Blazers begin stretch run

4CAST: NBA, NCAA Tourney, Winterhawks, MLS/NWSL
Staff report
Damian vs. James a key part of tonight's game

The Portland Trail Blazers start the first of four consecutive games against teams at the top of the the Western Conference and Eastern Conference with the Houston Rockets tonight.

Houston leads the Western Conference and will take on the Blazers at the Moda Center at 7:30 p.m., a game set to be televised by TNT.

Portland, with a 13-game winning streak through Monday, then gets Boston - the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 team - on Friday.

They head to Oklahoma City Sunday and play at New Orleans next Monday.

With the win streak the Blazers vaulted into third place in the Western Conference and first place in the Northwest Division. The conference strength is significant this season as all eight playoff teams are at least nine games above .500. The Blazers have just 12 games to go in the regular season.

Oklahoma City is 43-29 and just two games behind Portland in the race for the division title, while New Orleans is 40-30 and tied for fifth place in the West with Utah. The Pelicans may be a first-round playoff opponent for Portland.

2.NCAA WOMEN'S TOURNEY

Central Michigan, and 11th seed in the NCAA Women's Tournament 11th, scored a huge upset of Ohio State Monday, and will get the University of Oregon in the Sweet 16 Saturday in Spokane, Wash. Oregon is 32-4 on the year, while Central Michigan is 30-4.

Oregon State, meanwhile, gets second-ranked Baylor on Friday. The game is set for Lexington, Ky., Friday. Baylor is 33-1, while OSU is 25-7 following its upset of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sunday.

The Pac-12 got two more teams into the Sweet 16 Monday - UCLA and Stanford, and has four teams in the Sweet 16.

3. WINTERHAWKS HEADED FOR PLAYOFFS

The 72-game regular season came to a close with a 5-4 loss to Spokane Sunday for the Portland Winterhawks, but the season begins anew Saturday. Portland, which finished the regular season at 44-22-1-5 for 94 points, plays the Chiefs in a seven-game series with the first two games in Portland Saturday and Sunday.

4. TIMBERS/THORNS EYE LEAGUE PLAY

The Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers return to the pitch Saturday with league matches. The Thorns, who drew with Houston 0-0 Saturday at Merlo Field, open NWSL play at North Carolina Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Portland won its second NWSL title last season.

The Timbers, 0-2 in MLS action, play at Houston Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Portland has scored just once in its two games, and is looking for its first win under new coah Giovanni Savarese.

ALSO

In Pac-12 softball, Sixth-ranked Oregon is 25-5 heading for a weekend off before a three-game series with rival Oregon State March 29-31 in Corvallis.

Oregon State recovered from a 12-0 loss Saturday to beat Cal 8-3 Sunday and earn a 2-1 series win in Corvallis. Oregon State is 19-10 heading into a three-game series at UCLA Friday.

In Pac-12 baseball, top-ranked Oregon State is 18-1 on the year, matching the 1951, 1962, 2013 and 2017 teams for the best record through 19 games. OSU has won 13 consecutive Pac-12 games dating back to the 2016 season. The Beavers start a three-game series with Washington on Friday.
 
In other Pac-12 action, Oregon starts a three-game series with Cal starting Friday. Oregon is 8-2 at home this season.

 

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