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Ionescu’s Court: Can the Vikings beat the Ducks?

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Let the Big Dance begin!

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament Stanford vs Oregon Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

This Friday at 6 PM on ESPN2, the 15-seed Portland State Vikings will play against the Mighty Ducks of Oregon!

Can the Vikings end the Ducks’ tournament run before it starts? All rise! Ionescu’s court is in session.

SEASON THUS FAR

RECORD: 25-7, 14-6

BEST WINS: Eastern Washington, Idaho, UC Davis

WORST LOSSES: Northern Colorado, Idaho State

COMMON OPPONENT: UC Irvine

LAST 5 GAMES:

  • L (3/7) Montana, 70-73 (OT)
  • W (3/9) Montana State, 68-55
  • W (3/12) Montana State, 68-56
  • W (3/13) Idaho, 75-59
  • W (3/15) Eastern Washington, 61-59

SUMMARY: The Vikings started the season with eight straight wins. Their first loss came against UC Irvine, 68-73, the very same UC Irvine that the Ducks demolished by a score of 115 to 69.

The Northern Colorado Bears managed to defend their home court against the invading Vikings, but PSU bounced back big by winning their next six conference games. The Idaho schools went a perfect 4-0 against Portland State in the regular season, and a surprising overtime loss to Montana was their final loss before entering the Big Sky Tournament as a 4-seed with a 14-6 conference record.

After finishing the regular season with a 68-55 victory over Montana State, PSU maintained their momentum by beating them again in the Big Sky Tournament, 68-56. Then the 4-seed Vikings upset the 1-seed Vandals in the Semifinals, resulting in a Big Sky Championship game between Portland State and the 6-seed Eastern Washington Eagles. PSU emerged victorious from a hard-fought 61-59 battle to earn their spot in the Big Dance.

Though the odds seem insurmountable, if the Vikings are able to beat the Ducks, PSU will possibly be able to play two games in Portland should they reach the sweet sixteen and elite eight.


CONFERENCE COMPARISON

  • VIKINGS score 71.9 PPG
  • DUCKS allow 62.9
  • VIKINGS shoot .453% from the floor
  • DUCKS allow .399%
  • VIKINGS shoot .349% from three
  • DUCKS allow .308%
  • VIKINGS average 39.6 rebounds
  • DUCKS allow 30.3
  • VIKINGS allow 59.8 PPG
  • DUCKS score 86.1
  • VIKINGS allow .352% from the floor
  • DUCKS shoot .507%
  • VIKINGS allow ,303% from three
  • DUCKS shoot .420%
  • VIKINGS allow 37.7 rebounds
  • DUCKS average 37.5
  • VIKINGS average 17.5 assists/ 14.8 turnovers

PORTLAND STATE STARTERS

#2 Sidney Rielly

6’0, Guard, rSenior

Leading her team with 14.4 points per game, Rielly is coming off some of the best ball of her career. She scored in the double digits in all three of her Big Sky Tournament games and her 12-of-12 free throw shooting made a huge difference in the quarterfinals against Montana State. Rielly scored a season-high 32 points against the Portland Pilots.


#10 Courtney West

6’4, Forward, rSenior

The Vikings hope to limit the Ducks scoring opportunities, which is why much of their success relies on Courtney West. At 6-foot-4, West has the best shot at limiting Ruthy Hebard to reasonable numbers. She averages 7.4 rebounds per game, but will need to step it up if she wants to improve her team’s chances.


#0 Ashley Bolston

6’2, Guard, rSenior

Bolston earned Big Sky Tournament MVP after scoring 10, 17, then 16 points in PSU’s three-game run. She’s also from the same school that brought us the Singler brothers, South Medford High School. (Editor’s/North Medford High School Alumnus’ note: Go Black Tornado!)


#11 Jordan Stotler

6’4, Forward, Junior

(6.2 PPG - .494 FG% - .235 3PT% - .781 FT% - 6.7 REB)


#23 Kylie Jimenez

5’6, Guard, Sophomore

(11.7 PPG - .387 FG% - .339 3PT% - .882% FT - 2.3 REB)


IONESCU’S VERDICT

The loss to Stanford was painful, but also an easy one to forget. Sure, a PAC-12 Tournament Championship trophy would be another amazing accomplishment for this historic Duck squad, but since the start of the season we’ve all known that their eye has been on the big prize.

Portland State is lead by a group of seniors that can keep the game close if Oregon doesn’t take them seriously, but this Duck team has proven that they are resilient, alert and dedicated to this program.

The future is bright for this team (especially with the news of Coach Kelly Graves’ extended contract to 2025-26), but their success is built upon the ideology that there are no easy games, and this game is far too important to look past. Ducks should handle the Vikings.

THREAT LEVEL

6 out of 17 triple-doubles

SCORE PREDICTION

DUCKS 92 - VIKINGS 54