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BY PAUL DANZER/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/Schedule, team breakdowns for Portland regional semifinals, finals at Moda Center

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon power forward Ruthy HebardFriday regional semifinals

Arizona State vs. Mississippi State, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)

Oregon vs. South Dakota State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Sunday regional final

Semifinal winners, 11 a.m. 

  • Oregon (31-4)

    Pac-12 regular-season champion.

    AP ranking: No. 7.

    Tournament path: The No. 2 seed in the region beat Portland State 78-40 and Indiana 91-68.

    Notable wins: vs. Mississippi State, at South Dakota State, at Stanford, vs. Oregon State, two wins over UCLA and two over Arizona State.

    Losses: At Michigan State, at Oregon State, at home to UCLA and to Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament title game.

    Key players: Junior guard Sabrina Ionescu is the triple-double NCAA record holder with 18. The national player of the year candidate is averaging 19.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game. Junior post Ruthy Hebard is a finalist for the national power forward of the year and averages 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game despite being slowed by a knee injury, which caused her to miss losses to Oregon State and UCLA. Sophomore Satou Sabally averages 16.2 points and 6.2 rebounds. Sophomore Erin Boley averages 12.9 points and shoots a team-best 44.7 percent from 3-point range. Maite Cazorla, the only senior in the starting lineup, often draws the toughest defensive assignment and averages 9.8 points and 4.4 assists per game.

    Take note: The Ducks have only eight healthy players, with senior Oti Gildon getting most of the minutes off the bench since freshman Taylor Chavez was injured late in the regular season. Hebard is less than 100 percent. But with the exception of the Pac-12 tournament, where three games in three nights likely contributed to cold shooting, Oregon's short rotation has been effective.

    Mississippi State (32-2)

    SEC regular-season and tournament champion.

    AP ranking: No. 4.

    Tournament path: The No. 1 seed in the region beat Southern 103-46 and Clemson 85-61.

    Notable wins: Beat South Carolina and Tennessee twice each.

    Losses: At Oregon, at home to Missouri.

    Key players: Senior 6-7 post Teaira McCowan averages 18.3 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots. Senior 5-11 forward Anriel Howard, a graduate transfer from Texas A&M, averages 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. Sophomore 6-1 forward Chloe Bibby averages 11.9 points and shoots a team-bests 45 percent from 3-point range.

    Take note: The Bulldogs are gunning for their third consecutive trip to the Final Four. They lost in the national championship game the past two seasons, including on a buzzer-beating shot to Notre Dame last season. The Bulldogs average 86.6 points per game (second nationally), outrebound opponents by more than 13 per game and average more than 23 points per game off opponent turnovers.

    Arizona State (22-10)

    Fifth place in the Pac-12 regular season.

    AP ranking: No. 23.

    Tournament path: Beat Central Florida 60-45 and Miami 57-55.

    Notable wins: Beat Oregon State twice, beat Utah by two points twice. 

    Close losses: Nine of ASU's 10 losses were to teams in the NCAA Tournament, eight of them to teams in the Sweet 16, including to No. 1 seeds Baylor (65-59) and Louisville (58-56) in November.

    Key players: Senior 6-1 forward Kianna Ibis averages 14 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Senior 6-0 guard Courtney Ekmark is the only other Sun Devil scoring in double figures (10.4).

    Take note: ASU's formula is tough, aggressive defense. The Sun Devils have 10 players who have played in at least 30 games this season and most average more than 10 minutes per game. Depth was vital in the come-from-behind, second-round win at Miami, as 29 of ASU's 57 points were scored off the bench. This is the fifth Sweet 16 for Arizona State under coach Charli Turner Thorne (and ASU's second Sweet 16 since 2009). 

    South Dakota State (28-6)

    Summit league champions.

    AP: unranked. 

    Tournament path: No. 6 seed in the region beat Quinnipiac 76-65, then upset No. 3 seed Syracuse 75-64.

    Notable wins: Beat rival South Dakota twice, including in the Summit League championship game; won at 15th-ranked Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament.

    Losses: At Marquette, No. 1 Baylor (72-66), Buffalo, Oregon (87-79), at Wyoming, at South Dakota.

    Key players: Junior 6-0 guard Macy Miller averages 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game and shoots 46.4 percent on 3-pointers. Junior 5-8 guard Madison Guebert hit six 3-pointers in the win over Syracuse and averages 13.9 points per game. A 6-2 sophomore, Tagyn Larson, averages 10.8 points and 6.4 rebounds. Freshman 6-2 forward Myah Selland averages 12.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

    Take note: The Jackrabbits have won 18 games in a row and are in the Sweet 16 for the first time. This is their ninth NCAA Division I Tournament appearance, all over the last 11 seasons. SDSU is 22-0 when winning the rebounding battle. The Jackrabits have three players with more than 100 assists this season. South Dakota State won the NCAA D-II championship in 2003 and jumped to D-I in 2004. 


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