All Scores

AUX: Sis Bates brings fun and defense to the field

Sis Bates. (Jade Hewitt/Athletes Unlimited)

Athletes Unlimited provides the opportunity for players to extend their careers past college. For the viewers, it provides an opportunity to continue watching some of sports’ best — like Sis Bates.

Bates first graced the Athletes Unlimited softball field last year after being drafted in the inaugural Athletes Unlimited softball college draft. She wound up finishing ninth in the league’s second season with 1,468 leaderboard points after starting in all 15 games.

She finished the season hitting .326, registering 14 hits and tied for the league lead with five doubles.

But her performance last season wasn’t surprising for those who know Bates. A former NCAA Defensive Player of the Year and three-time NFCA All-American, the shortstop had a storied career at the University of Washington.

“I got to work with Sis Bates with USA Softball, and she was just a pleasure to work with,” Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said of Bates last May. “(She’s) just a gamer, loves to play, great attitude. Very infectious approach.

“Sis is real flash. … She can spin around, throw somebody out. She’s got a knack and nose for the game like nobody I’ve seen, with the exception of somebody like Grace Lyons.”

The all-time leader in Washington history with 18 triples, she’s also the Huskies’ all-time hits leader with 320 in 261 career games. She also ranks third in runs (227), fourth in batting average (.385) and fifth in doubles (54).

A two-time NFCA First-Team All-American, she was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year three times for her play at shortstop, just the second player in Pac-12 history to have won the award three times. In 2020, she was named the Greatest Softball Shortstop of All Time by ESPN.

As she’s made her way to the pros, she hasn’t let off the gas either.

“It’s been pretty hectic,” Bates told the Seattle Times last September about playing in Athletes Unlimited. “It’s felt like a whirlwind. But just being here and being settled in here and competing every day like we have, I feel like I’m learning the routine. I’m a total nerd for softball. Every day here has been the best.”

During the first week of play for AUX, Bates showed once again why she’s one of the best to play the game. She recorded 15 assists on the weekend while giving up just one error, meaning she had perfect fielding percentage in all but one game. She also recorded three double plays — including two against Team Ocasio.

“Defense is super fun,” Bates told Softball America last February. “It sounds so funny for me to say that. But, seriously, I do love it. I love it so much. It is genuinely fun for me.”

“She converts most of the balls she can get to into outs; that’s as good as having a dominant pitcher,” Washington coach Heather Tarr told ESPN in 2019. “The ball is always converted into an out. If it’s possible, it’s going to be converted into an out, whether it’s routine or not a routine play. She’s super efficient.”

Her efficiency currently has her 10th on the AUX leaderboard — just two points behind Aliyah Andrews. As she enters the second series of play on Saturday for Team Gibson, look for Bates to continue doing as she does and find herself climbing up the leaderboard.

Sofia Huerta signs contract extension with Seattle through 2027

(Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Oregon soccer players detail instances of verbal abuse from former USWNT assistant

(Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via Imagn Content Services)

Members of the Oregon women’s soccer team are saying they received harsh treatment and even verbal abuse from head coach and former USWNT assistant Graeme Abel. 

During the 2023 season, the team had zero wins, and upon its conclusion a total of 12 of the team’s 29 players departed the team. Former players told The Oregonian that Abel would verbally attack them, threaten to kick them off the team and at times would even throw objects.

"When I’d make a mistake at practice, it felt like he made it a job to embarrass you to the point where you just wanted to walk off the field,” one player said. “He’d stop the practice – and I know it’s college soccer, it’s very competitive — but he’d stop practice and just keep going nonstop on this one thing."

In total, the Oregonian spoke with 14 former players – including 12 who agreed to be interviewed in depth. All said that they experienced verbal abuse. Six of the players were among those who transferred following the season. 

One instance of Abel’s tirades included him throwing a water bottle that narrowly missed players’ heads. 

“He kicked all of our staff out of the locker room, kicked a trash can, threw a white board, sat on the trash can and started screaming,” one player recounted. “He wanted us to tell him what we thought went wrong in the game. Me and another player spoke up, and he said, ‘You’re just (expletive) wrong.’ And that if we didn’t want to be in this program, we could all quit, and he’d sign our release paperwork tomorrow.”

While Abel was not made available for an interview, he did say in a statement that “at no point have I used threatening statements or financial repercussions as a part of coaching.”

Instances of emotional distress stemming from Abel’s alleged harsh treatment date back to 2021 – his first full year leading the team following an abbreviated 2020 campaign.

One former player contacted by The Oregonian detailed positive overall experiences, and described his style as “normal coaching.”

Others, like USWNT players Becky Sauerbrunn and Lindsey Horan, did not respond to requests for comment, although Sauerbrunn wrote in 2019 that she had a “great relationship” with Abel. 

Still, multiple players interviewed had similar stories, with one saying that girls would be “crying in the locker room” after practice because of what he would tell players. Attempts to speak with the administration about his behavior, players say, was “discouraging.”

“His office is like the scariest place,” one player said. “You’d have to sit there while he’d belittle you and say all these nasty things, and gaslight you into believing you’re not good enough. ... Our team fell apart because of the environment he created. We were just trying to get through the day. There was no way we could focus on soccer.”

Multiple players said they experienced suicidal ideation while playing at Oregon. In part of his statement, Abel wrote that “at no time do we put our student-athletes in any danger.”

Abel is currently in his fifth and final year of his contract at Oregon.

Gotham FC unveil Championship rings ahead of banner reveal

Gotham FC players celebrate Lynn Williams' goal in the first half of the 2023 NWSL Championship. (Ray Acevedo/USA TODAY Sports)

Gotham FC has unveiled their 2023 NWSL championship rings — and safe to say, they deliver.

The reveal has led to a little bit of trash talk ahead of the team’s matchup with Kansas City this weekend, as both teams have NFL owners. While the Current are co-owned by Patrick and Brittany Mahomes, former Giants quarterback Eli Manning is a co-owner of Gotham. 

On Wednesday, Manning took to Sportscenter to give Mahomes a bit of a hard time.

“He may have one more Super Bowl ring than me, but he does not have a NWSL championship ring like I do,” Manning joked.

“Come Sunday night at Red Bull Arena, April 14th, we’re dropping the banner on Kansas City. We got the ring ceremony, the players get their rings and their championship afterwards. This is it, I’ve got something to talk a little trash to him about because I can’t do it about football anymore, I gotta find something else.”

The appearance came after Manning posted to social media, inviting Mahomes to “come see [the championship ring] up close this Sunday.”

Mahomes responded in kind, writing that “we’ll see y’all Sunday!”

Gotham takes on current league-leaders Kansas City on Sunday at 6pm ET. The game is available on NWSL+.

Oregon State hit by transfer portal again as Raegan Beers departs

ALBANY, NEW YORK - MARCH 31: Raegan Beers #15 of the Oregon State Beavers shoots a free throw during the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 31, 2024 in Albany, New York. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Oregon State leading scorer and rebounder Raegan Beers announced on Thursday that she is entering the transfer portal. 

"Thank you for all of your endless love and support these past two years," she posted on social media. "I will never forget my time at OSU and I am thankful for the opportunity I had to meet and play with incredible people. My journey as a Beav was a special one and I am grateful for my teammates, coaches, fans, and friends who have changed my life throughout my time here."

A sophomore forward, Beers is a two-time All-Pac-12 selection who averaged 17.5 points per game last season while shooting 66.4 percent from the field. She also added 10.3 rebounds en route to earning third-team All-American honors from the AP. 

She’s the fourth Oregon State starter – and seventh player overall – to hit the portal this offseason. She joins Talia von Oelhoggen and Timea Gardiner in the transfer portal, as well as starting freshman Donovyn Hunter. 

Beers and Gardiner were both top-10 recruits in ESPN rankings coming out of high school. 

With the dissolution of the Pac-12, the program will join the WCC next season and no longer be a part of the Power 5.

Conference realignment is hitting the team hard, with coach Scott Rueck saying during the tournament that he knew it could seriously affect his team moving forward. 

"That's reality," Rueck said. "I can't control that, other than just keep doing what I'm doing. I think the opportunity within that for a leader provides a discipline that you'd better be on your A-game all the time. You'd better take care of people, and you'd better provide a great experience. That's the approach going forward and what happens, happens. We'll find a way."

Start your morning off right with Just Women’s Sports’ free, 5x-a-week newsletter.