Originally created 08/30/98

Overtime: Soccer starts this week for USC Aiken



University of South Carolina Aiken soccer fans will start getting a kick out of their sport this week when the Lady Pacers open their season on Tuesday and the Pacers follow with a Thursday opener.

The Lady Pacers, 1-14-2 in their inaugural season, have 19 experienced players on the roster when coach Ike Ofoje's team visits Anderson College. Among them is sophomore defender Tina Ingramm of Aiken.

But the Lady Pacers' leading scorer from last year -- Jacqueline Francois -- will be redshirted this year because of a knee injury. She scored 15 goals last season.

The Pacers, 4-16-1 last year, visit Pfeiffer University in Meisenheimer, N.C. Among them are freshmen Brian Smoak of Barnwell, Dan Bailey of Aiken and Curtis Williamson of Martinez.

USC Aiken is also without its leading scorer last year, Brad Saenz, who left school.

CYCLING: Chris Witty of West Allis, Wis., who won two medals in speed skating at the Winter Olympics, missed gaining a medal at the World Cycling Championships in Bordeaux, France by less than a tenth of a second.

Witty came in fourth in the women's 500-meter sprint Saturday, clocking in at 35.516 seconds.

Although Witty is the American champion in the 500, she has not concentrated on cycling competition much since 1993 when she was a top junior, devoting her time to speedskating.

BASKETBALL: Cynthia Cooper scored 27 points and led a furious charge late in the second half Saturday as the Houston Comets overcame a 12-point deficit to beat the Phoenix Mercury 74-69 in overtime and even the best-of-3 WNBA Finals.

The deciding Game 3 will be Tuesday night in Houston.

Cooper, who struggled most of the game, led the late rally for the defending WNBA champions with 10 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:25 to go in regulation that gave the Comets a 66-64 lead.

Kristi Harrower, who finished with 12 points for the Mercury, hit a 7-foot jumper with a minute to go to tie it 66-66 and both teams then missed chances to win in regulation.

-- The civil trial of pro basketball player Vernon Maxwell, who is accused of knowingly giving a woman herpes, is on hold after the former Houston Rockets star filed for bankruptcy.

Maxwell, 33, who played for the Charlotte Hornets last season, filed bankruptcy papers in Atlanta on Thursday, one day before the herpes trial was set to begin here.

Under federal law, the plaintiff and all others seeking to collect from Maxwell must wait until the Georgia bankruptcy court rules on his case, something lawyers said could take years.

Sheila Rias, who claims Maxwell infected her during a brief relationship three years ago, is suing. Her attorney, Philip Bryant, only would say she is "disappointed his filing has prevented a trial."

TRIATHLON: Britain's Simon Lessing recaptured his world championship triathlon title Saturday, adding a record fourth crown to his collection.

The 26-year-old British triathlete completed the classic-distance swimming, cycling and running stages in 1 hour, 55 minutes and 30.5 seconds, a convincing 26.9 seconds ahead of New Zealand's Paul Amey. Australia's Miles Stewart, the 1991 champion, finished third, 33.7 back.

Lessing, champion in 1992, 1995 and 1996, finished third last year in Perth, losing his crown to Australian Chris McCormack.