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Lynx put out Sparks; on to WNBA finals

Minnesota Lynx’s Lindsay Whalen, center, looks at a loose ball as she is defended by Los Angeles Sparks’ Candace Parker, left. (Associated Press)
Minnesota Lynx’s Lindsay Whalen, center, looks at a loose ball as she is defended by Los Angeles Sparks’ Candace Parker, left. (Associated Press)

WNBA: Simon Augustus scored 21 points, Maya Moore added 20 and the Minnesota Lynx held off the Los Angeles Sparks 80-79 on Sunday, advancing to the WNBA finals to defend their title.

Alana Beard missed a 16-footer at the final buzzer for the host Sparks as Candace Parker pulled her jersey over her face in anguish.

Lindsay Whalen added 17 points for the Lynx, who trailed by 10 points early in the fourth and came in with a 4-21 record in Los Angeles.

The Lynx, who swept the series 2-0, await the Eastern champion, either Connecticut or Indiana.

Parker had 33 points and 15 rebounds, Kristi Toliver added 16 points and Beard 15.

Before the game, the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike was honored as WNBA rookie of the year and Carol Ross was chosen coach of the year.

Ogwumike averaged 14 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists during the regular season. She was drafted No. 1 overall out of Stanford by the Sparks.

Ross, in her first season with the Sparks, guided them to a 24-10 record, including a 16-1 mark at the Staples Center. She previously was an assistant with the Atlanta Dream and coached 16 years at Florida and Mississippi.

Kebede sets record at Chicago Marathon

Running: Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia shattered the course record in winning the Chicago Marathon in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 38 seconds. That easily eclipsed the previous mark of 2:05:37 set by Kenya’s Moses Mosop last year and was more than enough to beat countryman Feyisa Lilesa.

The women’s race was also a thriller, with Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia edging Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo by about a step. Baysa broke the tape, though, finishing in 2:22:03, 1 second ahead of Jeptoo.

• Kipyego overcomes cold at Twins Cities Marathon: Kenyan Christopher Kipyego won the 31st annual Twin Cities Marathon in St. Paul, Minn., with an unofficial time of 2:14:55 despite 28-degree weather.

Jeannette Faber of Portland, Ore., won the women’s race with an unofficial time of 2:32:38, a personal record.

• Kiprono, Smith win Boston Half Marathon: Kenya’s Allan Kiprono set an event record with a time of 1:1:44 to win the 12th Boston Half Marathon.

Kim Smith won the women’s title with a time of 1:10:57.

By winning the Half, Kiprono and Smith also collected $100,000 prizes for the best overall combined times in a three-race series that features the Boston 5K and 10Ks, run earlier this year.

Djokovic continues dominance in China

Tennis: Top-seeded Novak Djokovic extended his perfect record (14-0, three titles) at the China Open in Beijing when he defeated third-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the final.

On the women’s side, top-seeded Victoria Azarenka won her fifth title of the year by dominating second-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-1.

Rockies’ Tracy quits after 98-loss season

Baseball: Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy has resigned, stepping down after the team set a franchise record for losses.

The Rockies said a search for Tracy’s replacement would begin immediately. Colorado finished last in the N.L. West this year while going 64-98.

Tracy was promoted from bench coach to manager in May 2009. He was voted the N.L. Manager of the Year that season after guiding Colorado into the playoffs.

The Rockies went 294-308 under Tracy.

Tracy didn’t immediately returned phone calls from the Associated Press.

The Rockies will be the fourth team to change managers this year. Boston fired Bobby Valentine, Cleveland dismissed Manny Acta and Houston let go Brad Mills.

New teams invade top 5 in AP poll

Miscellany: South Carolina, Florida and West Virginia move into the top five of the Associated Press college football poll after a Saturday during which nine Top 25 teams lost.

No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon hold their spots at the top of the rankings. Alabama is a unanimous No. 1 again. The rest of the Top 25 got a makeover.

No. 3 South Carolina, off a 35-7 victory against Georgia, moves up three spots. No. 4 Florida jumps six after beating LSU 14-6. No. 5 West Virginia moves up three with a 48-45 victory at Texas.

No. 6 Kansas State, No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 8 Ohio State also move up. LSU drops to No. 9 and unbeaten Oregon State is No. 10.

The last time nine ranked teams lost in the same week was the weekend of Oct. 18, 2008.

• Marcato wins Paris-Nice classic: Italy’s Marco Marcato held off Laurens De Vreese of Belgium and Dutch rider Niki Terpstra to win the Paris-Tours classic in Tours, France.

Germany’s John Degenkolb, one of the pre-race favorites, could not match the pace and finished in fourth place, six seconds behind the front three, who all had times of 4 hours, 50 minutes, 34 seconds.

• Solemia edges Orfevre at Arc de Triomphe: Solemia overtook pre-race favorite Orfevre at the line to win Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, giving veteran French jockey Olivier Peslier his fourth Arc win.