Forget that it’s Eugene. Ask any Oregon Ducks fan where they’d like to be today and the quick response is Pasadena, Calif. for Friday’s Rose Bowl.
Only the women’s basketball team has to ignore the biggest game for their school and focus on the Pac-10 opener against Washington, which is the Huskies’ last at McArthur Court. And don’t think coach Paul Westhead will sneak in TVs like he helped do when the former Sonics had to practice during big sporting events.
There may be some updates, but the Ducks are sticking to routine.
“I’m sure they are keenly interested as everyone in this town, everyone is this state is — Washington excluded,” Westhead said. “I addressed them about issues like this. We’re performers. It’s New Year’s Day and other things are going on, but our test is to perform at our best.”
The Ducks (9-3) plan to hold shoot-around from 2-3 p.m., right when UO and Ohio State kick-off. And there won’t be any sneaking to the cell phone for updates, a team meal and pregame warm-ups quickly follow.
Westhead, in his first season, didn’t know what to expect when it came to attendance. A spokeswoman also pondered what the turnout would be due to the game and class not being in session.
“Maybe everybody will fly back and run to the game,” Westhead joked. “You would think it would be down, but we do have loyal fans. I can tell you this, I have some friends who live in the Pasadena area and they think they’ve been invaded. There are Ducks everywhere.”
Oregon is planning a celebration, however, honoring its Mac Court past at every home Pac-10 game by returning former players and coaches. On Friday, former Lake Washington High standout Cathrine Kraayeveld will be honored. She plays overseas in Prague and for the New York Liberty.
“We’ll get updates, but it’s our game tomorrow,” senior G Taylor Lilley said. “There are little parts of me that would like to watch it, but that happens. I’ll trust that they’ll win the game for us.”
Lilley, who leads the Pac-10 in averaging 3.0 three-pointers a game, needs to make eight to break Oregon’s all-time record. She also needs seven points to reach 1,000, becoming the 21st player in school history to do so.
Friday’s holiday game is the first time Washington (5-5) has ever played on New Year’s.
“It’s a great way to turn in the New Year,” UW coach Tia Jackson said. “I can’t think of a better place to be. And I’ve been all over the world.”