National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

LeBron still No. 1 with NBA's most-popular jersey

MIAMI (AP) LeBron James' jersey remains the most popular in the NBA.

The league announced Thursday that the Miami Heat star topped the list of jersey sales in the NBA for the sixth time. With teammate Dwyane Wade - whose jersey number hasn't changed in 11 years - at No. 7, the Heat also had the top spot on the team-merchandise sales list.

"It means a lot to know that I have so many fans that want to wear my jersey because they respect the way I play the game and respect who I am as a man," James said. "Thanks so much to all that `Strive for Greatness."'

Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City is No. 2 on the list, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, Chicago's Derrick Rose, Golden State's Stephen Curry and New York's Carmelo Anthony.

Wade was next, followed by Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, Houston's James Harden, the Clippers' Blake Griffin, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, Boston's Rajon Rondo, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Indiana's Paul George.

It was Duncan's first appearance on the season-ending list since 2007.

Following the two-time defending champion Heat on the team-merchandise sales list were the Lakers, Bulls, Thunder and Knicks.

The NBA based the rankings on overall retail sales on NBAStore.com since the start of the season. The league's playoffs begin Saturday.

Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

ATLANTA (AP) Arthur Blank donned traditional soccer garb to mark his newest venture - an MLS team for Atlanta.

"I love this one," Blank said, looking down at the red, black and gold scarf draped over his dark suit. "I haven't taken it off since it was given to me. I may not sleep in it tonight, but I may. I haven't decided yet."

Major League Soccer announced its latest team Wednesday, an expansion team for Atlanta that will begin play in 2017 at the city's new retractable roof stadium.

The team will be owned by Blank, who also controls the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. He said it was the culmination of a process that started about a decade ago, when he first started talks with MLS about bringing a team to the city.

The off-and-on discussions picked up again after Blank reached a deal with the city last year to build a new $1 billion downtown stadium next to the soon-to-be-demolished Georgia Dome. He is putting up most of the money, with the city kicking in $200 million from a hotel tax.

"I think Atlanta is a natural fit for Major League Soccer," said Blank, who was serenaded by a burgeoning fan group that calls itself "Terminus Legion," a reference to the city's former name.

The team's name has not been determined. Blank said he will get input from the fans before deciding on the new moniker, though he already knows the colors: red and black - matching the Falcons - with a substantial amount of gold as well.

"What the name will be, we really don't know," he said. "We will spend a lot of time listening to our fans and trying to understand why some names are more important than others, why certain designs are more important than others, why certain logos are more important than others."

One name that won't be considered: Atlanta Chiefs, the name of two previous teams that played in the old North American Soccer League. While the Chiefs won the first NASL championship in 1968, both versions struggled financially and eventually folded.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said there was no hesitation about putting a team in Atlanta once Blank worked out a stadium deal.

It is the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. and the biggest without a top-level soccer team. The city has a large Hispanic population and last month drew more than 68,000 fans to the Georgia Dome for a friendly between Mexico and Nigeria.

"This is something that will help elevate our league," Garber said. "It will also elevate our sport in the entire Southeast, which is something that is very important to us strategically."

The league went all out to tout its newest team. Hundreds of fans turned out for a street festival before Blank and Garber arrived by helicopter for the introductory news conference, touching down on the roof of a downtown hotel overlooked Centennial Olympic Park. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed also attended.

While the new stadium is primarily designed for the Falcons, Blank stressed that it will be soccer-friendly. The stands along the sideline will have the capability to retract, accommodating the larger soccer pitch while maintaining sightlines.

Curtains will descend from the roof automatically to close off the upper sections, creating the sort of intimate atmosphere that works better for less-attended MLS games.

The new facility is designed to seat about 71,000 for NFL games, Blank said, but can be reduced to about 29,000 for soccer using only the lower bowl.

"There will never be an MLS game in Atlanta where NFL lines are shown on the field," Blank said, drawing a big cheer.

MLS, which has 19 teams this season, is expanding rapidly with a goal of having 24 teams by the end of the decade. Orlando and New York City are scheduled to begin play next season, and the league has awarded a provisional team in Miami to a group led by David Beckham, contingent on a soccer-specific stadium being built.

The league has added five teams in the past five years, including the hugely successful Seattle Sounders. Garber said there is no worry about growing too fast given the abundance of soccer talent around the world.

"When we expand, we can pick from players around the world," Garber said. "We could change the roster rules, the international player limits, and have no dilution in talent."

Blank said he will try to encourage some crossover between Falcons' season-ticket holders and those interested in attending MLS games. But he acknowledged the teams are likely to have very different fan bases, making it clear the new soccer team will not merely be a side business for the Falcons.

His first priority is to hire a team president for the MLS venture. He will also be exploring possible locations for a state-of-the-art training facility.

"We don't want any stepchildren in our family," Blank said. "We want to make sure the people running soccer get up in the morning thinking about soccer and go to bed thinking about soccer."

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Anaheim Ducks hold off Stars 4-3 in series opener

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist, Frederik Andersen made 32 saves to win his NHL playoff debut, and the Anaheim Ducks opened the postseason with a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.

Getzlaf, Kyle Palmieri and Mathieu Perreault scored in a dominant first period for the top-seeded Ducks, who began their playoff run on a dead sprint. Anaheim led 4-0 midway through the second period before Dallas got rolling in its first playoff game since 2008.

Captain Jamie Benn and Colton Sceviour had power-play goals, and Tyler Seguin scored with 6:07 left to trim the Ducks' lead to one. Anaheim hung on with a handful of big saves from Andersen, a 24-year-old Danish rookie.

Game 2 is Friday.

Matt Beleskey had a goal and an assist before incurring a lower-body injury in the third period, leaving a hole on the Ducks' top line with Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Getzlaf then got hit in the face with the puck with 16 seconds left, sending him to the dressing room early.

Benn and Sceviour scored in their postseason NHL debuts, but the Stars couldn't escape their early hole despite an impressive game from their high-scoring top line of Benn, Seguin and Valeri Nichushkin, which accounted for 14 shots.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 shots for the wild-card Stars, who ended their five-year playoff drought thanks to new coach Lindy Ruff and seven Stanley Cup winners on their roster.

Anaheim is the Western Conference's No. 1 seed for the first time after the best regular season in franchise history, setting new marks for victories (54), points (116) and goals (263) while winning its second straight Pacific Division title.

But after the second-seeded Ducks were knocked off in the first round by Detroit last year, Anaheim is overdue for playoff success. The Ducks have won just one postseason round since their only Stanley Cup title in 2007, and just four players remain from that championship team.

One of those players is Teemu Selanne, who plans to retire after the season. The 43-year-old Finnish Flash began his 13th NHL postseason with an assist.

Stephane Robidas also faced his former teammates for the first time since Dallas traded the veteran defenseman to Anaheim last month.

Andersen, who went 20-5 in his first NHL season, got the start over veteran Jonas Hiller, who has fallen out of favor with coach Bruce Boudreau after a handful of poor starts.

After a raucous pregame reception from their orange towel-waving fans, the Ducks wasted no time. Nick Bonino lifted an exceptional pass over diving defenseman Aaron Rome to Palmieri for a backhand goal just 1:53 in.

Getzlaf led a rush and converted a rebound of Beleskey's shot off Lehtonen's mask later in the period, and Perreault put Anaheim up 3-0 with a power-play goal on exceptional passes from Patrick Maroon and Getzlaf.

Beleskey got credit for the Ducks' second power-play goal when Francois Beauchemin's long shot deflected off his leg midway through the second period.

Dallas got a 5-on-3 advantage for 56 seconds late in the period, and Benn scored easily on a rebound before Sceviour wired a stoppable shot through Andersen's legs, halving the Ducks' lead.

Anaheim controlled play in the third, with Maroon missing an open net, before Seguin tipped Trevor Daley's pass by Andersen. Seguin infamously scored just one goal in 22 playoff games for Boston last season.

NOTES: Anaheim's long-struggling power play hadn't scored multiple goals in a game since Jan. 15, when the Ducks got six against Vancouver. ... LW Ray Whitney returned to the Stars' lineup after missing the last six games with a lower-body injury, but D Brenden Dillon missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Nichushkin, who turned 19 last month, made his NHL playoff debut two months after playing in his first Olympics for Russia. ... Getzlaf had his 19th career multipoint playoff game, while Beleskey had his first.

Weise's OT goal lifts Canadiens over Lightning 5-4

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Dale Weise scored 18:08 into overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening game of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series on Wednesday night.

Daniel Briere fed a pass to Weise from behind the net to set up the winner against Anders Lindback, who stopped 39 of 44 shots while filling in for injured goaltender Ben Bishop.

Carey Price stopped 21 shots for the Canadiens, who blew a pair of third-period leads. Brian Gionta had a short-handed goal and Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller and Thomas Vanek also scored for Montreal.

Steven Stamkos scored twice for Tampa Bay, including the goal that forced overtime.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.

White wash: Yanks sweep Cubs 3-0, 2-0

NEW YORK (AP) Michael Pineda followed an overpowering outing by Masahiro Tanaka with one of his own, pitching six innings of four-hit ball as the New York Yankees beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0 on a bitterly cold Wednesday night to complete its first doubleheader shutout sweep since 1987.

Tanaka (2-0) struck out 10 and allowed just two bunt hits - one replay aided - over eight innings in a 3-0 win in the opener of the day-night twinbill. Carlos Beltran homered for a third straight game, off Jason Hammel in the first inning of the Cubs' first regular-season game at the current Yankee Stadium.

Brett Gardner and Scott Sizemore had RBI singles off Travis Wood (0-2) in the nightcap, helping the Yankees win for the fifth time in six games and handing Chicago its fourth straight loss.

New York had not won by shutout twice in one day since April 9, 1987, against Kansas City, according to STATS, and no tea, in the major leagues had done it since Minnesota swept Oakland on June 26, 1988.

The Cubs had not been blanked twice on the same day since Larry Gibson and Ray Sadecki pitched complete games for St. Louis on June 27, 1962.

Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

NEW YORK (AP) Always fast on the field, Chris Johnson is looking to quickly prove his critics wrong.

The New York Jets signed the former Titans running back Wednesday, a little over a week after he was officially released by Tennessee.

Johnson met with the Jets all day Tuesday - the first team he visited - and stayed in town to watch the Knicks-Nets game in Brooklyn before signing Wednesday. The Jets announced the move, but didn't release terms.

In a text message to The Associated Press, Johnson confirmed it was a two-year deal.

"I have a fresh start," Johnson told The Tennessean. "Now I am going to go out there with a chip on my shoulder. I know a lot of people are doubting me."

Johnson was told by the Titans of their decision April 4, ending a six-year stint in Tennessee during which he became one of the NFL's most exciting running backs. The former 2,000-yard rusher will team with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to give coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg a deep and dangerous backfield.

The Jets also have Mike Goodson, who is dealing with legal issues and recovering from torn knee ligaments.

"I've always been a big fan of the Jets," Johnson told the team's website. "There was some thought into this, but just at the end of the day, I was comfortable here. I just felt like it was the right situation."

While his days as a workhorse running back - he carried the ball over 300 times in each of the 2009 and 2010 seasons - might be over, Johnson could be the perfect complement to the bruising Ivory and versatile Powell. In Mornhinweg's first season as offensive coordinator, the Jets finished sixth in the league in rushing last year with Ivory and Powell sharing the load.

Despite the solid production, New York still entered the offseason aiming to improve the position with a big-play runner.

That's exactly what they're hoping to get in the speedy and durable Johnson, who turns 29 in September and is only the sixth player to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons.

"I see this as a team on the rise," Johnson told newyorkjets.com. "This is a winning team."

But there have been questions about whether he'll ever be the same player who rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009, when he earned his "CJ2K" nickname.

Johnson finished with 1,077 yards - the second-lowest total of his career - and a career-worst 3.9-yard average last season. He also rushed for 100 or more yards just twice.

The Jets held Johnson to just 21 yards on 15 carries in their 38-13 loss last season at Tennessee, but Johnson gouged them for 122 yards on 21 carries, including a career-best 94-yard touchdown run, in 2012.

The splashy move is reminiscent of the one the Jets made in 2010, when they signed an aging LaDainian Tomlinson, who turned out to be a useful role player. While being deliberate throughout free agency, general manager John Idzik has now signed arguably the three best players available at their positions in Johnson, quarterback Michael Vick and wide receiver Eric Decker.

New York also showed early interest in free agency in running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Donald Brown, but they signed elsewhere.

The Titans cut ties with Johnson, making him a free agent, to avoid paying the $8 million he was due for this season, along with the final three seasons left on the $53.5 million contract he signed in September 2011. Johnson, who set several franchise and NFL records during his time in Tennessee, repeatedly said he wouldn't take a pay cut this offseason.

That prompted the Titans to unsuccessfully explore trade options this offseason- including with the Jets - before releasing him. Johnson's exit appeared inevitable when Tennessee signed Dexter McCluster to a three-year deal and re-signed Leon Washington to join Shonn Greene in the backfield.

"The Titans were ready to move on," Johnson said in his interview with The Tennessean. "They didn't want me anymore. But everything is going to work out."

Johnson was the 24th overall pick in the 2008 draft out of East Carolina, and had never missed a game because of injury - despite having surgery after the season to repair a torn meniscus that he played with most of the year.

He has 7,965 career yards on 1,742 carries for a 4.6-yard average, including 50 touchdowns, and ranks third on Tennessee's franchise rushing list behind Eddie George and Earl Campbell. Johnson also has caught 272 passes for 2,003 yards and eight TDs.

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AP Sports Writer Teresa Walker in Nashville, Tenn., contributed to this report.

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AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

AP Source: Giants sign QB Josh Freeman as backup

A person familiar with the deal says quarterback Josh Freeman has agreed to terms with the New York Giants.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the team had not announced the move.

Freeman was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in October after a messy split. He signed with Minnesota four days later, but played just one game for the Vikings.

That happened to come against the Giants, when he went 20 for 53 for 190 yards and one interception in the ugly 23-7 Monday night loss.

The 17th pick in the 2009 draft, Freeman started 59 games for the Bucs over four-plus seasons before the relationship soured. He threw for 3,451 yards and 25 touchdowns with six interceptions in 2010.

Freeman would compete to back up Eli Manning with the Giants.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Officer: Sharper's DNA found on 1 Arizona victim

PHOENIX (AP) Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper's DNA was found in an examination of one of two women who accuse him of drugging and sexually assaulting them at a Tempe apartment, a detective said Wednesday.

Tempe police Detective Kevin Mace said at a bail hearing in Phoenix that Sharper's DNA was recovered from one of the women's clothing, but none of his DNA was found during an exam of the other woman.

The detective's testimony came at a hearing in which Sharper's lawyers are challenging the evidence used to keep him in jail without bail. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville hasn't yet ruled on the issue and will continue the hearing Thursday afternoon.

The hearing marks the latest development in several ongoing sexual assault investigations involving Sharper in Louisiana, California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada.

Bail in Sharper's California rape case was set at $1 million, but he was indicted in Arizona last month on charges of sexual assault and administering dangerous drugs and was denied bail. Authorities in California have kept him jailed, and he didn't attend Wednesday's hearing.

The indictment alleges Sharper gave the sedative zolpidem to three women and then had "sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact" with two of them without their consent on Nov. 21 after a night of drinking at the apartment and at bars in nearby Scottsdale. One of the women told police she hadn't had any alcohol that night until Sharper insisted she drink a shot. Another young woman said she had been drugged, then went to bed, locked her door and wasn't attacked.

Sharper has not yet entered a plea in the Arizona case, although one of his attorneys said Sharper will deny those allegations. He has pleaded not guilty in the California case.

Earlier this month, Granville denied a request from Sharper's attorneys to set bail, ruling that he didn't have jurisdiction until the former player was in Arizona. But Sharper's attorneys said the former player is entitled to a hearing to determine whether Arizona prosecutors have enough evidence on the sexual assault charges to deny him bail.

The Arizona Constitution automatically denies bail to people charged with sexual assault if the proof against them is evident or the presumption of guilt is great.

Mace said two of the three women confronted Sharper the day after the attack.

"He denied the allegations," the detective said. "He acted like he didn't remember."

A police search of the apartment turned up a shot glass with a white residue that turned out to be zolpidem, and California investigators have discovered Sharper had a prescription for that drug, Mace said.

Under questioning from Sharper's attorney Skip Donau, Mace said the former player had a prior consensual sexual relationship with one of the women, who had invited him to stay at the apartment.

Mace said the woman in question, who was intoxicated on the night of the attack, had no indication on how her clothes got removed after her friends dressed her in shorts and put her to bed. None of Sharper's DNA was found on her, Mace said.

After Sharper was confronted the next day at the apartment, the woman was supposed to drop off Sharper in Scottsdale but then joined him for brunch with friends, Mace said.

An analysis of that woman's blood and urine came back negative for the sedative, though she had amphetamine and the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana in her system, Mace said.

Sark: Cody Kessler is still USC's starting QB

LOS ANGELES (AP) Cody Kessler is still Southern California's starting quarterback after holding off a challenge from freshman Max Browne during the Trojans' spring workouts.

New coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed Kessler's spot Tuesday night, saying the junior will start the Trojans' spring game at the Coliseum on Saturday.

"I think he has deserved it," Sarkisian told reporters after USC's penultimate practice of the spring. "I think he has earned it. He has performed well. Sometimes when you get that sense of relief, you go out there and perform even better.

Kessler has picked up Sarkisian's offense with impressive speed, adjusting to an increased tempo and using his improvisational skills to create chances. His experience and decision-making skills tilted the competition in his favor, Sarkisian said.

His victory isn't permanent, however: The competition with freshmen Browne and Jalen Greene will continue in fall camp, Sarkisian said.

"That's the beauty of competition," Sarkisian said. "But I'm confident to say I know we can go out and win a lot of football games with Cody Kessler as our quarterback. There's still plenty of room for him to grow within this system. He's still just 13 practices in, but I'm proud of all these guys. They've worked extremely hard."

Kessler started all 14 games as a sophomore last season, passing for 2,968 yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions while playing for three head coaches. He was the MVP of the Trojans' victory over Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl, passing for a career-high 345 yards and four TDs.

But Kessler didn't even win the full-time job until the third game of the season. Coach Lane Kiffin felt Kessler hadn't separated himself from Max Wittek, who also got playing time before Kiffin decided to stick with Kessler.

Kiffin was fired two games later, but Kessler kept the job under interim coaches Ed Orgeron and Clay Helton, who returned to Sarkisian's staff.

Browne redshirted last season, but much is expected from the nation's top high-school quarterback in 2012.

Sarkisian knows both quarterbacks well: He recruited Kessler and Browne to Washington when he was the Huskies' head coach, nearly landing Kessler before the quarterback from Bakersfield got a late scholarship offer from the Trojans. Browne is from the Seattle suburbs.

"I think Max is going to be a star," Sarkisian said.

Browne said he will never transfer from the Trojans, which means the quarterback competition at USC could be entertaining for the foreseeable future. Greene also has four years of eligibility left, and highly touted recruit Ricky Town has already committed to USC in the class of 2015.

Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

NHL draft lottery losers last year, the Florida Panthers had their number come up this year.

In the meantime, chalk up yet another loss for the Buffalo Sabres.

The Panthers bucked the odds Tuesday by jumping up a spot and earned the right to the top pick in June. Florida, which finished 29th in the league, vaulted ahead of the last-place Sabres, who had the best odds of winning the lottery held in Toronto.

"It means a lot to us. We've very excited," said Travis Viola, Panthers president of hockey operations. "We're looking to continue to build on our core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity."

It also marked a reversal of fortune for Florida.

After finishing last a year ago, the Panthers were relegated to the No. 2 pick after Colorado won the lottery.

The top two projected prospects are left wing Samuel Bennett, of OHL Kingston, who finished first in the final rankings released by NHL Central Scouting last week, and OHL Barrie defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

The draft will be held in Philadelphia on June 27-28.

The Panthers (29-45-8) had an 18.8 percent chance of winning the lottery, behind only Buffalo (21-51-10), which had a 25 percent shot.

The Sabres continued what's been a losing trend since the season began in October.

Buffalo's 51 losses were a franchise worst, and the most losses in the NHL since the New York Islanders went 21-51-7-3 in 2000-01.

General manager Tim Murray took the latest loss in stride, telling the team's website that he almost anticipated losing out on the No. 1 pick.

"We're very comfortable," Murray said. "The other way would've been gravy, but it's kind of what we thought would happen, and we prepared for it."

The Sabres were guaranteed falling no further than second.

Florida will have the first pick for the fourth time in franchise history.

The Panthers are gradually rebuilding. They made a splash this year by acquiring goalie Roberto Luongo in a trade with Vancouver. And they'll be picking third or better for the fourth time in five years.

Their previous top three picks - defenseman Erik Gudbranson (in 2010), wing Jonathan Huberdeau (2011) and center Aleksander Barkov (2013) - all played significant roles this season.

"We're anxious to put a winner in Florida," Viola said.

The Panthers' move up marked the fourth straight year in which the last-place team failed to win the lottery. Since the NHL lottery system was introduced in 1995, the last-place team has earned the No. 1 pick only six times.

The Panthers had the No. 1 pick in the 2002 and 2003 drafts, but traded them away both times. They also had the No. 1 pick in 1994, when they selected defenseman Ed Jovanovski.

The remaining 11 teams maintained their draft order based on the final standings, starting with the Edmonton Oilers staying with the No. 3 draft pick. Calgary will select fourth followed by the New York Islanders.

The top 10 picks are rounded out by Vancouver picking sixth, followed by Carolina, Toronto, Winnipeg and Anaheim. The Pacific Division champion Ducks earned a lottery spot by acquiring a first-round pick in a trade with Ottawa, which finished 21st.

The New Jersey Devils, who finished 20th, were included in the lottery to maintain the weighted odds, but were not eligible to be selected.

The Devils are already slotted to pick 30th after being sanctioned by the NHL. The league ruled New Jersey circumvented the collective bargaining agreement by attempting to skirt the salary cap by signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million contract in 2010.

Center Sam Reinhart (WHL Kootenay) and left wing Leon Draisaitl (WHL Prince Albert) were ranked third and fourth among North American skaters, while the top-ranked European skater is Finnish right wing Kasperi Kapanen.

The Sabres actually have a shot at holding three first-round picks based on two trades they made this year. The Islanders have to until June 1 to decide whether to hand over their first-round selection to Buffalo this year or next year. Islanders head amateur scout Trent Klatt said the team has not yet determined its plans.

The Sabres will also acquire the Blues' first-round pick should St. Louis reach the Western Conference finals.

White Sox wear Boston Strong on 1-year anniversary

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago White Sox have paid tribute to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing before their game against the Red Sox.

The White Sox played a video montage and held a moment of silence as both teams lined up outside their dugouts Tuesday night to mark the one-year anniversary of the tragedy. White Sox players and coaches wore T-shirts with the Boston Strong logo that the Red Sox often donned last year.

Red Sox manager John Farrell says hopefully this is "another day of healing for everyone involved, particularly the family of the victims."

"I think it's critical that we never forget the victims that have fallen," Farrell said before the game. "I think we're all proud to be part of the healing process, how small it might have been, and (it) makes us further proud to be part of an incredible city, a very strong community that I think became even stronger when we unified in response to it."

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Robinson debut

NEW YORK (AP) Marking the 67th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, the Rev. Jesse Jackson praised Commissioner Bud Selig for the strides the sport has taken in minority opportunities over the past two decades.

Jackson traveled to baseball's 1992 winter meetings to criticize its lack of minorities in management, and he pushed for change.

Selig retired Robinson's No. 42 in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of the big league debut of the Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman. Selig established a Diverse Business Partners program the following year and in 1999 started requiring clubs to consider at least one minority for each manager and major executive opening. MLB also sponsors 35 Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars.

Jackson said Jackie Robinson Day had become "a national holiday for all practical purposes."

"To honor Jackie in this way honors the best in America," Jackson told Selig on Tuesday at MLB's third Diversity Business Summit. "In many ways, had Jackie not succeeded you could not have Atlanta Falcons or the Braves or the Carolina Panthers. You could not have these southern teams if Jackie had failed."

Robinson's daughter, Sharon, presented Selig with a large plaque. Jackson spoke from the audience after Selig's speech and told him "you took to heart that challenge."

"I guess if you're commissioner long enough, things can turn around," Selig said later.

For the first time since Robinson's number was retired, no players in the major leagues were wearing No. 42. Players using the number were grandfathered at the time of Selig's announcement, and the last to use No. 42 was Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera, who retired at the end of last season.

"Today all of our players league-wide will wear No. 42 to celebrate the man who helped change the future course of our game and more importantly our country," Selig said.

A ceremony had been scheduled for Yankee Stadium to unveil a plaque commemorating Nelson Mandela's visit to the old Bronx ballpark in 1990. The Yankees' game against the Chicago Cubs was rained out, and the ceremony, which includes Zondwa Mandela, a grandson of the late South African president, was pushed back until Wednesday evening.

Selig frequently points out that Robinson's first game occurred more than a year before President Harry Truman desegregated the U.S. military and seven years before the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision that ruled state laws requiring segregated public schools were unconstitutional.

"Baseball must continue to be more than just a game on the field," Selig said. "The game's remarkable ability to serve as a common bond should be used to create opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender."

Selig became acting commissioner in 1992 and got the job permanently in 1998. He plans to retire in January. He said the Diverse Business Partners program had led to purchases of more than $1 billion in goods and services from minority- and women-owned businesses.

But the percentage of African-American players in the major leagues has been cut in half since peaking at about 18 percent at times from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s.

Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, who is black, says some of this generation's players don't know of Robinson's accomplishments.

"They don't know a lot about the history, and I don't really blame it all on them. I think their generation is a generation that was force-fed these things," he said, holding up a smart phone. "Everything's now. Not much of an appreciation for the past and what it meant, particularly when it comes to baseball and baseball players. The paths that were paved for them, I don't think they really get it, or really understand it."

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AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Arlington, Texas, contributed to this report.

Panel of administrators: NCAA system must change

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) A panel of college administrators agree the NCAA business model has to change to survive.

Three administrators participated in a discussion Tuesday on integrity and the commercialization of college athletics - Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner Beth DeBauche, Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart and former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe.

Many athletic departments are flush with cash thanks to multi-million dollar TV deals. Conferences have started their own networks, and coaches' contracts continue to soar.

Now athletes are demanding their fair share.

"The landscape as we know it for Division I is going to certainly change in some form or fashion," DeBauche said.

While DeBauche sees the current crisis as an opportunity to make college athletics healthier than ever, the panel also agreed the question now is how to do that.

"We have to have 21st century solutions," Barnhart said. "We didn't get to this problem overnight."

A regional National Labor Relations Board official cleared the way recently for football players at Northwestern to form what would be the nation's first union for college athletes. Northwestern has appealed the ruling, and the NLRB currently is weighing that appeal. The NCAA and the Big Ten Conference also oppose the ruling.

Northwestern players will vote April 25 on whether to form a union.

DeBauche said difficult conversations loom in the coming months. There's a gap between the top five conferences with the big-money deals, and she said the majority of the 32 conferences in Division I are more like the OVC. Money made by the conference goes back to members to pay bills. The conferences also need to protect non-revenue generating sports and meet Title IX requirements.

"Put on top of that challenges from unionization ... we're going to have to be flexible to adapt to those," DeBauche said. "In fact, if there's so much pressure and we get close to a business model, we will not be able to sustain it."

Beebe believes that the revenue gap can be bridged, although he said the challenge will be giving a quarterback extra money without taking dollars out of a fellow student's pocket.

"How that all makes sense, I'm not really sure but thank goodness I don't have to" figure it out, Beebe said.

Barnhart pointed to the Olympic model.

He said the organization changed from purely amateur athletes to today's system where many, but not all, Olympians earn money without turning off fans. But the Kentucky athletic director said he also wants to protect a system that allows a tennis player on scholarship the chance to attend college.

Beebe agreed.

He said realignment increased students' desires to get their share of the money generated by football and men's basketball. He noted programs like women's volleyball and softball in the Big 12 now fly to games and stay in first-class hotels with the bills paid by the revenue generated from football and men's basketball.

Reinstating the grant-in-aid for student-athletes is an option that should be discussed at the highest levels, said Beebe, who noted that such a grant that was $15 a month 40 years ago would now be about $200.

"We'd be in a better place," Beebe said, "and if it happened a couple years ago it could've held off some of these outside pressures."

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

Moore to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

BALTIMORE (AP) Tampa Bay left-hander Matt Moore will miss the remainder of the season after opting to have elbow-ligament replacement surgery.

Dr. James Andrews is to operate next week on the 24-year-old pitcher, who made the AL All-Star team last year. Moore will be the first Rays pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery since Jason Isringhausen in June 2009.

"I can't help out on the competitive side of this business right now," Moore said Tuesday before rain washed out the Rays' game at the Orioles. "This is my first significant injury where I'm going to be missing a lot of time."

Manager John Maddon believes Moore's decision will be beneficial in the long term for the pitcher and the team.

"It's awful, but it's great," Maddon said. "It's awful that we're going to miss this guy for a bit. It's good for him to be able to get past this moment and look forward to a really long and prosperous career. Almost all of the time, percentage-wise, it's a very successful operation."

Moore hasn't pitched since walking off the mound with elbow soreness on April 7 in Kansas City. He was placed on the disabled list the following day.

"It was an injury that I didn't think would be my ligament. I didn't think it was going to be something like that," he said. "It just didn't feel that severe."

After throwing on the side Monday, Moore realized surgery was inevitable.

"I don't think there was a whole lot of hesitation," he said, noting that he felt pain "on every single pitch."

Moore also experienced elbow soreness last season while going 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA. He was 0-2 this year despite allowing only three runs in 10 innings.

Moore is among three Tampa Bay pitchers on the disabled list. Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson is recovering from arthroscopic right elbow surgery and right-hander Alex Cobb has a left oblique strain.

"It's tough," starter David Price said. "They're going to be working hard. They're going to be trying to get back here. Whenever they do, it's going to be a good little shot in the butt for us, and that's what you need throughout the season."

Maddon already has been forced to improvise his rotation. Left-hander Erik Bedard was going to start for the Rays on Thursday, but because of the rainout, Price will take the mound in the opener of a series against the New York Yankees.

Gordon, Johnson declare for NBA draft

Aaron Gordon's decision was expected. Part of a heralded class of freshmen last season, anything but one and done would have been a surprise.

Nick Johnson had to build toward his move to the NBA.

Always a steady player, he boosted his draft status with a superb junior season, earning numerous All-America honors while leading Arizona to within a few seconds of the Final Four for the second time in three years.

Now he and Gordon are headed to the NBA.

"I'm going to show what I bring to the table, so many things as far as my leadership and my ability to defend and knock down shots," Johnson said during a news conference Tuesday at Arizona's McKale Center. "If you ask me, I'm a basketball player."

So is Gordon. A pretty good one.

He arrived at Arizona as one of the top incoming freshmen in a class that included Duke's Jabari Parker, Kansas' Andrew Wiggins and Kentucky's latest cast of potential one-and-doners, including Julius Randle and twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison.

Exceptionally athletic, particularly for a solid-framed 6-foot-8 forward, Gordon had a strong lone season in college basketball, averaging 12.4 points and 8 rebounds per game to earn Pac-12 freshman of the year honors. He broke a 40-year-old school freshman record with 303 rebounds and shot 49 percent from the floor, though he struggled from the free throw line, finishing at 42 percent.

"Aaron has so many gifts as a player," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "His high energy level, love for the game, competitive fire and ability to blend into a team and become a great teammate are a few of these. Aaron is 18, I can certainly see why the NBA thinks so highly of him."

Gordon could flourish in the NBA.

An eager learner and selfless teammate, he often geared back to fit into the team game at Arizona, to the point Miller and his staff told him to be more aggressive early in the season.

With an above-the-rim game, high energy and versatility, he will be a likely lottery pick in the June 26 NBA draft, possibly in the top 5.

"I know what I'm capable of and know my potential is limitless," Gordon said. "So I'm going to be Aaron Gordon and I'm going to do what the coaches have told me to do: be Aaron Gordon and do what I did all year long. I'm going to flourish and my game is going to expand."

No one outside of Tucson thought that much about Johnson before this season.

The nephew of late Hall of Fame guard Dennis Johnson, he came out of high school with jump-out-of-the-gym athleticism, yet was never considered a top player during his first two seasons in the desert. When Miller tried to get him invited to elite summer camps before last season, he couldn't even get a call back.

Johnson changed the perceptions with breakout junior season.

Taking the team reins from the start, he helped lead Arizona to the best start in school history, a 16-0 run that had the Wildcats atop The Associated Press poll for two months straight. Whenever the Wildcats needed a big play or basket, they turned to Johnson and most times he came through.

A good defender when he arrived in Tucson, Johnson developed into one of the nation's best on the perimeter, combining with point guard T.J. McConnell to often shut down the opposing team's best player.

Johnson added a teardrop to his shooting repertoire this season and shot a respectable 36 percent from 3-point range. He led Arizona with 16.3 points, grabbed 4.1 rebounds and had nearly 3 assists per game while taking Arizona within a point of the Final Four.

"Without us doing the things we did this year, then I wouldn't be near where I am right now," Johnson said. "I took a few weeks, we looked at the facts ... and the last few days was when I started looking at everything and really started being confident in my decision."

Arizona's cupboard won't be left bare with Gordon and Johnson leaving.

Sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski and freshman swingman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson announced they will be returning to Tucson for another season and Miller has another highly touted recruiting class waiting in the wings.

Michigan losing Stauskas and Robinson to NBA

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III are skipping their last two seasons at Michigan to enter the NBA draft and chase a dream they've had since they were kids.

Stauskas, who is from Mississauga, Ontario, set his sights on joining in the world's best basketball league when he started playing the game in an organized way at the age of 7.

"From that point on, I pretty much committed myself to doing whatever it took to get to this point," he said. "I don't think many Canadian kids had that same dream. I think most of them were trying to go to the NHL, but I think the rise of Canadian basketball has been unbelievable. You see a lot of kids now making that jump from Canada and I'm glad to be a part of that group."

Robinson, meanwhile, might have looked at the league a little earlier because his father - nicknamed "Big Dog" - was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft.

"My dad has been through this whole process, so that was definitely a big help," he said. "He stayed an extra year in college when he thought he wasn't ready."

Robinson, who is from St. John, Ind., said the NBA's undergraduate advisory committee informed him he would be a first-round pick if he entered the draft and he chose to make the leap Monday night.

Stauskas wouldn't say what he was told, but he obviously liked the feedback.

"I heard from the advisory board in the middle of last week, a couple days after that I really decided," he said. "The information I got from them was kind of what I wanted to hear."

Mitch McGary has not announced his future plans.

"Mitch is still gathering information," coach John Beilein said. "He has all the way until the 27th to make a decision, so he's looking at all the possibilities right now."

McGary was not made available for interviews after his teammates had a news conference. He turned down a chance to enter the draft last year as a likely first-round pick and ended up having back surgery last season, putting his standing as an NBA prospect in doubt.

The Wolverines lost Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway to the NBA last year as underclassmen, but retooled well enough to win the Big Ten title and advance to an NCAA tournament regional final.

Stauskas said he's confident Michigan is strong enough to keep winning next season.

"I think we're leaving this program in great hands," Stauskas said as he looked toward his former teammates, who gathered to show their support for him and Robinson at their news conference.

The 6-foot-6 shooting guard became one of the nation's most well-rounded offensive players, averaging 17.5 points and improving defensively and earning Big Ten player of the year honors last season.

The 6-6 Robinson came on strong toward the end of the season and finished with a 13.1 point average.

The pressure will now be on improving guard Caris LeVert to have another big season for Michigan next season. Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin - who both had their share of impressive moments as freshmen - will also have a chance to take on more leadership.

The Wolverines also will lose fifth-year senior Jordan Morgan, and Jon Horford is transferring.

Early departures have become the norm at Michigan now that the program has become a Big Ten power again. After going without a regular-season conference title since 1986, the Wolverines tied for first in 2012 and went on to reach the NCAA finals.

Thanks in part to Stauskas and Robinson, Michigan won a school-record 59 games over the last two seasons and lost just 17 times.

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AP Sports Writer Noah Trister contributed to this report.

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/larrylage

Djokovic eases into 3rd round of Monte Carlo

MONACO -- Novak Djokovic began the defense of his Monte Carlo Masters title in flamboyant style Tuesday, taking only 45 minutes to beat Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-0 and maintain his perfect record against the Spaniard.

The second-ranked Serb won 11 consecutive games and improved to 6-0 against Montanes, who has taken only one set off Djokovic.

"For the first match on clay, it was great. There were not too many flaws in my game," Djokovic said. "I was just trying to use the court well, not allowing him to get into the rhythm. I was changing the angles, coming to the net, being aggressive."

The speed and ease of the win reminded him of when he beat Czech player Jan Hernych 6-0, 6-0 five years ago in the second round at Basel, Switzerland.

"It's great that you have a chance to finish your work on the court in such a short time," he said. "On the other (hand), I would like to have a little bit more longer rallies, bigger challenge so I can test myself, see where I am, where my game is at this moment on clay."

The only small drawback for Djokovic is that he has some soreness in his right wrist.

"I have a certain problem that I carry for the last week or so," he said. "The short match today helped definitely. So I'm going to have some time to heal it."

Djokovic has won two Masters titles this year, beating Rafael Nadal in Key Biscayne and Roger Federer at Indian Wells. He is also looking for his fifth straight Masters title after winning Paris and Shanghai at the end of last year.

He faces Frenchman Gael Monfils in the next round, who beat 14th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4, 7-6 (4), or Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.

French Open runner-up David Ferrer of Spain needed a bit longer to reach the third round, taking just over one hour to beat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-0 after dropping his opening service game.

Ferrer, who lost the final here to Nadal in 2011, next plays 12th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria or Albert Ramos of Spain.

Fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and ninth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France also advanced to round three.

Berdych won 7-5, 6-4 against Russian Dmitry Tursunov and Tsonga beat Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

In the first round, Dimitrov beat Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 and 15th-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain beat Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-2, while 13th-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia lost to Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 7-6 (4) and No. 16 Jerzy Janowicz of Poland was beaten by Michael Llodra of France 6-4, 6-2.

Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia beat Gilles Simon of France 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 and will next play Nadal on Wednesday, while Croat Marin Cilic beat Australian Marinko Matosevic 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 and faces Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, the third seed.

Lynn, Cardinals snap Brewers' 9-game win streak

MILWAUKEE (AP) The Milwaukee Brewers' nine-game winning streak was snapped Monday night when Lance Lynn struck out 11 in seven innings and Jon Jay hit a three-run homer for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 4-0 victory.

Lynn allowed three hits over seven innings before Carlos Martinez finished off the surprising Brewers, who still have the majors' best record at 10-3. Lynn (3-0) frustrated hitters by mixing a fastball that topped 95 mph with a slider.

Jhonny Peralta hit a solo shot in the second off Brewers starter Matt Garza (0-2) before Jay sent a ball over the wall near the right field corner in the sixth.

Garza dueled Lynn until running into trouble in the sixth after Craig reached on a fielder's choice with two outs and Peralta singled to set up Jay's homer.

Lynn cooled off a Brewers team that was off to its best start since opening the 1987 season with 13 straight wins.

Lynn had Brewers batters missing all night. Jonathan Lucroy, a .357 hitter entering Monday, missed badly on a fastball low in the zone in the second for a strikeout. Two batters later, Scooter Gennett was left frozen at the plate on a called third strike on a heater outside.

Milwaukee's best hope to score came in the fifth after No. 8 hitter Logan Schafer doubled to right with two outs to put runners at second and third. But that brought Garza, a career .094 hitter, to the plate and he struck out on three pitches.

Otherwise, the Brewers didn't get another runner past second. Lynn boasted a career 2.53 ERA in 10 games against the Brewers coming in, and his mastery of Milwaukee continued.

With Lynn in control, about the only other drama provided by the Cardinals was when leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter was ejected in the fifth after apparently saying something to umpire Bob Davidson following a called third strike.

Garza allowed nine hits and four runs, and struck out six in seven innings for Milwaukee. Rookie reliever Wei-Chung Wang, a Rule 5 pick, pitched a scoreless ninth in making his big league debut.

Jean Segura, who was batting 1 for 19 at home entering Monday, had two of the hits against Lynn.

NOTES: Cardinals C Yadier Molina got a day off after catching the season's first 12 games. ... Injured 2B Mark Ellis played his first game on a rehab assignment Sunday at Triple-A Memphis. Ellis, who is on the 15-day DL for left knee tendinitis, played five innings and went 1 for 3 with a run. He was scheduled to play Monday, though Memphis' game may have been affected by weather. "He didn't have any issues and felt good afterward, which was the main thing," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's on the right track to joining us here soon." ... Wang, 21, of Taiwan, also saw snow for the first time and got his first major league paycheck Monday. Flurries fell before the game outside Miller Park, which has a retractable roof. ... Manager Ron Roenicke said right-handed hitter Rickie Weeks and lefty swigging Gennett remain in a platoon at second base. ... St. Louis' Shelby Miller (0-2) faces Milwaukee's Marco Estrada (1-0) on Tuesday.

Warriors' Bogut out indefinitely with rib fracture

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The playoffs have not even begun and the Golden State Warriors are already dealing with a big blow to their postseason chances.

The Warriors announced Monday night that an X-ray on center Andrew Bogut revealed a fractured right rib. The injury could keep him out for the start of the playoffs - and possibly all of the postseason.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson and Bogut both said that he's out indefinitely and gave no timetable for his return. But speaking in a somber tone in his corner of the locker room, Bogut said he has done enough research and spoken to enough doctors that he will not come back until the rib heals, which typically takes at least six weeks.

"I've got to be careful, because if it cracks I'm looking at a punctured lung. You'll see me in the hospital with a tube coming out of me," Bogut said. "It's one of those things people have played through, but this is too close to comfort for me."

Bogut said he first felt the injury when Denver's Kenneth Faried elbowed him in a loss to the Nuggets last Thursday. The symptoms continued against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, he said, and he took a pain-killing injection before playing at Portland on Sunday night.

Bogut left the overtime loss to the Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter after getting sandwiched by two players. He said he can't take deep breaths and is pain anytime he coughs or sneezes - let alone tries to run.

"It definitely wasn't as bad until I fully cracked it," Bogut said. "I thought I was winded for a second, but it wasn't going away. I ended up going back in the game for the last possession (of regulation). I don't know how."

Backup center Jermaine O'Neal was starting in Bogut's place Monday night against Minnesota. Jackson said he could slide power forwards David Lee or Marreese Speights to center if needed depending on the matchup in the playoffs.

Last year's backup center, Festus Ezeli, has been out all season recovering from right knee surgery and remains day to day. Jackson also indicated that seldom-used reserve centers Hilton Armstrong and Ognjen Kuzmic are likely not options.

"It certainly does not make us a better basketball team," Jackson said of Bogut's absence.

Golden State's center is hardly the only one on the team ailing at the worst time of the season.

Starting small forward Andre Iguodala sat out Monday night with right knee tendinitis that he has said is something he will have to deal with for the rest of the season. Lee is playing with a nerve injury in his right hamstring and back and O'Neal has been coping with pain in his wrist and knees.

Harrison Barnes started for Iguodala against the Timberwolves. The Warriors visit Denver in their regular-season finale Wednesday night before the playoffs begin Saturday or Sunday, likely at the Los Angeles Clippers.

But Bogut's injury will impact the Warriors more than any of those recently rehabbing. He averaged just 7.3 points, 10 rebounds and 1.81 blocks in 67 games this season, but he is among the league leaders in several defensive ratings and played a major role in Golden State's run to the second round of last year's playoffs.

Bogut, who missed 50 games last season while recovering from microfracture surgery on his left ankle, was so frustrated at the thought of missing this year's playoff run that he joked about changing the way he plays.

"I'm going to dedicate the summer to learning how to play while avoiding contact at all costs, I guess, moving out of the way, not taking charges and not trying to block shots," Bogut said. "All of my injuries have been high-impact injuries. I put my body on the line to try to take a charge or block a shot and, unfortunately, I've been on the tail end of them. There are some players in the league who are very good strategically at avoiding contact, so I guess I need to watch them and bring that into my game."

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Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

Sun take Ogwumike with top pick in WNBA draft

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) It was a busy draft night for the Connecticut Sun.

Minutes after taking Chiney Ogwumike with the top pick in the WNBA draft Monday night, the Sun made a blockbuster deal to trade 2012 MVP Tina Charles to the New York Liberty.

The Sun acquired the Liberty's fourth pick this year which turned out to be Alyssa Thomas as well as Kelsey Bone and New York's first round pick next year. Charles had told the Sun that if she wasn't traded she'd sit out this year.

"We're not going to be held hostage by anybody," Sun vice president and general manager Chris Sienko said. "We had to do what's best for our organization and fan base. New York came back with a significant offer. ... That's a great trade."

Ogwumike joined her sister Nneka, drafted by Los Angeles in 2012, as the only siblings to be chosen first in the WNBA.

"To be picked No. 1 in front of those Connecticut fans with my family and sister, it's unreal," Chiney Ogwumike said.

Peyton and Eli Manning are the only other siblings to be taken No. 1 in the history of the four major American pro sports according to STATS.

"When someone told me that I was like, `Whoa, that's pretty cool,"' Chiney Ogwumike said. "We fell into the sport and found our passion in it and now it's life. To share that moment with my sister, she's the reason I play, and to be called a No. 1 draft pick is inconceivable."

Chiney Ogwumike finished her stellar career at Stanford as the top scorer and rebounder in Pac-12 history.

The choice of the two-time AP All-American drew loud cheers from the crowd at the Mohegan Sun Arena, where Connecticut plays its home games. This was the first time fans were allowed to attend the draft since it was held in Tampa in 2008.

"The fans were great," Chiney Ogwumike said. "It was really awesome having them here and having them be part of my draft experience."

Odyssey Sims of Baylor went second to Tulsa, which means she'll team up with Skylar Diggins in the backcourt. Sims was happy for a chance to play with her former rival.

"Me and Skylar will make a great backcourt," said Sims, who finished this season with 1,054 points - second all time for a single year. "

San Antonio took Notre Dame's Kayla McBride with the third pick.

"This is surreal," McBride said. "It was so awesome to have the fans cheering for me, I'm not used to that in Connecticut."

The Indiana Fever selected Natasha Howard of Florida State with the fifth pick. UConn teammates Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley went with the next two picks to Washington and Seattle. Hartley was later traded by the Storm to the Mystics to reconnect the Huskies.

Louisville star Shoni Schimmel went eighth to the Atlanta Dream. The Indiana Fever took Notre Dame's Natalie Achonwa with the ninth pick. Achonwa tore her ACL in the Final Four and will most likely miss the entire season.

The Chicago Sky took N.C. State's Markeisha Gatling with the 10th pick. The Sun drafted injured Duke star Chelsea Gray 11th and her Blue Devils teammate Tricia Liston went to Minnesota to close out the first round.

The ceremony was held in primetime for the second straight year. Training camps open April 27, and the WNBA's 18th season tips off on May 16.

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Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

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