Wednesday Sports in Brief

FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williams has been voted The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the fifth time.

Williams reached the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open after a remarkable return to tennis. That followed four surgeries she needed after developing blood clots following the birth of her daughter on Sept. 1, 2017.

Williams is one AP honor away from six-time winner Babe Didrikson Zaharias, whose honors included one for track and five for golf.

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Williams received 93 points in balloting by U.S. editors and news directors announced Wednesday, while gymnast Simone Biles was second with 68. Notre Dame basketball player Arike Ogunbowale was third, while Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and swimmer Katie Ledecky, the 2017 winner, rounded out the top five.

NBA

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — LeBron James got good news Wednesday on his injured groin.

But his games-played streak will end anyway.

An MRI exam showed that the four-time NBA MVP merely strained his left groin in the Los Angeles Lakers’ victory at Golden State Warriors on Christmas night. James will likely be dealing with soreness for several days, and the Lakers said he won’t travel with them for their game Thursday in Sacramento.

From there, he will be listed as day-to-day.

Thursday will mark the first time James has sat since the final game of the 2016-17 regular season, which he took off for rest.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

DALLAS (AP) — No. 23 Boise State’s first appearance at historic Cotton Bowl Stadium turned into what is believed to be the first bowl game called off because of weather.

The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl between the Broncos (10-3) and Boston College (7-5) was canceled because of the threat of severe weather after a delay of nearly 1 1/2 hours Wednesday.

The game was stopped with BC leading 7-0 with 5:08 remaining in the first quarter. The delay came not long after AJ Dillon’s 18-yard touchdown run.

NCAA spokesman J.D. Hamilton said via email that it was believed to be the first bowl canceled by weather. Hawaii’s planned second postseason game of 1941, against San Jose State, was canceled because of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

NFL

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — D.J. Swearinger, released abruptly by the Washington Redskins this week after publicly criticizing the defensive coaching, didn’t need much time to find a landing place.

He’s back in Arizona with the Cardinals, where he played part of 2015 and all of the 2016 season.

Speaking in front of his new locker on Wednesday, Swearinger called it a “rocky Christmas” and acknowledged that he was wrong to speak out against Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and criticize the team’s strategy in a 25-16 loss to Tennessee.

Still, he was surprised, he said, that it led to his release from the team.

SOCCER

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sigi Schmid, the winningest coach in MLS history, has died. He was 65.

Schmid’s family said he died Tuesday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Schmid was hospitalized three weeks ago as he awaited a heart transplant.

Schmid had an MLS-record 266 regular-season and postseason victories in 18 seasons with the LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew and Sounders. He led teams to two MLS titles, the first with the Galaxy in 2002 and the second with the Crew in 2008, and was a two-time MLS Coach of the Year. He stepped down as coach of the Galaxy in September with six games left in the regular season.

Schmid coached UCLA for 19 seasons before moving on to MLS, leading the Bruins to three NCAA titles.

MADRID (AP) — Real Sociedad has fired coach Asier Garitano and replaced him with reserve-team manager Imanol Alguacil, the Spanish top-flight club said on Wednesday.

Sociedad let Garitano go after four consecutive losses left the side from the Basque Country 15th in the 20-team league.

Garitano took over in the offseason after impressing with Leganes.

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