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The Palm Beach Post MSL 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 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 SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1997 CM M SPORTS Cheryl Rosenberg Heat shoot down Celtics 1 - ( -- ,.' . ' Woman boxer has a sweet style of impact i POMPANO 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 around the ring) to see just what this Christy Martin was all about. 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 ' benefactor (and let's just say the lack of humidity on this night did .nothing to halt the height of his ', hair) promoter Don King. Perfect. V 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 ; for the most infamous promoter in the world. ; She is in it for the money, not ; b 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. I: "My style's pretty 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 away early and countered the full-court, non-stop pace favored by first-year Boston coach Rick Pi-tino 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 opportunities because of their style," 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 ALISON REDUCHStaff Photographer Wait until he feels the landing Lynn's Mikael Jensen (center) grimaces after being tackled ' feated the Owls 1-0 on Gareth Dunn's fluky goal. It was the by Southern Connecticut's Chris Houser (right) during their top-ranked Owls' first loss of the season. Lynn will face Cal NCAA Division II soccer semifinal on Friday. The Knights de- State-Bakersfield in the final at I p.m. Sunday. STORY, 7C Just a walk in the park? Don't tell Miller aggressive, Martin sad. 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 tyay. 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. By Paul Pedersen Special to the Palm Beach Post VERO BEACH Don't think for a minute that Johnny Miller is taking the third Father-Son Challenge, which begins today at Windsor, lightly. Please see HEAT6C Most people don t re- met liMir ftnmnatitnra f event iS" said Miller, W wno is paired with son , -L I Panthers fall) to Capitals "These guys are serious. Everyone would love to win this with their son. Let me tell you, they would love to win this thing." Andy, a 19-year-old sophomore at Brigham Young University, isn't approaching this tournament with the same competitive zeal as his father. "(The pressure to perform well) doesn't bother me too much, especially because I've got my dad here," Andy Miller said. "Playing with him makes me not quite as nervous. We'll just go out, have fun, and play well." Miller is best-known as a golfer for the 63 he shot in the final round at Oakmont Country Club to win the 1973 U.S. Open, but he may be recognized more as a golf analyst for NBC-TV. Because of his television commitments, Miller played in only two Senior PGA Tour events the Franklin Quest Championship and the Transamerica last year. f FATHERSON CHALLENGE: Through Sunday at Vera Beach. TV: WPTV-5, WTVJ-6, today, 4 p.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m. almost like putting your family mantle on the line." This is the third Challenge for Miller, who joined the Senior PGA Tour when he turned 50 last April. Paired with son John Jr., he placed 12th last year and tied for ninth in 1995. John Jr., one of Miller's four sons, is now a head pro at a Utah course designed by his father. "I'd say these guys are really nervous, because they want to do well and show the world that their sons can play," said Miller, who won 24 events and earned $2,746,425 in his career on the PGA Tour. "And so it's not just fun and games. There is a great spirit and a great sense of camaraderie. But there is also a tremendous amount of competition. $860,000 tournament. Johnny Miller's team led Friday's play with a 118 in the best-ball type format while Andy's team finished with a 135. Johnny Miller has a low two-dav score of 51) Miller 144i95t These guys trying to play their guts out for their sons, and the sons for their dads," Johnny Miller said. "You want to do well as a family group. It's if Big good John Thompson, a friend to ex-Hoyas, always coaches his way, in a big way v r " f mrO-1 """" m overtime f By Brian Biggane ' Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ; WASHINGTON The Florii da Panthers spent most of thei practice time this week working on their penalty-killing. Maybe next week they'll be getting back to their power play. f 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 a't 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 dressing 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 I J J rNi' : The chemistry extended beyond the ring, as the two fell in fove 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 sTiow, the cover of Sports Illustrated, and would seem to be the perfect poster-person for the promotion of women to this male-aominated sport. - 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 loudest fans cheering her on Friday were women. Maybe it's too much of a burden. t "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. 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 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 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.