Oregon Ducks

What Chris Petersen's shocking step down means for the Pac-12 Conference

What Chris Petersen's shocking step down means for the Pac-12 Conference

A shocking shake-up to the Pac-12 Conference was announced Monday morning. Washington head coach Chris Petersen announced that he is stepping down as head coach of Washington Huskies football after the bowl game, giving way to current defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake.

"I'll be a Husky for life, but now is the right time for me to step away from my head coaching duties, and recharge," Petersen said.

Washington finished third in the Pac-12 North Division, going 7-5 overall and 4-5 in conference play. Petersen will transition into a leadership advisory role for Husky Athletics. In his six seasons at

Washington, Petersen led the Huskies to two Pac-12 Championships (2016, 2018), the 2016 College Football Playoffs, and three consecutive New Years Six bowl games.

If this news raises your eyebrows, you aren’t the only one.

Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham, the most tenured coach in the conference (15 years), learned of the coaching change on the Pac-12 Championship teleconference call and responded with utter shock.

“Wow. I would have never thought that,” Whittingham said. “Chris Peterson is one of the finest coaches in the country, there are a handful of guys you respect and admire as a coach. Petersen is one of my guys.”

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal, who is undefeated in his two seasons against the Petersen coached Huskies, also was surprised.

“I literally got off the field and I heard the news,” Cristobal said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Petersen. He's had a great career. Certainly wish nothing but the best for him and his family."

What does this mean for Washington and how does this affect the conference?

During any coaching change, recruiting sharks will emerge in attempt to steer prospects to other Pac-12 coaches. UW’s 2020 recruiting class ranks second in the Pac-12, behind Oregon and 16th nationally.  

However, don’t expect UW to take too big of a hit in recruiting, as Lake is Washington’s top recruiter. The initial transition may cause some prospects to re-open their recruitements, but retaining and promoting Lake could strengthen UW’s future recruiting classes.

Lake has been on Petersen's staff since 2012 at Boise State, was promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2016 and has been the Huskies' sole defensive coordinator the past two seasons. He previously coached defensive backs for six years in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Under Lake between 2015 and 2018, UW led the Pac-12 in total defense and scoring defense. 

How long Petersen wants to “re-charge” is unclear and unknown. His name will certainly be in talks for open NFL coaching jobs and any vacant college coaching jobs (cough, USC, cough).

Who won the Senior Bowl? Justin Herbert...

Who won the Senior Bowl? Justin Herbert...

After finishing up his senior season as Pac-12 Champion and Rose Bowl MVP, it was time for Justin Herbert to prepare for the next step.

So far, he has been passing with flying colors.

As the Oregon QB goes through the draft process, the expected first-round selection will be scrutinized from every aspect. He is, afterall, playing the most important position on the field, which also happens to be the hardest position to scout. 

At the Reese's Senior Bowl, Herbert got the draft process off to an amazing start.

All week at practice, Herbet has impressed everyone watching; including Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan.

He’s very talented physically. He’s got prototypical size and athletic ability. He has a really, really strong arm. On top of that, he’s extremely intelligent and he’s very conscientious. He gathers information, he can process it and he can call it. He went under center for the first time, probably, in his career and he answered that bell with flying colors. Every day I continue to be impressed with the things we ask him to do and he answers really well.

The Bengals do own the first overall selection in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft.

However, he wasn't the only one impressed by Herbert in practice. The former Oregon Duck was named the MVP of Senior Bowl practices.

But how did he play in the game? 

Quite well actually.

Herbert finished the first quarter with 83 yards on 9-of-13 passing and a touchdown.

 

It wasn't all great though. The Eugene native probably had flashbacks to his junior season with this drop. 

After his performance, anyone watching came away impressed by how Herbert looked. 

Duck alumn Geoff Schwartz has been on the Justin Herbert train for years and feels vindicated.

Next up, Justin Herbert will attend the NFL Combine that'll take place between February 23rd and March 2nd. It's unclear if he'll choose to throw or just have his measurables taken and take part in some drills. 

With the celebration over, the Ducks are back in the weight room

With the celebration over, the Ducks are back in the weight room

Not rest for the weary!

The defending Pac-12 and Rose Bowl Champions are already preparing to defend their crown and build off an impressive season.

Strength and conditioning coordinator Aaron Feld already has the Ducks in the weight room for Oregon's offseason training program ahead of the 2020 season. Feld has said in the past that the offseason is his season.

The players themselves are taking these workouts seriously, giving their all.

However, the program definitely works. In Feld's first season following his offseason training program, the Ducks were clearly more physically dominant. For three quarters they blew Stanford off the line and ran a dive play on third-and-five to walk off against Washington. 

Last season, they won the Pac-12 conference rushing for 239 yards against the nation's top rushing defense heading into the game. Feld uses the hashtag #TAKETHEPAC and the Ducks did just that this season. One game later, they beat a Wisconsin team known for their physicality.

Once coach Feld came from Georgia to Eugene, he began using the #FLEXFRIDAY hashtag to let the players show off their gains on social media. 

Here are some from this week's #FLEXFRIDAY.

And here are some of my favorites from the last two seasons.

Keep flexin'!

Sabrina Ionescu should be carrying Ruthy Hebard’s books to class

Sabrina Ionescu should be carrying Ruthy Hebard’s books to class

“You should be carrying Ruthy’s books to class.”

Those were the exact words head coach Kelly Graves leaned over and said to Sabrina Ionescu after the No. 4 Oregon Ducks (16-2, 6-1 Pac-12) took round one of the Civil War weekend series with No. 7 Oregon State (16-3, 4-3 Pac-12) 76-64 in a sold out Matthew Knight Arena.

On a night where Ionescu broke yet another record, this time becoming the Pac-12 leader in assists, 

Who other could that last assist have gone to other than Ruthy Hebard?

Fitting.

The two that have played together for four years, have developed this undeniable, nearly un-guardable chemistry, have dominated the Pac-12 conference since their time at Oregon. It was this assist and bucket that Ionescu broke the record.

It’s awesome. I mean, it’s not really as much me as it is my teammates. The teammates that I’ve had in the past have got in the right position and have put me in the right position to help them and help our team win. I mean half of those [assists] are to Ruthy, half are to Satou [Sabally], Erin [Boley], so they should be getting the credit really not me. — Sabrina Ionescu

If “hustle points” showed up on the stat sheet, Hebard would have recorded a thousand. Diving after loose balls, sprinting after long rebounds, getting on the floor, those are the types of plays that help you win games. And against rival Oregon State, they were crucial.

She finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and three steals.

Hebard was defensively assigned to Oregon State freshman Taylor Jones. The 6-foot-4 forward made life difficult in the paint for the Ducks and for Hebard. Jones recorded 21 points and two blocks in the game, but was limited to only three rebounds.

I think I can do better, but I’m definitely excited for Sunday to do a little better. Hopefully make a few more rebounds, a few more shots. — Ruthy Hebard

A rematch on Sunday between these two? Yes, please.

I take them all seriously but I’m definitely excited to go back up there again and play. I’m really glad we got this first win, so the second win on Sunday is going to be really fun to do again. — Ruthy Hebard

Round two between Oregon and Oregon State will tip-off in less that 48 hours in front of a sold out Gill Coliseum on Sunday at 1 p.m. (PT).

Instant Analysis: Ducks break open the floodgates against the Beavers

Instant Analysis: Ducks break open the floodgates against the Beavers

When the Ducks are on fire, there's nothing the opposing team can do to stop them, as the Beavers found out when their dam came crashing down in the first leg of the Civil War weekend.

The No. 4 Oregon Ducks (16-2, 6-1 Pac-12) defeated their rival No. 7 Oregon State (16-3, 4-3 Pac-12) 76-64 in front of a soldout crowd of 12,362 at Matthew Knight Arena. 

The Beavers got off to a quick start taking a 10-2 lead after a Destiny Slocum three-pointer with 6:25 remaining in the first period. 

However, then the Ducks came roaring back eventually taking an 18-16 lead off a jump shot from guard Sabrina Ionescu. Their offense didn't stop there, however, as the Ducks' efficient offense continued all night en route to a huge conference victory for Oregon. 

A late rally by Oregon State got them within striking distance but it was too little, too late. 

Here are three takeaways from the contest.

1. Sabrina is the GOAT

It took just seven seconds for the all-time leading scorer in program history to break another record (which may be a record in of itself), when Sabrina became the all-time leader in assists in Pac-12 conference history with 939. She had tied Gary Payton from Oregon State in the Ducks' previous game against California. 

She wasn't done yet, of course. She took command of the game after the Ducks got into an early deficit, including capping off the first quarter with a buzzer-beating three-pointer that everyone knew was going in.

For good measure, she beat the third-quarter buzzer too.

She finished the game with 23 points, four rebounds and nine assists which using the Russell Westbrook way-of-thinking is a "bad" game since she didn't get a triple-double. 

However, as the best player in all of college basketball, it's Sabrina's world and we're just living in it. 

2. The Ducks are an offensive onslaught waiting to happen

Team USA felt it. Stanford felt it. Now Oregon State has felt it.

When the Ducks are clicking on offense no one in the nation can stop them.

Not only do they have three expected future-first-round picks in the upcoming WNBA Draft (Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard, and Satou Sabally) but their supporting players are full of 40-percent three-point shooters. If a defense can somehow force someone other than the Ducks' Big Three to beat them, then Erin Boley, Taylor Chavez, or Jaz Shelley will just bomb away from behind the arc. Their opponents can pick their poison but each choice has the same result if the Ducks are rolling. 

3. The Beavers need to play inside-out to beat the Ducks 

Despite an overall poor first half, Oregon State freshman Taylor Jones showed why she's one of the highest-rated recruits to ever come to Corvallis. Her 17 first-half points led the game up until that point and were the lone bright spot for the Beavers.

However, it provided a blueprint for the rematch on Sunday in Corvallis; the Beavers need to play through the 6-foot-4 Taylor Jones on the block and force the Ducks to double team her, so their shooters can get off clean looks once the ball is worked around. If that double team never comes from Graves' squad then the Beavers should be happy getting efficient looks late in the clock each possession to slow the game down which will limit the Ducks' offensive possessions and their opportunities to score. 

Sabrina Ionescu becomes Pac-12 conference all-time leader in assists

Sabrina Ionescu becomes Pac-12 conference all-time leader in assists

Another game, another Sabrina Ionescu moment where she etches her name into basketball history.

One week after becoming Oregon’s all-time leader in points, earning Pac-12, ESPNW and U.S. Basketball Writers Association Player of the Week honors, Ionescu adds another accomplishment to her already stacked resume. 

With her first assist (939 total) in tonight’s game vs. Oregon State, Ionescu has become the Pac-12 conference’s leader in assists.

The record came early in the contest when Ionescu assisted a Ruthy Hebard bucket just seven seconds into the game.

Ionescu has the opportunity to become the first player in NCAA history to record 2,000+ points, 1,000+ assists and 1,000+ rebounds in her collegiate career. 

The 5-foot-11 senior is averaging 17.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game this season. To put that in perspective, Ionescu is averaging a near triple-double in this troubling Pac-12 conference with numerous teams in the AP Poll Top-25. She dropped a career-high 37 points on No. 3 Stanford and 30 points on Team USA back in November.

Her talents have intrigued the stars of the NBA: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant as well as Ja Morant. 

Tickets for Women's Civil War surge to $1k on secondary market

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Tickets for Women's Civil War surge to $1k on secondary market

Tonight marks part one in a two-part Civil War series between the No. 4 Oregon Ducks (15-2, 5-1 Pac-12) and No. 7 Oregon State Beavers (16-2, 4-2 Pac-12). The first of a two-game series between the Ducks and Beavers tips off tonight at 7 p.m. (PT) at Matthew Knight Arena. Part two will tip off 40 hours later and 45 minutes North in Corvallis at Gill Coliseum at 1 p.m. (PT). 

Two games separated by less than 48 hours. Two teams separated by 45 minutes of one another. Both teams ranked inside the Top-10. A Civil War weekend series that will have major implications in national rankings, Pac-12 conference standings as well as future NCAA tourney seeding. This should be a good one.

If you're looking for a ticket, you'll have to hit the secondary market. Both teams announced well ahead of this weekend's slate of games that their arenas are SOLD OUT!

Tickets for Friday night's contest at Matthew Knight Arena are going for as much as $461 apiece. But, that price point is a bit of an outlier.

Chances are, the person selling those tickets has little to no expectation that they'll go for that much. Rather, that's the price they'd be willing to stay home for. 

And then, there's this...

Not to say these games aren't big, but the inflated price shouldn't scare people into thinking obtaining a ticket at a reasonable price is an impossibility. No one expects those tickets to go for that price!

For perspective: 

Of course, tickets on the secondary market come with price inflation and fees. But, if you're looking to go to either game, you can still get in the door at a reasonable price. 

Nevertheless, these games should be really exciting to watch!

Civil War Preview Part I: Friday night's showdown at Matthew Knight Arena

Civil War Preview Part I: Friday night's showdown at Matthew Knight Arena

Tonight marks part one in a two-part Civil War series between the No. 4 Oregon Ducks (15-2, 5-1 Pac-12) and No. 7 Oregon State Beavers (16-2, 4-2 Pac-12). The first of a two-game series between the Ducks and Beavers tips off tonight at 7 p.m. (PT) at Matthew Knight Arena. Part two will tip off 40 hours later and 45 minutes North in Corvallis at Gill Coliseum at 1 p.m. (PT). 

Two games separated by less than 48 hours. Two teams separated by 45 minutes of one another. Both teams ranked inside the Top-10. A Civil War weekend series that will have major implications in national rankings, Pac-12 conference standings as well as future NCAA tourney seeding. This should be a good one.

Below you’ll find a list of Civil War historical facts, how each team has earned its ranking as well as specific matchups to watch this weekend.

FAST FACTS

- Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck is 15-3 all-time against the Ducks.

- Last year, the Civil War series was split with each team winning on their respected home court.

- Sabrina Ionescu is one assist away from becoming the Pac-12 leader in assists. 

- Mikayla Pivec leads the Pac-12 conference in rebounds per game (9.6).

- The Beavers are averaging 5.4 blocks per game.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

POINTS PER GAME:

Oregon - 87.5

Oregon State - 71.4

ASSISTS PER GAME

Oregon - 21.5

Oregon State - 18.3

REBOUNDS PER GAME

Oregon - 11.3

Oregon State - 13.4

OPPOSING POINTS PER GAME

Oregon - 56.5

Oregon State - 53.4

OREGON

It started with an empathetic win over Team USA. You knew Oregon was going to be good coming into this season, but a win over the best professionals in women’s basketball? That’s pretty impressive. The Ducks went 10-1 in non-conference play and their only loss came to top-10 opponent Louisville on neutral grounds.

Oregon out-scored its opponents 192-110 this past weekend including a 32-point win over the No. 3 Stanford and then a 50-point win over Cal. 

OREGON STATE

Started off this season with a perfect 15-0 record, the best start ever in program history. These past few weeks, the Beavers have been tested and have now lost two conference games: an eight-point loss at Arizona State and a three-point loss to then to top-10 ranked Stanford. 

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Sabrina Ionescu and Minyon Moore vs. Destiny Slocum and Mikayla Pivec

This guard matchup will feature four of the top guards in the nation. The Ducks love to push the pace with Moore and Ionescu. These two have played once before for the Cal Stars, an AAU team in California. Moore and Pivec have similar styles of play in regards to pushing the pace and not being afraid of contact. One key that Oregon must do when guarding Pivec is limit her rebounds. Pivec currently leads the Pac-12 conference in rebounds and she does it from the guard spot. Ionescu and Slocum are also similar in terms of knowing how to score, choosing your shots wisely and the ability to take over games.

Ruthy Hebard and Erin Boley vs. Taylor Jones and Kennedy Brown

How this forward play turns out may decide how the rest of the game plays out. The Beavers have two outstanding freshmen forwards in Jones (6-foot-4) and Brown (6-foot-2) that will be a problem for the rest of the Pac-12 for the foreseeable future. Both are a tough matchup in terms of rebounding while Brown also has the capability of hitting the outside shot. Senior Ruthy Hebard brings her own dynamic play down low and holds the third best field-goal percentage in the nation (68.5). 

GAME INFORMATION

WHO: No. 4 Oregon vs. No. 7 Oregon State

WHEN: Friday night, 7 p.m. (PT)

WHERE: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, OR

TV: Pac-12 Networks

RADIO: Oregon Sports Network

Chris Duarte’s 30 points wasn’t the best part of his game vs. USC

Chris Duarte’s 30 points wasn’t the best part of his game vs. USC

An uncanny, almost rare, near impossible, almost triple-double.

A “standard” triple-double is points, rebounds and assists. That’s the easiest way to record one, if there ever were an "easy" way. And technically a player can post double-figure turnovers, but that’s besides the point. 

Tonight, it was a combo of offense and defense that lead the way for the Ducks, and it all started with Chris Duarte. 

The 6-foot-6, junior transfer from the Dominican Republic recorded 30 points, 11 assists and eight steals in No. 12 Oregon’s (16-4, 5-2 Pac-12) double overtime 79-70 win over the USC Trojans (15-4, 4-2 Pac-12).

With 26 seconds of game clock left, senior guard Payton Pritchard made a layup to tie the game at 62 apiece. Duarte immediately stole the inbounds pass giving Oregon the opportunity for a game-winning shot. A steal that gave the Ducks a chance, but could not follow through. This one needed two overtime periods to decide a winner.

But, it was Duarte’s quick, sticky hands and intuition that was the difference-maker in this one tonight.

I was watching the point guards’ eyes. I was watching everybody’s eyes. So I knew when they were going to pass the ball. — Duarte

Duarte’s defensive efforts on one end of the court translated to his offensive game on the other. To be able to contain the energy and adrenaline from a steal or critical rebound to a calm energy on the offensive end to hit big shots is no easy feat. But for Duarte, it’s all about effort.

I had to listen to coach. If I want to be on the floor, I have to listen to coach. I got to do it for myself too and for my teammates too, to help them win. And it’s just all about effort man, it’s all about effort. — Duarte

The last D1 player to post a similar stat line? You have to go all the back to 1999 for that one.

His steals were huge. The one in the press there to tie it up. Did a great job flying around making some defensive plays. He was the difference in the game, those eight steals, no doubt about it. — head coach Dana Altman.

Duarte can party like it’s 1999, but not for too long.

UP NEXT: The Ducks have an extra day to prepare as UCLA (10-9, 3-3 Pac-12) comes to town for a 2 p.m. (PT) tip-off on Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.

Instant Analysis: Payton Pritchard sets record, Chris Duarte balls out in win over USC

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Instant Analysis: Payton Pritchard sets record, Chris Duarte balls out in win over USC

EUGENE - Coming off a thrilling overtime victory against the Washington Huskies, the No. 12 Oregon Ducks next looked to the leaders of the Pac-12 conference, the USC Trojans. 

So, why not have a DOUBLE OVERTIME contest?!

USC (15-4, 4-2) proved to be a formidible opponent. But, in the end, it was the Ducks that claimed victory to remain perfect at home, 79-70.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

PAYTON PRITCHARD

That's it! That's the takeaway!

While he wasn't the Ducks leading scorer, he did set a record! 

The four-year senior point guard from West Linn continues his very impressive senior season. Pritchard became the first player in the Pac-12 to record 1,500+ points, 600+ career assists and 500+ rebounds. Against the Trojans on Thursday night, Pritchard recorded 24 points, 7 assists and 2 steals.

CHRIS DUARTE LEADS OREGON

Offensively, the 6-foot-6 junior guard found his shot early, which was critical to establish an outside game early on this USC defense. Duarte finished with a double-double 30 points and 11 rebounds. He also got it done on the defensive end, getting his hands in the passing lanes and getting 8 steals.

Finished the job

The Ducks had a 3:30+ drought in the closing minutes of regulation, but were able to push past that and force overtime. And then double overtime. In 2OT, it was Duarte and Pritchard who took over and closed the game out. The duo scored every point for Oregon in the double overtime. 

Oregon forced 14 steals in the win. 

UP NEXT: The Ducks host UCLA (10-9) on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off set for 2 p.m. (PT) at Matthew Knight Arena.