WORLD CUP-WOMEN’S GS
Shiffrin wins overall World Cup title with five races to spare
OFTERSCHWANG, Germany (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin has won the women’s World Cup overall title for the second straight year.
The American claimed the title before making her final run in a giant slalom Friday in Germany. Her only remaining rival, Wendy Holdener, needed a win or second-place finish to maintain her mathematical chance at the title, but the Swiss skier finished 14th.
Shiffrin wound up finishing third. A Norwegian skier (Ragnhild Mowinckel) won the race.
With five events remaining, Shiffrin holds an insurmountable 603-points lead over Holdener in the overall standings.
Shiffrin is the second American female skier to win multiple overall titles. Lindsey Vonn won the sport’s most coveted prize four times.
Serena Williams wins her first comeback match
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Serena Williams has won the first match in her comeback at the BNP Paribas Open after a 14-month layoff for the birth of her first child.
The 23-time major winner defeated Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 7-5, 6-3 in the first round.
With new husband and Reddit co-found Alexis Ohanian looking on, Williams played from behind until breaking Diyas in the 11th game of the first set. Diyas netted a forehand and Williams yelled, “Come on!” as the crowd cheered.
Williams served a love game capped by a 100-mph ace in her first service game. She had break points in the first and fifth games but couldn’t convert. She started hitting harder and her familiar grunting returned when she tied the set 5-all.
Diyas and Williams traded service breaks early in the second set. Williams then broke her opponent again en route to winning the final five games. She smiled as she walked to the net, and her family gave her a standing ovation.
PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods was one of 27 players to break par Thursday in a swirling wind at the Valspar Championship in Florida.
Woods made five birdies and shot 70. It was the first time he broke par in the opening round of a PGA Tour event since a 64 in the 2015 Wyndham Championship. This is his first time playing the Valspar Championship.
Canadian rookie Corey Conners shot a 4-under 67, giving him a one-shot ahead of Nick Watney, Whee Kim and Kelly Kraft.
NFL-RAMS-BRONCOS TALIB TRADE
AP source: Broncos send star cornerback Talib to Rams
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that the Denver Broncos have agreed to trade star cornerback Aqib Talib to the Los Angeles Rams.
The person says the Rams will send Denver a mid-round pick, believed to be a fifth-rounder, in next month’s draft.
By trading Talib, who is due $11 million this season and $8 million next year, the Broncos will have about $35 million in salary cap space to pursue free agents, including quarterback Kirk Cousins.
In Los Angeles, Talib will reunite with Wade Phillips, who was his defensive coordinator in Denver. He’ll play alongside fellow star cornerback Marcus Peters, whom the Rams are acquiring from Kansas City.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-IOWA ST-CAMPBELL
Iowa State shuffles coaching staff ahead of spring workouts
AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State has shuffled its offensive coaching staff, moving three assistants into new positions to compensate for the loss of coordinator Tom Manning to the Indianapolis Colts.
The Cyclones announced on Friday that graduate assistant Jeff Myers will take over as the offensive line coach. Passing game coordinator Jim Hofner will be a senior offensive analyst and an assistant to head coach Matt Campbell. Joel Gordon will serve as the program’s quarterbacks coach.
The Colts announced late last month that Manning, who was also Iowa State’s line coach, will work with their tight ends under new coach Frank Reich.
Iowa State averaged 29.2 points per game last season, the third-highest total in school history.
Facebook to stream 25 MLB games in exclusive deal
NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is getting deeper into the professional sports streaming game, signing a deal with Major League Baseball to air 25 afternoon games in an exclusive deal.
The games will be available Facebook users in the U.S. on Facebook Watch, the company’s video feature, via the MLB Live show page. Facebook said Friday that recorded broadcasts will also be available globally, excluding select international markets.
Facebook, Twitter and Amazon and other tech companies are in a race to acquire sports streaming rights, both because it can be lucrative, and because it can potentially boost user loyalty. Verizon signed a deal with the NBA to stream eight basketball games on Yahoo. And Amazon paid $50 million last year to stream NFL games to Prime members last season.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
NHL takes esports on ice with gaming tournament
UNDATED (AP) — The National Hockey League is making its first foray into the world of esports.
The league is launching the 2018 NHL Gaming World Championship on Friday, a tournament that will crown a champion in June in Las Vegas. League officials and esports experts say it’s a way to attract millennials to hockey and to find new ways to connect with current fans.
In what NHL executive vice president and chief revenue officer Keith Wachtel acknowledges is a basic start to esports, the tournament will allow players to match up 1-on-1 in “EA Sports NHL 18” qualification rounds. That will be followed by regional finals in the United States, Canada and Europe on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ahead of the June 19 championship.
The goal could eventually be to put on something similar to the season-long NBA 2K League, which is set to begin in May, and eMLS, which has 19 of 23 teams taking part using “FIFA 18.”
INDYCAR-ST PETE-SANITATION TRUCK CRASH
Sanitation truck backs into IndyCar hospitality tent
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The first accident of the IndyCar season happened before a car even hit the track: A sanitation truck backed into Chip Ganassi’s hospitality tent in the paddock.
The tent was crumpled and removed from the paddock before Friday morning’s first practice session of the season.
IndyCar allows teams to assemble hospitality areas in the paddock to entertain sponsors and guests. Because the incident happened so early, the tent was not occupied. It was expected to be a celebratory weekend as Ganassi welcomed new sponsor PNC Bank this season.
The first IndyCar race of 2018 is Sunday on the temporary street course through the streets of downtown St. Petersburg.