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Breanna Stewart Named WNBA Most Valuable Player

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Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart was named the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player, and she will receive the award later in the day as the Storm host Phoenix in a semifinal series opener at KeyArena.

Stewart has averaged 21.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 blocks for Seattle this season.

“In this league, I’m playing against however many former national players of the year, and going against the best competition every night,” Stewart said, according to ESPN”S Mechelle Voepel. “And really trying to play my best and show that to everyone.

“We have team goals, and I have individual goals for myself. And being MVP was a goal that I had. I wanted to prepare like this was going to be an MVP-type season. To go out and leave everything on the court.”

Stewart has made efforts to improve her fitness by practicing yoga, pilates, and a healthier diet.

“I’m making sure I’m getting enough calories and the right portions, plus just finding healthy snacks, and not having unhealthy snacks in my house. Because if I see them, I’ll eat them.”

Stewart also credits Sue Bird, whom she worked out with, along with Jewell Loyd, following her return from China.

“Sue has played a big factor in it for me,”Stewart said.”I got some guidance in what I should be doing.

“One of the things I talked to Sue about was, ‘If you could have started doing all this with your diet at 23, would you?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, definitely.’ That’s all I need to hear. She’s 37, and still remains the best of the best, and continues to be great.”

Stewart has been on a meteoric rise since coming into the WNBA a few short seasons ago.

“I think part of it is being more prepared for the strength and physicality of this league, and then understanding our system,” Stewart said. “We had a coaching change, but the way we played kind of remained the same. I know where I’m going to get my best opportunities to score.”

CFL

Tiger-Cats’ Brandon Banks Upset with Fine

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Brandon Banks

Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Brandon Banks is upset over a fine he was hit with for “making unnecessary contact on an on-field official” during his team’s win over the Calgary Stampeders back on Saturday.

Banks was hit with a 10-yard objectionable conduct penalty during the questionable play, which took place during the third quarter of play.

Banks, who was named a top performer for his performance, hauled in 9 receptions for 86 yards and two touchdown. Banks also returned a missed field goal for a touchdown.

Banks responded to the fine on Twitter, directing his message to CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrose.

“This is bull—- @RandyAmbrosie! I want U to review this type and I want a personal meeting with u about this one I not letting this one slide by easy!!”

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Golf

R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers Defends Pay Gap

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R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers is defending the massive pay gap in regards to the purses for The Open Championship and the Women’s British Open.

Slumbers was being flooded with questions from the media regarding the sizable disparity, but stood his ground in defending it.

“We’re as ambitious for the Women’s British Open as we are for The Open,” Slumbers said, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. “But as I have said previously, we want to grow the women’s game. We’re passionate about growing the women’s game, but we need to build a sustainable women’s game, and that means building a bigger amateur game right from the very beginning up to the top.

“To build the economics of the Women’s British Open, to be able to keep raising the prize money we need to do it as a sustainable business model. It needs to be a long-term business model, and that is what we are spending a long time doing. How do we build a better model to have a more financially successful Women’s British Open that will flow then down into the prize money? Where it ends up, I don’t know. But my ambition is to keep growing the overall performance of it and keep enhancing the status of the event.”

The purse for the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club this week is $10.75 million, with the Champion Golfer of the Year collecting $1.935 million.

In comparison, the purse for the 43rd Women’s British Open is $4.5 million, with the winner taking home $675,000.

“As we’re looking at the Women’s British Open, how we attract more people to watch the championship, to watch it live or watch it on TV, it may be that only being on links courses might not be the right answer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see with the Women’s British Open a mix of some of the great inland courses and the great links courses, but all aimed at trying to make the championship more engaged with by the public.”

“There’s been a lot of talk about (taking The Open outside England) and I think that’s because of the success of bringing it to Royal Portrush,” Slumbers said. “But we have 10 courses in the pool that we use and we think they’re the best links courses in the world, and we’re happy with those courses.

“If we think about the past few years, going back to Carnoustie, going back to Hoylake and coming back to here, they’ve been great successes. We are not looking, at the moment, beyond those 10 courses.”

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Golf

Rory McIlroy Starts The Open with Quadruple-Bogey

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Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy didn’t kick off his play at The Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club in the way he may have wanted to. In fact, it couldn’t have gone much worse.

McIlroy, widely considered to be the favorite to win and playing in his native Northern Ireland, hit his tee shot on the first hole out of bounds and ended up with a quadruple-bogey 8 on the par-4, 421-yard hole.

Statistics show that tt’s the first time McIlroy started a major championship with a double-bogey or worse since the 2012 Masters.,

“I’m just treating this like any other Open Championship,” McIlroy said, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

“I’ve played well here for the last few years. I’ve played well on this golf course. So I’ve just got to go out and hit the shots and stay in the present. If I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, hopefully by Sunday night that will be good enough.”

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