Sports Extra

College basketball

No shocks on the top line for women’s NCAA Tournament

Brittney Griner and Baylor’s path to a second consecutive national championship will have a familiar feel.

Then again, so will the whole NCAA women’s basketball tournament. For the first time ever, the top four seeds are the same for consecutive seasons. Baylor, Connecticut, Notre Dame and Stanford all earned No. 1 spots when the field was announced Monday night.

Unlike the men’s side, where it was a topsy-turvy season with major upsets seemingly every week, women’s basketball hasn’t had the same parity. The top six teams in the final Associated Press poll only had two losses outside of each other, the fewest by far since writers began voting for the AP’s No. 1 in the 1994-95 season.

“To think that the rest of the field is going to catch up to Baylor or Notre Dame or the top four or five teams in the country this year is probably unrealistic,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “But I think all those teams between five and 12 are way better than they’ve ever been.”

The women’s basketball madness gets started Saturday – the first step en route to the Final Four, which begins April 7 in New Orleans.

NFL

Meetings open with Ravens negotiating for home opener

PHOENIX – The NFL won’t be adding playoff teams for 2013, and the champions of last season, the Baltimore Ravens, could open on the road because of a conflict with the Orioles.

As the owners meetings opened Monday, scheduling was a main topic.

Traditionally, the season has opened with the Super Bowl winners playing host on the Thursday night after Labor Day.

The Ravens don’t have that option unless baseball’s Orioles, who share parking lots at Camden Yards with the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, will move their night game Sept. 5 to the afternoon.

So far, there’s been no progress, and Sept. 4 is not an option because it’s the first night of Rosh Hashanah, Commissioner Roger Goodell says.

Goodell also says the playoffs will not expand this season, but it will be discussed for the future.

High School Football

Two girls arrested as more dominoes fall in rape case

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Authorities have arrested two eastern Ohio girls suspected of making social media threats against a West Virginia girl who accused two high school football players of raping her in a case that drew widespread national attention.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the girls arrested Monday posted threatening Facebook and Twitter comments Sunday, the day the players were convicted in Steubenville. DeWine said the girls are being held in juvenile detention on allegations of aggravated menacing after an investigation by state and local authorities.

DeWine says he hopes the arrests end harassment of the alleged victim.

A judge sentenced the players to at least a year in juvenile prison. A grand jury will look into whether others broke the law by not speaking up after the attack last summer.

Soccer

More soccer players abusing anti-inflammatory medication

BRUSSELS – The abuse of anti-inflammatory medicine by soccer players is a bigger problem facing the sport than doping, FIFA medical chief Michel D’Hooghe said Monday.

D’Hooghe said the abuse of anti-inflammatories is increasingly more prominent among teenage players who counter any bruise or over-exertion of muscles with the strong medicines which can have serious effects on kidneys, stomach and intestines later in life.

He said the increase among younger players was especially evident at the 2011 Under- 17 World Cup in Mexico and had risen since.

Associated Press