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Sports Digest (Aug. 3): With Aces no-shows, Mystics game canceled

Friday night's game between the Las Vegas Aces and the Washington Mystics at Capital One Arena was canceled, the WNBA announced.

An official statement from Aces players indicated health concerns compelled them to make the decision after the team did not make it to the District until Friday afternoon because of travel delays.

"We trust that you know the decision was not made lightly," the statement read. "There is nothing we enjoy more than playing in front of the most rabid fans in professional sports night in and night out, and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and disappointment that was created for the fans, workers and anyone else who may have been affected by tonight's cancellation.

"Given the travel issues we faced over the past two days — 25+ hours spent in airports and airplanes, in cramped quarters and having not slept in a bed since Wednesday night — and after consulting with our union, and medical professionals, we concluded that playing tonight's game would put us at too great a risk for injury."

The WNBA is reviewing the matter and won't be making additional comment for at least 24 hours, according to a person familiar with the league's thinking who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the circumstances.

It's the first time in WNBA history that a game was canceled, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Because the league used the word "canceled" in its official release, it appears highly unlikely, people familiar with the situation said, that the game would be rescheduled.

The Mystics almost certainly would protest a rescheduled game because not only were they prepared to play, but the Aces were in town, having landed at Reagan National Airport at about 2:20 p.m.

The Mystics instead held an autograph session for fans already in the arena when the cancellation was announced.

"I'm really disappointed that the Las Vegas players and organization didn't come to compete," Washington coach and general manager Mike Thibault said. "Every team I've been around in the WNBA or the NBA or the old CBA goes through this. College teams go through it, and you have an obligation to the fans who paid money to come watch you play. If you're there and in the city and can play, you should show up and play."

— Gene Wang, The Washington Post

More WNBA: Angel McCoughtry (St. Frances) scored 21 points and Tiffany Hayes added 19 to help the host Atlanta Dream (17-10) earned an 89-74 win over the Chicago Sky (10-18). The second-place Dream are three games back of Seattle (20-7) in the playoff standings and one game ahead of Los Angeles (16-11).

Varsity cross country

Lauer returns to coaching at Atholton

Earl Lauer, 69, is returning to coaching as Atholton's girls cross country coach this season. Lauer spent 44 consecutive years from 1971 to 2015 coaching cross country, wrestling, indoor and outdoor track and allied sports at Glenelg, Atholton and River Hill. When Earl's son, Brandon, was hired as the athletics and activities manager at River Hill in 2015, Howard County policy on nepotism forced Earl out of coaching the Hawks cross country and track teams after nearly 20 years. "It was pretty tough. The break wasn't something I had planned to do or wanted to do," said Lauer, who was The Baltimore Sun All-Metro girls cross country Coach of the Year his last season with the Hawks after winning region and state titles and earned the National Federation of State High School Associations Coaches Association National Coach of the Year Award in 2012. "I wasn't ready to quit." Now he's back at Atholton, the school where he spent 23 years from 1973 to 1996 leading numerous programs.

— Tim Schwartz, Baltimore Sun Media Group

Et cetera

NASA assigns ex-Navy star Mann to astronaut crew

Navy: NASA announced Friday that it had assigned Marine Corps Lt. Col. Nicole Mann, a former Navy soccer star, to a new crew of astronauts who will fly a privately developed spaceship, marking a return of U.S.-manned space flight after the shuttle program ended in 2011. Since then, Americans have relied on Russian spacecraft for space travel. Mann will be a part of a three-person crew to fly Boeing's Starliner spacecraft on a mid-2019 mission, the spacecraft's first manned flight. NASA said in a tweet that the astronauts will launch from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to the International Space Station. The Starliner will dock and undock with the station before returning to Earth. Mann, 41, tweeted about her enthusiasm for her new assignment and preparations for the Starliner's first manned mission. "I couldn't be more excited to join the @BoeingSpace team! I'm looking forward to strapping into the Starliner and launching into space from the Cape! #LaunchAmerica," Mann tweeted.

Baseball: The Minnesota Twins claimed former Orioles reliever Oliver Drake (Navy) off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays . He's already pitched this season for the Milwaukee Brewers , Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels and Blue Jays, going 0-1 with an 8.59 ERA in 142/3 innings over 14 games, all in relief. ... The Tampa Bay Rays recalled left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek (Maryland, Catonsville) from Triple-A Durham. He pitched two scoreless innings Friday night. ... The Chicago Cubs placed former Orioles left-handed reliever Brian Duensing on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

Laurel Park : Stronach Stable's multiple graded-stakes placed homebred Unbridled Juan wrested the lead from a stubborn Phlash Phelps in the final sixteenth and withstood a frantic bid from late-running Duff to capture Friday's featured seventh race. With Hall of Famer Edgar Prado in the irons, Unbridled Juan ($6.20) emerged from a three-way photo a head in front of Duff in the open $55,000 allowance for 3-year-olds and up, with Phlash Phelps another head back in third. The winning time was 1 minute, 36.17 seconds for 1 mile, having been moved from the All Along turf course to a main track rated good. It was the first win from three starts since being moved to the Laurel barn of trainer Jose Corrales for Unbridled Juan, second by less than a length in an off-the-turf Dixie Stakes (G3) on May 19 at Pimlico Race Course in his 6-year-old debut.

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