UW women’s basketball face familiar foe in Oregon in WNIT second round
With the NCAA tournament in Seattle, the Huskies are forced to play the Ducks in Eugene in the second round of the WNIT tournament.
Seattle Times staff reporter
WNIT, UW @ Oregon, 7 p.m.
With the NCAA tournament at its Alaska Airlines Arena court, Washington is in Eugene for that other tournament.
Oregon (16-15) is hosting UW (18-13) in the second round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament on Monday. There was a loud groan among the 1,173 that attended UW’s win Friday once the site was announced over the public address system.
Due to the NCAA taking over Hec Ed, Washington’s higher seeding in the WNIT second round is moot.
Instead of hosting the WNIT, the Washington players watched the opening round of the NCAA game between top-seeded South Carolina and Cal State Northridge from the “Dawg Pack” seats on Sunday. The team bussed down to Oregon afterward.
“It’s OK,” UW coach Mike Neighbors said of the road game. “It’s how you play. Where you play this time of year affects it a little bit, but this group is used to travel. They’re fine.”
It’ll be the third meeting of the season between the border-state rivals. The Ducks won the first meeting, 101-85 at Matthew Knight Arena, with sophomore post Jillian Alleyne finishing with 34 points and 25 rebounds.
Neighbors also said he made a coaching error in thinking his team could run with UO in its noted transition game. He tweaked the game plan for the rematch in Seattle and the Huskies won 108-100 in February. Alleyne still finished with eye-popping stats in 30 points and 22 rebounds.
The Huskies got a freshman-record 38 points from guard Kelsey Plum, one of the differences in the second game.
“At this time of year, you want to play new teams,” Neighbors said. “But it makes scouting easy. We already did the scout, it took two minutes. You know them. I know (Oregon coach) Paul (Westhead). He’s not going to change anything. He hasn’t changed anything in 22 years.”
Oregon’s motivation has changed, however. Westhead is coaching his final games at UO. He was told prior to the Pac-12 conference tournament in Seattle that his contract wouldn’t be renewed after it expires March 31.
Neighbors said he follows several of the Ducks’ players on social media and they’re sharing their emotion about winning for Westhead. Oregon won the WNIT in 2002 prior to Westhead’s arrival.
The winner of Monday’s game advances to play the winner of Monday’s matchup between San Diego and Montana. The scheduling for that game is slated for later this week. UW could host that game at Alaska Airlines arena but the WNIT will make the final call.
“This is kind of ideal because there’s no scout and you already have a feel for their tendencies,” UW junior guard Jazmine Davis said of Oregon. “And we owe them one down there.”
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @JaydaEvans.