Anthony Linkenhoker was the winner when the Virginia Sprint Series opened Saturday night at Natural Bridge Speedway. (Photo by Jim Haines)By Jim HainesNATURAL BRIDGE, Va. (April 14) – Spring finally sprung for the Virginia Sprint Series and Anthony Linkenhoker sped to the IMCA RaceSaver victory Saturday at Natural Bridge Speedway.Mike Keeton challenged throughout in a contest that ran caution-free and ended in second. Daren Bolac was third in the series opener, postponed a week because of winter-like weather.Linkenhoker and Keeton paced the field to green with Linkenhoker out first, Keeton close behind and Tony Harris up to third. Bolac got by Harris and went after Keeton lap after lap, but the bottom was the place to be and he stayed there.Linkenhoker stayed smooth up front even as he caught the rear of the field and that was all he needed to do as he drove under the waving checkered flag.Next it’s back to Shenandoah Speedway on Saturday, April 21.Feature results – 1. Anthony Linkenhoker; 2. Mike Keeton; 3. Daren Bolac; 4. Tony Harris; 5. Tom Humphries; 6. Jerald Harris; 7. Bill Rice; 8. Jake Karklin; 9. Chris Ware; 10. Neil Sandridge.
WSU will look to senior forward Borislava Hristova to produce in the paint. Hristova currently leads the team with an average of 19.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. The USC women’s basketball team will begin its season series against Washington State Friday at Galen Center. “[We focused on] keeping it at that standard [and] not letting it slide back down to how it was previously,” Overbeck said. “We had a really good week leading up to UCLA, and so keeping that foot-on-the-pedal type of mentality and mindset in every single week no matter who we play [is important].” Senior forward Kayla Overbeck is expected to play a big role as well in Friday night’s game. At practice Wednesday, Overbeck was adamant about not underestimating the Cougars. USC is averaging 39.9 rebounds per game and had a dominant 52-rebound showing last week, and if the team wants to continue the trend, it’ll need Pili and Overbeck to box out the Cougars aggressively. WSU’s veteran squad will match up against a young USC team. Hristova will play against Pac-12 Freshman of the Week forward Alissa Pili, whose career-high 17-rebound performance against UCLA Friday proved pivotal in a tight win for the Trojans. The Trojans have made improvements in their defensive effort — a focus of head coach Mark Trakh since repeated losses that resulted from scoring streaks by opponents early on in games. After a double-overtime 70-68 win against rival No. 10 UCLA that broke the Bruins’ five-game losing streak, the Trojans are looking to carry their momentum into the rest of conference play. “Offensively or defensively, they got to be on their game,” Trakh said. “We were on our game, but now are we going to continue it? Have we learned how to play hard? We’ll see this weekend.” Senior guard Chanelle Molina figures to lead WSU’s 3-point shooting effort as she is shootng 42.2% from beyond the arc this season. She has made 43 3-pointers this year, a team high. The game against WSU also marks the end of a January home stretch for USC. After Friday night’s game, USC will face off against Washington before a three-and-a-half-week hiatus from Galen Center. As the Trojans approach the halfway mark in conference play, these matchups will be crucial in digging the Trojans out of 11th place in the conference. USC will tip off at Galen Center against the Cougars Friday at 7 p.m. USC leads WSU 50-18 in the all-time series and has won its last four games against the Cougars. However, WSU currently has a one-game edge over the Trojans in the Pac-12 with wins over California and Washington. Freshman forward Alissa Pili recorded a double-double in USC’s victory over UCLA at home. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) “I just play for my team and to win,” Pili said. “Honestly, my individual goal is not as big as what I want to achieve with my whole team and just our success winning this season.”
Good ball movement, proper spacing and defense. All were on display for the Clippers in their 114-89 rout of the Lakers on Wednesday night at Staples Center.Clippers coach Doc Rivers took notice.“The ball movement was fantastic,” said Rivers, whose team will play host to the Dallas Mavericks at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. “The opponent does not matter; you need to make shots. We had great spacing and ball movement.“We need that every night, but it was beautiful to watch. Our defensive intensity was also very high, and that is good to see.” Lakers coach Byron Scott before the game reiterated what he’s been saying since he took over the helm this season, that this is not yet a rivalry and that Los Angeles is still a “purple and gold” town.Rivers believes these games against each other do carry some kind of special meaning.“Both teams can say this game did not mean anything,” Rivers said. “Yes, it does not mean anything in the big scope of everything, but when you play people you know, those games are fun.“You always want to beat the guys that you will see all of the time. You could see the energy in the building.”No question, the Clippers were pumped. Part of it might have been because they were ticked at losing to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday. Part of it might have been the long-lasting effects of last season’s opening-night loss to the Lakers, Griffin suggested.“Last year, we still had a pretty bad taste in our mouth from losing that first game on opening night,” he said. “There has to be a little bit of pride, but at the same time, I don’t think we do anything different to get ready for this game than we do for any other game.”Matt Barnes, who scored 19 points and played solid defense on Kobe Bryant — Bryant scored just four points on 2-of-12 shooting — chimed in on the so-called rivalry games against the Lakers.“I think that any time — throwing their record out — (a game against the Lakers) is going to be good,” said Barnes, whose team has won nine of the past 10 against the Lakers dating to Nov. 2, 2012. “They are going to play a little better than they normally play, we are going to play a little better than we normally play.“The crowd is electric. The (blowout victory) is just what’s been happening lately.”After losing 116-103 on opening night of 2013-14, the Clippers beat the Lakers 123-87, 142-94 and 120-97 before winning 118-111 in the second game of this season.This and thatShooting guard Monta Ellis is leading Dallas in scoring with a 20.5 average and power forward Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 18.4 points and 5.9 rebounds. … The Mavericks are shooting 47.6 percent from the field, second in the NBA. The Clippers are fourth at 47.2 percent. … Clippers center DeAndre Jordan is leading the league in rebounding (13.6 average) and field-goal percentage (71.0).BREAKOUTAfter Saturday’s game against Dallas, the Clippers will host Miami (15-20) on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Blake Griffin, who led the team with 27 points, said the team’s mind-set going into the game was all of the above.“Obviously, you have to execute,” Griffin said. “But that was what we talked about in shootaround and pregame amongst the players. I thought we came out and did everything we wanted to do.”With all that said, Griffin seemed happiest the Clippers did not let up on the Lakers. Lack of a killer instinct has been one of the team’s issues.“We said at halftime that we have to keep (pushing) the pedal, keep going and come out with energy and focus,” Griffin said. “We did just that.”Beating Lakers means something Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error