Lady Pacers roll to league victory

In Aiken, Daniela Tarailo hit four 3-pointers and scored 16 points to lead sixth-ranked USC Aiken to a 59-39 victory over Georgia College on Thursday night in a Peach Belt Conference women’s basketball game.

Brittany Hill added 10 points for the Lady Pacers (14-2, 7-2).

In the men’s game, Jesse Seilern and Re’mon Nelson scored 18 points each to lead USC Aiken (11-5, 7-2) to an 87-70 win.

Ronald Zimmerman added 14 for the Pacers.

• USC Aiken junior pitcher India Kornegay has been named to the Peach Belt preseason all-conference softball team.

Kornegay is a two-time all-conference selection, earning second team honors as a freshman (2011) and sophomore (2012). She was the conference freshman of the year in 2011.

Kornegay, who was an all-tournament selection in 2012, ended her sophomore season with a 20-12 record and 1.78 earned run average.


Figure Skating

Castelli, Shnapir are easy winners

In Omaha, Neb., Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir took a big step toward their first pairs title at the U.S. Figure Skating Champion­ships, easily winning the short program Thursday.

Castelli and Shnapir finished with 62.27 points, a whopping nine points ahead of Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay. The free skate is Saturday.

With defending champs Caydee Denney and John Coughlin out while he recovers from hip surgery, Castelli and Shnapir are heavy favorites.

• In Zagreb, Croatia, Russian’s Evgeni Plushenko fell in the short program and dropped out of the European figure skating championships with a back problem.

Florent Amodio, of France, took the lead in the men’s competition.

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, of Russia, retained the pairs title, ahead of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, of Germany.



Messi leads way in Barcelona win

In Barcelona, Spain, Lionel Messi scored on his 15th consecutive start to seal a thrilling 4-2 win for Barcelona at Malaga on Thursday, sending the defending champions through to a Copa del Rey semifinal against archrival Real Madrid.

Barcelona broke a rare two-game winless streak by outgunning Malaga to reach its sixth semifinal in seven years with a 6-4 victory on aggregate.



Drug case heads to court in Spain

In Madrid, days after Lance Armstrong’s doping admission, cycling is set for more damaging revelations when the long-delayed Operation Puerto case finally goes to court in Spain.

Seven years after Spanish investigators uncovered one of cycling’s most sophisticated and widespread doping networks, some of its central figures will stand trial Monday in Madrid’s Criminal Court.

The case, in which 35 witnesses are set to be called to testify, is scheduled to last until March 22.

Judge Julia Santamaria will preside as five defendants are tried. They include doctors Eufemiano and Yolanda Fuentes, brother-and-sister suspects at the heart of a complex blood-doping ring.

Also on trial will be Manolo Saiz, former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team sports director, as well as Vicente Belda and Ignacio Labarta, both associated with the former Kelme team.



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