LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Texas Tech hired Oklahoma State associate head coach Candi Whitaker on Monday to coach its women's basketball team. The former Lady Raiders player returns to her alma mater as the program's sixth coach. The move comes about a week after Kristy Curry left for Alabama. Whitaker's return marks the second time in the past six months the school has hired a former athlete as a coach. In December, Kliff Kingsbury was hired to replace football coach Tommy Tuberville, who went to Cincinnati. "It is indeed special to have a former student-athlete return to lead a program that they were a significant part of," athletic director Kirby Hocutt said. "Her leadership characteristics as a starting point guard and coach, her ties to West Texas, her experience as a Division I head coach, as well as the fact that she is a Red Raider makes her the perfect fit." Whitaker will be introduced at a news conference Wednesday. She did not immediately return a call seeking comment. As the starting point guard from 2000-2002, Whitaker helped lead the Lady Raiders to the NCAA round of 16 twice. Prior to her stint in Lubbock, the Texas native played two seasons for current OSU head coach Jim Littell at Seward County Community College in Kansas, where she led the nation in assists.
With their seasons going in opposite directions, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will continue vying for position in the NCAA tournament when the schools begin the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma State (39-14, 13-10) earned the conference tournament's No. 2 seed and faces seventh-seeded Texas Christian, which won the regular-season series between the teams, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. OSU has been on a tear recently, winning 11 of its past 14 games and finishing second behind conference regular-season champion Kansas State. The Sooners (36-19, 13-11) are on a different path, having lost seven of their past 10 games and three straight conference series. The recent slide gave OU the No. 4 seed, matching it with No. 5 Baylor in the event's first game at 9 a.m. Wednesday. For all its recent struggles, OU managed to seize some momentum on Sunday with a 7-3 win at K-State. The Big 12 tournament winner earns the conferences automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. FOX Sports Media Group will televise the entire championship to a national audience for the first time, while FOX Sports Networks (FSN) will televise the championship final. All games leading up to the final will air on FOX College Sports (FCS).
It seemed only fitting that Nick Yoning put his stamp on Sunday's All-Area Baseball game. The Eisenhower product, bound to play Northern Oklahoma College in Enid next year, put the finishing touch on his South team's dominant 16-2 win over the North by scoring the final run on a towering solo homer that sailed over the MacArthur High School Field scoreboard. The wind gusted all day until that point making the conditions just right for a few potential home runs. When the conditions were perfect, nothing left the field, but when the gales died down, Yoning, who also had a 2-RBI double in the fourth, decided to put an exclamation point on the nine-inning game in which the South tallied 10 hits. "It felt great. Everyone in the dugout was talking about how everyone wanted to see a home run and I got a good pitch and got a good swing on it," Yoning said. South head coach Brad Passmore was even taken aback by Yoning's shot. "The kid is good, man," the coach said. "He's going to be a player. He's already a player. I like that kid a lot, he's a good kid. He just ran into one and got all of it." For Lawton seniors in the game, it was a last 'hoorah' of sorts for their high school baseball careers. So too it was for Yoning, who homered in his last high school at-bat. "It was very nice getting to wear these jerseys for the last time," he said, "and make sure we went out with a bang and we did."
There may have never been a better time for a team to jump out to a quick lead. After several lightning delays, the 2013 Southwest Senior Bowl at Cameron Stadium was called off after less than 20 minutes of expired game clock, making the North's early charge enough to earn a 13-0 win over the South on Saturday. Stingy defense kept the South from mounting an early comeback and the weather snuffed out any chance of it happening late, but quarterback Kale Reed gave another five more reasons why his North teammates pulled out the victory. "I had the 'Kiowa Five.' The game was on their shoulders," said the Comanche product of his aptly-nicknamed offensive line, which hails from Anadarko. "They said, 'We got your back if you got ours.'" Jeremy Sankadota, T.T. Ware, James Paddlety, Jordan Lindsey and Dakota Botone keyed an offensive line that helped Anadarko reach the 4A state title game this past year. On Saturday, they provided Reed enough time to connect for the game's longest completion a 31-yard pass to Apache's Justin Jones and scramble for the night's only touchdown. Lawton High's Tevin Foster and Curtez Zachary each recorded an interception for the North as its defense held the South to just 32 total yards and two first downs through the shortened game.
Whether he likes it or not, Andrew Wiggins' decision will likely have a major impact on two Big 12 basketball teams in the 2013-14 season. Wiggins, a 6-foot-7 small forward, No. 1 recruit of the 2013 class and projected No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, will choose between Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, or North Carolina in an 11:15 a.m. press conference today in Huntington, W. Va. There will be no live feed from ESPN nor a Web stream just one local newspaper reporter from Huntington along with Wiggins' family and friends. That alone is an exceptional development in the current age of glitzy announcement ceremonies for high school recruits, especially considering Wiggins is said to possess Lebron James-type talent. It's also anti-climactic since Wiggins is the last top-100 recruit to announce his college destination next year. Despite the intentionally low-key event, his decision will affect next year's college basketball season in a big way, but with the obvious exception of Kansas, how does it affect the Big 12? It starts with Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are, at worst, a top-10 team in the preseason. With the news of Marcus Smart, Le'Bryan Nash and Markel Brown snubbing early entries into the NBA draft, for the first time in a long time, they're the likely favorites to win next year's Big 12 regular season crown and the biggest threat in recent memory to unseat the Jayhawks, who've won nine straight titles.
EDMOND - It wasn't pretty, but in the end with Beau Meshell on the mound, Marlow's 9-7 win over Kingston in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament didn't have to be pretty.
Now No. 3 Marlow faces No. 2 Vian (33-2) which beat No. 9 Stroud, 9-6, in an earlier game Thursday. The Outlaws' semifinal game will be at 1:30 p.m. today, but this time they will be playing at Edmond Santa Fe High School.
Meshell, a sophomore, came on in relief with one out in the third inning with two runners still on base after the Redskins scored six runs to get within one of the Outlaws.
From that point on, Meshell pitched like a senior. He struck out seven of the first eight batters he faced and didn't allow a base runner until the seventh in 4 2/3 innings of dominant relief. He earned the win giving up just one run on one hit with three walks while striking out eight.
"As a sophomore, Beau is going to have a lot of opportunities in big situations and I told him it was his coming out party (tonight)," Marlow head coach Jeff Brewer said. "He got behind in the seventh, but he battled and finished it off. Meshell gets a lot of credit. He was unbelievable."
For No. 3 Marlow (32-4) it was the first win in the state tournament in school history, but despite an early 7-0 lead, it didn't come easy.
Headed into the bottom of the third, No. 8 Kingston (24-10) recovered in a big way. The Redskins played six runs on five hits to chase Marlow starter Wakeley Bergner. Bergner, who was 13-1 coming into the game, looked like his vintage self the first two innings before running into trouble in the third.
"Wakeley hasn't been as good lately with his fastball and hasn't had as much velocity," Brewer said. "He's been our catalyst on the mound and has done everything we've asked of him, and he struggled a little. But we look at it as he can throw on Saturday now. I was going to come get him after the third anyway so he could throw Saturday because that's our expectation, but I just had to get him a little early."
Enter Meshell (8-0) who took over and never looked back. He ran into some trouble in the seventh with two outs. After a bloop lead-off single to right field by Harley Cendejas, Meshell got two quick outs before walking three straight Redskins to allow a run and keep the bases loaded.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) When Derek Fisher poked the ball away from Mike Conley and it ended up in Kevin Durant's hands, the Memphis Grizzlies were suddenly in trouble. The three-time NBA scoring champion raced from under his own basket into the open court, and Tayshaun Prince couldn't pull out of a full-speed backpedal in time to stop what was coming next. Durant pulled up and connected on a jumper with 11.1 seconds left for the last of his 35 points, lifting his Oklahoma City Thunder to a 93-91 victory over the Grizzlies on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. "Kevin Durant's a great player and he got going to make some good shots," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "Talk about whatever you want to talk about, but he made those shots. That last one was a great play. They were down one and he made that shot to put them up one. Not everybody is making that shot at that particular point." Instead of calling for a timeout to set up a play, Thunder coach Scott Brooks trusted Durant to make something happen against a disorganized defense. "I just wanted to get up the floor as quick as possible and find a shot," said Durant, who finished second in league MVP voting announced Sunday. "That was the only shot I could find and, by the grace of God, it went in." Brooks said he might have called a timeout if the ball had ended up in someone else's hands, even though that would've given the league's stingiest defense a chance to get set. Instead, it went right to the man the Thunder wanted to have it.
WEATHERFORD Cache was faced with a mammoth task Saturday in a Class 4A regional baseball tournament at Weatherford either win two games or go home and both times the Bulldogs staved off elimination to force a deciding game today.
Cache beat Anadarko, 11-7, and then took down Weatherford, 15-13, in an eight-inning slugfest. Cache and Weatherford play again today at 2 p.m. for the right to play in the state tournament.
The Bulldogs (22-14) let No. 4 Weatherford tie the game on a single in the bottom of the seventh with two outs. On the next play, with the winning run at third, Weatherford hit a slow roller toward second base. Pitcher Nick Atkinson came off the mound, made a diving stop and threw the runner out at first to send the game to extras.
In the eighth, Brett Boswell and Jake Seratte both hit one-out singles. Two batters later, Jagger Self delivered a clutch double to score the deciding runs.
Atkinson sat Weatherford down in order to seal the win.
"We know they were gonna hit the ball after scoring 21 runs against Anadarko (on Friday)," Cache head coach Ryan Whiteley said. "We came out and really hit the ball in this game."
Cache's 1 thru 4 hitters: Boswell, Seratte, Judah Sweat and Self, combined to go 11-for-20 with 11 runs and seven RBIs. Connor Daniel was also 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Tyler Tate was also 3 for 5.
HOUSTON (AP) Kevin Durant felt strange playing without injured All-Star Russell Westbrook for the first time in Game 3 against the Houston Rockets. He did, however, enjoy handling the ball more in the point guard's absence. Durant's 41 points helped the Thunder to the win on Saturday night. A victory on Monday would complete the four-game sweep and send them to the second round of the playoffs. He broke into a huge grin when asked how it felt to run the offense without Westbrook, who had season-ending knee surgery Saturday. "I tell you, it's fun," he said. "I feel like I'm playing street ball again, just having the ball in my hands all the time and initiating the offense." The Rockets, of course, didn't share Durant's delight in having the ball more. Durant scored 27 points before halftime on Saturday as Oklahoma City built a huge lead. Houston coach Kevin McHale alternated defenders Chandler Parsons and Francisco Garcia to try to slow him down, but knows they'll have to do better if they expect to win on Monday. "It's more difficult," McHale said of dealing with Durant with Westbrook out.
Cowboys Roy Cooper and Roy Duvall proved that cowboys may grow older but their rodeo skills can remain sharp enough to show up the younger contestants. These days that doesn't have to be the case as they have their own rodeos and you can thank the National Senior Professional Rodeo Association for that as they conduct rodeos for senior cowboys around the United States each year. And, for the third straight year, that association will bring its tour to Grandfield on May 3 and 4 at Paul Burch Arena. The performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. each evening with Ramer Rodeo providing the stock. Last year the rodeo drew 134 entries from 15 states ranging from California in the west, to Florida in the southeast. Plus, seven Canadians made the trip south for the Grandfield stop. All of the contestants stuck around last year despite the fact the Friday performance was rained out and even threatened the Saturday performance. "It was a credit to the members of our local committee who worked all night replacing the dirt in the arena so we could even have the rodeo," spokesman Randy Clark said. "One thing that was especially impressive was that the senior rough stock competitors showed up in good numbers with more bull riders in the 50s division than in the 40s and they sure held their own with some impressive rides."
ALTUS The Southwest Oklahoma Chapter of the American Red Cross sent two staff members to Moore to assist with recover efforts in the aftermath of Monday's devastating tornado. The Red Cross Chapter is also accepting donations loc...
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City Council members got a look at proposals to balance a shortfall between expected revenues and anticipated expenditures in the 2013-2014 budget Wednesday, ultimately rejecting some proposed spending cuts while asking the staff ...
The Comanche County commissioners handled routine business during Monday's weekly meeting.The commissioners accepted bids for a number of goods and services. All bids were tabled for more consideration.Bids were received from the ...
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Lawton police arrested a local man at the scene of a suspicious house fire Tuesday afternoon after he allegedly set the fire, attempted to prevent emergency responders from getting inside and later trying to flee the city jail in ...