Vikings send seniors off with W

PSU heads to Big Sky Tournament with an overtime win
By Cliff Pfenning,

PORTLAND - Portland State's four seniors ... and the cheer team that supported them - got a thrilling send-off from home games Saturday with a 97-90 over North Dakota State in the regular season finale for both teams at the Pamplin Sports Complex.

PSU outscored the Fighting Siuox 16-9 in overtime to finish the regular season at 19-12 overall and will play in the first round of the Big Sky Conference tournament Tuesday.

Senior Bryce Canda hit four 3-point shots and led the Vikings with 24 points.



Ducks shooting on fire

SATURDAY 4CAST: Oregon women's basketball, Blazers, men's hoop, WOU
Staff report

Oregon moved a step closer to its first Pac-12 Conference Tournament final by setting a tournament record for 3-pointers with 13 in an 84-47 rout of Colorado Friday.

The No. 8 Ducks had a 22-0 scoring run in midgame and were never challenged - leading by 51 at one point.

Oregon plays fourth-seeded UCLA in its semifinal today at 6 p.m.

Oregon State fell 57-51 to Arizona State and has the remainder of the weekend off.

ASU will play Stanford in the other semifinal following Oregon-UCLA.

While Oregon will be looking to reach the final for the first time, Stanford - the defending champion - has won 12 of the 16 tournament finals.


A 108-99 win over visiting Minnesota moved the Portland Trail Blazers a game closer to third place in the Western Conference and extended their win streak to five.

Damian Lillard scored 35 points after missing his first seven shots, and CJ McCollum added 19 for Portland, which is just 0.5 games behind Minnesota in the race for third place in the West. The Blazers trailed 78-75 entering the fourth quarter, but outscored Minnesota 33-21 the rest of the way and split their four-game series at 2-all.

There are three other teams within a game of the Timberwolves in the tightly-knit conference race, which includes three other teams battling for a playoff spot.

Portland plays host to Oklahoma City - one of the third-place hopefuls - Saturday.


Both the Oregon and Oregon State men's basketball teams lost by a basket Thursday night to rivals in Washington and finish their regular season today.

The Ducks, who swept the Arizona schools last weekend at home, fell 78-76 at Washington State, while the Beavers lost 79-77 at Washington.

Oregon plays at Washington in Seattle, while Oregon State plays at Washington State.


Western Oregon's men's basketball team won its 21st-straight game Friday, 98-70, over Seattle Pacific, and plays St. Martin's in the championship game of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament today at Alaska-Anchorage University. The Wolves won both games between the teams during the regular season. The tournament leads into the NCAA Div. II Western Region next week.


Ducks, Beavs get playoffs moving

Oregon, Oregon State open Pac-12 Tournament
Staff report

Touted as the "Wonder Women" all season by its athletic staff, the University of Oregon women's basketball team has played up to that level by winning the Pac-12 Conference title for the first time in nearly 20 years.

But, that was the regular season. Crunch time begins today with a quarterfinal game in the conference tournament in Las Vegas.

Oregon plays Colorado at 11:30 a.m.

In-state rival Oregon State plays Arizona State at 8:30 p.m.

The Ducks reached the semifinals of the tournament last season before losing to Stanford.

Oregon State, which won the regular season title last year, reached the tournament final before losing to Stanford.

Stanford has won the conference tournament 12 times in its 16 years, including twice in the past three years when OSU won or tied for the regular-season crown. OSU won two seasons ago.

Oregon has yet to win the tournament.

The Ducks feature the season's Player of the Year in sophomore Sabrina Ionescu, and forward Ruthie Hebard, who set an NCAA record for consecutive made field-goal attempts at 33 late in the season. Both were named as candidates for national Player of the Year as point guard and forward, respectively.



Streaking Eastern nabs CCC awards

George Fox to Iowa for NCAAs, Western lines up
By Cliff Pfenning,

Eastern Oregon won the Cascade Conference women's basketball title completely Monday by beating Southern Oregon in the tournament after going unbeaten during the regular season. Tuesday, conference coaches rewarded the Mountaineers' efforts with awards, handing three key awards to EOU.

Junior guard Maya Ah You-Dias earned Player of the Year, senior Stormee Van Belle earned Defensive Player of the Year, and coach Anji Weissenfluh was named Coach of the Year after the team finished 30-2 and ranked No. 4 nationally.

You-Dias averaged 17.1 points per game and shot better than 49 percent from the field.

Senior Payton Parrish was also named to the 12-person conference all-first team.

Next up, the team travels to Sioux City, Iowa, for the NAIA National Tournament, which begins Tuesday.

Eastern Oregon hasn't lost since Nov. 25.


George Fox punched its ticket to the NCAA Div. III women’s basketball tournament with a 60-50 win over Willamette in the Northwest Conference final Saturday - its third conference title in the past four years, and will play as many as two games in Iowa.

The Bruins travel to Waverly, Iowa, for the first-round of the NCAA Div. III Tournament, which features 64 teams just as the Div. I tournament does. The Bruins will face Saint Benedict of St. Joseph, Minn., in the first round, with a game against either host Wartburg or Webster Saturday.

George Fox is making its 14th trip to the tournament, having won the title in 2009. It reached the Final 8 two seasons ago. Senior Kaitlin Jamieson, a 6-3 senior from Forest Grove, leads the team at 11.9 points per game.

George Fox won the national title in 2009, and reached the Sweet 16 in 2015 and ‘16.


Warner Pacific played into the Cascade Conference Tournament finale Tuesday, but fell 75-73 at College of Idaho and missed an automatic berth into the NAIA national tournament.

Xavier Kannefax scored 23 points to lead the Knights, and Collin Malcolm added 21.


Western Oregon ran its win streak to 20 games Saturday, and is headed to the conference tournament as the men’s top seed for the third time in four years. The Wolves improved to 27-1 overall with a 77-52 win over Simon Fraser and earned a first-round bye in the tournament, which begins Thursday at Alaska-Anchorage. Western Oregon lost only to Western Washington (21-7), which earned the other first-round bye. Western Washington beat Western Oregon in the final of last year’s tournament.


Portland’s 107-78 win over Lane Saturday secured the Southern Division title, with Linn-Benton nabbing second place and an automatic berth in the conference tournament via its 101-94 win over Mt. Hood Saturday.

Clackamas (8-6 in division play), Chemeketa (7-7) and Umpqua (7-7) will all be dueling this week for the final two spots in the 16-team bracket scheduled to be played over two weekends in Everett, Wash.

Top-ranked Umpqua remained unbeaten in women’s play at 27-0 with the Southern Division’s four tournament teams having been determined: Lane, Clackamas and Mt. Hood joining the Riverhawks.

The Sweet 16 and Elite 8 will be played March 8-11, then the Final Four for both men and women March 17-18.


Ducks head to tourney with honors

WEDNESDAY 4CAST: Women's hoop, Blazers
Staff report

Oregon's drive to win its first conference title in nearly 20 years resulted in coaches recognizing the players who accomplished the feat Tuesday.

Sophomore Sabrina Ionescu was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year for women's basketball, earning the award a year after being named Freshman of the Year. The freshman honor went to teammate Satou Sabally as the  Ducks prepare for the conference tournament in Las Vegas that begins Thursday.

Oregon and Oregon State both have first-round byes.

Ionescu led the conference in scoring at 19.8 points per game, in assists at 7.8 per game and was among the conference leaders in rebounds at 6.7 per game. She has reached a triple-double performance eight times in her two years in Eugene.

Oregon's last POY was Shaquala Williams, who earned the honor in 2000, the last time the Ducks won the conference title prior to this year. Lauri Landerholm earned the award in 1987 as well.

Sabally averaged 10.9 points and was a starter in 22 games, helping the team to its No. 6 ranking.


Portland got 26 points from Damian Lillard – 15 in the first quarter – and led wire-to-wire in a 116-99 decision over Sacramento Tuesday night at the Moda Center.

Lillard also finished with 12 assists as the Blazers (35-26) won their fourth-consecutive game heading into a home game with Minnesota Thursday. The Timberwolves (38-26) are in third place in the Western Conference, 1.5 games ahead of the Blazers.

Jusuf Nurkic had 17 points and nine rebounds for Portland, which beat the Kings for the 10th consecutive time at the Moda Center.

Combined with his scoring totals from previous games, Lillard set a franchise record for the highest scoring average for a month at 31.4 points.


New Portland Timbers coach Giovani Savarisi, moved from his old team at the right time as the North American Soccer League cancelled its season Tuesday. Savarisi coached the league's New York Cosmos for five seasons before getting the call to join Portland late last year and become the team's third coach. Portland begins its eighth season in MLS play Sunday in Los Angeles.

Major League Soccer heads the list of leagues in the U.S., followed by the United Soccer Leagues in which the Timbers played prior to moving to MLS in 2011. Portland fields a team in the USL - T2 - along with Seattle, Vancouver and Los Angeles of the MLS Western Conference.


The High School Nationals racquetball tournament is set to begin Wednesday and run through Sunday at Portland Multnomah Athletic Club and Sunset Athletic Club. Players and team from Oregon are annually among the top in the nation.




Oregon women take Pac-12 title

4CAST: Women's basketball, Timbers, Blazers, Gymnastics
Staff report

The eighth-ranked Oregon women's basketball team won the Pac-12 Conference regular season title for the first time in nearly 20 years Sunday, earning the honor after a 74-61 win over Arizona in Tucson, Ariz.

Oregon improved to 27-4 and finished conference play at 16-2, one game ahead of Stanford. Oregon last won the conference title in 2000 when it featured just 10 schools.

Ruthy Hebard finished with 24 points and Lexi Bando added 15 by hitting five 3-point shots.

Oregon next plays in the Pac-12 Tournament, which begins Thursday in Las Vegas. Oregon earned a first-round by with the title. Oregon will play the winner of Thursday's Utah vs. Colorado game.

No. 12 Oregon State (23-6, 14-4) beat Arizona State 64-60 Sunday for its seventh consecutive win and also earned a first-round tournament bye by finishing in a tie for third place with No. 10 UCLA. OSU will play the winner of Thursday's Arizona vs. Arizona State game.


The Portland Timbers beat Sporting Kansas City Saturday in their preseason finale and now have a week to prepare for their season opener in Los Angeles against the Galaxy at Stub Hub Field.

Portland begins its eighth season of MLS play having ended last season as the Western Conference leader, although it dropped a first-round playoff duel to the Houston Dynamo.


Portland's last-second 106-104 win at Phoenix Saturday improved the team to 34-26 overall and moved it to within 1.5 games of third place in the Western Conference standings. Portland plays host to Sacramento on Tuesday night, and Minnesota Thursday.


A week after setting a season-high in points, No. 8 Oregon State lost to No. 3 UCLA, 198.075-196.525 at Pauley Pavillion.

The Beavers finish their regular season with meets at home against BYU, March 5, and Michigan State, March 10.





Oregon upsets unsettled Arizona in OT

The Wildcats' coach sits out, but Oregon scores a huge win
Staff report

The fast-moving scandal that hit the University of Arizona men's basketball program this week broiled into a key win for the Oregon Ducks Saturday before a national audience via ESPN and a packed house at the Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon got 30 points from Elijah Brown and double-figure scores from the other four starters to beat the 14th-ranked Wildcats 98-93. The Ducks won the battle of turnovers 17-4.

Brown hit 15 of 17 free throws to help Oregon overcome Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton, who had 28 points and 18 rebounds. Ayton is a key figure in the FBI probe that recorded coach Sean Miller discussing a payment of $100,000 to an agent to secure Ayton attending Arizona. Miller did not coach the team Saturday, with assistant Lorenzo Romar - the one-time University of Washington coach, taking over that role.

The win moved the Ducks to 19-10 overall, 9-7 in conference games after the weekend sweep of the Arizona schools.

Oregon State, which lost to Arizona Thursday, beat Arizona State 79-75 at Gill Coliseum Saturday to improve to 14-14, 6-10. The Beavers finished their home schedule at 13-4 overall.

Both Oregon schools travel to Washington to close out the regular season.


Oregon men beat ASU, Arizona next

Pac-12 men's basketball, women's basketball, Blazers, Timbers
Staff report

The Oregon men's basketball team opened a key weekend with a 75-68 win over Arizona State Thursday night at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, but now comes the big game: Arizona.

The Ducks take on the Wildcats Saturday night in a nationally-televised game on ESPN in what is effectively a playoff-preview.

Oregon's pair of losses last weekend in Los Angeles dropped it out of contention for second place in the Pac-12 Conference and put the team in a win-or-else situation to reach the NCAA Tournament. Oregon needs to win the conference tournament and Arizona (23-6, 14-1) is atop the conference standings ranked No. 14 in the nation.

Game time is 7:15 p.m. Saturday.

Elijah Brown led the Ducks (18-10, 8-7) Thursday with 19 points and seven rebounds. He hit eight of his 12 field-goal attempts.

Oregon State (13-14, 5-10) lost to Arizona 75-65 in Corvallis Thursday and takes on Arizona State Saturday at 5 p.m.

Both Oregon schools close out their regular season next week with games in Washington.

The conference tournament begins March 7 in Las Vegas.


The Oregon women's basketball team, having moved up to No. 8 in the nation, is two wins from taking the conference regular-season title, with only games at Arizona State tonight and Arizona Sunday in the way. Oregon is 25-4, 14-2, and a game ahead of Stanford in the conference standings.

No. 12 Oregon State (21-6, 12-4) takes its five-game win streak to Arizona tonight and Arizona State on Sunday.


Portland's All-Star Game break ends tonight with a game at Utah followed by a game at Phoenix Saturday night. The Blazers enter the weekend two games ahead of the Jazz in the Western Conference standings.

With Oklahoma City winning Thursday night, the Blazers dropped a full game out of fifth place in the Western Conference standings, but the Los Angeles Clippers lost at Golden State and dropped a half-game further behind the Blazers in the race for the eight playoff spots.


The Portland Timbers will take on Sporting Kansas City Saturday in their final preseason match at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.

Portland's eighth season in Major League Soccer begins March 4 in Los Angeles against the Galaxy.



Wolves lead in-state hoop hopefuls

Western, Eastern, Southern Oregon all playoff primed
By Cliff Pfenning,

As the men's and women's basketball regular season heads to a close, a number of Oregon schools are well-positioned for success on the national and regional stage, starting with the Western Oregon men's team.

The Wolves, 25-1 entering the week, were ranked No. 4 in the latest NCAA Div. II Coaches poll. Senior Tanner Omlid, a 6-foot-4 forward from Central High, leads Western Oregon at 13.8 points per game with only one other player averaging in double figures. Western Oregon is the top-ranked team from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

The GNAC leader among women's teams is Alaska-Anchorage.

George Fox, at 22-3, leads the Northwest Conference in women's basketball and is ranked No. 15 nationally in the latest NCAA Div. III coaches poll. On the men's side, Whitworth is the conference leader.

At NAIA Div. II, Eastern Oregon is 20-0 in the Cascade Conference and ranked No. 6 nationally. Southern Oregon is ranked No. 10 and Northwest Christian is No. 16. College of Idaho leads the men's side.

And in the Northwest Athletic Conference, Umpqua is 25-0 and ranked No. 1 on the women's side, with Clackamas at No. 4 and Lane at No. 7. Portland has been ranked No. 1 or 2 all season on the men's side, with Linn-Benton at No. 7 and Clackamas at No. 8.



TUESDAY 4CAST: Oregon gets huge win

Pac-12 Men, Timbers, Prep
Staff report

After playing their way to a 19-point lead Monday night, the No. 10 Oregon women's basketball team did what all the fans at Matthew Knight Arena thought they would do - they made the game exciting.

No. 8 UCLA fought back and took a three-point lead in the final minute before the Ducks rallied and won in overtime, 101-94, before a crowd of 7,098 and a national audience on ESPN2.

Oregon's win kept the Ducks (14-2, 25-4) atop the conference standings - all alone after No. 16 Stanford (13-3, 19-9) lost to rival Cal on Saturday - heading into the final weekend of the season: a pair of road games in Arizona.

UCLA (12-4, 21-6) dropped a full two games out of first after entering the weekend tied with Oregon and Stanford.

No. 12 Oregon State (12-4, 21-6) swept UCLA and USC and moved into a third-place with with the Bruins.


With a shot at moving up to second in the conference standings, the Oregon men dropped to seventh with a pair of weekend losses in Southern California and are essentially on a path where they need to win the conference tournament to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

Oregon plays host to the Arizona schools this weekend, as does Oregon State (5-9, 13-13).


With the final stage - two months - of the regular season upcoming, Portland signed much-travelled guard Brandon Rush to a 10-day contract Monday.

Rush has played for nine years in the league, but not this season.


After the second and third round of high school state championships played out Friday and Saturday with wrestling and swimming, OSAA sports get a weekend off before the first three boys and girls basketball finals begin. But, non-OSAA sports have a championship weekend upcoming with bowling.

The Oregon bowling championships begin Friday in Klamath Falls, with nordic and alpine finals set for March.


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