Ups, downs

The Southern Oregon women's basketball team kept its Cascade Collegiate Conference championship hopes alive with a win over Corban on Friday, but another game 400 miles away may have cost the Raiders dearly.

Southern did beat the visiting Lady Warriors 89-78 at McNeal Pavilion and can clinch no worse than a tie for the CCC regular season championship with a win over Concordia on Saturday. But it was fellow league leader Eastern Oregon that received a crucial break elsewhere when Warner Pacific stunned Evergreen State College. That upset, according to SOU head coach Lynn Kennedy, gives the Moutaineers the tie-breaker over the Raiders, an advantage that will yield an automatic berth to the NAIA Division II national tournament should the two teams win as expected Saturday and finished tied atop the league standings.

"Our focus now is Concordia," Kennedy said moments finding out the bad news online. "We didn't play real well against them up there [in Portland], so we've got to come in and execute and play aggressive defense."

Southern Oregon (25-4, 16-3 CCC) certainly did that against the scrappy, but overmatched Lady Warriors (9-20, 5-14). The Raiders ran out to a 19-8 lead six minutes into the game, extended that cushion to 16 points and never trailed while improving to 11-0 at home.

Rhiannon Dickison hit 4 of 5 3-pointers to score 19 points and Chelsey Muri added 20 points, including 10 in the first five minutes of the second half, to lead a Raider offense that shot 42 percent (30-for-71) from the floor. Jacki Speer (13 points, nine rebounds), Ashley Baker (12 points) and Whitney Scott (11 points) also scored in double figures for the Raiders, who hit 24 of 34 free throws.

The Lady Warriors, led by Jennesa Miller (19 points) and Jessica Steigleman (18 points), tried to match the Raiders' running game with some fastbreaking of their own, but ran out of gas after crawling to within 49-45 early in the second half.

Muri was a big part of that. She came out of the break with a head of steam, drew three quick fouls on hard drives to the basket and capped her one-woman show with a layup-plus-foul three-point play that gave the Raiders a 57-47 lead.

"It's just the game plan &

to attack the basket," Muri said. "That's always our game plan, to come out aggressive. We knew that they weren't going to just give this game up. We knew they were going to battle, they were going to play hard. They had something to play for."

That "something" was eighth place in the conference, which comes giftwrapped with the last CCC playoff berth. Now in order to make the playoffs, Corban must beat Oregon Tech on Saturday and get help elsewhere.

While Muri led SOU's second-half charge, it was Dickison who gave the Raiders the early momentum. The 5-foot-6 junior guard hit 5 of 6 shots in the first half, including — of 4 from long range, to help SOU take a 45-40 lead into the break. She wound up 7 of 8 from the floor.

"I think we've learned what is a good shot and what isn't," Dickison said. "Being a senior, I'm not going to just go out there and shoot, I'm going to go with the flow because that's what works best."

Regardless of what happens Saturday, the Raiders will host a CCC quarterfinal game Tuesday.

The Cascade Collegiate Conference receives two automatic berths to the national tournament, to be played March 12-18 at Sioux City, Iowa. The first goes to the regular season champion and the second goes to the league tournament champion &

or the runner-up, should the No. 2 seed lose to the No. — seed in the finals.

Men's basketball

Matt Cowell and Josh McDermott combined to score 35 points as Southern Oregon knocked off visiting Corban 91-74 Friday night at McNeal Pavilion.

McDermott had 17 points, four rebounds and three steals and Cowell added 18 points. The two combined to hit 7 of 13 3-pointers.

The win improved the Raiders to 9-20, 5-14 in the Cascade Collegiate Conference. Corban fell to 10-19, 5-14 in league play.

College softball

At Riverside, Calif., the Southern Oregon University softball team cracked the win column for the first time this season, downing Holy Names University 4-3 on Thursday in the second game of the Cal Baptist University Tournament.

SOU (1-7) opened the tournament Thursday morning against Cal State San Marcos and lost 8-1. Three Cougar pitchers combined to hold the Raiders to just three hits. The Raiders got on the board in the fifth inning with an RBI single by center fielder Meghan Laughlin.

But San Marcos tacked on another run in the sixth to up its lead to 8-1.

The Cougars scored three in the first and four in the second and had eight hits in the game, led by right fielder Nicolette Nassif's 3-for-4 performance with an RBI and three runs scored.

SOU pitcher Alicia Caudill went the distance, allowing eight hits and eight runs, all earned.

The Raiders started the season with a doubleheader loss on Feb. 8 to Azusa Pacific and dropped a pair against Concordia University as well as Vanguard University.

Southern Oregon000 010 0 — 3 1

Cal State San Marcos340 001 x 8 8 3

Caudill and Coultas, Stenson; Lerno, Salvino (4), Rose (6) and Williams, Villalpando. W Lerno (4-0). L Caudill (0-4). 2B Archambualt. HR Lerno (1).

Sports editor can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or joe.

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