Sports in Brief: Breakaway Big East schools hire law firm

Posted: January 05, 2013

The seven Catholic schools that have decided to leave the Big East and form their own league continued to plot the future, retaining Proskauer Rose L.L.P. and Pilson Communications Inc., to aid in their defection.

St. John's, Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, Seton Hall, Providence and Villanova all decided last month to set off on their own as the Big East continues to reshape itself.

GOLF:Rory McIlroy said he may skip the 2016 Olympics because of the dilemma over which country to represent. The No. 1-ranked player from Northern Ireland is eligible to compete for either Britain or Ireland when golf returns to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

TENNIS: Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka withdrew from her Brisbane International match against Serena Williams with an infected right big toe, citing concerns about aggravating the injury so close to the Australian Open.

Andy Murray was back on his game with coach Ivan Lendl watching closely as he beat Denis Istomin, 6-4, 7-6 (3), to reach the Brisbane International semifinals.

Top-seeded Li Na of China and fifth-seeded Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic will meet in the final of the Shenzhen Open after straight-set victories in the semifinals in Shenzhen, China.

Top-seeded T omas Berdych was upset by Roberto Bautista-Agut, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, in the quarterfinals of the Chennai Open in India.

HORSE RACING: Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens is making a comeback at Santa Anita on Sunday, seven years after he retired from riding. He'll be riding Jebrica for trainer Jim Penney in the sixth race.

SKIING: J ustyna Kowalczyk of Poland won her third stage in the Tour de Ski and extended her overall lead as she closes in on a fourth consecutive title in Dobbaico, Italy.

American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin earned her second World Cup title by winning a slalom by a massive 1.19-second margin to regain the lead in the discipline standings in Zagreb, Croatia.

WINTER SPORTS:Cathleen Martini snapped Kaillie Humphries' eight-race winning streak and gave Germany its first World Cup win of the season in the women's bobsled in Altenberg, Germany. Crews from the United States skipped the event.

In skeleton, Marion Thees of Germany earned her second win of the season, beating world champion Kathie Uhlaender of the United States by 0.01 seconds. Noelle Pikus-Pace of the United States was third, another 0.27 seconds behind.

SOCCER: The Colorado Rapids have re-signed 25-year-old goalkeeper Steward Ceus, who had shutouts in his two MLS starts last season.

- Staff and wire reports

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