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ust, but the Longhorns attack proved too tough for the reigning national champs.With Texas leading 19-18

The new WNBA playoff format began with a protest and ended with Phoenix and Atlanta advancing. .It also produced the final game of Tamika Catchings illustrious career when the Fever lost to the eighth-seeded Mercury 89-78 on Wednesday night.Even though she lost, Catchings was proud of her teammates and the stand they took before the game when the entire squad knelt during the national anthem, locking arms and lowering heads in a show of unity. Players in several sports are protesting social injustice, racial oppression and police brutality in the United States.This game of basketball is important for a lot of reasons, Catchings said. One of them is bringing people together. Even uniting people. Well, we thought it was important to have a voice about something greater than basketball. But the good thing is, we were together. (The gesture) was something that was very impromptu, but I am very proud of our team -- as people -- to be able to stand together for something we believed in.Two members of the Mercury joined the Fevers protest, as Mistie Bass and Kelsey Bone also took a knee. There wasnt much reaction from the crowd.The national anthem kneel-down started in San Francisco with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and has spread to other teams and leagues. This was the first time an entire professional team took a knee.WNBA President Lisa Borders backed the players pregame demonstration.I support our players expressing their views on important social issues, she said in a statement provided to The Associated Press. Standing for an anthem is a sign of respect and a demonstration of unity across many cultures throughout the world. The call to action is for all of us to invest time and resources to help rebuild and strengthen our communities. And we have been actively working with the players on this next impactful effort.This wasnt the first time that Indiana had been involved in a protest this year. The Fever were one of a few WNBA teams to wear shirts in pregame warmups during July in support of the Black Lives Matters movement. Indiana was initially fined by the league, along with New York and Phoenix, before that penalty was later rescinded.Something like this creates conversation, and thats how we create change, Fever coach Stephanie White said. We dont create change by seeing it on the news and waiting until next time. People who have the platforms have the ability to affect change, and Im proud of our group for using the platform in a respectful manner.The Mercury advanced to face New York on Saturday by winning the single-elimination game.In the other first-round contest, Angel McCoughtry scored 37 points to lift the Dream to a 94-85 win over the Seattle Storm.The Dream will head to Chicago to play the Sky on Sunday. They will have Tiffany Hayes back for that game. She was suspended for the Storm game after accruing a seventh technical foul in the regular-season finale.Here are a few other takeaways from Wednesday:POSITIVE METRICS: The league drew its highest attendance since 2011 with a 4.6 percent increase over last season. Fans also tuned in to watch games on ESPN, which saw an 11 percent increase in viewership, or on the league pass where subscriptions increased 24 percent from last year. Merchandise sales were up 30 percent over last year at the online WNBA store.DIANA FROM DEEP: Diana Taurasi set the postseason record for 3-pointers in a career. She made her 113th, pushing her past Becky Hammon for the most in WNBA playoff history. Taurasi finished the game with three 3-pointers.MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: Elizabeth Williams won the leagues most improved player award, receiving the trophy before her teams game. Williams started all 34 games for the Dream, leading the team in rebounding and blocks and ranking third in scoring.---Follow Doug on Twitter at . The All-Pro lineman got the leg bent under him while trying to make a tackle during the first half of a 22-20 overtime loss at Miami on Thursday night. The medical staff initially thought hed torn the ligament, and the test a day later in Cincinnati confirmed it. . First off, the fans ripped the Cubbies introduction of a fuzzy new kid-friendly mascot named "Clark". . There was no hesitation from the 40th-ranked Pospisil, from Vernon, B.C., who admitted that he cut back on his training sessions over the last few days to conserve energy as the long ATP season finishes next week at the Paris Masters. COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ebony Nwanebu had 15 kills to help No. 4 Texas beat top-ranked Nebraska in three sets in the NCAA womens volleyball semifinals.Paulina Prieto-Cerame added 15 kills in Texas 25-18, 25-23, 25-21 victory.The Longhorns (27-4) will face Stanford in the final. The Cardinal beat Minnesota in four sets in the first semifinal.We have a lot of self-confidence as a team going into it, Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said. Ive been to a lot of Final Fours and this is the calmest Ive been going into it. I just had a feeling with this group that they would perform at a high level tonight. And they proved that.Nebraskas leading hitters, Kadie Rolfzen and Mikaela Foecke, combined for 19 kills. Foecke was set 30 times and swung at a rate of .333. Nebraska finished 31-3.The match was a rematch of the 2015 national championship game in Omaha, Nebraska, where the Cornhuskers won in three sets. The Huskers beat Texas in late August, but the Longhorns attack proved too tough for the reigning national champs.With Texas leading 19-18 in the third set, Texas went on a 6-3 run to close out the match. Nwanebu had three kkills in that stretch, capped off with one of Morgan Johnsons four kills that sent Texas to its second consecutive national championship match. n the final set, Texas had a .424 hitting percentage, with eight kills from Nwanebu.Texas was practically flawless when the ball was in the air. The Longhorns had a total of just eight hitting errors on 109 attempts. Nebraska, on the other hand, had 21 hitting errors and got outblocked 10-4.Very uncharacteristic, Nebraska coach John Cook said. I saw stuff I havent seen all year tonight. But thats what happens in a match like this sometimes.Nebraska climbed out of a 2-0 hole and came back to win against Penn State in their regional semifinal match, but Texas had an answer any time the Cornhuskers had the chance to grab the momentum.I feel like thats the calmest environment Ive ever been in and its the most hectic tournament ever, Nwanebu said. So I just think everyones emotions were in check and that really helped us win tonight. Discount NFL Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Store China Jerseys Cheap Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys From China ' ' '