Eugene, Ore. -- The Civil War is one of the few rivalries in women's college basketball where both teams sit only 50 mins away from one another and are both Final Four contenders. And despite Oregon State winning 15 of the last 17 meetings, Oregon has split the series in both 2018 and 2019. Just a testament to how much the rivalry has grown in recent years, and how intense these games may be this weekend.
"I heard there was alot of hype around it, so I'm super excited," Jaz Shelley, one of Oregon's new freshmen guards, says. "I don't think I know exactly what I'm getting myself into until Friday/Sunday but I'm super excited and everyone is pumped up ready to go."
These two sold out game will be the most important weekend yet for No. 4 ranked Oregon and No. 7 ranked Oregon State. The Ducks are hoping a sweep over the Beavers will help their case to host the Portland regional in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Oregon's Regional Final at the Moda Center against top seeded Mississippi State had an overwhelmingly pro-Duck crowd. Fast forward a year and both teams are gunning for that situation to happen in 2020.
Even with all of the future implications, Oregon is hoping to do something on Sunday they haven't done in the Kelly Graves era: win at Gill Coliseum.
"They're gonna be fired up for that game in Gill," says Graves. "That's certainly something we'd really like to do. We've been capable and they've just outplayed us down the stretch in a couple of the last two games and they could'e gone either way."
"It's going to be tough, but it's going to be really fun as well," senior forward Ruthy Hebard says. "I mean it's always fun to play them back to back, I think we learn a lot in those two games and hopefully we learn just enough to come up with two dubs this weekend."
And Oregon will have a good base to build following a sweep of the northern california schools, Cal and no. 6 Stanford. The Ducks buried the Cardinal at Matthew Knight Arena last Friday thanks to a string of 26 possessions in which they scored in 24. Sabrina Ionescu also finished with one of her best lines as a Duck: 37 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists.
"That was one of the best played offensive halves that I've ever coached," Graves mentioned. "I loved our effort this past weekend. I thought defensively we were on point. We were making a lot of plays, we were turning teams over and turning turnovers into points. We play very well at home. Let's hope that continues on Friday."
Tip off at Matthew Knight Arena will be 7:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network. Sunday at Gill Coliseum will be an ESPN game, tipping off at 1:00 p.m.