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Timbers, Thorns eye weekend goals

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Both teams play another round of road games - as doubleheader
Staff report

The Portland Timbers and Thorns are preparing for a rare event in professional sports these days - a doubleheader.

Both teams play in Chicago Saturday at Toyota Park, the home field for both the Fire and Red Stars. Saturdays matches are set for 3 p.m. for the Timbers and Fire, followed by the Thorns and Red Stars at 5:15.

It's the only doubleheader of the season, and first of its kind for both Portland teams.

The Timbers head into the match with a point after a 1-all tie at Dallas Saturday, a match in with the team saw its first red card of the season handed out to Lawrence Olum after a pair of yellows. The draw was the first season point for new coach Giovani Savarese.

The Thorns opened their season with a 1-0 loss at the North Carolina Courage, a match that saw goalkeeper Andriana French produce what turned into the Save of the Week via the NWSL website.

The Thorns have two weeks off after Saturday to prepare for their home opener, April 15.

The Timbers continue their season April 8 at Orlando City before returning for their home opener, April 14.

 

 

Beavers prep for Baylor rematch

4CAST: NCAA Tourney, Hawks, Timbers, Thorns, Pac-12
Staff report

The NCAA Tournament established game times for the Sweet 16 Tuesday, and Oregon State got a 4 p.m. slot against second-ranked Baylor in Lexington, Ky.

Oregon will play Central Michigan Saturday at 3 p.m. in Spokane, Wash.

Baylor is 33-1, while OSU is 25-7, but has a 3-0 record against the Bears all-time. The Beavers beat Baylor in 2016 to advance to the Final Four for the first time. It's the third-straight year OSU has reached the Sweet 16.

Oregon heads for the Sweet 16 for the second-straight year after advancing to the Elite 8 last year. The Ducks are 32-4, while Central Michigan is 30-4.

2. 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.

The Hawks-Chiefs series is one of eight that starts the first round of the WHL Playoffs. The winner will advance to the Memorial Cup, which will be played for the 100th time this year.

3. 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.

4. PAC-12 SOFTBALL, BASEBALL

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.

Blazers look to next streak

After Houston loss, Portland has more key games ahead
Staff report

The win streak is over, but it certainly put the Portland Trail Blazers on the map of teams to watch for as possible title contenders.

Next up is Boston.

James Harden scored 42 points, including a pair of 3s down the stretch, and the Houston Rockets snapped the Blazers’ 13-game winning streak with a 115-111 victory on Tuesday night before a rowdy crowd at the Moda Center.

“They’re the No. 1 team in the league for a reason,” Portland’s Damian Lillard said afterward. “We’ve just got to make a few more plays and make a few more shots if we want to beat a team like that.”

Portland’s winning streak was tied for the second-longest in franchise history. The team also won 13 consecutive games in 2007.

Al-Farouq Aminu had 22 points, including six 3-pointers, for Portland. The Blazers had also won nine straight at the Moda Center before the loss.

Jusef Nurkic had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Lillard added 20 for the Blazers. But, Lillard’s backcourt mate C.J. McCollum had just six points on 4-of-15 shooting, and combined with Lillard to miss all 12 of their 3-point shots combined - easily their worst performance of the season.

And, yet, Portland lost by just four to drop to 44-27 overall.

Chris Paul added 22 points for the Rockets, who have won six straight and 23 of their last 24 and have the best record in the NBA at 57-17.

Boston is second in the Eastern Conference at 48-23, 4.5 games behind Toronto, which is 53-19.

 

Blazers begin stretch run

4CAST: NBA, NCAA Tourney, Winterhawks, MLS/NWSL
Staff report

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.

 

Stotts Coach of Year material?

Blazers coach has award rating on the line this week
Staff report

Has Terry Stotts elevated the Portland Trail Blazers enough to be voted Coach of the Year in 2018? Well, maybe, especially if the Blazers can do something like sweep the next four games and head to the NBA Playoffs on a huge roll.

That's a key part of this week's Sportsland, Oregon podcast featuring Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber.

The Blazers plays host to Houston - the Western Conference leader - Tuesday, then 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.

Also, the podcast focuses on the NCAA Tournament, NFL free agency, Timbers and Thorns, Tiger Woods and the start of the 2018 International Roofball Federation schedule.

SPORTSLAND PODCAST

 

 

Ducks keep Eugene buzzing

4CAST: NCAA women, Pac-12 baseball, softball, Hawks, soccer
Staff report

The Oregon women’s basketball team moved to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the second straight year with a 101-73 win over Minnesota Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon will play either Central Michigan or Ohio State, which play today, Saturday with the winner facing either Notre Dame or Texas A&M next Monday in Spokane, Wash.

“I will be shocked if they’re not playing in the Final Four,” Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings said after watching the Ducks put up 30 points in two different quarters Sunday. “They were rolling on all cylinders.”

Sunday’s second-round game matched two of the top-10 scoring offenses in the nation, and the teams combined for 52 points in the first quarter. From there, though, Oregon - leading 30-22 after the first quarter, outscored the Gophers 52-28 in the next two quarters to effectively decide the outcome.

Oregon blew the game open with a 10-0 run to close out the second quarter, capped by a fadeaway three-pointer at the buzzer by Sabrina Ionescu, while she was being fouled.

Ionescu led all scorers with 29 points, while sophomore Ruthy Hebard added 22 for the Ducks - playing in front of a vocal crowd of 7,576 fans.

Oregon made 11 of its 22 3-point attempts.

The Ducks had never been to the Sweet 16 until last season, when they reached the Elite Eight.

2. PAC-12 BASEBALL

Michael Gretler homered in the second inning to spark the top-ranked Oregon State baseball team to a sweep of California Sunday as the Beavers won the series finale, 6-4, in Berkely, Calif.
 
The win pushed Oregon State to 18-1 on the year, matching the 1951, 1962, 2013 and 2017 teams for the best record through 19 games. The victory also sends the Beavers back to Corvallis with a 3-0 conference record; OSU has won 13 consecutive Pac-12 games dating back to the 2016 season.]
 
The sweep marked the Beavers’ third in Berkeley since 2012 after getting swept at Cal in 2016. OSU starts a three-game series with Washington on Friday.
 
In other Pac-12 action, Oregon lost all three games of its series against Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., to drop to 12-7. The Ducks return to Eugene for a three-game series with Cal starting Friday. Oregon is 8-2 at home this season.

3. PAC-12 SOFTBALL

Sixth-ranked Oregon rallied from a loss Friday to beat UCLA Saturday and Sunday and 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 won the first game of the series 10-5 Friday and is 19-10 heading into a three-game series at UCLA Friday.

4. WINTERHAWKS HEAD 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.

EXTENDED 4CAST

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.

Blazers handle Cleveland/Lebron, 113-105

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Portland holds off rally, wins for the 11th straight game
Staff report

PORTLAND - First Golden State. Now, Cleveland.

Last year's NBA Finals teams have both lost in Portland within the last week, as the Trail Blazers continue to make themselves a player in the discussion of what teams are most likely to contend for the league title.

Portland built a 15-point lead, had it dwindle to three inside three minutes left, then pulled off a 113-105 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night at the Moda Center.

C.J. McCollum had 29 points and Damian Lillard had 24 points and nine assists. Lillard made all nine of his free-throw attempts.

LeBron James led the Cavs with 35 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, but missed a layup with 32 seconds to go when the Cavs were down by five.

The Cavs have now lost their last five games in Portland.

Portland improved to 42-26 overall.

Cleveland fell to 39-29.

McCollum made consecutive 3-pointers and Lillard made another that gave Portland an 81-66 lead midway through the third quarter. But, the Cavs got to 105-102 with 2:58 left, but managed just four shots the remainder of the game - making one 3-pointer.

 

Thorns, U.S. Nationals smile after meeting

Portland, US both score twice in entertaining preseason match-up
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

Midway into the first half Wednesday, Morgan Weaver of the U.S. National U-23 team was warming up near her teams' bench when a fan walked over to her.

"You know it's okay to smile," the fan said. "We're happy you're here."

Weaver got onto the field a short time later and had an assist in the second half as the U.S. team rallied for a 2-2 tie with the host Portland Thorns at Merlo Field.

Ifeoma Onumonu and Mallory Weber scored for the Thorns, who spent most of the match defending against a solid attack from their younger peers, who found a way past Portland starter Adrianna French twice.

Portland, which lost the first of its three preseason matches Saturday against Chicago, plays host to Houston Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in its final match to ready for the NWSL season that begins March 24.

The Thorns, last season's league champions, play two games on the road before returning to Providence Park for their home opener April 15.

Portland's scores were off a counterattack, and a corner kick. Ifeoma Onumonu took a full-speed pass from Lindsay Horan midway into the first half and booted it past U.S. goalie Bella Geist, and then Mallory Weber headed home a corner from Meghan Klingenberg in the 33rd minute to double the lead.

The U.S. players controlled the ball, unofficially, for more then half of the 45 minutes and managed five shots, one of which caused French to make a solid save.

The nationals continued their attack in the second half and found the net in the 58th and 90th minute with both goals by Catarina Macario. The first was unassisted, while Weaver has an assist on the second.

Portland played its full complement of 21 players, subbing more than half in the second 45 minutes.

Regular starters Christine Sinclair, Emily Sonnett and Horan returned from international duty to start for the Thorns for the first time.

 

Blazers prep for Cleveland

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Portland meets struggling Cavs Thursday with 10-game streak on line
Staff report

The Portland Trail Blazers are the hottest team in the NBA with a 10-game win streak heading into Thursday's game with Cleveland at the Moda Center.

Portland has surged into third place in the Western Conference standings and is 23-11 at home after being below .500 in that department earlier in the year.

Yet, despite all that success, the Blazers are technically only two games ahead of the Cavaliers, who have made headlines with all their roster struggles throughout the season.

Portland is 41-26, while Cleveland, the Eastern Conference champions the past three seasons and NBA champions two years ago, are 39-28 and a half-game out of third place in the East.

Cleveland scored a 129-107 win at Phoenix Tuesday night with Lebron James going for 28 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

The Cavaliers are 5-5 in their past 10 games.

Damian Lillard and James enter the game tied for fourth in the league in scoring at 26.9 points per game. Lillard is fifth in the league in 3-pointers with 195, with James Harden of Houston atop the list with 232.

Portland plays host to Detroit on Saturday, then plays at the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

PORTLAND 115, MIAMI 99

The Portland the Trail Blazers stayed red hot play Monday night with a 16-point win over the Miami Heat, who put up a valiant fight at the Moda Center.

The Blazers, leading just 93-90 midway through the fourth quarter, beat the Heat 115-99 for their 10th win in a row, the longest active streak in the NBA and Portland's longest since winning 11 straight in November of 2013.

At 41-26, the Blazers are third in the Western Conference standings and have already matched their win total from last season with 15 games remaining.

Lillard, fresh off his Western Conference Player of the Week award, had 32 points (7 of 14 from three-point range), five rebounds and 10 of Portland's 23 assists.

It's Lillard's eighth game of 30 or more in his last 11 outings, and had fans chanting "MVP" for a time.

Portland plays host to Cleveland on Thursday.

 

Oregon men shoot to second round

4CAST: Ducks, Oregon women, Oregon State women, Thorns
Staff report

The fourth quarter was the perfect time for the Oregon men's basketball team to establish themselves in the opening round of the National Invitational Tournament Tuesday night.

Down 44-36 at halftime, the Ducks (23-12) made 20-of-26 shots from the field in the second half, including their first 10 shots of the fourth quarter, to beat Rider 99-86 before 2,327 fans at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon outscored their opponents from New Jersey 38-21 in the fourth quarter of the game, which uses four quarters rather than the two halves college men's team are familiar with from their NCAA seasons.

Victory Bailey, Jr., made an incredible 7-of-8 3-point shots and finished with 23 points, a total matched by Payton Pritchare for the Ducks.

Oregon outrebounded Rider 38-31 and finished with a 27-19 edge in free throws.

The Ducks will play the winner of tonight's Harvard at Marquette game.

2. OREGON WOMEN

The Ducks play host to a four-team sub-regional that begins Friday, with the winner advancing to the region finals in Spokane, Wash. Oregon plays Seattle University Friday, following the Minnesota-Wisconsin Green Bay contest. The winners meet Sunday. Four teams will play in Spokane with the winner moving forward to the Final Four in Columbus, Ohio, March 30.

Notre Dame is the top seed in the Spokane regional, with Oregon seeded No. 2.

Connecticut is seeded No. 1 in the Albany, N.Y., region, with Mississippi State seeded No. 1 in the Kansas City region.

3. OREGON STATE WOMEN

The Beavers play in Knoxville, Tenn., in a four-team sub-regional that begins Friday, with the winner advancing to the Lexington, Ky., Region final. Oregon State, the sixth seed, plays Western Kentucky Friday, with Tennesee, the third seed and sub-region host, playing Liberty in the other game. The winners meet Sunday.

Four teams will play in Lexington regional with the winner moving forward to the Final Four in Columbus, Ohio, March 30. Louisville and Baylor are seeded 1, 2, in the region.

4. PORTLAND THORNS PRESEASON

The Portland Thorns play again today and Saturday Merlo Field in preparation for the start of the season, March 24. Wednesday's game is against the U.S. National Under-23 squad beginning at 7:30. Saturday's game is against the Houston Dash also beginning at 7:30

ALSO

The Portland State men's basketball team will play at San Diego Saturday in the second round of the Collegeinsider.com Tournament. Match-ups for the following round - quarterfinals, will be established following this weekend's games. All games will be played on campus sites.

The Portland Winterhawks play again Friday against Seattle at the Moda Center.

 

 

 

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