No. 6 Oregon gears up for homestand against Cal and Stanford
The No. 6 Ducks begin the final month of the regular season with two games against ranked opponents, the No. 25 California Golden Bears and No. 24 Stanford Cardinal at Matthew Knight Arena.
Oregon head coach Kelly Graves announced that Lexi Bando, who has been out since Jan. 19, will miss both games this weekend. But, Bando was taking shots at the Ducks’ practice on Wednesday.
The Golden Bears (15-6, 6-4) visit Matthew Knight Arena on Friday at 8 p.m.
Senior Kristine Anigwe leads a veteran starting five unit, with just one freshman and four upperclassmen. She averages 17.5 points per game and is second in the Pac-12 with 9.1 rebounds per game. Senior guard Mikayla Cowling gets the ball moving for California. She is fourth in the conference with 5.1 assists per game.
California played two ranked opponents during non-conference play, losing to the No. 1 Connecticut Huskies and then-No. 23 Missouri Tigers. The Golden Bears were swept by then-No. 11 UCLA Bruins and then-No. 25 Arizona State Sun Devils during conference play.
The Cardinal (14-8, 8-2) will play the Ducks on Sunday at 12 p.m.
This is the only matchup against Stanford or California during the regular season for the Ducks.
For Walnut Creek, California native, Sabrina Ionescu, playing against Stanford has special meaning.
“They recruited me growing up and I grew up going to their games,” Ionescu said. “It’s definitely going to be fun playing them here. It would be nice to go back home but we’ll save that for next year.”
Stanford (14-8, 8-2) has played a challenging non-conference schedule this season but weren’t able to pick up any quality wins. They lost to the No. 1 Connecticut Huskies, then-No. 5 Ohio State (one during exhibition play), then-No. 9 Baylor on the road and then-No. 7 Tennessee at home. Stanford’s two losses in conference play were both on the road, to then-No. 25 Arizona State Sun Devils and then-No. 13 UCLA Bruins. However, they beat both at home.
Brittany McPhee leads the team in scoring at 16.2 points per game and Marta Sniezek leads the team, averaging 4.5 assists. The Cardinal also have three players that collect at least 6.8 rebounds per game. Multiple players contribute evenly on this team, as opposed to relying on the production of one or two players for their success. No player ranks in the top-nine in any of the major statistical categories in the conference.
The Cardinal play Oregon State on Friday before heading to Eugene. If Stanford wins in Corvallis, the Cardinal could tie the Ducks atop the Pac-12 with a win on Sunday.
Winning conference championships is nothing new for the Stanford Cardinal program who is led by Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer, who ranks second on the all-time women’s college basketball wins list. The Cardinal won 14-consecutive Pac-10/12 championships from 2001-2014, but haven’t won since. They’ve also won all but three Pac-10/12 conference tournaments since 2003.
“They’ve been the standard really over the last couple of decades by which all of us are judged so any time you beat Stanford, that’s a good day,” Graves said.
Follow Zak Laster on Twitter @zlast3445
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