The Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half but fell to host Alabama-Birmingham 63-53 Thursday night.

Arizona (1-7) pulled ahead 52-51 on a layup by LaBrittney Jones with 3:59 remaining, only to have the Blazers (6-3) finish the game with a 12-1 run.

Erica Barnes led the Wildcats with 11 points and seven rebounds. Kama Griffitts added nine points.

The Wildcats will host Texas Tech on Dec. 15 at noon.

  • The UA men’s 400 medley relay team capped off the first day of the Texas Invitational in Austin by touching the wall almost three seconds ahead of field. The team of Giles SmithKevin CordesMitchell Friedemann and Brian Stevens finished in a time of 3 minutes 3.73 seconds. The UA women also claimed the 400 medley relay top spot. The team of Margo GeerBonnie BrandonAshley Evans and Emma Schoettmer outouched USC in 3:33.66. The UA collected six wins and qualified three individuals for the NCAA championships.


Johnson birdies four par-5s to take lead

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Zach Johnson birdied four of the par-5s and shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-shot lead Thursday over Matt Kuchar in the World Challenge.

Only five players in the elite 18-man field managed to break par at Sherwood Country Club. One of them was tournament host Tiger Woods, who had a new driver in the bag and missed only two fairways. The problem was his putter, including a short birdie attempt that missed on the last hole. He had a 71.


Brewers trade Aoki, likely to put Braun in RF

The Kansas City Royals acquired outfielder Norichika Aoki from Milwaukee to be their leadoff hitter Thursday, which also means the Brewers are likely to shift Ryan Braun to right field.

Milwaukee received left-hander Will Smith, who spent most of the past couple seasons shuffling between Kansas City and Triple-A Omaha.

  • The Twins signed former Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes to a $24 million, three-year contract.
  • The Phillies signed catcher Wil Nieves to a $1,125,000, one-year contract. Nieves played in 71 games last season for the Diamondbacks.
  • Utility player Willie Bloomquist signed a $5.8 million, two-year contract with the Mariners on Thursday.


Pima midfielder Medina earns national honor

Pima College sophomore midfielder Alexis Medina was named to the NJCAA men’s soccer All-America third team, the association announced Thursday. Medina, a Nogales High School graduate, had 10 goals and six assists in 22 games as the Aztecs reached the Region I semifinals.

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. set a record Thursday with his 11th consecutive win as NASCAR’s most popular driver. Earnhardt, who was presented with the NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver Award at the annual Myers Brothers luncheon in Las Vegas, broke a tie with 16-time winner
  • Bill Elliott for the most consecutive years as winner.

Includes material from news releases