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Playing her best at the most important events, Serena Williams re-established herself as the top player in women's tennis in 2009 and was a landslide choice as Female Athlete of the Year by members of The Associated Press.

Williams received 66 of 158 votes cast by editors at U.S. newspapers that are members of the AP. No other candidate got more than 18 votes in the tally, which was announced Tuesday.

Clearly, Williams' most infamous on-court episode — a tirade directed at a line judge after a foot-fault call near the end of her U.S. Open semifinal loss in September — didn't hurt her standing in the eyes of the voters.

"People realize that I'm a great player, and one moment doesn't define a person's career," Williams told the AP. "And I was right, for the most part: It wasn't right the way I reacted — I never said it was — but I was right about the call."

She also noted that the outburst, which resulted in a record fine and two-year probationary period at Grand Slam tournaments, "got a lot more people excited about tennis."


SAN DIEGO — America's Cup challenger BMW Oracle Racing of California has questioned whether defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland plans to use sails built in Nevada in an apparent violation of the 19th century document governing the event.

Marcus Young, commodore of San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club, said in a letter to Alinghi's backing club, Societe Nautique de Geneve, that the Deed of Gift is clear in requiring that the yacht, including its hull, appendages, mast and sails, be constructed in the country of the club it represents.

Pro Basketball

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder are shaking up their backup point guard position, acquiring rookie Eric Maynor in a trade with the Utah Jazz.

Maynor, the 20th overall pick in this year's draft, was averaging 5.2 points and 3.1 assists in 26 games with the Jazz this season.

The Jazz will get the rights to 2002 draft pick Peter Fehse, who has never played in the NBA.

Oklahoma City also agreed to take on the contract of injured veteran Matt Harpring, who won't actually join the Thunder.

Men's Basketball

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota coach Tubby Smith says the status of freshman Royce White hasn't changed.

White claimed in a video posted on YouTube last week he was leaving the program. But Smith said after Tuesday's practice he had not spoken with White recently, and that he remains suspended until his legal situation is resolved.

White pleaded guilty this month to disorderly conduct and theft for a transgression at the Mall of America this fall. He has also been part of an investigation into an alleged laptop theft on campus, a case which has yet to lead to any arrests. White says he is innocent of any wrongdoing in that incident.


SEATTLE — A baseball official familiar with the talks says the Toronto Blue Jays are close to acquiring former No. 1 draft choice Brandon Morrow from the Seattle Mariners for fellow reliever Brandon League and a prospect.

The deal is pending physicals that were to be taken later Tuesday, the official says. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because neither team has announced the move.

The trade was first reported by Foxsports.com.

Multiple reports say Seattle also is getting 20-year-old, Class A outfielder Yohermyn Chavez.

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball and its umpires have completed negotiations for a new labor contract and are likely to announce an agreement today, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press.

The sides worked into Tuesday evening to reach the deal. Owners are umpires hope to ratify the agreement next month.

Management has been seeking to gain increased flexibility on postseason assignments as part of the agreement, which could allow umpires to work the World Series in consecutive seasons. Following a series of missed calls during the playoffs, MLB went with an all veteran crew of six umpires in this year's World Series.

This would mark the second straight agreement between the sides reached without acrimony. Recent deals between baseball and its umpires have run for five years.

College Football

SAN FRANCISCO — Southern California coach Pete Carroll is preparing for Saturday's Emerald Bowl with the thought that leading rusher Joe McKnight won't be able to play.

McKnight is in Los Angeles dealing with paperwork following an investigation into whether he improperly used an SUV registered to a local businessman.

Carroll said Tuesday he hoped McKnight's status would be resolved by Wednesday but the holiday week was making that difficult. Carroll says he is focused on the running backs who are with the team, meaning Allen Bradford and C.J. Gable could get the bulk of the work against Boston College.

NEW YORK — Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh bulled past the guys who play the glamour positions and proved you don't have to score touchdowns or toss passes to be the player of the year.

Spurred by a dominant performance against Texas in the Big 12 title game, Suh became the first defensive player voted The Associated Press College Football Player of the Year on Tuesday.

Suh had already won two defensive player of the year awards — the Nagurski and Bednarik — and two for best lineman — the Lombardi and Outland. He also finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

"Just being recognized as player of the year is a huge accomplishment," Suh said in a recent phone interview from Lincoln, Neb.

FRESNO, Calif. — Fresno State star running back Ryan Mathews will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

Mathews announced his decision Tuesday through Sun West Sports, which will represent him. Mathews thanked Fresno State and said playing in the NFL was his dream.

— The Associated Press

Mathews leads major college football with 1,808 yards rushing this season. He averaged 150.7 yards per game and scored 19 touchdowns for the Bulldogs.

Mathews ran for 3,280 yards and 39 touchdowns in three years at Fresno State.


CANMORE, Alberta — Visually impaired cross-country skier Brian McKeever is a step closer to becoming the first winter athlete to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics.

McKeever won an able-bodied 50-kilometer NorAm race Tuesday, a result he needed to be eligible for the Olympic team.

But the number of spots on Canada's Olympic roster hasn't been confirmed. It will be up to Canada's cross-country governing body if McKeever will race the 50K in Whistler in February. Canada's cross-country ski federation will select its complete Olympic cross-country team in January.

"It's the best race I could lay down today, and whatever happens, happens," McKeever said. "That's all you can ask to have the best race on the day when it matters."

He won in 2 hours, 21 minutes, 8.5 seconds and was followed by Canadians Brent McMurtry (2:22:20.9) and Kevin Sandau (2:22:40.4).

Pro Football

RENTON, Wash. — For the third time in three seasons, Seattle has brought in Jeff Robinson to be the Seahawks' long-snapper.

Robinson was signed on Tuesday to replace Kevin Houser.

Houser was placed on injured reserve after suffering a collapsed lung following the Seahawks 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Houser went to the hospital following the game and a team spokesman said that he was still in the hospital as of Tuesday afternoon.

"I feel bad for Kevin and that's a serious deal," Robinson said. "Obviously the situation with the team isn't super great either so I'm just happy to fill in and glad the organization had me back."

Robinson has been working with his wife's health-and-wellness business and caring for their 2-year old daughter May Louise when the Seahawks came calling once again.