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Wambach voted world’s best player

Abby Wambach is the first American since 2002 to win the award. (Associated Press)
Abby Wambach is the first American since 2002 to win the award. (Associated Press)

Soccer: As a young girl, Abby Wambach had pictures of Mia Hamm on her bedroom wall and got the American soccer star’s autograph.

On Monday, Wambach joined Hamm and became the second American to be voted FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, and first since Hamm did so in 2002.

“I’m a little speechless to be honest when you say it like that,” Wambach told the Associated Press backstage at the Zurich Kongresshaus. “It’s humbling to know that the majority think you are one of the best in the world.”

Pia Sundhage was voted top women’s coach after leading Wambach and the U.S. team to the gold medal at last summer’s London Games, the third straight Olympic title for the American women.

• Messi wins record fourth award: Lionel Messi became the first four-time winner of the FIFA Player of the Year award after shattering the world record with 91 goals last year for Barcelona and Argentina.

The 25-year-old won for the fourth straight time. His 91 goals topped Gerd Mueller’s mark of 85 for Bayern Munich and Germany in 1972.

Celtics beat Knicks without Rondo

NBA: Paul Pierce scored 23 points, and the visiting Boston Celtics beat the New York Knicks 102-96 in a heated first meeting of the season between the Atlantic Division rivals.

Kevin Garnett added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who were without the suspended Rajon Rondo and won their third straight. Rondo was suspended one game without pay for making contact with a referee and failure to cooperate with an NBA investigation.

• Beal scores with seconds left to lift Wizards: Bradley Beal made a jumper with 0.3 seconds left after using a pump fake to get open, and the short-handed Washington Wizards beat the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder 101-99.

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 29 points.

• Hornets upset Spurs: Eric Gordon scored six straight points in a fourth-quarter spurt and had 24 overall to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 95-88 win over visiting San Antonio.

• Portland outlasts Orlando in OT: Behind a balanced offensive attack in overtime that saw five Portland players score, the Trail Blazers edged the visiting Orlando Magic 125-119.

LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

• Love out for weeks: Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn says forward Kevin Love will be out for “a number of weeks” after Love broke his right hand for the second time this season.

• Ferry fined: Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been fined $15,000 by the NBA for inappropriate interaction with game officials following Saturday night’s game against the Boston Celtics.

Notre Dame beats Cincy behind Grant

College Basketball: Jerian Grant scored 19 points, and 17th-ranked Notre Dame used its patient offense to get open shots for a 66-60 victory that extended No. 21 Cincinnati’s home-court misery to three straight.

Notre Dame (14-1, 2-0 Big East) has won 12 in a row for the first time since 2006-07. It’s the best start during coach Mike Brey’s 13 seasons.

• No. 5 Indiana rolls on road: Christian Watford scored 16 points, Jordan Hulls added 14 and No. 5 Indiana used a big first-half run to race past Penn State 74-51.

The Hoosiers’ breakneck offense could rarely be stopped in the first half before the pace slowed down in a sloppy second half. But it barely mattered after Indiana (14-1, 2-0 Big Ten) built a 19-point lead in the first half.

• Baylor back at No. 1 in AP women’s poll: Baylor is back where it started the season – No. 1.

The Lady Bears regained the top spot in the Associated Press women’s poll after former No. 1 Connecticut lost to Notre Dame on Saturday.

Notre Dame jumped up three spots to No. 2 after its thrilling one-point victory at UConn, which fell to third.

Texas A&M’s Polian next Nevada coach

College Football: Nevada athletic officials say they have reached an agreement with Texas A&M assistant Brian Polian, 38, to become the Wolf Pack’s next coach.

Nevada president Marc Johnson and athletic director Cary Groth said in a statement that the deal is subject to approval later this week by the state board of regents. But they say they agree Polian is the man to replace longtime Nevada coach Chris Ault, who announced his retirement last month.

Johnson in tie for lead after first round

Golf: Dustin Johnson got off to a good start in the Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii.

Three days behind schedule because of high wind, the PGA Tour finally got its 2013 season started on the day its first tournament was supposed to finish. Johnson three-putted three times in five holes and still had a 4-under 69. That gave him a share of the lead with Mark Wilson and Nick Watney, who rolled in a long eagle putt on his last hole.


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