Friday’s Sports in Brief

National Sports

TENNIS

Former tennis star Chris Evert says she was diagnosed with an early stage of ovarian cancer.

The 67-year-old Evert revealed the illness in a story posted Friday on ESPN.com. She is an on-air announcer for ESPN. She learned of the cancer last month and began chemotherapy treatments this week.

Evert won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings and was inducted into the International Hall of Fame in 1995.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)Novak Djokovic is reported to be back in immigration detention after his legal challenge to avoid being deported from Australia for being unvaccinated for COVID-19 was moved to a higher court.

A Federal Court hearing has been scheduled for Sunday, a day before the men’s No. 1-ranked tennis player and nine-time Australian Open champion is due to begin his title defense at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year.

The Australian Associated Press reported that Djokovic was back in detention.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday blocked the 34-year-old Serb’s visa, which was originally revoked when he landed at a Melbourne airport on Jan. 5.

PRO FOOTBALL

HOUSTON (AP) -Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio says it was his decision to fire head coach David Culley after just one season, citing differences in opinion with Culley about the organization’s path forward.

Culley’s dismissal left only one Black head coach in the NFL, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin.

Caserio declined to go into details over where he differed with Culley and stressed that it was his decision to fire him.

CINCINNATI (AP) – Either the Raiders or Bengals will win a playoff game on Saturday, and that will be news in itself. Postseason success has been elusive for both teams for a generation.

The Raiders’ most recent postseason win was 19 years ago, a conference championship before they lost to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl. Since then, they’ve managed just one playoff appearance, a one-and-done wild-card game after the 2016 season.

Cincinnati is in the playoffs for the first time since the 2015 season, but hasn’t gotten out of the opening round since the 1990 season.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes is primed for both the frigid temperatures and the Patriots in preparing to host their division rivals in a wild-card playoff game on Saturday night.

The 12-year veteran says the meeting has the potential to be an `old-school slobber-knocker’ as the teams meet for the third time in seven weeks.

The teams split the season series, with Buffalo going on to clinch its second consecutive AFC East title.

NEW YORK (AP) – Five players, including dynamic pass catchers Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams, are unanimous choices for The Associated Press 2021 NFL All-Pro Team.

Joining the Rams’ Kupp and the Packers’ Adams in receiving votes Friday from all 50 members of a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league are Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt, and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Donald is a perennial pick, making the team for the seventh time in his eight pro seasons, and Watt is on it for a third time. Adams makes it for the second time, and the other two are newcomers.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips says now is not the time for College Football Playoff expansion.

Phillips told reporters on a conference call Friday that with the NCAA about to embark on a transformation of Division I, CFP expansion should not be the priority. He also cited the continuing need for federal legislation regarding name, image and likeness compensation for athletes.

Expansion talks among conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director stalled last weekend. Hopes for implementation of a new format by 2024 are dimming, but have not been pronounced dead.

HONOLULU (AP) – Todd Graham resigned as the University of Hawaii’s football coach Friday, stepping down amid controversy after completing the second-year of a five-year contract.

Graham resigned a week after former players and some parents testified before a state legislative hearing, criticizing the coach’s management style and relationships with players. More than a dozen players have entered the transfer portal.

The 57-year-old gave up a $1,275,000 buyout by resigning. Assistant Jaocb Yoro will serve as interim head coach while the school searches for a replacement.

Graham went 11-11 overall during in his tenure at Hawaii. He previously was head coach at Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – UCLA football coach Chip Kelly agreed to a new four-year contract Friday after leading the Bruins to their best season since 2015.

The agreement came two days before the $9 million buyout on Kelly’s original contract would have expired. Kelly said he had discussions about returning to Oregon last month before the Ducks hired Dan Lanning.

UCLA had its first winning season in Kelly’s tenure in 2021. It went 8-4 and closed with three straight wins, including a 62-33 blowout over Southern California.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Big-name women’s basketball programs like No. 5 Tennessee and No. 12 LSU are making a return to prominence this year. The Lady Vols and Tigers are part of a group of teams that are carrying national rankings under coaches in place since 2019.

The list includes No. 15 Georgia Tech, No. 16 Duke, No. 20 Notre Dame, No. 21 North Carolina and No. 23 Oklahoma.

Lady Vols coach Kellie Harper says it takes time to build up a winner, noting: ”You don’t just push a button and win games.”

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – The No. 2 Stanford women’s team knocked off the last remaining undefeated team in Division I basketball, overcoming a season-high 22 turnovers to beat No. 22 Colorado 60-52 on Friday night.

It was quite an undefeated run for Colorado, which was controlling the tempo before Stanford’s 12-4 spurt in the fourth quarter went a long way to snapping the streak. It was only the second time in program history the Buffaloes began 13-0.

”I am not one for moral victories. I am always looking for things that we did well, and there will be a slew of things that we did well,” Colorado coach JR Payne said. ”There also will be a lot of things that we need to learn from and grow.”

PRO SOCCER

HERRIMAN, Utah (AP) – Real Salt Lake has signed 14-year-old forward Axel Kei, the youngest player ever to sign with a Major League Soccer senior team.

Kei, a lanky 6-foot-4 product of the RSL Academy, inked a two-year deal at 14 years and 15 days, the club announced Friday.

Previously, the youngest player to sign with an MLS club was Freddy Adu, who was 153 days older than Kei when he joined D.C. United in 2004.

TRANSGENDER ATHLETES

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A South Dakota legislative committee has approved a bill championed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem to ban transgender women and girls from participating in school sports leagues that match their gender identity.

The bill received approval in the Republican-dominated Senate State Affairs committee on Friday, clearing a legislative hurdle that has been a key roadblock to similar South Dakota bills in the past.

Every Republican on the committee approved the bill, despite warnings from opponents that it alienates and bullies transgender students. Opponents also say it exposes schools to legal action for a political cause that has not been an issue in South Dakota.

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