EUGENE - The University of Oregon women’s basketball team opens the 2010-11 season on Wednesday hosting Willamette University in an exhibition at McArthur Court with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Ducks are entering their second season under head coach Paul Westhead, and bring back 10 letterwinners to the roster, including starters Nia Jackson, Amanda Johnson and Victoria Kenyon.
Oregon returns to the floor after an 18-16 season, including a tie for sixth in the Pac-10 standings with a league mark of 7-11, as well as a third round run in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Last season marked Oregon’s first postseason appearance since 2007, as UO’s offense averaged 81.4 points per game, ranking second in the country.
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Although Oregon lost last year’s leading scorers and All-Pac-10 selections Taylor Lilley and Micaela Cocks to graduation, Johnson, Jackson, Kenyon and company looked poised to take over offensively.
Johnson was a Pac-10 honorable mention pick a season ago after averaging 12.7 points and a team-leading 8.5 rebounds per game. The Santa Rosa, Calif., native, produced 11 double-doubles, and enters the 2010-11 season as the program’s current points leader.
Jackson returned to the floor after a year of rehabilitation following a knee injury, and took over point guard duties, spurring Westhead’s up-tempo offense. The Seattle native, returns for her junior year after averaging 10.5 points per game, while leading the UO in assists (121), steals (83) and field goal percentage (.467).
After starting a combined 17 games in her first two seasons at the UO, Kenyon started 33 games last year for Westhead as the trailing post in his full-court system. Kenyon averaged career highs with 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while knocking down 37 buckets from long distance.
The Ducks also welcome in Westhead’s first recruiting class, which includes four talented freshmen in Ariel Thomas, Deanna Weaver, Chynna Miley and Danielle Love, as well as junior transfer guard Ashley Buis.
Oregon was recently picked to finish sixth in the Pacific-10 Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Poll.
The Willamette University women's basketball team was picked to finish ninth in the Northwest Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Bearcats finished 4-21 overall and 2-14 in the NWC last season.
Willamette returns leading scorer, senior guard Alex Zennan, who led the Bearcats averaging 14.6 points per game a season ago.
Willamette, a Division III program, will open its regular season at Concordia on Nov. 19. Anne Lapray is in her second season as the head women's basketball coach at Willamette.
WIN A SEASON WEDNESDAY
All fans that attend Wednesday’s exhibition opener vs. Willamette will have the chance to win a set of Oregon women’s basketball 2010-11 season tickets. Look out for the Oregon marketing staff at the game to pick up your raffle ticket for the draw.
PARKAS FOR PAKISTAN
The University of Oregon is teaming up with St. Vincent de Paul, Tuesday and Wednesday, to collect outerwear items for people in Pakistan affected by the recent devastating flooding.
Parkas, jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, warm pants, blankets, sleeping bags and plastic sheeting material that are collected will be sent to Pakistan to support recovery efforts.
Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., donations will be accepted at the UO Athletics Department Moshofsky Center on Leo Harris Parkway. The O Heroes student-athletes will team up with St. Vincent de Paul volunteers to accept donations.
Wednesday from 9 a.m. to tipoff of the Oregon women’s basketball game at approximately 7 p.m., donations will be accepted on campus at University Street just south of Mac Court and next to Howe Field. St. Vincent de Paul will be joined by students from the UO Holden Leadership Center to collect donated items.
Everyone who donates items can receive a voucher for free admission to the UO women’s basketball exhibition game vs. Willamette University, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, in appreciation for the donation.