Seimone Augustus had 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Lady Tigers (13-1), but she missed a potential game-winning 15-foot shot at the end of regulation and two free throws in overtime, when LSU missed four from the line.

Michelle Campbell added 12 points and Nikki Jett had 11 for Rutgers, which forced 21 turnovers, including eight by usually steady LSU point guard Temeka Johnson.

The win over a No. 1 team was the fourth in Rutgers history. The Scarlet Knights beat Penn State 84-70 on Jan. 12, 1991, Tennessee 87-77 on Jan. 17, 1994, and eventual national champion Notre Dame 54-53 on Feb. 17, 2001.

After Wendlyn Jones missed two free throws early in overtime, Newton hit a jumper to give Rutgers a 49-47 lead with 3:29 to go.

Pondexter stretched the lead to four points with two free throws with 2:11 to go. Augustus made one of two free throws with 1:52 left and again with 1:06 to play, cutting it to 51-49.

After Essence Carson missed a layup for Rutgers, Tillie Willis of LSU missed in the lane with 10 seconds to play.

Pondexter missed the front end of a one-and-one with 4.9 seconds to play, but Newton stole the pass upcourt to send the crowd of 7,214 into a delirious roar.

Rutgers, which was having a woeful game shooting, hit eight of nine shots to wipe out an 11-point second-half deficit.

A driving layup by Pondexter with 3:20 to play gave the Scarlet Knights a 43-42 lead.

Augustus put LSU right back in front by grabbing the rebound of a missed 3-pointer by Scholanda Hoston and scoring underneath for a 44-43 lead. A driving layup by Johnson and a free throw by Sylvia Fowles stretched the lead to 47-43 with 1:39 to go.

Pondexter drove the right side of the lane for a layup with 1:17 to go to get Rutgers to 47-45.

After Jones was called for an offensive foul, Pondexter fed Campbell for a tying layup with 40.9 seconds to play.

LSU had two chances to win in regulation. Johnson missed a wild drive with just under 20 seconds to go, but Jones got the rebound.

After a timeout with 14.1 seconds to go, Augustus missed a 15-foot jumper with about two seconds to go.

Trailing 14-13 with less than eight minutes left in the first half, LSU went on a 13-6 spurt with Augustus scoring eight points and setting a great back screen that led to a layup by Willis.

No. 25 Boston College Upsets No. 10 UConn

Craig Smith made sure Boston College kicked off its final Big East season with a bang Wednesday night.

No. 5 Duke Stops Princeton 59-46

J.J. Redick made all 14 of his free throws and scored 21 points, helping No. 5 Duke celebrate the 65th anniversary of Cameron Indoor Stadium in style with a 59-46 victory over Princeton on Wednesday night.

Georgetown Upsets No. 16 Pittsburgh 67-64 :-( :-( :-(

Brandon Bowman drove the lane for the go-ahead basket with 8.4 seconds remaining and No. 16 Pittsburgh then failed twice to get off a shot, falling 67-64 Wednesday night in the Panthers' second upset loss in as many games.

January 05, 2005

No. 1 USC Clobbers No. 2 Oklahoma 55-19

MIAMI - Matt Leinart and his Southern California teammates played to perfection, leaving no doubt about this national championship.

Even better, they don't have to share it.

The Heisman Trophy winner threw a record five touchdown passes and USC overwhelmed Oklahoma 55-19 Tuesday night, January 4, 2005, in the Orange Bowl, assuring the Trojans will end the season just as they started: No. 1.

The much-anticipated battle of unbeatens, No. 1 vs. No. 2, turned into a coronation for USC, which had to settle for a share of the national championship last year after being left out of the Bowl Championship Series title game.

There was no such consolation for unbeaten Auburn, the odd team out of the BCS title game this season. The Tigers (13-0) stated their case with a 16-13 victory over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl on Monday night and could have done no worse than Oklahoma against Southern Cal. But they can only hope for second when the final Associated Press poll was released early Wednesday morning.

USC surely will become the first team to repeat as AP national champions since Nebraska in 1994-95 and join Florida State in 1999 as the only teams to go wire-to-wire — from preseason to post bowls — as No. 1.

The Trojans wrapped up their 2003 national title three days before the BCS championship game by beating Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl.

They won't have to wait for their trophy this season.

With the aide of four Oklahoma turnovers, the Trojans (13-0) ambushed the Sooners (12-1) with 38 points in the final 20 minutes of the first half.

The first meeting of Heisman winners couldn't have been more one-sided. Leinart set an Orange Bowl record with his five scoring tosses and Jason White spent another BCS title game running for his life.

Oklahoma's Heisman winner finished 24-of-36 for 244 yards with three interceptions and two touchdowns.

Leinart was 18-of-35 for 342 yards and he had the USC band playing "Fight On" all night. The laidback Californian who replaced Carson Palmer became the first Heisman winner to win a national title since Michigan's Charles Woodson in 1997.

Leinhart looked nothing like the overrated quarterback for an average offense as Oklahoma defensive end Larry Birdine described him.

He tossed four scores in the first half as the Trojans turned an early 7-0 deficit into a 38-10 halftime lead.

And when the demolition had ended, the Trojans bounced and danced their way to the locker room, grooving in the end zone as Outkast's "Hey Yeah" blared through Pro Player Stadium. Meanwhile, the Sooners trudged off having already allowed more points in a bowl game than any team in school history.

Leinart shrugged off Birdine's comment and played great in what could be his farewell to college football. The junior could be a top pick in the next NFL draft.

He also got plenty of help. The Trojans reached a season high for points and turned the game into a USC highlight reel, with Leinart making pinpoint passes and his receivers making spectacular catches.

Steve Smith caught an Orange Bowl record three touchdown, LenDale White ran for 118 yards and two scores and the USC's defense smothered Oklahoma's freshman sensation Adrian Peterson.

Peterson, the Heisman runner-up, managed just 82 yards on 25 carries.

Senior Mark Bradley made a freshman mistake that set off one of those USC runs that have done in so many opponents during the Trojans' 22-game winning streak.

The Sooners' most versatile player and the son of former Oklahoma quarterback Danny Bradley tried to scoop up a punt that had bounced inside the Oklahoma 5. Collin Ashton grabbed on to Bradley, the ball squirted away and USC recovered at the 6.

Bradley trudged back to the sideline, where he received some pats on the head and back.

His mood no doubt worsened on the next play, when LenDale White reached the ball over the goal line to give the Trojans a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter.

USC made it 21 straight points with the help of Oklahoma's second turnover. Under pressure, White heaved a deep ball into quadruple-coverage and Jason Leach came up with USC's 20th interception of the season.

Then the Trojans went to work on Oklahoma freshman cornerback Marcus Walker with their own star freshman, Dwayne Jarrett.

The 6-foot-5 Jarrett went over the 5-11 Walker for an 18 yard gain on third-and-8.

Walker ended up in no-man's land on the next play. He looked like he wanted to blitz but stopped. Meanwhile, Jarrett ran straight down the sideline and hauled in a perfect throw from Leinart for a 54-yard score.

The USC deluge continued.

White was upended while throwing and was picked off by Eric Wright deep in Sooners territory.

This time Leinart found Smith alone in the end zone from 5 yards out, to cap a four-touchdown barrage.

In a span of 10:10, USC turned a 7-0 deficit into a 28-7 lead that left the Sooners looking dumbfounded.

Oklahoma drove for a field goal on the next possession, but all it did was give USC enough time to catch its breath.

Reggie Bush ripped off a 33-yard run to start the Trojans on their way and Leinart again picked on a secondary that looked like Oklahoma's soft spot much of the season.

Leinart went deep to Smith, who hauled in a 33-yarder while hitting the ground to make it 35-10.

Coach Pete Carroll greeted Leinart with a hug after the left-hander's fourth touchdown pass. Leinart gave a sly grin as he glanced up at the scoreboard.

Oklahoma's season-high fourth turnover, led to Ryan Killeen's 44-yard field goal just before halftime.

An aching White trudged into and then limped through the Sugar Bowl last year. But he was spry and agile against the Trojans at the start.

He rolled out, scrambled and stepped up in the pocket while completing four of his first five passes for 75 yards. He finished the 92-yard TD drive by zipping a 5-yarder to Travis Wilson.

Leinart answered quickly, hitting four straight and finding Dominique Byrd deep down the middle for a spinning, one-handed 33-yard touchdown. It was the first touchdown the Sooners had allowed in four games.

And it would only get worse from there for the Sooners.

January 04, 2005

Chicago Cubs' Ryne Sandberg acknowledges fans after his three-run homer in the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres in Chicago, in this May 2, 1987 photo. Sandberg and Wade Boggs were elected to the Hall of Fame Tuesday Jan. 4, 2005.

Former Chicago Cubs star second baseman Ryne Sandberg during a June 4, 1994 National League game against the Montreal Expos, in Chicago. Nine-time National League Gold Glove award winner Ryne Sandberg received baseball's highest honor on January 4, 2005, being elected into the Hall of Fame. Sandberg was the 1984 National League MVP. Sandberg, who was a standout second baseman with the Cubs for 15 of his 16 seasons, was chosen in his third year of eligibility. The 45-year-old Sandberg, the 17th second baseman selected for the Hall of Fame, finished his career (1981-97) with a .285 average with 282 home runs and 1,061 RBI. The NL Most Valuable Player in 1984 and a 10-time All-Star, Sandberg holds the career record for fielding percentage (.989) among second basemen and also has the distinction for consecutive errorless games in a season (90 in 1989) and over two seasons (123) at the position.

Chicago Cubs Ryne Sandberg watches his home run ball against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second inning in Chicago, in this Aug. 2, 1997 photo. Sandberg and Wade Boggs were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday Jan. 4, 2005.

Former Chicago Cubs star Ryne Sandberg getting the final hit of his career; a single, in front of the home fans during fifth inning at Wrigley Field in Chicago against the Philadelphia Phillies on September 21, 1997. Nine-time National League Gold Glove award winner Ryne Sandberg received baseball's highest honor on January 4, 2005, being elected into the Hall of Fame. Sandberg, who was elected along with 3,000 hit club member Wade Boggs, was a standout second baseman with the Cubs for 15 of his 16 seasons, and chosen in his third year of eligibility. The 45-year-old Sandberg, the 17th second baseman selected for the Hall of Fame, finished his career (1981-97) with a .285 average with 282 home runs and 1,061 RBI. The NL Most Valuable Player in 1984 and a 10-time All-Star, Sandberg holds the career record for fielding percentage (.989) among second basemen and also has the distinction for consecutive errorless games in a season (90 in 1989) and over two seasons (123) at the position. Picture taken September 21, 1997.

Nine-time National League Gold Glove award winner Ryne Sandberg received baseball's highest honor on January 4, 2005 and was elected to the Hall of Fame. Sandberg, who was a standout second baseman with the Chicago Cubs for 15 of his 16 seasons, was chosen in his third year of eligibility. Sandberg is seen before throwing out the first pitch during the NLCS in Chicago, October 14, 2003.

Former Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg talks during a news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2005, in Chicago. Sandberg, a nine-time Gold Glove second baseman and 10-time All-Star, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday with just six votes to spare on his third try.
Sandberg enters Hall with grace and dignity

He did not have a unique batting style or stance that Little Leaguers could mimic, didn't grip a bat in an unorthodox manner the way Ernie Banks did, didn't swing fluidly and gracefully the way Billy Williams did, didn't dig in and rip from the heels as Sammy Sosa does.

He was not immortalized in verse the way Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance were, wasn't a screwball like Dizzy Dean, a flake like Rube Waddell, a bigot like Cap Anson, a boozer like Grover Cleveland Alexander or a freak of nature like Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown.

He is not known for knocking in runs as Hack Wilson is, for astronomical batting averages as Rogers Hornsby is, for a deadly accurate throwing arm as Gabby Hartnett is, for cunning baserunning as Lou Brock is.

No, not Ryne Sandberg.

Unlike these other Hall of Famers who once played for the Cubs_or Sosa, who can be expected to join him in enshrinement some day_Sandberg's identity, what makes him extraordinary, what sets him apart, remains unclear to this day to even his most ardent and attentive fans.

Was he the strongest, the swiftest, the most spectacular? No, no and definitely not. Did he play the longest? No, and, in fact, he even took a sabbatical while still in his prime.

Did he captivate the public with the force of his personality? Sweet-talk you a la Ernie? Click his heels for you like Ron Santo? Growl and roar at you like Leo Durocher? No way, to the extent that many a lifelong Cubs fan could hear Sandberg's voice on a radio and not be able to identify who was speaking.

If this second baseman, who Tuesday made it to Cooperstown on his third try, had a defining characteristic, it was a rock-steady consistency. He gloved the ball. He threw the guy out. He made the play. He got the hit. He played the game hard. He played it smart.

This was no wild man. He didn't charge at the game like, OK, a rhino. Sandberg wasn't about raw aggression or swashbuckling pizzazz. He didn't stampede toward you helmet-first like Pete Rose or do back flips like Ozzie Smith. He didn't swagger like Reggie Jackson or strut like Jim Palmer.

He simply played the game.

Played it as it was meant to be played_with dedication and determination and a highly becoming modesty. With a textbook skill that involved blocking a ground ball with your body to keep it in front of you or taking a pitch even when a coach has given you a green light, arts lost on too many of today's strategically impaired stars.

Nondescript in style, Sandberg was a ballplayer's ballplayer, the kind to whom a Carl Yastrzemski or a Cal Ripken Jr. or a Tony Gwynn could relate, a workman punching a clock, putting in a solid eight-hour shift and going home without causing his employers a single minute's distress.

Like those honorable men, Sandberg also sided with one team, one town for most of his days in uniform. Doubtless he could have improved his odds of earning a diamond ring by defecting to another organization early in his career, but in the end, this was a true-blue Cub through and through.

When he renewed acquaintances with the Cubs in 1996 after reconsidering a Michael Jordan-like early retirement, a Los Angeles Times columnist_ahem_had the audacity to write: "On his Hall of Fame plaque at Cooperstown, under Sandberg's name, somebody is going to write: `Glutton for Punishment.'''

No, somebody won't.

Somebody instead is going to etch in bronze: "Ryne Dee Sandberg, 2B for Chicago Cubs, 1982-94 and 1996-97, National League MVP in 1984, retired with more home runs (277) than any second baseman, ranks No. 1 all-time for highest fielding percentage by a second baseman, nine Gold Gloves, 10-time All-Star."

Mr. Consistency.

That was his trademark. This is his legacy. Ryne Sandberg ... not the greatest this or the greatest that, but truly now, genuinely so, deservedly so, one of the greats.

Ryne Sandberg's career highlights
1984 NL MVP held career HR mark for second basemen

Ryne Sandberg was a star high school quarterback in Spokane, Wash., when the Philadelphia Phillies drafted him in the 20th round in 1978. He decided to pursue a baseball career but it wasn't as easy as he made it look.

Sandberg struggled at shortstop, and made his Major League debut on Sept. 2, 1981 for the Phillies.

Cubs general manager Dallas Green acquired Sandberg in a trade from the Phillies in January 1982. The young minor leaguer was dealt along with veteran shortstop Larry Bowa for Ivan DeJesus. Bowa started at short for the Cubs in 1982 and Bump Wills was at second, so Sandberg worked out in center field and at third. He played 133 games at third in his rookie season, batting .271 with 103 runs scored and 33 steals.

He moved to second full-time in '83 after Wills left for Japan and the Cubs acquired third baseman Ron Cey. It was a perfect fit for Sandberg.

In 1984, he batted .314 with 19 homers and 114 RBIs for the Cubs, and was just short of becoming the first player in baseball history to rack up 200 hits and 20 doubles, triples, home runs, and steals in a single year. He was one homer and one triple shy.

In 1989, Sandberg hit 30 home runs for the first time in his career and followed that with a 40-homer season. It marked the first time a second baseman had reached the 40-homer mark since Rogers Hornsby did so in 1922.

Sandberg's Career Highlights

June 1978: Bob Horner, the College Player of the Year, was selected first in the free agent draft by the Braves. Sandberg was selected by the Phillies in the 20th round.

Jan. 27, 1982: Philadelphia sends veteran shortstop Larry Bowa and minor league infielder Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs in exchange for shortstop Ivan DeJesus.

June 12, 1983: In the Cubs' 6-3 win over the Cardinals, Sandberg ties a Major League record with 12 assists.

June 23, 1984: At Wrigley Field, Sandberg goes 5-for-6 with game-tying home runs off Cardinals relief ace Bruce Sutter in both the ninth and 10th innings. He drives in seven runs to lead Chicago to a 12-11 win in 11 innings. It's the first time Sutter has given up two home runs to the same batter in the same game. Dave Owens hits a base-loaded RBI single to win the game.

Nov. 13, 1984: Sandberg wins the National League MVP Award, becoming the first Cub to do so since Ernie Banks in 1959. Sandberg hit .314 with 19 home runs and 32 stolen bases and led the NL in runs (114) and triples (19).

May 18, 1990: In a 7-0 loss to the Astros, Sandberg commits an error to end his Major League-record errorless streak at 123 games and 584 chances. Joe Morgan held the previous mark of 91 games.

Aug. 28, 1990: Sandberg homers in the Cubs' 5-2 win over the Astros to become the first second baseman ever to post back-to-back 30-home run seasons. He will finish the year with 40 home runs to become the first second baseman since Hornsby in 1925 to lead the league in that category.

March 2, 1992: Sandberg becomes the highest paid player in baseball history when he agrees to a four-year contract extension worth $28.4 million.

March 27, 1993: The Cubs put Sandberg (broken hand) and shortstop Shawon Dunston (lower back) on the disabled list. The two will miss Opening Day for the first time in nine years together.

June 13, 1994: Sandberg announces his retirement, effective immediately. He leaves with 2 1/2 years remaining on his four-year, $28.4 million contract.

Oct. 31, 1995: Sandberg announces he will return for the 1996 season.

April 26, 1997: Sandberg hits his second home run of the year off Steve Cooke in the Cubs' 7-6 win over Pittsburgh. It is Sandberg's 267th homer as a second baseman, breaking the record held by Hall of Famer Morgan for most home runs at that position. Hornsby hit 301 homers, but 264 of those were as a second baseman.

Sept. 21, 1997: Sandberg, playing his final game at Wrigley, is 2-for-3 before leaving for a pinch-runner in the fifth. He makes a curtain call in the seventh when Harry Caray sings. The Cubs beat the Phils, 11-3, but Curt Schilling strikes out eight to match J.R. Richard for the most K's by a National League right-hander (313).

Ryno charges into Hall of Fame
Earns baseball's top honor on third try

CHICAGO -- Harry Caray called him the greatest second baseman he ever saw. Whitey Herzog dubbed him "Baby Ruth." Ryne Sandberg's teammates and opponents knew him as one of the most consistent players ever, and some labeled him "Kid Natural."
He can add a well-deserved name now. Ryne Sandberg is a Hall of Famer.

The third time was the charm for Sandberg, who was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his third year on the ballot. He received 393 votes (76.2%) in the balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, announced Tuesday. There were 516 votes cast, with 387 (75%) necessary for election.

"It was one of the more incredible phone calls I've ever received," said Sandberg. "It came a little earlier than I expected and it caught me a little off guard, but total elation set in shortly after that."

The second baseman, who played all but one of his 16 big league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, will be inducted into Cooperstown with Wade Boggs, who received 474 votes (91.9%).

In his first year on the ballot, Sandberg received 244 votes, or 49.2 percent. He garnered 309 votes, or 61.1 percent, last year.

He is the 15th second baseman elected and the eighth player elected into the Hall of Fame on the third try, joining Grover Cleveland Alexander, Carl Hubbell, Catfish Hunter, Fergie Jenkins, Juan Marichal, Mel Ott and Gaylord Perry.

Sandberg isn't bothered in the least about having to wait for the call.

"I learned a long time ago that there are no guarantees in baseball," said Sandberg. "There have been some tremendous, tremendous players that have waited longer than I had to wait to get into the Hall of Fame. I don't think it's ever too late, and it doesn't diminish the honor at all. You're either in the Hall of Fame or you're not, and I'm just very happy today."

Sandberg, 45, changed the way teams thought about second basemen, providing an all-around player who could not only belt 20-plus homers but win Gold Gloves. He was so consistent at his position that he was often taken for granted. Not by baseball people.

"I think defense had everything to do with me getting into the Hall of Fame. I think my defense was what helped me break into the Majors. I earned the everyday job at the age of 22 as the starting third baseman, and my defense kept me in. I started my rookie year, I think, 0-for-30 or 1-for-31. But my defense was solid, and it kept me in there.

"I always took pride in my defense and the Gold Glove in '83 set the tone for my play and helped me achieve one of my goals, which was to win a Gold Glove every year."

When Sandberg retired for a second time in 1997, then-San Francisco manager Dusty Baker called him "one of the class guys in the game. There are guys who showboat or talk a lot of stuff. He just plays."

That's one of the reasons Baker invited Sandberg to the Cubs' Spring Training camp when he took over the Chicago job. Baker likes that link to history, especially when it involves a quality player like Sandberg.

Sandberg has nine Gold Gloves, seven Silver Slugger awards and a National League MVP trophy, which he won in 1984. He enters the Hall with a .285 career batting average, 282 home runs and 1,061 RBIs. When he retired in 1997, he was the all-time home run leader among second basemen with 277. Jeff Kent surpassed that mark in 2004.

On June 23, 1984, in what is known as "The Sandberg Game," he went 5-for-6 and drove in seven runs in the Cubs' 12-11 win over St. Louis, hitting consecutive game-tying homers off Bruce Sutter in the ninth and 10th innings. Willie McGee hit for the cycle in a losing effort.

"[That game] ranks right up at the very top along with winning the Eastern Division in '84 and '89," said Sandberg. "That particular game catapulted me and let me know I could play at a different level than I thought I could play at.

"Being a nationally televised game, I knew I was No. 2 in the All-Star voting when the game was going on. A week later, that number shot up and I was voted to play in my first All-Star Game. To do that off a pitcher the caliber of Bruce Sutter makes that story that much more magnifying. And of course in my book, Bruce Sutter is a Hall of Famer."

"One day I think he's one of the best players in the National League," said Herzog, then the Cardinals manager. "The next day, I think he's one of the best players I've ever seen."

In 1990, Sandberg led the National League with 40 home runs and 116 runs. He played a Major League-record 123 games without an error at second, and compiled 12 errorless streaks of at least 40 games.

He led National League second basemen in assists in seven seasons, had nine seasons of eight or fewer errors, five years with a batting average of at least .300, and four as the NL's top fielding second baseman.

"Second base was home for me," Sandberg said in an earlier interview. "Once the game started, those were the best three hours of the day for me."

A 20th-round draft pick, Sandberg had to work hard and religiously took grounders at second every day. He had no ego, wasn't flashy, but got the job done. And while a favorite of fans at Wrigley Field, Sandberg returns that affection to the Friendly Confines and to those who support him.

"From the moment I got to the ballpark," he said, "I knew that all my games would be on WGN-TV, Harry Caray and Steve Stone would be doing the games, all my relatives, family and friends would have a chance to watch me every day that I played and that was a huge lift for me.

"I don't think there's a better atmosphere for a baseball player on a daily basis than Wrigley Field. The crowd's into it and I enjoyed day baseball. I could always see the ball really well. I knew that when there was a home game at Wrigley, if I was struggling, I could turn things around in that game because I loved to play there."

"He is what you see," Sandberg's former teammate and current Cubs coach Gary Matthews once said. "He thrives on winning. He thrives on having fun when he plays the game. He was really consistent and really a clutch ballplayer during the years we were together. He played unselfishly. The main thing is that he was happy to play."

For Sandberg, the call to the Hall is joyous but it also provides him with a sense of closure on a splendid career.

"One of my goals for 20 years was to play in a World Series and win a World Series," said Sandberg. "Unfortunately, it didn't happen for me in Chicago. But [Tuesday] put the exclamation point and diminished that frustration I had for so many years.

"I'd call it some type of closure and tremendous satisfaction."

Sandberg redefined second base
Total package ushered in new era at position

The subject was second basemen, the time was Spring Training a few years ago. Houston first baseman Jeff Bagwell was asked whether he thought Ryne Sandberg should be in the Hall of Fame.

Bagwell, who played against the former Chicago Cubs great and has played with one of the other great second basemen in teammate Craig Biggio, didn't hesitate with his answer that Sandberg should be in the Hall. More than just the statistics, Bagwell felt that Sandberg's case for induction was also rock solid for the simple fact that he "defined the position" during the 1980s.

Sandberg set a new standard at second base during his spectacular career and contributed to the way middle infield production would be viewed in subsequent years.

"He set the bar at a different level, he changed the position," Bagwell said.

Though it took three times on the ballot before Bagwell was proven correct, Sandberg has at last earned the recognition he deserves as one of the better second basemen in history and the best in the game during the 1980s. Sandberg received 393 of 516 votes (76.2%), with 387 needed to get to Cooperstown, in the balloting released Tuesday.

"I learned a long time ago there's no guarantees in baseball," Sandberg said. "There's been some tremendous, tremendous players that have waited longer than I had to wait to get into the Hall of Fame. I don't think it's ever too late, and it doesn't diminish the honor at all. You're either in or you're not and I'm just very happy today."

For a few months in 1993 Sandberg was the highest-paid player in baseball history, a claim no middle infielder would be able to make until Alex Rodriguez signed his record-setting contract with the Texas Rangers in 2000.

For those of us who can remember when offenses didn't dominate the game as they do today, when complete players who could beat you with the bat as well as the glove were precious commodities who often turned the tide in one-run games, Sandberg stood tall.

That he was the whole package and also played second base made Sandberg something extraordinary. The typical second baseman was defense first, whatever offense he could muster was often a bonus and power was a rarity. True sluggers were the province of corner infielders or outfielders, and the occasional catcher.

There have been multi-faceted second basemen before, of course, like Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, but you can count on one hand the number of second sackers with power and middle of the order skills to match their Gold Glove work. These type of cornerstone players, until Sandberg, rarely called the middle infield home.

Sandberg did, and his first 13 years in the Major Leagues (1981-94) represented an exceptional body of work.

The 1984 National League Most Valuable Player started 10 consecutive All-Star Games and won nine straight Gold Gloves. Until Jeff Kent broke the record this past season, Sandberg had retired with more home runs than any other second baseman in history with 277. In 1990 Sandberg led the league with 40 homers.

Sandberg also holds the all-time highest fielding percentage by a second baseman (.989) and shares the Major League record for most years with 500 or more assists by a second baseman (six). His 123 consecutive errorless games are the most by a second baseman in Major League history. He led NL second basemen in assists seven times and total chances four times.

"I think defense had everything to do with me getting into the Hall of Fame," Sandberg said. "I think my defense was what helped me break into the Majors. I earned the everyday job at the age of 22 as the starting third baseman, and defense kept me in. I started my rookie year, I think, 0-for-30 or 1-for-31. But my defense was solid, and it kept me in there.

"I always took pride in my defense and the Gold Glove in '83 set the tone for my play and helped me achieve one of my goals, which was to win a Gold Glove every year."

Sandberg retired abruptly after the 1994 season was wiped out because of the player strike. When he returned in 1996 as a 36-year-old, the skills had clearly eroded but Sandberg still hit 25 homers and drove in 92 runs. He stayed following the 1997 season, during which Sandberg hit .264 with 12 homers and 64 RBIs.

His performance following his last full season before he retired the first time may have hurt Sandberg in some voters' eyes. He hit only .250 from the end of the 1993 season until his retirement to drop his career average to .285.

"When I retired the first time, it was for personal reasons and having a chance to go into the Hall of Fame was never really a goal of mine," Sandberg said. "My goals as I was playing were to try to win a championship with the Chicago Cubs and be the best player I could be.

"When I left the first time it was for personal reasons, I wasn't playing at the level of baseball I knew I could play. When I came back, I decided I still had some baseball left and wanted a chance to play on a winner. So at the age of 37 and 38, I gave it another shot and it was all for the love of baseball and leaving on my own terms."

The delay in his eligibility as a result of his return meant more time would pass and fewer voters who saw Sandberg in his prime and understood the difference in eras would be voting.

The statistics in comparison to today's levels aren't as extraordinary as they were back in the 1980s. Even so Sandberg's numbers compared to his peers are certainly compelling.

But as Bagwell pointed out, Ryne Sandberg was always more than just the numbers.