Shiffrin captures U.S. slalom title
•?Mikaela Shiffrin tore through the soft snow conditions as she turned in two smooth runs to defend her slalom title at the U.S. championships Wednesday in Winter Park, Colo. The 17-year-old Shiffrin finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 39.57 seconds, holding off Hailey Duke by more than a second. Kiley Staples wound up third. Her week isn’t done as Shiffrin will also compete Saturday in the giant slalom, along with Julia Mancuso and reigning World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn. The men’s slalom is scheduled for today.
Southern Illinois hires Barry Hinson
• Former Missouri State men’s coach Barry Hinson says he’s “genuinely excited” to be chosen to take the helm of Southern Illinois’ slumping program. Hinson was introduced Wednesday as the Salukis’ men’s coach. The 50-year-old coach, who spent the past four seasons at Kansas, agreed to a five-year contract with Southern Illinois. The deal will pay him $250,000 a year during the first two years before rising to $350,000 by the contract’s last year. Hinson was fired by Missouri State in 2008 after failing to take that program to the NCAA Tournament in nine seasons, compiling a 169-117 record.
• New Illinois women’s coach Matt Bollant was introduced at a news conference in Champaign by Athletic Director Mike Thomas. The new coach comes from Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he won almost 90 percent of his games in five seasons and took the Phoenix to the NCAA Tournament four seasons in a row.
• Former Bowling Green women’s coach Curt Miller was introduced as Indiana’s new coach. Miller went 258-92 in 11 seasons with the Falcons. Bowling Green has made eight consecutive postseason appearances and hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament this month.
• Brittney Griner of Baylor, Nnemkadi Ogwumike of Stanford, Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame, Elena Delle Donne of Delaware and Julie Wojta of Wisconsin Green Bay are the finalists for the John R. Wooden Award given to the top women’s player.
• The University of Pacific is returning to the West Coast Conference more than four decades after leaving the league. The WCC said that Pacific will leave the Big West to become the 10th school in the conference for the 2013-14 academic year.
Radwanska dumps Venus Williams
• Weary after winning three consecutive three-set matches, Venus Williams was eliminated by Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open 6-4, 6-1 in Key Biscayne, Fla. Eager to keep points short in the 85 degree sunshine, Williams charged the net often but frequently had to lunge for shots. She committed 38 unforced errors to 10 for Radwanska.
• The Columbus Blue Jackets signed center Boone Jenner, 18, and goaltender Shawn Hunwick, 22. Jenner received a three-year, entry-level contract, and Hunwick agreed to an amateur tryout contract and served as the backup to Allen York.
• Defending champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany took the lead in the pairs competition after the short program at the figure skating world championships in Nice, France.
• Liselotte Neumann was appointed European captain on for the 2013 Solheim Cup matches, giving the 45-year-old Swede one last chance to celebrate on American soil.
•?IndyCar officially scheduled a race in Houston for October 2013, a step toward expanding the circuit’s reach in the United States. The Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston will be run on a temporary street course on the parking lots near Reliant Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Houston Texans.
• Houston Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark was suspended for three games by Major League Soccer and fined for directing a gay slur toward a ball boy during Houston’s 2-0 loss at Seattle last week.
• Baseball and softball officials aim to join forces for a bid for the 2020 Olympics. The International Baseball Federation and the International Softball Federation are putting the final touches on a joint bid April 19 for Olympic reinstatement.
— From wire reports