Canzano misses boat on Pilots hoop

UP has a perfect successor to Terry Porter lined up just two miles away
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

To get a handle on the University of Portland men's basketball program these days, you only had to follow the website coachesdatabase.com in February and look for head coach Terry Porter's name. The site has a section called the Hot Seat Report. From the hottest to just warm, the editors give you a good idea of who needs to perform the most, and the fastest, including Danny Manning at Wake Forest, Donyell Marshall at Central Connecticut and, for a time, Patrick Ewing at Georgetown.

But, Porter's name wasn't on that list.

At the tail end of a 15-game losing streak that closed the program's fourth straight season of finishing last or ninth in the 10-team West Coast Conference, Porter didn't make the even mildly hot list until Feb. 26. What's that say? Nobody's paying attention. And when nobody's paying attention to your basketball program, it probably shouldn't be your basketball program anymore.

In these challenging times, though, Portland announced Tuesday that Porter would return for the fifth and final year of the 2016 contract he signed that directed his focus from the NBA, where he was head coach for both the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, to the college game, where he has gotten to coach his two sons. The excitement Porter initially brought due to his long, memorable playing career with the Trail Blazers helped the school attract boosters, but it never transferred to the court. In four seasons, the Pilots won just seven conference games combined, including just one the past two seasons.

John Canzano, The Oregonian's sports columnist, wrote the school probably should work its way out of Porter's final year back in February. After Tuesday's announcement, he wrote again the school should have worked its way into another coach. "They punted," Canzano wrote. I'd agree with that except for the state of the world today, and making a coaching move of a popular and well-respected guy in charge truly unnecessary regardless of wins. The need to win at UP just isn't that great these days, and Porter already has a contract.

Anything short of a Disney+ "Miracle on the Bluff" season, though, and UP will be looking for another coach in 12 months.

In compiling a short list of candidates, Canzano showcased just how little attention the Pilots generate even to experienced journalists, and he missed the perfect candidate who's just two miles away from the Chiles Center. It's Tony Broadous, head coach of the Portland Community College program for the past eight seasons (and Grant High for a decade before that).

There is not a better choice for the Portland Pilots than Broadous, and he needs to be on the radar for the school because when I've talked with sports folks in the area about him at the University of Portland the main response has been "now that would be exciting."

Broadous moved from Grant, which won the state title in 2008 under his guidance, to PCC in 2012 with the idea that might lead to a four-year school in the future. The Panthers had just come off a winless season in which they lost games by an average of 37 points. The program had never been to the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges playoffs in spite of the fact half the eight teams in their division qualified each year by finishing fourth or higher. In spite of sitting directly across the street from Jefferson High, the program had basically no pulse. That changed quickly.

In year one under Broadous, Portland missed the playoffs by just one win, and in year two ... it won the NWAACC title. Two years removed from a winless season, PCC had a league title (2014) in its first-ever trip to the playoffs.

In the past six seasons, in spite of being the only full-time coach and having no budget for anything but Facetime chats, Portland has been to the playoffs again four times, and reached the NWAACC tournament semifinals in 2018. They were headed to the tournament again this season before it was cancelled.

Moving from a former NBA coach and local basketball legend to a community college coach would be quite a gamble for UP, but that's exactly the kind of thing Disney+ was made for - and the Pilots desperately need that kind of attention. Broadous, 51, is worthy of that opportunity starting with his connections in Portland. People know him. And, his connections around the region - coaches know him. And, his work on the court - PCC is a regular winner and has all-league players each season.

Given the opportunity to recruit to a four-year program, with numerous full-time assistants, it's exciting to think what might happen in the Chiles Center starting in 2021.

Broadous isn't going to be an expensive hire - maybe the program could use some of that savings on an additional recruiting coordinator - and he's probably going to be extremely loyal if some success brings other schools calling.

Canzano's short list of successors had a few names tossed in to look impressive starting with Portlander and former Blazer Damon Stoudamire, the head coach of WCC rival Pacific. After three losing seasons, Stoudamire was on the Hot Seat for much of this season, but the Tigers won 23 games, and he was recently named the nation's minority coach of the year. One more solid season and big name programs will come calling. Portland's calls next season - even this past season - would be going to voicemail.

Former UC Santa Barbara coach Bob Williams made the list, but he's, well, who is he again to Portland fans?

Greg Clink has guided Chico State to regular success at Div. II, but he's been there for 12 secure seasons and, again, who's he to Portland fans?

Barret Peery is the head coach at Portland State, and has averaged 18 wins per season in his first three years there. Moving across town wouldn't be a stretch, but would involve rebuilding another program and he's got a lot more of a shot at winning a conference title in the program he's already building.

And, finally, former UNLV head coach Dave Rice, who led his alma mater to NCAA trips twice in five (full) seasons, more than a dozen wins over higher ranked teams, and claimed the top pick in the NBA Draft (2013 - Anthony Bennett) as program highlights. But, the school abruptly fired him during his sixth season - that doesn't speak well about making boosters happy. Since 2017, he's been an assistant at Washington, which finished last in the Pac-12 this season.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few has been vocal about WCC members needing to spend more on their programs so as to get more teams to the NCAA Tournament - and the riches that conference members share in. But, money doesn't always buy success in any sport, and neither do big names as the school has found out. Coaches sell dreams that need to turn into reality, and Broadous has enough of that on his resume to be able to recruit on Day One, in spite of that resume just being at the high school and community college level. And he's going to need to jump right in on Day One because of not having any ability to recruit during the season.

UP is still feeling the glow of its women's basketball team performing a Disney+ miracle by playing its way into the NCAA Tournament under a first-year coach and having been picked for last by conference head coaches. That coach, Michael Meek, was a former high school coach at Southridge in Beaverton, who moved to NCAA Div. III's George Fox in 2011.

So, the Pilots are secure for another season under Porter, but the coaching search for his replacement has likely already begun. When the names start to go on the big chalkboard, hopefully the school's athletic director, Scott Leykam, and his associates will take more than a few minutes to dream about what the Chiles Center might look like with maybe the nation's biggest underdog on the sideline at one of the nation's biggest underdogs as a program. That's a story made for the Magic Kingdom.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified Barret Peery as the former head coach at Portland State. We regret that error.


Pilots punch their ticket!!!!!

UP women play their way into NCAA Tourney with OT thriller
Staff Report

And, the immaculate season continues for the University of Portland women's basketball team.

Picked for last in the West Coast Conference entering the season, the Pilots won two consecutive thrillers that likely left all players and coaches with no nails as they get ready for the NCAA Tournament.

A day after beating top seed and No. 11 Gonzaga 70-69, Portland beat second seed San Diego 64-63 in overtime to win the conference tournament title and earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since the Clinton Administration.

Sophomore Haylee Andrews, who scored the winning points in Monday's upset with five seconds left, hit a jumper with 1:05 to put the Pilots ahead of San Diego and the Gauchos got off only one more shot - a missed three-pointer with four seconds left.

Portland, led by first-year coach Michael Meek, heads to the NCAAs for the first time since 1997 with a 21-11 record and a likely spot in one of the two potential first/second-round host sites: Eugene and Corvallis.

Andrews finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while freshman Alex Fowler had 21 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Kate Andersen had six points and four assists before fouling out.


Portland nears NCAA tourney bid

UP women's hoop upsets No. 11 Gonzaga in WCC Tourney
Staff Report

In one of the more improbable comebacks of an already improbable season, the University of Portland women's basketball team rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat No. 11 Gonzaga 70-69 in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament in Las Vegas.

Sophomore guard Haylee Andrews scored on a short jumper with five seconds left for the final points, ending a ferocious finish by both teams.

Portland will play in the conference final Tuesday with the winner earning an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. Gonzaga is likely to earn a berth and play host to first- and second-round games in spite of the loss.

"This is amazing how we were picked for 10th," Andrews said to the streaming media audience. "Now we have to get ready for one more game."

Portland improved to 20-11 on the season, just a week after losing to Gonzaga at home.

Gonzaga dropped to 28-3.

The Piots were picked for last in the WCC prior to the season under first-year coach Michael Meek. But they overcame all expectations and finished fourth in the conference standings with just one primary senior in the playing rotation.

Trailing 29-9 in the first quarter, the Pilots rallied to within 39-35 at the half and led by six points in the fourth quarter before the Zags went on an 8-0 run to lead 65-63 with 2:57 left. But freshman forward Alex Fowler, who scored a game-high 22 points, gave Portland the lead again at 68-67 with 25 seconds left. Gonzaga scored for a 69-68 lead with eight seconds left, which set the stage for Andrews' heroics.

Portland has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1997, and has never won a tournament game.






Pilot women lose, gain momentum

No. 10 Gonzaga pulls away for 56-42 win, but UP eyes tourney upset
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - A loud, often raucous crowd set the stage for a huge, memorable win Saturday for the University of Portland women's basketball program, and it did it's part for most of three quarters.

Senior guard Kate Andersen, honored prior to the game, even hit a three-point shot at the first quarter buzzer to tie the game at 11.

But, tenth-ranked Gonzaga had too much inside firepower and pulled away from a 40-35 edge after three quarters for a 56-42 victory before an announced crowd of 1,709 fans at the Chiles Center.

Gonzaga junior forwards Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth combined for 28 pooints and 17 rebounds to send the Zags, who had more than 100 fans themselves, into the West Coast Conference Tournament as the No.1 seed. Gonzaga is 28-2 overall and 17-1 in WCC games.

Portland enters the tournament that begins in Las Vegas on Thursday as the fifth seed at 18-11, 11-7. The Pilots, who lost their contest at Gonzaga by 10 points earlier in the season, won just seven games two seasons ago.

"This has been a great season for our girls and our fans to build support for the program," first-year coach Michael Meek said afterward. "This is an easy team to get behind because of how our players perform, and the effort they put out."

Andersen led the Pilots with 10 points, and sophomore Haylee Andrews had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Pilots were hammered by turnovers, though, commiting 21 in the game, including 10 in the fourth quarter when they were outscored 16-7.

Gonzaga held a 12-5 edge in second chance points and 14-2 in bench scoring.

First round WCC tournament pairings have yet to be announced, but Andrews said the Pilots would take Saturday's loss as a significant learning tool if they are able to meet Gonzaga again.

"We're definitely be looking at a lot of film, looking to see what we can do to beat them," said Andrews, who was the WCC Player of the Week three times this season. "They're No. 10 for a reason, but we're going to go into the tournament with the thinking we can beat them."




Lady Pilots on verge of breakthrough

UP women's basketball eyes home upset of No. 10 Gonzaga
By Cliff Pfenning

For a change, the University of Portland women's basketball program might get a little attention in-state this weekend.

Especially if it can pull off an upset on its home court.

The Pilots enter their final game of the season with a four-game win streak and a potential large, rowdy crowd to back up its effort against No. 10 Gonzaga at the Chiles Center.

Portland is 18-10 overall, including a 69-49 win over San Francisco played two weeks ago before a crowd of 1,772 at the Chiles Center, and 11-6 in West Coast Conference games. The Pilots are familiar with playing before home crowds of around 500 fans throughout the season, but the team's success - already securing its first winning record in 10 seasons - has some buzz on the campus.

The Pilots, who will be seeded no worse than fourth in the WCC Tournament that plays out next week in Las Vegas, have not finished more than five games above .500 since 1998. Perhaps, even better, the team only has one senior, and features several key freshmen under first-yaer head coach Michael Meek.

After the large crowd two weeks ago, the athletic department is hoping for an even larger crowd, especially with the potential for a program-building upset in the air - against the conference's top villain (even if that's a moniker largely generated by the men's basketball team).

Gonzaga enters the game at 27-2, 16-1 and with a 62-57 win over the Pilots in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 29 when it was ranked No. 17.

Game time is set for 2 p.m.



2020 - 18-10 / 11-6 WCC

2019 - 13-17 / 5-13 WCC

2018 -  7-23 /  3-15 WCC

2017 -  6-24 /  4-14 WCC

2016 -  3-23 /  1-17 WCC

2015 -  4-26 /  2-16 WCC


Pilots recover, but not all way

Portland feels better about losing to Gonzaga this time
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - The loss to Gonzaga wasn't so painful this time, even though it came with the same message for the Portland Pilots.

"We just have to be a lot tougher," said freshman guard Marcus Shaver, Jr. "And that's on each one of us, individually to work on that."

Portland responded to an absolute thrashing at the hands of the Bulldogs, Jan. 11, with a workman-like 95-79 loss before a spirited crowd of 4,557 at the Chiles Center Thursday night in West Coast Conference men's basketball action.

Shaver led the Pilots with 16 points, and backcourt mate D'Marques Tyson added 15 points as the Pilots kept pace with their 15th-ranked opponents and tried to forget the 103-57 loss from the first meeting.

They'd have done a lot better by not getting outrebounded 15-5 on the offensive end, or having the Zags hit 35 of 64 shots from the field, including 11 three-pointers. Three Bulldogs scored in double figures led by Killian Tillie with 27 points. Tillie hit 11 of 14 shots, grabbed seven rebounds and even handed out a pair of assists as Gonzaga improved to 18-4, 8-1 in WCC play. The Bulldogs made sure not to overlook the Pilots by leading 46-30 at the half, a week after losing their lone conference game in Spokane to St. Mary's, 74-71.

"We had a good game, did a lot of things the way we want to," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "We play in a tough conference, and know not to take anyone lightly. Last week's loss was a good reminder of that, especially at home."

Portland dropped to 8-14, 2-7, with a game at St. Mary's Saturday in Moraga, Calif., just East of Oakland.

The loss ended a two-game win streak for the Pilots.

Portland put up a solid performance in the first half, but still wound up trailing 46-30 after 20 minutes, due in significant part to Tillie's 13 points, highlighted by three baskets after offensive rebounds. Gonzaga made eight of its 16 three-point attempts, led 10-2 in assists, and shot 18-of-33 overall from the field.

Once the lead hit double digits, the outcome was largely decided. Few played forward Rui Hachimura, widely considered the team's most promising NBA Draft pick in summer, just 12 minutes, which resulted in one field goal.

Portland got a sturdy performance from 7-foot-2, senior, center Phillipp Hartwich, who scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, and battled for five rebounds. The Pilots finished with five offensive rebounds, although two were the kind that got swatted out of bounds - team rebounds.

Sophomore Josh McSwiggan added nine points and four rebounds for Portland, which finished the second half 49-49 with Gonzaga.

Portland has eight games remaining after Saturday leading into the conference tournament, March 1-6 in Las Vegas.



French returns to the Bluff

UP hires former standout as women's soccer coach
Staff report

PORTLAND - The University of Portland officially introduced Michelle French as the new women’s soccer head coach with a reception on Monday afternoon at the Chiles Center.

French returns to Portland where she helped lead the Pilots to three NCAA Final Four appearances, and was a National Player of the Year finalist as a senior in 1998. A defender, French earned All-American honors with the Pilots, and she went on to become an Olympic medalist with the women’s national team.

French, who hails from Fort Lewis, Wash., spent the past 12 years coaching in the U.S. Soccer system, most recently as an assistant coach with the senior Women’s National Team. She also served on the USA National Team staff at both the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

French was the first full-time head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team beginning in 2013. She coached the USA at the 2014 and 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cups. She was on the shortlist for the CONCACAF Female Coach of the Year Award in 2016.

As a player, French earned 14 caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1997-2001. She was a member of the 2000 Olympic Team in Australia that claimed a Silver Medal. She also was on the U.S. Under-21 National Team from 1994-99, serving as the team captain the last two years.

She replaces Garrett Smith, who guided the team the past 15 years recording a 222-78-24 record. The Pilots were 5-13-1 this season, including 2-7 in West Coast Conference play.


Pilots open season with Tar Heels

Portland gets the national power to start 2012 campaign
Aug. 6, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Following a fantastic performance by alumni in the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, the University of Portland women's soccer team opens its season August 17 against one of the top programs in the nation - North Carolina.

Portland, with two NCAA national titles, will play host to the Tar Heels, with 20 NCAA titles.

The match will be the third time the teams have met at Merlo Field, with the Tar Heels having won in 2006 and the teams having tied 0-0 in 2002. North Carolina also beat Portland 2-1 in the 2001 NCAA Tournament semifinals.

In the following week, the Pilots play host to Oregon State and Oregon.

The Pilots, on Sept. 7, also play host to Notre Dame, which has won three titles, as part of their 12-game home schedule.

Portland reached the NCAA Tournament second round before falling to Florida State, 3-1, to end the season at 9-10-2, the first time the program finished under .500 in more than a decade.

The Pilots return seven starters, including defender Taylor Brooke, the lone senior on the roster.

Portland alums Megan Rapinoe, Christine Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt have all been key players in the Olympics, with Sinclair and Rapinoe combining for five of the seven goals scored in the epic U.S win over Canada Monday.



Portland gets a spot in the NCAA tournament

Pilots have chance to show off program strength in 64-team field

Even in the most challenging of seasons, the University of Portland commands respect across the nation and the NCAA showed that Monday by selecting the Pilots for an at-large berth in the Div. I tournament.

Portland, 9-9-1, will play at Oregon State, 13-5-2, Friday in Corvallis. The Pilots are in the tournament for the 12th-straight season, while the Beavers are making their third-consecutive appearance in the 64-team field.

The winner Friday will likely face Florida State, one of the four top seeds in the tournament.

While the Pilots have struggled to win games, they do have victories over both Florida State and Oregon State.

Three other teams from the West Coast Conference: Pepperdine (15-1-4), San Diego (12-7) and Santa Clara (13-2-5); are also in the tournament field. Pepperdine is rated No. 8 and Santa Clara No. 13 in the latest RPI produced by the NCAA. Portland is No. 50 and is the lone team in the top 64 with nine losses.

Oregon State is No. 34, one of five teams from the Pac-12 in the tournament. Stanford (18-0-1) is a No. 1 seed, while UCLA (14-1-3) is a second seed.

The Final Four is slated for Dec. 2-4 at the newly-completed complex at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.




Stanford keeps Pilots' offense grounded

UP gets shutout again by No. 1 Cardinal
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

The University of Portland women's soccer team might be making progress toward being a team capable of winning a conference title, but it's got a ways to go to show off that won't be a big surprise.

Thursday, the Pilots got overpowered by Stanford, 2-0, in a non-conference game played before a raucous crowd and a national audience on the Fox Soccer Channel.

Stanford scored on a penalty kick by Teresa Noyola late in the first half and again on a spectacular shot by Kristy Zurmhulen midway through the second half to improve to 7-0-1.

Portland went scoreless for the fourth time this season and dropped to 3-4-1 with Southern Cal of the Pac-12 Conference due at Merlo Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

A crowd of 3,410 showed up for the game - more than double the largest crowd the Cardinal have played before this season.

Stanford finished with a 15-2 edge in shots and got Portland goalkeeper Hailee DeYoung to make eight saves. Stanford had a 5-1 edge in corner kicks.



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