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Margaret duPont, US tennis great, dies at 94

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Margaret duPont, US tennis great, dies at 94

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Margaret Osborne duPont, the winner of more than 30 Grand Slam singles and doubles titles spanning three decades, has died, She was 94.

DuPont died late Wednesday in El Paso while in hospice care, Mary Skinner of VNA Hospice said Thursday. Other details were not released.

DuPont won the singles title at Wimbledon in 1947, the U.S. National Championship (now the U.S. Open) singles title from 1948 to 1950 and the French singles title in 1946 and 1948.

She won 31 doubles and mixed doubles titles at three Grand Slams between 1941 and 1962. DuPont never played the Grand Slam tournament in Australia.

In 1967, five years after winning her last Grand Slam title, DuPont was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

In a story last year in the El Paso Times, duPont spoke about her love of the game.

``It was always just tennis, tennis, tennis, tennis,'' she said. ``I'm not sure why I loved the game so much. But I did. I just did. And I always have.''

DuPont played an aggressive game, serving and volleying, that suited her well for doubles. Her contemporaries included Pauline Betz, Doris Hart, Althea Gibson, Maria Bueno and Maureen Connolly.

DuPont won more titles at what is now the U.S. Open in singles, doubles, mixed doubles - 25 - than anyone else in history. She was recognized for the accomplishment in recent years with a gold ring from the governing body for U.S. tennis.

The El Paso paper, pointing to the website BleacherReport, wrote that duPont had spent 156 weeks ranked No. 1 in the world, tied with Connolly.

Born in Joseph, Ore., on March 4, 1918, duPont grew up on a ranch there. When the family moved to San Francisco, duPont played her first tennis on public courts in Golden Gate Park. Before long she was traveling the country.

Longtime friend and business partner Margaret Bloss, who lived with duPont in El Paso, said through her son that duPont's talent was spectacular.

``She was a super player, a super sport and a super friend,'' Leigh Bloss said.

During World War II, duPont worked in a plant in Sausalito, Calif., where marine ships were made and even shared a ride to work with Bing Crosby, the El Paso paper reported.

In the early 1940s she met William duPont Jr., of the famous and prominent American family. The two married in 1947 and son Bill was born in 1952.

Having a child didn't slow down her tennis competition. Her last Grand Slam title, mixed doubles at Wimbledon, came in 1962.

The couple divorced in 1964 and duPont moved to El Paso in 1966 where got became involved in the horse racing business with Bloss.

Billie Jean King said in a statement that duPont had a ``huge impact'' on her career.

``She was one of my she-roes and was a great influence on my life both on and off the court,'' King said. ``I hope today's players and any boy or girl who dreams of a career in tennis will go to the history books and read about Margaret because her career wasn't just about winning matches, it was also about mentoring others.''

DuPont followed the modern game, particularly Andy Murray, this year's U.S. Open men's singles champion. But she told the El Paso paper the game has changed so much.

``You hit the ball as hard as you can and, every once in a while, come to the net,'' she said. ``Not too much thought involved. And, of course, the racket technology makes it just an entirely different sport.''

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How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

The Wizards-Raptors first round playoff series has evolved to feature the emergence of several players who started off slowly including Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre, Jr. The opposite has happened for Toronto big man Serge Ibaka.

After Ibaka lit up the Wizards for 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in Game 1, there has been a disappearance. His scoring has gone missing and it's a big reason why the Wizards have won two straight games and earned a 2-2 series split.

Head coach Scott Brooks knows Ibaka well from their days in Oklahoma City. He helped develop Ibaka and has since watched from afar as his game has changed to include a consistent outside game.

Brooks has on several occasions referred to Ibaka as one of the best three-point shooting big men in the league. The numbers back that up. Last season, he shot 39.1 percent from three on 4.0 attempts per game, excellent for a 6-foot-10 power forward.

This season that number dipped to 36 percent, but he hit 41 percent of his threes in his final 16 games of the regular season. That carried over into the playoffs when he went 3-for-4 in Game 1 as part of an 8-for-11 shooting night overall.

The Wizards made a point to take away those outside shots following their series-opening defeat. The way they are doing that is by crowding him when he gets the ball, even if it means him getting past the initial defender.

"You want to make sure you meet him on the catch. You want to take away his shot," Brooks said. "When he gets open shots, they are money. He's going to knock them down... We did a good job of meeting him on his catch and making him put the ball on the floor with his left hand. You can live with the results."

After his 23-point outburst in Game 1, Ibaka has scored just 20 points total in the last three games. He has gone 2-for-6 from three.

The Wizards are taking away his shot attempts in general. He took 11 shots in each of the first two games of this series, but just four in Game 3 and five in Game 4. In Game 3 he had three points and three turnovers and on Sunday he had seven points and four turnovers.

Here are two examples of the Wizards' defense on Ibaka. On this first play, Markieff Morris meets Ibaka as soon as he catches the ball and the result is a turnover:

On this next play, Morris follows Ibaka all the way to the rim and even though he goes up on a pump fake, Morris recovers to alter Ibaka's shot and force a miss:

The Wizards, however, did get away with one against Ibaka. He was left wide open for a three in the final minute, but the shot rimmed out:

As the first two plays demonstrate, Morris deserves a lot of credit for the Wizards' success against Ibaka. He has the size and mobility to keep up with him and is willing to use contact to his advantage.

"Just playing the tendencies," Morris said. "We're making them do things they are uncomfortable with and are getting better results."

Ibaka was fourth on the Raptors this season in points per game and third in shot attempts. He is their third option behind All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. If the Wizards can continue to lock up Ibaka, it will be difficult for the Raptors to beat them.

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MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

WALL WAS DUNKING ALL OVER RAPTORS BIG MEN

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM GAME 4 WIN

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by Julie Donaldson to break down the Wizards' wins in Games 3 and 4.

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are back and the Wizards are a different team because of it. Plus, how regaining their Death Row D.C. mentality has changed this series.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!