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Augustus lifts Lynx to sweep of Storm

Minnesota Lynx’s Rebekkah Brunson comes up with a loose ball in Sunday’s game against Seattle. The Lynx eliminated the Storm. (Associated Press)
Minnesota Lynx’s Rebekkah Brunson comes up with a loose ball in Sunday’s game against Seattle. The Lynx eliminated the Storm. (Associated Press)

WNBA: Seimone Augustus hit a 15-foot jumper with 21.1 seconds left and the Minnesota Lynx held off the Seattle Storm for a 58-55 victory in Tacoma on Sunday and a sweep of the best-of-3 Western Conference semifinals.

Maya Moore scored 22 points and Rebekkah Brunson had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota, which won the WNBA title in 2011 and lost to Indiana in last year’s finals.

Minnesota opens the Western Conference finals this week against the winner of the Los Angeles-Phoenix series.

Tina Thompson made a driving layup to put the Storm up 55-54 with 1:20 remaining, but Augustus, who had 10 points, responded with her jumper from the right side. Brunson hit two free throws with 11.6 seconds left for the final margin.

Noelle Quinn missed a driving layup in the final seconds for Seattle.

• Catchings leads Fever past Sky: Tamika Catchings had 18 points and 12 rebounds and the Indiana Fever advanced to the Eastern Conference finals by completing a best-of-3 series sweep of the Chicago Sky (24-12) with a 79-57 victory in Indianapolis.

The Fever (18-18) will play at either Atlanta or Washington in Game 1 of the conference finals on Thursday.

Briann January (Lewis and Clark HS) scored six points for Indiana. Courtney Vandersloot (Gonzaga University) scored eight points for Chicago.

Oracle stays alive in America’s Cup

Sailing: Jimmy Spithill and his mates with Oracle Team USA were masterful in light air on San Francisco Bay, winning two races against Emirates Team New Zealand to stay alive in the America’s Cup.

Oracle’s 72-foot catamaran jumped to huge leads in both races and has won four straight since the Kiwis reached match point on Wednesday.

Oracle cut the Kiwis’ lead to 8-5.

Oracle won Race 14 by 23 seconds and then took Race 15 by 37 seconds.

Oracle has won six of the last eight races after an awful start.

France wins its first major basketball title

Basketball: France won its first major basketball title, beating Lithuania 80-66 in the final of the European championship at Ljubljana, Slovenia.

San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker had a quiet game for France, which broke open a close contest by closing the third quarter with a 14-0 run that kept Lithuania scoreless for 4 minutes. France’s lead grew to 22 with 3 minutes remaining in the third and Lithuania never recovered.

Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers scored 17 points, and Boris Diaw – Parker’s Spurs teammate – added 15 for France. Parker finished with 12 points. He was named tournament MVP after scoring 32 points against defending champion Spain in the semifinals.

Spain beat Croatia 92-66 in the bronze-medal game.

Bearcats lineman killed in accident

College football: A freshman offensive lineman for Cincinnati was killed and two freshman receivers were injured in a one-vehicle accident following the Bearcats’ 14-0 win over Miami of Ohio on Saturday night in nearby Oxford.

Ben Flick of Hamilton, Ohio, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred south of Oxford.

Receivers Mark Barr of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Javon Harrison of Dayton, Ohio, were taken by helicopter to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Barr and the driver of the vehicle – whose identity has not been released – were listed in critical condition. Harrison was in stable condition.

The three players are redshirting and didn’t dress for the game or travel with the team. They were returning from Oxford, located 25 miles north of Cincinnati.

Little change in AP poll after rout-filled weekend: With most of the top teams merely tuning up, there is little movement in The Associated Press college football poll this week. Alabama remains No. 1 and the first 14 teams in the rankings held their positions from last week. Washington moved up one spot to No. 16.

Gulbis wins St. Petersburg Open: Sixth-seeded Ernests Gulbis won his fourth career title by rallying to beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 at the St. Petersburg Open in Russia.

Simon beats Tsonga in all-French Moselle final: Second-seeded Gilles Simon beat two-time defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-3 to win the all-French Open de Moselle final for his first title of the year in Metz, France.

Lagat second in Fifth Avenue Mile: Former Washington State University star Bernard Lagat finished second behind Nick Willis at the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York.

New Zealand’s Willis, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the 1,500 meters, won in 3 minutes, 52.1 seconds. Lagat’s time was 3:52.9.

Jenny Simpson, the 2011 world champion, won the women’s race in 4:19.3.

• Martin, Omega win team time trial world title: Tony Martin powered Omega Pharma-Quick Step to its second consecutive title in the team time trial as the road cycling world championships opened in Florence, Italy.

Omega edged Orica Greenedge by 0.81 seconds over the 35-mile route from Montecatini Terme to Florence, finishing in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 16.81 seconds.

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Former Gonzaga forward Zach Collins makes impact as Trail Blazers rookie

UPDATED: 8:35 p.m.

Zach Collins’ rookie year with the Portland Trail Blazers was more like two seasons in one. The former Gonzaga Bulldog barely saw the floor in the first two months of the season. He averaged 3.8 minutes per November game. Collins carved out a spot in the rotation in December and his playing time soared into the 14-18 minute range.