WNBA: Maya Moore scored 20 points, Rebekkah Brunson had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Los Angeles Sparks 94-77 Thursday night in the opener of the Western Conference finals in Minneapolis.
Seimone Augustus added 16 points for the defending champion Lynx.
Candace Parker scored 25 points and Alana Beard had 16 for Los Angeles. Kristi Toliver, who was averaging 26 points in the playoffs, was held to 12.
The Sparks were outscored 46-34 in the paint and the Lynx held a 20-2 advantage in second-chance points.
Walker named Texas Tech interim coach
College Basketball: Chris Walker has taken over as Texas Tech’s interim head basketball coach, replacing the outgoing Billy Gillispie.
Walker and athletic director Kirby Hocutt have a verbal agreement for a six-month contract as interim coach. Hocutt said details of the agreement would be available once a contract is signed.
Gillispie resigned Sept. 20, citing health concerns and with the university investigating allegations that he mistreated some of his players. He led the Red Raiders to an 8-23 record in his only season in Lubbock.
Walker took over day-to-day operations of the program Sept. 7 after Hocutt told Gillispie he needed to focus on his health.
Hocutt declined to speculate on whether Walker could become the permanent head coach after this season.
Before coaching at Villanova, Walker was an assistant at New Mexico.
• Williams’ second kidney tumor benign: North Carolina says Roy Williams’ second kidney tumor isn’t cancerous.
The school announced test results a day after the Hall of Fame men’s coach had a biopsy of the tumor discovered on his left kidney. The school said the tumor is the same kind of non-cancerous growth that was surgically removed from his right kidney on Sept. 19.
NFL: As far as Drew Brees is concerned, Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt all have played an important role in putting him in position to break Johnny Unitas’ half-century-old record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass.
Payton (a full season), Loomis (eight games) and Vitt (six games) are all serving various suspensions in connection with the league’s bounty investigation.
Brees tied Unitas’ mark of touchdown passes in 47 straight games last Sunday in Green Bay.
League commissioner Roger Goodell agreed on condition that arrangements be made for the three men to watch from a private area where they won’t have contact with the team.
• Jennings out for Colts game: Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings will not play Sunday at Indianapolis.
Coach Mike McCarthy said that the two-time Pro Bowler will miss the game because of a groin injury that has nagged him all season.
Jennings suffered the injury in the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against San Francisco. • New Browns owner not planning immediate changes: Jimmy Haslam III won’t spend his first days as owner of the Browns handing out pink slips.
Haslam, whose $1 billion purchase of Cleveland’s franchise is expected to be approved by NFL owners later this month, said through a team spokesman that he has no plans to make any personnel changes “until after the year.” At 0-4, the Browns are the only winless team in the AFC, leading to speculation that coach Pat Shurmur and his staff could be in trouble unless there’s a turnaround.
• Manning supports wife’s bid: NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is supporting wife Ashley’s move to join the group of minority owners being assembled by prospective Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert J. Pera, and a person familiar with the deal says former NBA player Penny Hardaway also will be part of the group.
Manning and Hardaway join a minority group that includes singer and actor Justin Timberlake and a couple of Memphis businessmen, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Pera’s purchase of the Grizzlies is still pending approval from the NBA.
Moore shoots 61 to take Las Vegas lead
Golf: Ryan Moore matched the course record and his career best with a 10-under-par 61 in the first round of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
The former UNLV player had nine birdies, an eagle – on the 341-yard, par-4 15th – and a bogey in perfect conditions at TPC Summerlin to take a one-stroke lead in the Fall Series opener.
Brendon de Jonge had a 62, and Tim Herron and John Huh shot 63. Justin Leonard, Chris Kirk and Jonas Blixt were three strokes back at 64. Kirk eagled the 15th and par-5 16th.
• Ochoa shoots 1-under 69: Retired champion Lorena Ochoa shot a 1-under 69 at the Lacoste Ladies Open in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France.
Ochoa is playing at the request of the sponsor. She was ranked No. 1 for three years and won two majors among 27 victories before retiring from full-time golf in April 2010 to focus on her family and charities. Ochoa’s last title came at the Navistar LPGA Classic exactly three years ago.
Puerto Rican boxer Cruz says he’s gay
Miscellany: Describing himself as “a proud gay man,” Puerto Rican featherweight Orlando Cruz became what is believed to be the first pro boxer to come out as openly homosexual while still competing.
Cruz told The Associated Press in an interview that he is relieved about his decision but had initial reservations.
His announcement comes two weeks before the 31-year-old left-hander challenges Mexican boxer Jorge Pazos for the WBO Latino title. Cruz is ranked as the World Boxing Organization’s No. 4 featherweight fighter and is 18-2-1 with nine knockouts.
• USFL to kick off first season in spring ’14: The United States Football League says it will kick off its inaugural season in the spring of 2014.
The original USFL played from 1983-87, then went out of business after winning a lawsuit against the NFL and collecting only $3. When the reformation of the league was announced earlier this year, organizers targeted playing next March. Now, that date has been pushed back a year.
Plans are for a 14-game season played by eight franchises, none of which has been identified yet.
All players and coaches contracts will be owned by the USFL, and each team owner will be a member-operator of the league.