The final word of the Spelling Bee was...

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The final word of the Spelling Bee was...

From Comcast SportsNet
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) -- Snigdha Nandipati heard a few words she didn't know during the National Spelling Bee, but never when she stepped to the microphone. Calm and collected throughout, the 14-year-old from San Diego spelled "guetapens," a French-derived word that means ambush, snare or trap, to win the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night. She beat out eight other finalists in the nerve-wracking, brain-busting competition. After she spelled the word, she looked from side to side, as if unsure her accomplishment was real, and, oddly, she was not immediately announced as the winner. Applause built slowly, and a few pieces of confetti trickled out before showering her. Then her 10-year-old brother ran on stage and embraced her, and she beamed. "I knew it. I'd seen it before," Nandipati said of the winning word. "I just wanted to ask everything I could before I started spelling." A coin collector and Sherlock Holmes fan, Nandipati aspires to become a physician or neurosurgeon. She also plays violin and is fluent in Telugu, a language spoken in southeastern India. A semifinalist last year, Nandipati became the fifth consecutive Indian-American winner and 10th in the last 14 years, a run that began in 1999 when Nupur Lala won and was later featured in the documentary "Spellbound." Wearing a white polo shirt with a gold necklace peeking out of the collar, the bespectacled, braces-wearing teen never showed much emotion while spelling, working her way meticulously through each word. Only a few of the words given to other spellers were unfamiliar to her, she said. Her brother and parents joined her onstage after the victory, along with her maternal grandparents, who traveled from Hyderabad, India, to watch her. At one point as she held the trophy aloft, her brother, Sujan, pushed the corners of her mouth apart to broaden her smile. Her father, Krishnarao, said Snigdha first showed an interest in spelling as early as age 4. As she rode in the car, he would call out the words he saw on billboards and she would spell them. In the run-up to the bee, Nandipanti studied 6 to 10 hours a day on weekdays and 10-12 hours on weekends -- a regimen that she'll need to maintain to get through medical school, her father said. "She says this is harder than being a neurosurgeon -- maybe," said her mother, Madhavi. Stuti Mishra of West Melbourne, Fla., finished second after misspelling "schwarmerei" -- which means excessive, unbridled enthusiasm. While many spellers pretend to write words with their fingers, the 14-year-old Mishra had an unusual routine -- she mimed typing them on a keyboard. Nandipanti and Mishra frequently high-fived each other after spelling words correctly during the marathon competition. Coming in third for the second consecutive year was Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, N.Y. At 12, the seventh-grader was the youngest of the nine finalists. He has one more year of eligibility remaining, and he pledged to return. "I got eliminated both times by German words," Mahankali said. "I know what I have to study." Nandipati's prize haul includes 30,000 in cash, a trophy, a 2,500 savings bond, a 5,000 scholarship, 2,600 in reference works from the Encyclopedia Britannica and an online language course. The week began with 278 spellers, including the youngest in the history of the competition -- 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison of Lake Ridge, Va. The field was cut to 50 semifinalists after a computer test and two preliminary rounds, and Lori Anne was two misspelled words away from a semifinal berth. The tiny, blue-eyed prodigy said she'd be back next year. The highest-placing international speller was Gifton Wright of Spanish Town, Jamaica, who tied for fourth. This week, Scripps announced tentative plans for a world spelling bee with teams of spellers from dozens of countries. Once that gets off the ground, the National Spelling Bee would be closed to international participants. Also tied for fourth were Nicholas Rushlow of Pickerington, Ohio, and Lena Greenberg of Philadelphia. The excitable Greenberg, a crowd favorite who ran delightedly back to her chair after each correct word, pressed her hands to her face and exclaimed, "Oh! Oh!" when she was eliminated. Rushlow was making his fifth and final appearance in the bee, and this was his best showing. He got three words he didn't know -- one in the semifinals and two in the finals -- and managed to spell two of them correctly before the third one, "vetiver," tripped him up. While he was satisfied with his performance, he's sad that his run is over. "I'm a has-been now," Rushlow said.

Instant Replay: Warriors ground Rockets, run win streak to six games

Instant Replay: Warriors ground Rockets, run win streak to six games

BOX SCORE

The Warriors avenged yet another loss Friday night, rolling into Houston and laying a 125-108 beating on the Rockets at Toyota Center.

All five Warriors starters scored in double figures, with Kevin Durant totaling 32 points to lead the way. Stephen Curry finished with 24 points, Klay Thompson with 16, Draymond Green with 15 and Zaza Pachulia added 10.

The Warriors (37-6) suffocated Houston’s high-powered offense, which is predicated on 3-point shooting, holding the Rockets to 20 percent (7-of-35) beyond the arc. The Warriors forced 15 turnovers, off which they scored 19 points.

Backup center Clint Capela scored 22 points to lead Houston (33-13). MVP candidate James Harden was held to 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 0-of-5 from 3-point distance.

Having beaten the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, the Warriors this week evened the ledger against two elite teams. They lost to Houston on Dec. 1 in Oakland, 132-127, in double overtime that accounted for one of only three losses at Oracle Arena.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

The entire starting lineup played well, but Durant proved too much for anything the Rockets threw at him.

Durant’s line: 32 points (12-of-19 shooting from the field, including 2-of-7 from deep, 6-of-7 from the line), seven assists, four rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He played 34 minutes and was plus-25 for the game.

TURNING POINT

After Houston trimmed their lead to five (64-59) with 11:39 remaining in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 23-8 run, punctuated by a 28-foot 3-pointer by Curry to go up 87-67 with 5:58 left in the quarter.

The Warriors led by 20 entering the fourth quarter, and the Rockets got no closer than 15 over the final 12 minutes.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: C/F David West (L thumb fracture) was listed as out.

Rockets: F Ryan Anderson (flu) was listed as questionable but upgraded to available. He was in the starting lineup, but played only nine minutes before leaving for good.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Sunday in Orlando, where they face the Magic at Amway Center. Tipoff is scheduled for noon Pacific.

Kings' offense struggles, losing streak now at four after loss in Memphis

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USATSI

Kings' offense struggles, losing streak now at four after loss in Memphis

BOX SCORE

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Marc Gasol had 28 points and nine rebounds, Mike Conley added 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and the Memphis Grizzlies coasted to a 107-91 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

The Grizzlies used the 3-point shooting of Gasol and Zach Randolph to build the advantage to 19 at the end of the third quarter. At that point, Sacramento coach Dave Joerger sat his starters as Memphis eventually would build the advantage to 22 in the fourth.

Randolph finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis, which snapped a two-game losing streak. Tony Allen also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Sacramento has lost seven of its last eight.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Garrett Temple added 14 points and Ty Lawson had 13.

Memphis finished 11 of 28 from 3-point range, with Gasol hitting 3 of 6, and Randolph going 2 of 3.

Meanwhile, the Kings struggled with 41 percent shooting overall, and 6 of 29 from outside the arc.

Gasol had 16 points in the third, including a trio of 3-pointers. Randolph's 35-footer for another 3-pointer as the quarter ended capped a 12-2 run, providing the Grizzlies with an 83-64 lead entering the fourth.

The fight was out of the Kings at that point as Joerger relied on the bench to close the game.

As has been the case in recent games, Memphis got off to a slow start, missing its first five shots and shooting 30 percent in the first quarter. That helped the Kings to a nine-point lead.

Memphis would recover in the second quarter behind a rebounding edge and points off seven Sacramento turnovers. The Grizzlies would match the Kings' nine-point lead in the half before carrying a 49-42 lead into the break. Gasol and Vince Carter had 11 apiece for Memphis, while Cousins had 16 points before intermission.

The second-quarter performance, coupled with Gasol's scoring in the third, provided Memphis with a 68-41 advantage spanning the middle two quarters.

TIP-INS

Kings: Sacramento played its first game without starting F Rudy Gay, the team's second-leading scorer at 18.7 points a game, who sustained a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in Wednesday's loss to Houston. .Cousins received a technical foul near the end of the first half, his 14th of the season. .Cousins recorded his 21st double-double of the season.

Grizzlies: Reserve G Troy Daniels left the game in the second quarter with a right knee injury and did not return. . Memphis had 11 3-pointers. The Grizzlies have made at least 10 3-pointers in 21 games this season, including 12 of the last 16.

LONG AND WINDING ROAD:

Friday's game in Memphis was the start of an eight-game road trip for Sacramento. Next stop on the journey: Chicago to face the Bulls on Saturday. This marks the second time in three years the Kings have had an eight-game trip. "You just kind of go on tour," Joerger said. "Play some games and go to the next place and play a game and 'where do I sleep tonight' and 'what hotel room number have I got.'"

UP NEXT

Kings: Continue their eight-game road trip facing the Bulls in Chicago.

Grizzlies: Memphis continues a three-game homestand with a Saturday game against the Houston Rockets — a rare back-to-back of home games. Memphis last played consecutive games at home in April, 2015.