Minnesota Bags WNBA Title

Duluth, Ga. — Maya Moore scored 23 points, Rebekkah Brunson had 15 points and 12 rebounds and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Atlanta Dream 86-77 on Thursday night to win their second WNBA title in three years.

Tiffany Hayes finished with 20 points and Alex Bentley had 18 for Atlanta, which was swept in the best-of-5 finals for the third time in four years.

The Dream cut the lead to three points early in the third quarter, but Moore came off a screen on the next possession and hit a 3-pointer to make it 45-39. She and Brunson combined for 19 of Minnesota’s 26 points in the third.

Atlanta forward Angel McCoughtry, the WNBA’s two-time defending scoring champion, finished with 13 points and shot just 28.5 percent in the finals.

Auto Racing

Gordon Wins Pole

Concord, n.c. — Jeff Gordon won the pole Thursday night for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Gordon turned a lap at 194.308 mph to edge Kevin Harvick for his ninth pole at Charlotte, the second most in track history.

Greg Biffle qualified third for the Saturday night race, Jimmie Johnson was fourth, and Kasey Kahne — who held the lead for most of the night — was fifth.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrated his 39th birthday by qualifying sixth for his 500th Sprint Cup start. Ryan Newman was seventh, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch.

Gordon enters the weekend fourth in the Chase standings, 32 points behind leader Matt Kenseth with six races left. Kenseth qualified 20th.

Golf

Overton Leads in Calif.

San Martin, Calif. — Coming off his worst year, Jeff Overton opened the new PGA Tour season on a good note.

Once he finally made a putt Thursday in the Frys.com Open, Overton felt as if he couldn’t miss. Over the last 11 holes at CordeValle, he made three birdie putts over 25 feet and a 20-foot eagle putt when his gamble paid off on the par-5 ninth.

He finished with a tap-in birdie on the 18th for a 7-under 64 and a one-shot lead over Brian Harman.

Harman finished with back-to-back birdies from short range and had eight birdies on his round. Kyle Stanley had a 66.

College Football

No. 8 Louisville 24, Rutgers 10

Louisville, Ky. — Louisville intercepted passes on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter, the last to set up Teddy Bridgewater’s 3-yard touchdown pass that clinched the Cardinals’ victory over Rutgers.

Defense was the story for the eighth-ranked Cardinals (6-0, 2-0 American Athletic Conference), who had four interceptions and sacked Gary Nova eight times. Safety Calvin Pryor led Louisville’s stifling effort with 14 tackles and an interception in holding the Scarlet Knights to 240 yards.

The Cardinals needed that performance to offset Bridgewater’s off night. The junior completed 21 of 31 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw an interception and fumbled early in the fourth quarter.

Rutgers (4-2, 1-1) couldn’t take advantage of those miscues in seeing its four-game winning streak end.

Minnesota Coach Takes Leave

Minneapolis — Minnesota coach Jerry Kill has taken an open-ended leave of absence from the team to focus on treatment and management of his epilepsy.

The university announced the decision Thursday, before a news conference with athletic director Norwood Teague and defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys.

Kill had to miss the last game at Michigan when he suffered a seizure at home that morning and was unable to travel with the team, and Claeys called that the turning point in Kill’s thinking about needing more time away to rest, recuperate and adjust to new medication.