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ON COLLGE HOOPS/BY PAUL DANZER/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/Oregon men, women face challenges

The challenges get more interesting this week for the touted Oregon basketball teams, as the Duck women and men both face key games away from Eugene.

The top-ranked Oregon women visit 17th-ranked Syracuse at 1 p.m. PT Sunday, then head to the Virgin Islands for three games. At the Paradise Jam, the Ducks will face Oklahoma State on Thanksgiving Day, Texas Arlington on Nov. 29, and No. 8 Louisville on Nov. 30.

SABALLYThe return of junior Satou Sabally will give a lift to an Oregon team that rolled to three one-sided wins while the 6-4 Sabally was playing for Germany.

The Ducks' long-range outlook is bright, too, with the consensus No. 1 group of 2020 recruits headed to Eugene. On Monday, coach Kelly Graves confirmed the Ducks have letters-of-intent from five five-star recruits in 6-2 guard Sydney Parrish (ESPN No. 10), 6-4 forward Kylee Watson (ESPN No. 15), 5-11 guard Maddie Scherr (ESPN No. 19), 6-4 forward Angela Dugalic (ESPN No. 24) and 5-9 guard Te-Hina Paopao (ESPN No. 33).

• After playing host to Houston at 6 p.m. Friday, the No. 11-ranked Oregon men head to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis, a Thanksgiving week tournament with eight quality teams. The Ducks first play 13th-ranked Seton Hall on Wednesday, then will meet either No. 8 Gonzaga or Southern Mississippi on Thanksgiving Day. The other side of the bracket features No. 4/5 North Carolina, Michigan, Alabama and Iowa State, so the Friday game will be no walk on the beach. The Battle 4 Atlantis will be televised by the ESPN networks.

Oregon climbed to No. 11 in The Associated Press and coaches polls on Monday after improving to 4-0 with wins over Memphis and Texas Arlington.

• After rolling to the Preseason WNIT title with four impressive home wins, the seventh-ranked Oregon State women (4-0) also will head east — after an 11 a.m. Thursday home game against Southern Utah. The Beavers play games in Miami on Nov. 29-30, taking on the Hurricanes and Liberty.

Tournament MVP Mikayla Pivec led OSU to the Preseason WNIT crown. The senior guard from Lynwood, Washington, averaged 17.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and six assists over four games.

In addition to the strong start on the court, Scott Rueck's Beavers also continued a pattern of recruiting success, adding a pair of touted 6-1 guards in the early signing window. Sasha Goforth is a five-star shooting guard from Fayetteville, Arkansas, is ESPN's No. 16 player and No. 4 guard in the class of 2020. Savannah Samuel is a three-star (ESPN) shooting guard from Woodstock, Georgia. The 2018-19 recruits already are making an impact in Corvallis. Freshmen Taylor Jones and 6-6 Kennedy Brown have started all four games. Jones, 6-4 and from Forney, Texas, is averaging 16 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes per game. Brown, 6-6 and from Derby, Kansas, is averaging 8.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in 30 minutes.

• University of Portland men's coach Terry Porter announced the signing of 6-5 shooting guard Zac Triplett from Melbourne, Australia. Triplett will join the Pilots next fall as a freshman. Other than graduate transfers Isaiah White and Lavar Harewood, every player on the Portland roster is eligible to return for the 2020-21 season.

• The Portland State men have added two guards who will be freshmen in the fall. Coach Barret Perry described 6-4 Kiimani Holt from Phoenix, Arizona, as an athletic wing who can defend multiple positions and 6-0 Paris Dawson of Corona, California, as a high-energy and versatile combo guard.

• First-year Portland women's basketball coach Michael Meek last week signed twin sisters Jacksen and Tyler McCliment-Call, who will be freshmen next season. The guards are playing for University High in Spokane this season and in 2018 led Post Falls High to the Idaho 5A state title. Jacksen (5-11) and Tyler (6-0) are expected to bring versatility and competitiveness to the Pilots.

The Meek era at Portland is off to a 4-0 start, including a 74-65 win over previously unbeaten Fresno State. Freshman Alex Fowler has two double-doubles, including 18 points and 14 rebounds against Fresno State.

• The Portland State women signed three letters-of-intent last week, and coach Lynn Kennedy is pleased to have his 2020 class complete in the early signing period. With six freshmen on this season's team and as many as a dozen players eligible to return for 2020-21, the trio of Morgan Baird, a 5-11 forward from Coquille, Reilly Kelty, a 5-11 forward from Cottage Grove now at Eugene's Sheldon High, and Itziar Ugarte, a 5-11 guard from Madrid, Spain, will have time to adjust to the college game.

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