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Minnesota wins west, set to defend title

LOS ANGELES — Candace Parker banked in a 3-pointer from 30 feet, giving Los Angeles a two-point lead late and sending its fans into a tizzy.

"I said to myself, 'We're okay, we have time,' " Minnesota's Maya Moore said. "We don't get too high; we don't get too low."

Minnesota got where it wanted in the end, claiming an 80-79 victory Sunday for a 2-0 sweep of the Western Conference final and a spot in the WNBA Finals.

Seimone Augustus scored 21 and Moore 20 for the defending champs, who trailed by 10 early in the fourth. Minnesota reserve Monica Wright answered Parker's theatrics with a 3 to put the Lynx in front 80-79.

The Lynx plays either Connecticut or Indiana in the Finals. Connecticut leads the East final 1-0. Game 2 is tonight.

Awards: Los Angeles' Nneka Ogwumike was named rookie of the year and Carol Ross, a former coach at Florida, was selected coach of the year.

Et cetera

NHL: The sides spoke throughout the day, and formal negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement are expected to resume midweek, according to media reports.

Tennis: Top seed Novak Djokovic defeated third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 to win the China Open at Beijing. In the women's final, top seed Victoria Azarenka won her fifth title of the year by dominating second seed Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-1. … Eighth seed Kei Nishikori thrilled the home crowd by beating sixth seed Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-0 to win the Japan Open at Tokyo. … Fernando Verdasco and Philipp Kohlschreiber reached the second round of the Shanghai Masters with straight-sets victories.

Soccer: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored twice as host Barcelona drew 2-2 with Real Madrid to keep an eight-point lead over its rival in the Spanish league. … Veteran U.S. goalie Brad Friedel was benched for Tottenham's 2-0 win over Aston Villa in the English Premier League, ending his record run of 310 league starts in a row dating to May 2004. Hugo Lloris started in his league debut. Manchester United beat Newcastle 3-0, keeping the pressure on league leader Chelsea. … Seattle beat Portland 3-0 in front of 66,452, the second-largest crowed for a stand-alone match in MLS history. The first MLS match, Los Angeles-New York at the Rose Bowl in 1996, drew 69,255.

Triathlon: Lance Armstrong competed in a race to raise money for cancer programs at Ellicott City, Md., after organizers dropped USA Triathlon sanctioning so he could take part. Armstrong is banned from events that follow World Anti-Doping Agency rules after he chose not to fight doping charges.

Running: Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia set a course record in winning the Chicago Marathon in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 38 seconds. That eclipsed the 2:05:37 set by Kenya's Moses Mosop last year.

Times wires

Sports in brief 10/07/12 [Last modified: Sunday, October 7, 2012 11:56pm]
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