NBAC's Morris qualifies for U.S. team at worlds

A strong U.S. nationals for North Baltimore Aquatic Club continued Saturday night, when 18-year-old Brennan Morris surprised everyone, including himself, by finishing second in the 1,500-meter freestyle, earning a spot on the United States team headed to the world championships in Rome in two weeks. Morris, who moved to Baltimore with his family three years ago from Lewisburg, Pa., lowered his career-best time by 20 seconds in the preliminaries Friday morning and then shaved an additional four seconds off that time in the final a day later, touching the wall in 15 minutes, 13.47 seconds. Jackson Wilcox of Nashville Aquatic Club finished first. "I didn't really expect it," Morris said. "All eight people were really close at the top. There were four 18-year-olds in the race, so it was a pretty young field. The race just happened to go my way. I'm pretty excited." Morris joined Michael Phelps and 15-year-old Elizabeth Pelton as NBAC members to make the squad. Morris' story isn't much different from Pelton's. As he showed promise in swimming, his family began to feel exhausted by the commute from Lewisberg, so they packed up and moved to Baltimore after his freshman year of high school. "I'm on a great team at NBAC, and I really like the town," Morris said. "We're big Orioles fans, so it worked out nicely."

- Kevin Van Valkenburg

Amateur basketball

U.S. women win gold medal at World University Games

Connecticut's Tina Charles' 28 points and 18 rebounds helped propel the U.S. women past Russia, 83-64, to take home the gold medal at the 2009 World University Games on Saturday in Belgrade, Serbia. The U.S. (7-0) dominated the glass, out-rebounding Russia (6-1) 52-32 and scoring 22 second-chance points to Russia's four. Ohio State's Jantel Lavender added 14 points, and Stanford's Kayla Pedersen contributed 11 points and nine rebounds. Australia (5-2) defeated Czech Republic (4-3), 88-77, to win the bronze.

Men's World University Games: : Four players scored in double figures as the U.S. men (6-1) rebounded from their semifinal loss and earned the bronze medal by defeating Israel (6-2), 91-80, in Belgrade. Marquette's Lazar Hayward had a team-high 14 points, West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler scored 13, Penn State's Talor Battle added 12 and Ohio State's Evan Turner contributed 10 points and three assists.


After blowing lead, Mystics rally to beat Sparks, 75-63

Alana Beard scored 26 points as the host Washington Mystics closed the game on a 12-0 run after allowing a 24-point first-half lead slip away to defeat the Los Angeles Sparks, 75-63. Chasity Melvin added 14 points for the Mystics (6-5), who started a season-high six-game homestand. Shannon Bobbit and Betty Lennox each scored 10 points to lead the Sparks (4-7), who fell to 1-6 on the road this season. Los Angeles was without All-Star Lisa Leslie for the sixth straight game. Candace Parker, playing in her third game after missing much of the season following childbirth, was held to two points. Lindsey Harding scored 11 points for the Mystics, who were coming off a 1-3 road trip.

- From Sun staff and news services

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