Pilot Roundup: A slightly better week for UP sports
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Pilots this week!
Yes, both basketball teams went winless once again. Yes, the men’s team has yet to get a conference win, and the women’s team continues to struggle. But track and field was back in action and performed well at the Husky Classic. Women’s tennis also handled Seattle U 6-1. Considering how things had gone lately, that’s pretty good.
Let’s take a look at how it all went down.
Basketball woes continue for both teams
Let’s start with the bad. Both the men’s and women’s basketball team went without a win this weekend. The men’s team dropped games to BYU on Thursday and LMU on Saturday, while the women’s team lost to Gonzaga at home on Saturday.
The men’s team remains in a state of free fall. They’ve now lost 12 in a row and are 0-11 in conference play. They had their biggest loss of the year against BYU 83-48 and lost at home to LMU 72-55.
BYU has always been one of the better teams in the WCC, but putting up only 48 points against the Cougars is a bad look for the Pilots. BYU is arguably the second worst team in the conference on defense. The only team defending worse than them? The Portland Pilots. The fact they got locked down by a subpar defensive team like BYU stings. Portland is slightly worse defensively and significantly worse offensively, but it’s still a bad look for Terry Porter and company to be shut down like this.
The LMU game was a chance to get a victory against one of the more beatable teams in the conference. The Lions’ record sits at 17-8, but that win total was inflated by a weak non-conference schedule. In WCC play, they sit at 5-6, which is right in the middle of the pack. The hope here was that Portland could grind out their first victory against a team that slows down the pace of play significantly. Unfortunately, the Pilots were unable to do so, and they suffered another conference loss because of it.
The only game this week is against San Francisco, who I’m not confident the Pilots can take. They’ve dropped to third in the conference and haven’t been nearly as good as earlier this season, but the Dons are still a lot better than the Pilots. If Portland can make this one competitive for the parents this Junior Parents Weekend, I’m sure the fans would appreciate it. But I’m not optimistic about a victory.
Women’s basketball also couldn’t get a victory, with No. 14 Gonzaga coming to Chiles and taking down the Pilots 93-62. The loss dropped Portland to 10-13 overall and 2-10 in conference.
Losing on Saturday is never good, but it was also somewhat expected for Portland. Gonzaga is a top 15 team in the nation and only have one loss in conference. WCC basketball runs through the Bulldogs, whether it’s men’s or women’s.
Still, the Pilots’ defensive woes continue. The women’s team has given up a combined 293 points over the last three games. That’s an average of 97.7 points per game. That’s a ton of points to be making up constantly. I’ve talked extensively about how the offense has vastly improved. The defense has to catch up if they want to keep up in the conference.
That’s not going to be easy against a BYU team that sits at second in the conference. Women’s basketball plays the Cougars on Thursday. Fortunately, they also play San Diego on Saturday, who’s 1-12 in conference and has lost 11 in a row. That’s the second longest losing streak in WCC basketball between both men’s and women’s. The longest? 12 losses in a row from your Portland Pilots’ men’s basketball team.
Track and Field is still good though
Okay, let’s talk about the good. Track and Field continues to have a solid indoor season, with a few Pilots’ posting impressive times at the Husky Classic in Seattle this weekend.
In the women’s 3000 meter, redshirt seniors Lauren LaRocco and Taryn Rawlings impressed for the Pilots, finishing with times of 9:12.72 and 9:20.05, respectively. LaRocco finished 15th overall while Rawlings moved up to second all-time in the UP Indoor Records. In the women’s 5000 meter, junior Aoibeh Richardson moved to fourth all-time with a personal best of 16:16.98.
For the men’s 5000 meter, senior Michael Sommers finished 11th overall with a time of 13:47.87, second all-time for indoor. Junior Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse ran a 14:05.07 in the same race, finishing 27th. Other runners include sophomore Evert Silva and senior Noah Schutte, who ran in the second fastest heats and had times of 14:09.25 and 14:16.22, respectively.
Track and field has been a bright spot for the Pilots in 2019. Portland runners have broken numerous records, including Orndorff’s sub-four minute mile earlier this season and Rawlings breaking her own record for the 1500 earlier this season. They have shined through the struggles of other UP teams so far in the new year.
Women’s tennis notches second win
Women’s tennis earned their second win of the season in freezing conditions in Edgewood, Washington this weekend, dominating the Seattle Redhawks 6-1.
The Pilots handled Seattle thoroughly in this one. Seattle won one set across all six singles matches.
The never-to-come snowpocalypse forced the Pilots to reschedule their match against Portland State on Sunday. The match does not have a new date yet.
They’ll play their first home match of the season against Montana State on Friday, Feb. 15 at 11 a.m. They’ll play the University of Montana the next day at 9 a.m.
What’s up next?
Men’s basketball plays one game this week against the San Francisco Dons at the Chiles Center on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Women’s basketball has two games this week, playing BYU on Thursday and San Diego on Saturday. Both games are at home, with the Thursday game being played at 7 p.m. and the Saturday game at 2 p.m.
Both track and field squads will travel once again to Seattle to compete at the Last Chance College Elite Meet on Friday, Feb. 15.
Men’s tennis is back in action this week. They’ll play the Idaho University Vandals at home at 2 p.m.
Women’s tennis is also playing a pair of home matches against Montana State and the University of Montana. They play the Bobcats on Friday at 11 a.m. and the Grizzlies on Saturday at 9 a.m.
Baseball also has their season opener this weekend. They’ll play the University of Hawaii in a four game series from Friday to Saturday.
Stay tuned for next week’s Pilot Roundup.
Kyle Garcia is the sports editor for The Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.