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Ducks, Beavers -- big surprise -- highly ranked in early college women's basketball poll

College women's basketball: ESPN columnist Charlie Creme this week released his way-too-early preseason top 25 for 2019-20.

No surprise that he pegs Sabrina Ionescu and the Ducks as preseason No. 1. After reaching the Final Four for the first time, Oregon will return four starters and add talented redshirt freshman Nyara Sabally to the mix.

But Ducks fans might not want to gloat much, yet.

No. 3 on Creme's list is Stanford. Like Oregon, the Cardinal lose only one starter from the team that beat the Ducks in the Pac-12 tournament. They also are adding the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation and still have Tara VanDerveer as coach.

No. 6 on Creme's list is Oregon State, which might want to use a picture of the Cascade mountains in its promotional material given that Scott Rueck will add three players 6-6 or taller to one of the best guard groups in the country.

We're just saying. The Ducks will be very good, and very entertaining. But Eugene isn't yet Storrs, Connecticut West.

Speaking of UConn, the Huskies are behind both Oregon schools in Creme's crystal ball, ranked just behind the Beavers at No. 7.

COURTESY PHOTO: MEGAN CONNELLY - B.J. Bayor picks up yardage during Oregon State's spring game at Reser Stadium.OSU football: Starting quarterback? Coach Jonathan Smith insisted the Beavers don't have one after Saturday's spring game at Reser Stadium, where senior Jake Luton went 6 of 9 passing for 94 yards in a 27-7 victory for his Orange team over the Black. Sophomore transfer Tristan Gebbia (ex-Nebraska) was 7 of 14 for 67 yards and a touchdown in the air and on a day when the running backs (senior Artavis Pierce and sophomores B.J. Baylor and Jermar Jefferson) looked like major weapons for 2019.

Women's football: The Portland Fighting Shockwave take a 3-0 record north on Saturday to tackle the Seattle Spartans at Goddard Stadium in Everett.

The Fighting Shockwave won 35-20 last weekend in their first road game of the season, beating the Southern Oregon Lady Gades. Gabby Johnson scored three first-half rushing touchdowns to give Portland a 21-7 lead.

In the second half, the lead grew to 35-7. The big play was a 43-yard TD pass play on fourth-and-13, with Hollie Petrie throwing to Hailey Petit. Rookie Tia Cunningham's 3-yard TD run capped the Shockwave scoring. Tess Bair kicked all five extra points.

After Seattle, Portland will visit the Cali War of Los Angeles for its lone top-division game of the regular season. The next home game at Roosevelt High will be on May 11 against Seattle.

Hockey: Columbus carries a strong Portland connection into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Blue Jackets feature former Winterhawks Oliver Bjorkstrand, Brandon Dubinsky and Seth Jones. In a first-round sweep of Tampa Bay, Bjorkstrand and Jones each had two goals and two assists. Dubinsky was plus-1 but did not score.

Nino Niederreiter had one assist through six playoff games for the Carolina Hurricanes, who were to play a seventh game on Wednesday against defending Stanley Cup champion Washington.

The results weren't as kind to other former Hawks. Defenseman Braydon Coburn was part of a record-tying regular season for Tampa Bay. He played in two of the four games and had one assist.

Ryan Johansen and Nashville had another strong regular season, winning the Central Division. But the Predators were eliminated in six games by Dallas. Johansen had one goal and one assist in that series.

Former Hawks Cody McLeod (Nashville), Joe Morrow (Winnepeg), Nic Petan (Toronto) and Luca Sbisa (New York Islanders) did not play in a playoff game.

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