TEAR IT UP: Roger McConnell played a Jimi Hendrix inspired national anthem for the last played at the facility. He got the crowd going, but took a minute to set-up, leading a fan to scream “Go Ducks!” into the silence. It was met with cheers until another fan belted “Go Dawgs!” The team cheered with their followers and the Ducks finally started to boo. After the anthem, McConnell kissed the court.
Full disclosure: I keep every media pass given. Don’t know what I’m going to do with them, but they’re stacked in boxes around the home office. I think I’ll do something special with the one passed out today, however, like frame it with the Madison Square Garden visits and WNBA championships.
Oregon (10-4, 1-2 Pac-10) is playing its final basketball game at the historic McArthur Court Saturday afternoon. The school will host a BCS viewing party at the 84-year-old facility on Monday for the football team, but the women shut the doors on hoops against Washington (6-6, 1-2). The men opened the building in 1927 with a win against Willamette and will debut the $227 million Matthew Knight Arena on Thursday against USC.
The Huskies haven’t been particularly successful on the Ducks’ turf, winning in Eugene three times in the past 10 years. Yet, the players are as geeked as me to play part in history. Given the rivalry between the schools, UW would like nothing more than have the famed building close its books with a loss to Washington.
A really good crowd, some who may have attended the inaugural game, is filing in from the slight drizzle outside. Oregon alum Cathrine Kraayeveld, who starred at Lake Washington High, is seated behind the Ducks bench wearing her own throwback T-shirt, “Cat’s Not Afraid of Dawgs” with her No. 33 on it. Others are draped in green and gold and snapping photos from every angle.
Washington has its own good news in F Mollie Williams being dressed for the first time since suffering a concussion against Georgia Tech on Dec. 23. She’s practiced this week, looking strong in shoot-around sessions. Her minutes could be limited along with C Regina Rogers, who returned Thursday after two-month absence.
Huskies coach Tia Jackson spoke of conditioning since neither has played in a bit, so she didn’t want to exasperate them. Their return does help UW inside, however. In Washington’s recent three-game losing streak, a big reason for the losses was lack of depth inside and younger players making mistakes due to logging heavier minutes than expected early in the season.
“We were able to close out a game,” said Jackson of Rogers’ minutes in a 55-52 win against Oregon State on Thursday. “It’s been a bugaboo for the last few games. We did it right, we wanted to play her between 12 and 15 minutes.”
F Mackenzie Argens said what she likes most about the building is it’s name, “Mac Court,” scoring a career-high 21 points in a loss to Oregon last year. She proclaimed the Huskies would have something for the Ducks, let’s see what it is by getting you ready with your starting lineups:
F Charmaine Barlow
F Marjorie Heard
C Mackenzie Argens
G Sara Morton
G Kristi Kingma
F Amanda Johnson
F Jasmin Holliday
C Victoria Kenyon
G Nia Jackson
G Ashley Buis
Tonight’s officials are Marianne Karp, Rick Showers, and Shelley Nakasone.