Vanderbilt’s Ashley McElhiney and Middle Tennessee State’s John Humphrey did not make it to the Final Four. But that didn’t stop the duo from posting second-place showings during the NCAA skills competition held in New Orleans. McElhiney, who ranks second in career three-point percentage (40.8) at Vandy and drilled 165 from beyond the arc during her career, finished second in the long-distance shootout to Amy Waugh of Xavierwho made 14 shots in a row to take first. MTSU’s high-flying John Humphrey, who has been flushing it since age 12, finished second in the slam dunk competition to Tulane’s Byron Parker. At a slight 6-feet-2-inches, Humphrey skied in Spud Webb-like fashion with a variety of spectacular slams. But there was no beating Parker’s final dunka counterclockwise reverse windmill that would make Clyde Drexler gawk.
♦ Stats of the week: The Nashville Predators closed the 2002-03 season with a 15-game winless streakincluding being shut out in 3 of their last 4 games. Ken Griffey Jr., who suffered a dislocated right shoulder Saturday, has missed 110 games in just over two seasons since signing with Cincinnati. Vanderbilt tennis star Bobby Reynolds has lost but one set this year to conference opponents. Ryan Mullins (2-4) pitched Vanderbilt to a 4-1 victory Sunday over the No. 13 Florida Gators. The win marked the first time since 1997 that Vanderbilt has swept a series from an SEC school. The Iowa Cubs, who lost three straight to the Nashville Sounds, were held scoreless by the Sounds’ staff for 25 consecutive innings.
♦ The biggest story of this year’s Masters isn’t the Burk protest or the commercial-free coverage: It’s the weather. Monday’s practice round was suspended due to an inch of rainfall along with pending storms. Thousands of patrons were turned away from golf’s holy grail due to weather for the first time in 20 years. The longest layout in course history (7,290 yards) is sure to propel Woods’ game once again to the forefront. ♦ Augusta Stats: Amen Cornerholes 11, 12 and 13are sure to make players thank God if they survive it this week. The par-4 11th ranks as the fifth-most difficult hole in course history, while the par-3 12thwhich Andy North labeled as “Bobby Jones’ bruiser”ranks as the second-most difficult hole in the tournament’s 69 years of existence. “The wind at 12 swirls without conscience,” says local Charles Howell. “Honestly, I aim the opposite direction of what the wind feels like on my check.” Providing a player can escape 11 and 12 with par or better, the inviting par-5 13th hole remains the 17th easiest hole on the course. ♦ More Masters Mindblowers: The lowest final round by an eventual champion was a 64, turned in by Gary Player in 1978. Fred Couples has never missed the Masters’ cut with a perfect 18-for-18. Jack Nicklaus has won the green jacket a record six times and holds the record for longest gaps between titles (23 years). Mark O’Meara led the 1998 Masters for one holethe 72nd. Typically, a repeat winner of the Masters will receive only one green jacket, unless his size changes drastically.