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Originally published Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 9:06 PM

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Alford apologizes for incident during stint in Iowa | A.M. Briefing

New UCLA men's coach Steve Alford apologized for the way he handled a sexual-assault charge involving a player on his team in 2002 when...

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College basketball

Alford apologizes for incident

during stint in Iowa

New UCLA men's coach Steve Alford apologized for the way he handled a sexual-assault charge involving a player on his team in 2002 when he coached at Iowa.

Alford has faced media questioning about the incident since he was hired to coach the Bruins nearly two weeks ago. He and UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero addressed the matter in a statement distributed by the school that didn't mention the name of former Hawkeyes player Pierre Pierce, who was the team's starting point guard.

The incident proved polarizing in Iowa City, and Alford's reputation took a major hit among Hawkeyes fans.

"I wanted to believe he was innocent, and in response to a media question, I publicly proclaimed his innocence before the legal system had run its course," Alford said Thursday. "This was inappropriate, insensitive and hurtful, especially to the young female victim involved, and I apologize for that."

USC hires Cooper-Dyke

Hall of Famer Cynthia Cooper-Dyke is returning to USC as the Trojans' women's basketball coach. She replaces Michael Cooper, who quit last month after four seasons.

USC finished 11-20 last season in the fourth year for Cooper, no relation to Cooper-Dyke.

Cooper-Dyke coached last season at Texas Southern, where she won a school-record 20 games just one year after a five-win season. She also has been a coach at UNC Wilmington and Prairie View A&M, compiling a combined 150-106 record as a coach.

Tennis

Haas knocked off

Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis beat second-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston.

Berankis, ranked 77th in the world, will face fifth-seeded John Isner, a 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-3) winner over fellow American Jack Sock.

Top-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain overcame a slow start to beat Gael Monfils of France 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sam Querrey, the top American in the world at No. 20, withdrew before his match against Rhyne Williams because of a strained right pectoral muscle.

NHL

Injured Kovalchuk skates

Ilya Kovalchuk will not play for the reeling New Jersey Devils until his injured right shoulder feels comfortable. After skating with nine other players, Kovalchuk was uncertain whether he would be able to play for the defending Eastern Conference champions on Friday against the Ottawa Senators.

The Devils have dropped eight consecutive games (0-4-4) and their chances of making the playoffs are dwindling with eight games remaining in the 48-game, lockout-shortened season. They are four points out of a postseason spot and their situation is even more tenuous because they have won only 15 games this season, posting 10 points from overtime losses and shootouts.

Meanwhile, Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov was suspended for four games by the NHL for elbowing Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand in the head.

Howard, Red Wings near deal

The Red Wings and goaltender Jimmy Howard are near an agreement that would keep him off the free-agent market this summer.

Howard is in the second season of a two-year, $4.5 million deal. Detroit drafted him in the second round of the 2003 NHL draft and he'll probably be under contract for the rest of this decade with the storied franchise.

College hockey

Yale, Quinnipiac advance

Yale's Andrew Millehen slipped a backhand shot between the legs of UMass Lowell goaltender Connor Hellebuyck 6:59 into overtime to lift the Bulldogs to a 3-2 win in the NCAA men's semifinals in Pittsburgh.

In the second semfinal, Jordan Samuels-Thomas had a goal and an assist while Ben Arnt, Kellen Jones and Jeremy Langlois also scored for Quinnipiac, which beat St. Cloud State 4-1.

Quinnipiac will play in-state rival Yale in the final Saturday.

Track and field

Oregon gets 2016 U.S. trials

The U.S. Olympic trials will return to Eugene, Ore., in 2016, USA Track & Field announced at the Oregon state Capitol. This will be Eugene's sixth time hosting the Olympic track trials.

Swimming

Adrian, Franklin win races

Olympic swimming champions Nathan Adrian and Missy Franklin races in the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Ariz. Adrian, from Bremerton, won the 100 freestyle in 48.42 seconds. Franklin won the women's 100 freestyle in 54.27.

Elsewhere

• Second-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa advanced to the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco, beating Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno-Busta 6-3, 6-3.

• Former Olympic hurdles champion Liu Xiang will miss the 2013 season because of his Achilles injury.

• World champion Patrick Chan of Canada and Adelina Sotnikova of Russia led after the short programs at figure skating's World Team Trophy in Tokyo.

Ryan Briscoe will return to the Indianapolis 500 this year in a car fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing.

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