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The Palm Beach Post s SECTION C INSIDE MARLINS It's all up to the Vols Tennessee can prove it can win the big game by winning the SEC Championship. PAGE 8C Sprewell's agent: NBA influenced Warriors He cites the team's change from a 10-day suspension for the player as proof. PAGE 6C nn Last player from first team designated for assignment Alex Arias, a reserve infielder who is the team's all-time leader with 44 pinch-hits, will be traded, waived or released within 10 days. PAGE 3C r ... leat SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1997 run. Cheryl Rosenberg it . i shoot down Celtics 4 j YYM V J . . . r . f dr A. the landing too much .0 t wf' 0 si : ft;-.,... ': . , , , ri ' ' ' ' ; l'- ' ' ' " ' ' ' f 4.-- " ' " ALISON REDLICHStaff Photographer Waif until he feels Lynn's Mikael Jensen (center) grimaces after being tackled by Southern Connecticut's Chris Houser (right) during their NCAA Division II soccer semifinal on Friday. The Knights de- feated the Owls 1-0 on Gareth Dunn's fluky goal. It was the top-ranked Owls' first loss of the season. Lynn will face Cal State-Bakersfield in the final at 1 p.m. Sunday. STORY, 7C Woman boxer has a sweet style of impact P0MPAN0 BEACH They came to see the woman fight, there was no question about that. They braved the Florida-frigid 50-something-degree night (even the bikini-clad card girls put on sweaters in between their saunter arpund the ring) to see just what this Christy Martin was all about. I Martin, a 28-year-old anti-pioneer of women's boxing, was to fight Venezuelan Marcela Acuna in a scheduled 10-round bout Friday at Pompano Beach Amphitheater. Two minutes before the bout began, in strolled the ultimate benefactor (and let's just say the lack of humidity on this night did nothing to halt the height of his hair) promotor Don King. Perfect. f, Oscar De La Hoya still attracting attention 8C There are some basic facts you need to know about Martin: She is the most famous woman boxer in the world and she fights the most infamous promoter in the world. - i She is in it for the money, not to!further the cause of women in sports. . ! She entered the ring Friday wearing a pale pink robe with the hood up. Her husband, Jim Martin, and another handler also wore pink. The song The heat is on blared as the almost 1,000 spectators stood and cheered and whooped as she danced around. "My style's pretty aggressive," Martin said. "They want to see people hit people and see people get hit. They know I'm going to hit." ; Then, the bell rang and Martin came out brawling. The crowd responded loudly to the solid thud of gloves connecting with flesh. Acuna was on the defensive the entire fight as Martin chased her around the ring. - By the eighth, Acuna's left eye was nearly swollen shut. The fight went the entire 10 rounds and Martin, who knocked down Acuna in the 10th with a right cross, won by unaminous decision. There was nothing terribly artistic about this. Martin is a trained boxer but she got her start on a college dare, when she competed in "Tough Women" contests. She found her way to Jim Martin's gym, where she arrived with her pomeranian in her arms and her mother at her side. Jim figured he'd have her ribs broken and send the little woman on her way. ( Instead, under the watchful eye of her boss, Jim saw her determination, her potential as a fighter, and, let's be honest, dollar signs. A woman who could box. Not a bad attraction. 1 The chemistry extended beyond the ring, as the two fell in love and married. ' ' Martin has not lost since November of 1989 and is 34-1-2 with 26 knockouts. She has appeared on every major TV talk show, the cover of Sports Illustrated, and would seem to be the perfect poster-person for the promotion of women to this male-dominated sport. d Only don't try telling that to Martin. She never tried to carry the torch. And she is incredibly defensive to any suggestion of her responsibility to encourage other women. Call it selfish. Ironically, the lgudest fans cheering her on Friday were women. Maybe it's too much of a burden. "It's more pressure now," Martin said. "It's starting to weigh on me. I'm trying too hard. If I could relax, the knockouts would come easier. I'm still going to beat every opponent put before me, but if I relax, I could do it earlier." Perhaps carrying the hopes of women is simply too much. But when the heat is really on, Martin shouldn't look for too many proponents of women's equality to sit in her corner. Avon Park for Pope John Paul Mark Strickland scores a career-best 20 as hot-shooting Miami takes control early, never relents. By Jorge Milian Palm Beach Post Staff Writer MIAMI The Rolling Stones weren't the only five-man band putting on a show Friday night in Miami. While the venerable British rockers were performing a few miles away in the Orange Bowl, the Miami Heat, led by Mark Strickland's career-high 20 points and 18-point efforts by Jamal Mashburn and Tim Hardaway, rocked the Boston Celtics 117-97 , before 14,937 fans at Miami Arena. MONDAY'S GAME: Nets at Heat, 7:30 p.m. TV: Sunshine Miami (12-5) put the Celtics i away early and countered the full-court, non-stop pace favored by first-year Boston coach Rick Pi-tinp with dead-eye shooting. The Heat connected on 42-of-83 shots (51 percent) and committed only 17 turnovers to the Celtics, who entered the game first in the NBA in turnovers forced. "They give you a lot of oppor-; tunities because of their style," i said Heat coach Pat Riley. "If; you're not sharp, they create a game that is havoc." The Heat were sharp, and Strickland was nearly perfect. The second-year forward from Temple made his first appearance with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, and managed his team-high 20 points by going 7-of-10 from the field and hitting six straight free throws in only 16 minutes. ; "Everyone knows that I'm real athletic and a fast-break game let's me showcase my talents," Strickland said. "Tonight, it was that way and I was just outrunning everybody." Strickland had plenty of help. Each of the Heat's five starters scored in double figures. Hardaway added 10 assists to his" 18 points while P.J. Brown had 11 points and 12 rebounds. ; The loss was the fifth in a row Please see HEAT6C Panthers fall to Capitals i in overtime 1 By Brian Biggane ; Palm Beach Post Staff Writer j .' . ! WASHINGTON The Flori-' da Panthers spent most of their practice time this week working on their penalty-killing. Maybe next week they'll be getting back to their power play. , ; SUNDAY'S GAME: Capitals at Panthers, 1:30 p.m. TV: SportsChannel The Panthers were unable to capitalize on a four-minute man-advantage in the second period and a five-minute power play in the third and wound up losing 3-2 in overtime to the Washington Capitals on Friday night in the first hockey game at the new MCI Center. Jeff Toms stole the puck from Florida defenseman Paul Laus at the Capitals' blue line and scored an unassisted goal with 1:28 remaining in the extra period as the Capitals won for the second time in three meetings with Florida this season. "It's a bitter pill to swallow," Laus said in a quiet Florida dress- ing room. "Especially when it's your fault." Aside from the Washington goals, the biggest cheers from the sellout crowd of 19,740 were for the Caps' own penalty killers, who Please see PANTKERS7C Zwayer said. "That's a pretty good football team right there," Gough said about Avon Park. "They've got some pretty big kids." A blocked punt set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Jones, as Avon Park took over at the Pope John Paul 20. "We thought we could get one (blocked punt)," Zwayer said. The Red Devils added two second-quarter touchdowns, before Pope John Paul got on the the board when sophomore quarterback Matt Neddeff connected with receiver Charles Frederick on swing pass that went 26 yards with 2:55 to play in the first half. Neddeff completed 7-of-16 passes for 72 yards with one interception, while Frederick had four catches for 31. "We knew they would bring the house," Gough said. "We planned on that (throwing a lot), that's about triple what we normally throw." The Eagles can't keep up with the Red Devils' 'smash mouth' style of ball. By Julius Whigham II Palm Beach Post Staff Writer AVON PARK Just moments after the final seconds ticked off during Pope John Paul's Class 3A regional semifinal game at Avon Park, coach Terry Gough was already looking forward to next season. Pope John Paul's improbable playoff run ended as the Red Devils (12-2) defeated the Eagles (5-8) 34-7 Friday night at Joe Franza Stadium. "It was fun while it lasted," Gough said. "We've got a lot coming back next year. We've got a lot to build on. This was pretty good for our first trip past the district." The Eagles defense held the Red Devils on their first two possessions, but Pope John Paul LATE START: Clewiston and QB Josh Polhill got it together in the fourth quarter to defeat Pahokee 28-1 5. STORY, 4C OFFENSIVE STANCE: Glades Central showed off its offense in a 35-16 victory against Tampa-Robinsbn. STORY, 4C TAKING THE LEAD: Senior Halbert Adderly led Moore Haven to victory in only his third start at running back. STORY, 4C could never get its offense going and was outgained 292 to 80 in total yards. Junior running back Boysie Jones rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns, and caught three passes for 43 yards as the Red Devils advanced to next week's regional finals where they will face Clewiston, a 28-15 winner over Pahokee. "We were going to pound it at them and make them stop us," Avon Park coach Tom Big good John Thompson, a friend to ex-Hoyas, always coaches his way, in a big way f f -1 i All1 ft -'v If j J ii u u By Dave George Palm Beach Post Staff Writer MIAMI Alonzo Mourning and the Miami Heat have tonight off, but that won't stop Mourning from driving over to Miami Arena. He owes a visit to a friend. No, make that a giant. Better yet, make that a friendly giant. Regardless of the gruff image John Thompson sometimes projects on the sidelines, Mourning could never see the towering, glowering coach of the Georgetown Hoyas any other way. "Patrick (Ewing) and I always call him up after a tough loss to see how he's doing, just like you would any friend," Mourning said. "He doesn't want to hear any advice from us, but he does like to hear from us." Thompson, in town for a Big East game against the 6-0 Miami fti TODAY'S GAME: Georgetown at Miami, 7:30 p.m., Miami Arena. TV: SportsChannel. Hurricanes, elicits guidance from very few after a quarter century of coaching NCAA Tournament teams. The wide swath he has cut across the game follows a route of his own choosing. That white towel he wears across one shoulder on the Georgetown bench signals anything but surrender It is the trademark of a coach Please see TH0MPS0N5C I' 'Hi ? Eli i nil' i i lia miwPiwwwijwi jftuMy n wrr.uWHI'iniWfcttWftilwtMf 1 i rn n .inilTTii THE ASSOCIATED PRESS1996 FILE PHOTO Georgetown coach John Thompson's list of ex-players he admires the most has the names of Heat center Alonzo Mourning and Knicks center Patrick Ewing right near the top.