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ence home as the Blue

  • 29 Jan
    导出博客文章RIO DE JANEIRO -- Think of Olympic beach volleyball like the dance floor of a
    Rio nightclub: When the samba stops, its time to start looking for a new
    partner.Kerri Walsh Jennings is going for a fourth straight gold medal, but it
    would be her first with April Ross. Fellow American Phil Dalhausser, who won
    gold with Todd Rogers in Beijing, is playing with Nick Lucena now (after an
    unsuccessful dalliance with Sean Rosenthal).A beach volleyball partnership is
    often compared to a marriage, and teams all around the world use the years
    between Olympics to reassess their couplehood.Some stick together -- Walsh
    Jennings and Misty May-Treanor were the gold standard for three Olympiads --
    but, sometimes, their eyes can wander.Its like high school dating, Dalhausser
    said after beating Tunisia 21-7, 21-13 on Sunday. The middle of the pack on the
    AVP tour, theyre always trying to move up. (There are) a lot of guys finding out
    from other guys they got dumped.Walsh Jennings plucked Ross off of the No. 2
    U.S. womens pair right there on the sand after the gold medal match in London.
    (May-Treanor had said she would retire; Rosss partner, Jen Kessy, would be
    pushing 39 by Rio).Rogers is now 42, and didnt feel like he had another Olympic
    run in him. But Dalhausser, who is 36, wanted to give it another try.After our
    last match in London, he was like, `Well, it was nice playing with you. And I
    was like, `Yeah, we had a good run, Dalhausser said on Sunday. So there were no
    hard feelings there.Dalhausser formed what was expected to be a superteam with
    Rosenthal, himself a two-time Olympian, but it never really clicked. After being
    knocked out of two straight seasons with injuries, Dalhausser turned to Lucena,
    a longtime friend he left in 2006 to join up with Rogers.That was tough,
    Dalhausser said.Those arent the only partner-swappers on the Copacabana
    sand.Jake Gibb was with Rosenthal in Beijing and London but is playing in Rio
    with Casey Patterson. All four Brazilian teams -- including the mens and womens
    world champions, and all of them among the top seeds in Rio -- have formed since
    2012.In extreme cases, teams are formed by federations or circumstances: When
    Viktoria Orsi Toth was bounced from the Rio Games last week after failing a drug
    test, Marta Menegatti needed a new partner with an Italian passport who met the
    qualifying requirements.She had never played with Laura Giombini before the
    Olympics began.Some of the other countries, that have a large pool, you see them
    switching often, said Canadian Heather Bansley, who joined up with indoor
    volleyball player Sarah Pavan after they each failed to qualify for London.In
    Canada, there arent a lot of options, she said. But I think theres a lot of
    value in sticking together.Part of that value is learning each others tendencies
    on the court, and how to best communicate and do it under pressure. But the
    partners also spend so much time together on the world tour that they need to
    get along off the court, too.True, there are tales of partners who cant stand
    each other but stick together for the good of the team. More often, though, the
    players use a sort of dating period to see how well they match up both on and
    off the court.Polands Monika Brzostek and Kinga Kolosinska have been together
    since 2009, one of the longest-running partnerships in the tournament.We do not
    have any serious problems. We enjoy each others company, Brzostek said. As far
    as I know, we do not want to change anything.Then she looked over to her partner
    for confirmation.They both smiled.Not for me, either, Kolosinska said.---Jimmy
    Golen covers Olympic beach volleyball for The Associated Press. Follow him at:
    http://www.twitter.com/jgolen .
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    . NBA officials ruled the court unplayable in the Bucks final
    exhibition game on Oct. 25 because players were slipping, and the game was
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    .C. -- Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Bobcats got off to a fast
    start, and the Sacramento Kings were never quite able to catch up.
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    . "Trying to breathe," he said with a grin. Bernier stopped 42 of
    43 shots on Monday night, including all 22 in a hectic middle frame, his heroic
    performance propelling the Leafs toward an undue point in their final game
    before the Christmas break. DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke reached this segment of the
    season with the notion that it will be a recharged team.And perhaps reloading as
    well.The fifth-ranked Blue Devils have been idle for more than a week for final
    exams but return to action Monday night against Tennessee State.This has been
    one of the potential targeted dates for the debut of heralded forward Harry
    Giles, the most coveted recruit in the freshman class. He has been out since a
    surgical procedure in September, with the Blue Devils willing to bring him along
    at a conservative pace.Coach Mike Krzyzewski said mid-December was a logical
    time to consider that Giles might be ready for game action.Duke (10-1) has won
    eight games in a row but hasnt played since demolishing UNLV 94-55 on Dec.
    10.Junior guard Grayson Allen scored a career-high 34 points in the game against
    UNLV, a rather premature outburst in some respects because he has been dealing
    with an array of ailments.I think over the exam period is a time where, and then
    maybe Christmas, where we can get him closer to 100 percent and then hopefully
    work these guys in a little bit, Krzyzewski said.Freshman Jayson Tatum has
    averaged 15 points and seven rebounds in the three games he has played for the
    Blue Devils since a preseason foot injury. Post player Marques Bolden also has
    played in three games in a more limited capacity.Everyone has to be able to
    contribute and help us, but right now I think we can smile a little bit and be
    happy that we got some of our guys back, Duke forward Amile Jefferson
    said.Sophomore guard Luke Kennard leads Duke in scoring at 20 points per game.As
    more players become available, it will be a juggling act of soorts as Krzyzewski
    has two games remaining before the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule kicks
    in.ddddddddddddWeve got to keep finding minutes for these guys, Krzyzewski said.
    Weve got to put this thing together while were playing games.This game marks
    Dukes only home outing during a five-game stretch. This is the last
    nonconference home as the Blue Devils try to tack one more on their NCAA-best
    131 home out-of-conference winning streak.This is the third of four road games
    this month for Tennessee State (8-2).Tigers coach Dana Ford said its obvious
    Duke has a special operation.I think they are the best team in America, Ford
    said. ... Everything is first class. Theyre champions. You dont even have to
    know people inside the program to tell what you are dealing with.Tennessee State
    is off to an 8-2 start for the second season in a row. However, the Tigers are
    winless in nine previous meetings against teams in the ACC.That includes a 67-55
    overtime loss on Dec. 10 at North Carolina State. Since then, the Tigers whipped
    Alabama State 68-46, allowing only 13 first-half points.This will be the first
    meeting between Tennessee State and Duke. The Tigers are 1-33 all time against
    Top 25 opponents in Division I.Well try to put together the best game plan
    available to give our guys the best chance to go out there and win the next
    game, Ford said. We are just very appreciative, our entire university, our
    program and our alums, that we are going to have the opportunity to play at
    Cameron Indoor Stadium against a first-class program.
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