Venus Williams to Join Kastles for WTT Finals Weekend


Venus Williams to Join Kastles for WTT Finals Weekend

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams will rejoin the Washington Kastles in their pursuit of perfection during the 2012 WTT Finals Weekend.

Williams' dominant presence in singles and doubles should provide a boost for the Kastles, who have won 30 consecutive matches overall and all eight matches featuring Williams since she joined the team in 2010, including three wins in 2012.

The Kastles' unbeaten run nearly ended at 24 on July 21, 2012, but Williams saved four match points in women's singles to lead the Kastles to their biggest comeback in franchise history. With Washington trailing the New York Sportimes by six games after four sets, Venus defeated fellow former World No. 1 Martina Hingis 5-1, won both games of overtime, and swept all seven points of a Supertiebreaker to give the Kastles a 21-20 victory.

The Kastles and Sportimes will face off again for the Eastern Conference Championship on Saturday, September 15th in Charleston at 6:30 pm. Washington has defeated New York on seven straight occasions, saving 10 match points against the Sportimes during that stretch and clinching three of the matches in dramatic Supertiebreakers.

WTT Finals Weekend will serve as the culmination to a sensational summer for the future Hall-of-Famer Williams. She captured her 22nd Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in women's doubles with sister Serena Williams, guided the Kastles to three victories during the WTT regular season, and then returned to London with Serena to win the women's doubles gold medals at The Olympic Games.

A two-time US Open singles champion, Venus Williams is preparing for the fourth major of the season in Cincinnati right now, where she is through to the third round of the Western & Southern Open. Following the US Open August 27-September 9, Williams will postpone a much-needed rest by one week so she can join the Kastles.

The 16-0 Washington Kastles will play for their second straight perfect season and third WTT championship in four years in Charleston, SC, Sept. 14-16. For all things Kastles, head to <>.

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Brooks, Beal impressed with Wizards' passing this preseason

Brooks, Beal impressed with Wizards' passing this preseason

With their regular season opener set for Thursday (6:30 p.m. on CSN), Wizards head coach Scott Brooks was asked after practice this week what has impressed him the most about his new team now that their seven-game exhibition schedule is over. Brooks was quick to point out what has been an established strength for the Wizards in recent years.

"If I had to pick, our offense and our passing has been really, really good," Brooks said. "We're a very good passing team. I thought throughout this exhibition season that has been displayed."

The Wizards have ranked no lower than seventh in assists per game among NBA teams in the last three seasons. It certainly doesn't hurt to have John Wall at the helm of their offense. Wall, 26, has averaged at least 10 assists per game in the past two years. He ranked third in basketball last season with 10.2 per contest.

Wall, in fact, is seventh all-time in career assists per game (9.0) among players with at least 400 NBA games logged. Four of the six ahead of him on the list - Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas - are Hall of Famers. The other two - Kevin Johnson and Chris Paul - are also good names to be associated with. 

Paul, for one, will likely join the others in the Hall someday. He's the only NBA player with more assists than Wall since the latter entered the league in 2010.

[RELATED: Rookies, good friends come full circle by making Wizards roster]

Brooks spoke glowingly about Wall's abilities and his rare his combination of speed and court vision.

"It's uncanny, his speed with the basketball and that he's able to make good decisions at that speed," Brooks said. "He sees it slow motion as he's going fast and that's very rare."

Wall isn't the only one passing the rock, of course. Brooks hopes shooting guard Bradley Beal can get more involved in the cause. Beal has a 3.0 assists-per-game average in his career, but his new coach thinks Beal can average four or five.

That may come naturally, given Beal's thoughts on the subject. He believes the Wizards' offense reached a new level this preseason.

"That's probably the best we've passed since I've been here," Beal said. "That's just everybody having fun and not caring about who scores, just getting the best shot available. When we play like that, it's fun for everybody. It's fun for coaches, it's fun for the players, fun for guys coming in the game with momentum and energy."

The Wizards as a team notched 33 assists in their preseason finale against the Raptors in Friday night. Beal alone had nine of them and no turnovers, to boot. 

That's exactly what Brooks likes to see and he hopes it carries into the regular season.

"We have to continue to trust the pass," he said. "I think our passing has been impressive. We need to continue that."

[RELATED: Brooks learning Wizards roster an ongoing process]

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Pittsburgh Zoo takes shot at the Capitals with Halloween decorations

Pittsburgh Zoo takes shot at the Capitals with Halloween decorations

It's almost Halloween and the penguins are getting into the spirit. No, not the Pittsburgh Penguins, but actual penguins from Pittsburgh and they're taking shots at the Washington Capitals.

The Pittsburgh Zoo decorated its penguin exhibit for Halloween complete with tombstones. Go ahead and take a look at who is on those tombstones.

The Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks for the Stanley Cup last season and they just plain don't like the Caps and Flyers.

RELATED: Containing McDavid is the Caps' challenge Wednesday