Serena Williams out for Sunday

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Serena Williams out for Sunday

By Stacy Cason
CSNwashington.com

The Kastles announced today that Serena Williams will not play in Sunday's match against the Kansas City Explorers. Instead, Venus Williams will return to action.

Serena cited that she needs more time to rest her back for the London Olympics.

"After winning Wimbledon and Stanford (the Bank of the West Classic on July 15), I need to rest my back," Serena said in a statement from the Kastles. "Fortunately, my sister and Kastles' teammate Venus has agreed to sub in for me. I'm disappointed that I won't be able to see my D.C. fans and join my team during its historic streak, but can't wait to go for gold in London."

Venus has already played once this season leading Washington to a 20-11 win over the Boston Lobsters. The World Team Tennis Champions are now at 22 straight wins.

You can watch Sunday's match at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet.

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Wizards are on cusp of breaking longest division-winning drought in U.S. sports

Wizards are on cusp of breaking longest division-winning drought in U.S. sports

With one more win by the Wizards, or one more loss by the Atlanta Hawks, Washington will do something it hasn't done in nearly four decades time.

The Wizards will clinch the franchise's first division title since the 1978-79 season. At 38 years, not only is that the longest drought of all NBA teams, but it's the longest such streak of any team in U.S. professional sports. No one has waited longer in the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB, and both the WNBA and MLS were not formed until the 1990s.

The L.A. Clippers previously held that distinction until they won the Pacific Division in the 2012-13 season after a 42-year wait. They repeated to win it the next year, as well. When the Warriors won the Pacific Division in 2014-15, that broke a 39-year drought. 

The Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL were recently just behind the Wizards in their quest. They began as a franchise in the 1979-80 season and didn't win one until they took the Pacific Division in 2011-12 after waiting 32 years. The longest current drought in the NHL is the Edmonton Oilers, who last won in 1986-87, 30 years ago. They are actually just two points out of first this season in the Pacific Division with seven games to go.

The longest division championship drought in the NFL is the Cleveland Browns, who won 28 years ago in 1989. In MLB, the longest division drought is held by the Pirates at 25 years.

So, here are the Wizards who now just need to eliminate the Hawks to win the Southeast Division and break through a decades-long wait. At 45-28 on the season, the Wizards need just one win or one loss for Atlanta to clinch, given Washington holds the tiebreaker with a 3-1 head-to-head record this season. The Wizards play at the Lakers at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, while the Hawks host the Suns at 7:30 p.m. in Atlanta.

The Hawks have lost seven straight, the Wizards have won three in a row and there are nine games left for both teams. It almost certainly will happen and happen soon.

The question is: when it does happen, how will it be celebrated? It will break the longest division-winning drought in U.S. sports, yet NBA division titles don't quite mean what they did just a few years ago.

When the NBA changed their playoff seeding procedure in September of 2015 they ensured that the top two teams in the conference by record could not meet in the second round. That was possible under the old format, when winning one's division meant an automatic top four seed. 

But that change has since made winning an NBA division less consequential. A division championship does technically equal a tiebreaker for the eighth and final playoff spot, but only in rare instances where that is necessary. Aside from a banner in the rafters of an arena, division titles just don't carry the same weight that they used to.

All that puts what the Wizards are poised to accomplish in a peculiar category. If, or when, the Wizards win the Southeast Division, what will it truly mean?

It should mean a lot. Thirty eight years is a long, long time.

[RELATED: Wizards' Markieff Morris fine with NBA players resting]

George Washington hoops signs Maurice Joseph to multi-year deal

George Washington hoops signs Maurice Joseph to multi-year deal

WASHINGTON — Maurice Joseph is sticking around as George Washington's basketball coach, signing a five-year contract on Monday after one season with an interim title in place of the fired Mike Lonergan.

The Colonials went 20-15 this season under Joseph, losing in the quarterfinals of the lower-tier College Basketball Invitational.

"Maurice has demonstrated that he is the right individual to lead our men's basketball program," athletic director Patrick Nero said, according to a statement released by the school. "Our student-athletes respond well to his energy, passion and vision. ... We're confident that he will continue to recruit and retain the next generation of men's basketball student-athletes and help their talents shine."

Six of GW's top eight scorers this season are expected to return to the team.

The 31-year-old Joseph said it is "a privilege to be tasked with the responsibility of mentoring our team moving forward."

Joseph, who is from Montreal, played for Lonergan at Vermont after transferring there from Michigan State.

After working as an assistant on Lonergan's staff for five years, Joseph was promoted to head coach in late September.

That came 10 days after Lonergan was fired, following an internal investigation by GW that determined he "engaged in conduct inconsistent with the university's values." A Washington Post report in July included accusations of player mistreatment by Lonergan.

MORE NCAA HOOPS: Georgetown icon Patrick Ewing now being considered for head coach job