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The Sports Report: UCLA lands a big name in basketball

BURGOS, SPAIN - MARCH 26: Aday Mara #16 of Casademont Zaragoza during ACB League match.
Aday Mara, left, on the bench during a game in Spain last year.
(Borja B. Hojas / Getty Images)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Ben Bolch: After a long and sometimes agonizing wait, UCLA may have just landed its next great big man.

Aday Mara, a 7-foot-3 center from Spain who is widely projected as a possible lottery pick in the 2024 NBA draft, has signed with the Bruins, the school announced Thursday.

The announcement came one day after Mara posted on Instagram that he was leaving his Spanish professional team, Casademont Zaragoza, as part of what appeared to be a contentious separation in which the team once said it would “adopt the necessary measures” to enforce Mara’s contract.

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Mara’s decision significantly enhances UCLA’s prospects for next season given his skill around the basket as a shot-blocker, lob threat and finisher in the pick and roll. Having turned 18 earlier this summer, Mara is still developing his strength and adding elements to his game. He’s considered an excellent passer and can shoot mid-range jumpers while also playing with his back to the basket. Mara displayed all of those skills while leading Spain to a second-place finish this summer at the FIBA under-18 European championships, where he averaged 14 points on 61.3% shooting to go with 9.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.7 blocks in seven games.

“We are excited to announce the addition of Aday to UCLA,” Bruins coach Mick Cronin said in a statement. “Throughout this process with Aday, he and his family have stood firm on one thing — that they want a great education for Aday, and to see him grow as a young man at UCLA. He has tremendous size and skill and has developed a great understanding of the game of basketball. He’s a humble young man with great parents, and he’s blessed to stand at 7-foot-3 with such talent and a strong work ethic.”

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DODGERS

From Mike DiGiovanna: The Dodgers held serve against the woebegone and soon-to-be-gone-from Oakland Athletics this week, completing a three-game sweep of a team they should sweep with a 8-2 victory before a sold-out crowd of 52,624 in Chavez Ravine on Thursday night.

All wins are created equal in baseball. You don’t get extra points for beating a great team or a deduction for beating a weak one. But had the Dodgers (62-45) lost even one game in this series to a club with a major league-worst 30-80 record, it would have felt like a huge disappointment, a lost opportunity.

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Julio Urías and a pesky offense spared them from any regrets, the left-hander giving up three hits, striking out five and walking one over five scoreless innings and the Dodgers stringing together six hits during a four-run sixth inning to turn a 2-1 cushion into a 6-1 lead.

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Dodgers’ Joe Kelly doesn’t want your sympathy. He just wants to get you out

MLB trade deadline roundtable: Shohei Ohtani stays, Dodgers can’t upgrade, what now?

Dodgers box score

All MLB box scores

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NL WEST STANDINGS

Dodgers, 62-45
San Francisco, 61-49, 2.5 GB
Arizona, 57-53, 6.5 GB
San Diego, 54-55, 9 GB
Colorado, 42-66, 20.5 GB

WILD-CARD STANDINGS
top three teams qualify

San Francisco, 60-49
Philadelphia, 58-50
Milwaukee, 58-51
Miami, 58-51

Arizona, 57-52, 1 GB
Chicago, 55-53, 2.5 GB
San Diego, 54-55, 4 GB
New York, 50-57, 7 GB

For full standings, go here

ANGELS

From Sarah Valenzuela: No amount of hand cramping could stop Shohei Ohtani from continuing his campaign of greatness.

Ohtani made an early departure from his pitching start Thursday night against Seattle after experiencing cramping in his right hand, but remained in the game as the Angels’ designated hitter, scoring their first run and hitting his 40th home run to help them take a two-run lead into the ninth inning.

Carlos Estévez entered hoping to pick up his 24th save, but the closer loaded the bases on two walks and a single before giving up a grand slam to the Mariners’ Cade Marlowe, sending the Angels to a 5-3 loss at Angel Stadium.

The Angels (56-54) dropped to four games behind the final American League wild-card spot and 7½ games behind first-place Texas in the AL West.

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Angels box score

All MLB box scores

AL WEST STANDINGS

Texas, 63-46
Houston, 62-48, 1.5 GB
Seattle, 57-52, 6 GB
Angels, 56-54, 7.5 GB
Oakland, 30-80, 33.5 GB

WILD-CARD STANDINGS
top three teams qualify

Tampa Bay, 66-45
Houston, 62-48
Toronto, 60-50

Boston, 57-51, 2 GB
New York, 57-52, 2.5 GB
Seattle, 57-52, 2.5 GB
Angels, 56-54, 4 GB
Cleveland, 53-56, 6.5 GB

For full standings, go here

USC FOOTBALL

From Ryan Kartje: They were three of the most touted defensive prospects in the state of California in recent years, each sold at some point as a symbol of a revival at USC.

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Korey Foreman was the No. 1 recruit in the nation when he committed to the Trojans in 2021. Raesjon Davis was the fourth-best prospect from California in that same class. The following year, Domani Jackson was the top recruit in the state. During the final, frustrating months of the Clay Helton era, their decisions to sign with the Trojans were rays of hope.

The mood has brightened since at USC. But the former top prospects whose arrivals once promised a brighter future now enter a pivotal stretch. None of them has found their footing yet at USC, for one reason or another. But they still have a chance to make a major impact for a retooled Trojans defense.

For Korey Foreman, the next few weeks feel especially critical.

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WNBA

Diana Taurasi received a pass and in an instant, the shot was off her fingertips. It was a three-pointer that splashed through the net, just like it so many other times during her career.

Taurasi became the first WNBA player to score 10,000 points, hitting the mark with 8:23 remaining in the third quarter against the Atlanta Dream on Thursday night. After the shot, the crowd in Phoenix erupted in cheers and Taurasi’s teammates surrounded her in a circle, jumping up and down and celebrating.

The 41-year-old guard started the night needing 18 points to make it to 10,000.

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WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

From Kevin Baxter in Auckland, New Zealand: When FIFA decided to expand the Women’s World Cup to a record 32 teams and 64 games this year, the expectation was many qualifiers would arrive in New Zealand and Australia unable to compete at this level. The reality has been exactly the opposite: The group stage of this tournament was the most competitive, exciting and well-played in history.

The most surprising too.

Second-ranked Germany is out of the tournament and the top-ranked U.S. is on the ropes. Two other top-10 teams — No. 7 Canada and No. 8 Brazil — also have gone home while No. 72 Morocco, a World Cup debutante, No. 54 South Africa and No. 40 Nigeria play on.

Jamaica, ranked 43rd in the world, needed a GoFundMe campaign to support its World Cup preparations, then did not give up a goal in group play to become the first Caribbean nation to advance while Portugal, the penultimate team to qualify, came within the width of a goalpost of eliminating the two-time defending champion U.S.

With the tournament moving on to the round of 16 this weekend, here’s a look back at what the first 2½ weeks have wrought:

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Thursday’s Results

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Group H
Morocco 1, Colombia 0
South Korea 1, Germany 1

Standings

Top two in each group qualify for Round of 16
x-qualified for Round of 16
All times Pacific

Group A
Team, W-D-L, GD, Pts
x-Switzerland, 1-2-0, +2, 5
x-Norway, 1-1-1, +5, 4
New Zealand, 1-1-1, 0, 4
Philippines, 1-0-2, -7, 3

July 20
New Zealand 1, Norway 0
Switzerland 2, Philippines 0

July 24
Philippines 1, New Zealand 0

July 25
Switzerland 0, Norway 0

July 30
Norway 6, Philippines 0
Switzerland 0, New Zealand 0

Group B
Team, W-D-L, GD, Pts
x-Australia, 2-0-1, +4, 6
x-Nigeria, 1-2-0, +1, 5
Canada, 1-1-1, -3, 4
Ireland, 0-1-2, -2, 1

July 20
Australia 1 Ireland 0
Nigeria 0, Canada 0

July 26
Canada 2, Ireland 1

July 27
Nigeria 3, Australia 2

July 31
Australia 4, Canada 0
Nigeria 0, Ireland 0

Group C
Team, W-D-L, GD, Pts
x-Japan, 3-0-0, +11, 9
x-Spain, 2-0-1, +4, 6
Zambia, 1-0-2, -8, 3
Costa Rica, 0-0-3, -7, 0

July 21
Spain 3, Costa Rica 0

July 22
Japan 5, Zambia 0

July 25
Japan 2, Costa Rica 0

July 26
Spain 5, Zambia 0

July 31
Japan 4, Spain 0
Zambia 3, Costa Rica 1

Group D
Team, W-D-L, GD, Pts
x-England, 3-0-0, +7, 9
x-Denmark, 2-0-1, +2, 6
China, 1-0-2, -5, 3
Haiti, 0-0-3, -4, 0

July 22
England 1, Haiti 0
Denmark 1, China 0

July 28
England 1, Denmark 0
China 1, Haiti 0

August 1
England 6, China 1
Denmark 2, Haiti 0

Group E
Team, W-D-L, GD, Pts
x-Netherlands, 2-1-0, +8, 7
x-USA, 1-2-0, +3, 5
Portugal, 1-1-1, +1, 4
Vietnam, 0-0-3, -12, 0

July 21
U.S. 3, Vietnam 0

July 23
Netherlands 1, Portugal 0

July 26
U.S. 1, Netherlands 1

July 27
Portugal 2, Vietnam 0

August 1
U.S. 0, Portugal 0
Netherlands 6, Vietnam 0

Group F
Team, W-D-L, GD, Pts
x-France, 2-1-0, +4, 7
x-Jamaica, 1-2-0, +1, 5
Brazil, 1-1-1, +3, 4
Panama, 0-0-3, -8, 0

July 23
France 0, Jamaica 0

July 24
Brazil 4, Panama 0

July 29
France 2, Brazil 1
Jamaica 1, Panama 0

Aug. 2
France 6, Panama 3
Jamaica 0, Brazil 0

Group G
Team, W-D-L, GD, Pts
x-Sweden, 3-0-0, +8, 9
x-South Africa, 1-1-1, 0, 4
Italy, 1-0-2, -5, 3
Argentina, 0-1-2, -3, 1

July 22
Sweden 2, South Africa 1

July 23
Italy 1, Argentina 0

July 27
Argentina 2, South Africa 2

July 29
Sweden 5, Italy 0

Aug. 2
Sweden 2, Argentina 0

South Africa 3, Italy 2

Group H
Team, W-D-L, GD, Pts
x-Colombia, 2-0-1, +2, 6
x-Morocco, 2-0-1, -4, 6
Germany, 1-1-1, +5, 4
South Korea, 0-1-2, -3, 1

July 24
Germany 6, Morocco 0
Colombia 2, South Korea 0

July 29
Morocco 1, South Korea 0

July 30
Colombia 2, Germany 1

Aug. 3
Morocco 1, Colombia 0
South Korea 1, Germany 1

ROUND OF 16
Friday
Switzerland vs. Spain, 10 p.m., FS1

Saturday
Japan vs. Norway, 1 a.m., FS1
Netherlands vs. South Africa, 7 p.m., Fox

Sunday
Sweden vs. United States, 1 a.m., Fox

Monday
England vs. Nigeria, 12:30 a.m., FS1
Australia vs. Denmark, 3:30 a.m., FS1

Tuesday
Colombia vs. Jamaica, 1 a.m., FS1
France vs. Morocco, 4 a.m., FS1

SPORTS ON TV

Local teams on TV today:
All times Pacific

4 p.m. Sparks at Washington, ION

6:30 p.m. Seattle at Angels, Bally Sports West

7:10 p.m. Dodgers at San Diego, SportsNet LA

The rest of today’s sports on TV listings can be found here.

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1936 — American athlete Jesse Owens wins his second gold medal at the Berlin Olympics; beats German Luz Long in the long jump final with an Olympic record.

1945 — Byron Nelson wins his 11th consecutive PGA Tour event, beating Herman Barron by four strokes. Nelson finishes the year with a record for most tournament wins (18) in a season.

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1982 — Joel Youngblood becomes the only player in major league history to play and get hits for two different teams in two different cities on the same day. In the afternoon, his hit drives in the winning run for the New York Mets in a 7-4 victory at Chicago. After the game, he’s traded to the Montreal Expos and plays that night in Philadelphia. He enters the game in right field in the fourth inning and later gets a single.

1984 — Carl Lewis wins the 100-meter dash in 9.99 seconds at the Los Angeles Summer Games. US teammate Sam Graddy wins the silver in 10.19 and Canada’s Ben Johnson gets the bronze with a time of 10.22.

1985 — Tom Seaver, 40, becomes the 17th 300-game winner in major league history with a six-hitter — all singles — as the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Yankees 4-1.

1985 — Rod Carew of the Angels gets his 3,000th hit in a 6-5 win over the Minnesota Twins, his first major league team.

1996 — Laura Davies shoots a 6-under 66 for a two-stroke victory over Nancy Lopez and Karrie Webb in the du Maurier Classic.

1996 — The Atlanta Olympic Games end with U.S. boxer David Reid’s stunning gold-medal knockout, and the women Dream Team’s romp over Brazil. Reid captures America’s only boxing gold, knocking down Cuban Alfredo Duvergel, while the U.S. women roll to a 111-87 victory behind Lisa Leslie’s 29 points. A record 11,000 athletes from 197 countries make it the biggest Olympics.

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2007 — 32-year-old Alex Rodriguez becomes the youngest player in MLB history to hit 500 home runs.

2011 — Cappie Pondexter scores 15 points to lead New York past Chicago 59-49, and the Liberty hold the Sky to a WNBA-record one point in the fourth quarter.

2012 — Michael Phelps wins another gold medal as the United States wins the medley relay at the London Olympics. Phelps leaves the sport with a record 18 golds and 22 medals overall. At these games, he wins four golds and two silvers.

2012 — Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 to join Steffi Graf as the only women to complete the Golden Slam — winning the Olympics and the four majors. In a men’s semifinal match, Roger Federer outlasts Juan Martin del Potro in a 19-17 final set and clinches his first Olympic singles medal. Canadian equestrian Ian Millar rides into Olympic history by competing in his 10th games — the most of any athlete.

2013 — Missy Franklin claims her record sixth gold medal on the final day of the world championships in Barcelona, becoming the most successful female swimmer ever at a world meet. Franklin eclipses the record shared by Tracy Caulkins — who won five times in 1978 — and Libby Trickett, who did it in 2007.

2013 — Stacy Lewis wins the Women’s British Open after a marathon final day. Lewis finishes with a pair of birdies on the Old Course at St. Andrews and closes with an even-par 72. It’s her second major on the LPGA Tour. Forced to play 36 holes, Lewis is the only player at par or better from the last 21 groups that tee off.

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2021 — Sydney McLaughlin sets a world record in in the women’s 400m hurdles, 51.46s, for a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

—Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally...

Carl Lewis wins the men’s 100 meters at the 1984 Olympics. Watch and listen here. Rod Carew gets his 3,000th hit. Watch and listen here. Alex Rodriguez hits his 500th home run. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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