The Ducks are not the only team in the Portland Regional that would have the home-crowd advantage next weekend at the Moda Center.
Oregon, the No. 2 seed, opens the women’s NCAA Tournament against No. 15 Portland State on Friday at Matthew Knight Arena (6:30 p.m., ESPN2).
The Vikings (25-7) upset Big Sky regular-season champion Idaho in the semifinals of the conference tournament and edged Eastern Washington in the championship game to earn an automatic bid.
“They’re going to be hungry. They know that Oregon gets a lot of the attention, but they’re going to have some fan support here I’m sure,” Kelly Graves said. “They don’t have to travel too far and they’ll be ready to go.”
Portland State is led by three fifth-year seniors — first-team all-Big Sky guard Sidney Rielly (team-high 14.4 ppg), Big Sky defensive player of the year Courtney West (10.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Washington State transfer Ashley Bolston (12.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg).
Idaho leads the NCAA in made 3-pointers per game (11.4) but was 6-for-29 behind the arc in its upset loss to the Vikings at the Big Sky Tournament in Boise.
“Let’s face it, 25 wins for a 15 seed, that’s pretty good,” Graves said. “I think (Portland State) coach (Lynn) Kennedy has done an awesome job there. He’s really built it the right way.”
Oregon defeated Portland State 122-59 in the last meeting on Dec. 17, 2016, at Moda Center. The Vikings, who have never won an NCAA Tournament game or defeated a ranked opponent, finished 16-17 in 2016-17 and 19-13 in 2017-18 before breaking into the bracket this season.
“They’re coming in with nothing to lose,” Graves said. “A good team with nothing to lose is a dangerous team.”
The Oregon-Portland State winner will play the No. 7 Texas-No. 10 Indiana winner Sunday. The Longhorns (23-9) finished third in the Big 12, and the Hoosiers (20-12) were tied for 10th in the Big Ten.
Mississippi State, which has lost in the past two national championship games, is the No. 1 seed in the Portland Regional.
“I know the kids look at the big picture, and we know what we’re chasing after. Listen, we don’t hide from that,” Graves said. “But at the same time, I think we’re just worrying about the game on Friday night.”
Former Triangle Lake star Kiana Brown will not get to play in her homecoming game at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday.
Brown, who would have been a redshirt senior this season for Portland State, is taking the season off due to personal reasons, according to the school. She has been granted an NCAA waiver to return for a sixth year of eligibility in 2019-20.
The 5-8 guard scored 2,894 points in her prep career for the Lakers to set the state record for girls basketball. Brown played her first college season at Eastern Washington before transferring to Humboldt State as a sophomore.
Brown sat out the 2016-17 year after transferring to Portland State. She averaged 11.8 points per game last season for the Vikings.
"For us to have a chance to go up against one of the nation's best teams and kind of see where we stack up is exciting for us," Kennedy told the Portland Tribune. "We know they're a Final Four-caliber team, so it's going to be a challenge. But at the same time, we're excited about where our program's come."