[Twist: Wanted to promote PaleoDan's great post here! Don't forget that Cal women's basketball takes on Stanford THIS SUNDAY! at 6 PM at Haas. Get your screaming voices ready to get out there. We're working on getting a group rate, so keep your ears locked here for more! GO BEARS!]
Last week, my wife and I went up to Oregon to see my family and the women's basketball games against Oregon State and University of Oregon. I took some photos with my three year old iPhone camera, and Twist wanted me to share them here. It was a fun trip, even if it did rain the entire time: Cal women's basketball came away with two wins!
We started Thursday at the new Ford Alumni Center at UofO. The Ducks sure spent some money (like they do on everything). These columns aren't just info panels, some are interactive touch screens. Other columns were full of memorabilia, like a first generation Air Jordan shoe and a waffle maker. (Guess why...)
Matt Court is an impressive building. They have huge pictures and TV screens everywhere.
Of course the UofO band was there. UofO is where Oregonian musicians go (if they can't get into a real music school) so they were pretty good. Well; loud anyway. I had no idea that Led Zeppelin's Kashmir had a jazz trumpet solo in the middle. Also, notice there is no sousaphone, just a guy playing the electric bass. I think that's a cop-out.
The student section is general admission at women's games, so we sat on the bench only one row back from the court. During warm-ups, Cal was missing a lot of shots. But I noticed that Layshia and Fu were both hitting theirs, so I knew we would be fine. Even if no one else is making shots, Layshia can keep us in the game.
The Ducks were in full pink uniforms. No one was hitting their shots on the Duck side of things.
Matt Court has an enormous hanging video thingy above center court. The UofO "video to amp everyone up for the game" was respectable. (I hate to say better than the one at Haas.) Puddles was featured in the silliness. The video board also had closed captioning that misspelled a lot of things, including a couple of words in the Star Spangled Banner.
The area behind the benches and scorer's table was the "reserved" section. It was pretty thin. Also notice Coach Gottlieb giving the ref a talking to. The sponsorship at the Ducks women's game was amazing. Bi-Mart had a two for one ticket promotion, Pepsi had huge signs, X-Finity was plastered all over. It was a noticeable difference from Cal games (Bay Area companies mostly), but a huge difference from the OSU women's game, which only had local sponsorships.
The funny thing about Pink Day is no one knows what to wear. Green? Gold? Pink? Terrible flower coats? Matt Court also has curtains that pull down over the upper tier seats. I think it's a great idea...it really makes the area feel less empty, and it forces people to sit down lower.
They had Bingo at halftime. It's fun to have this sort of entertainment at the game, and it's a good old-school fundraiser. Saint Mary's had something similar at their halftime (trying to throw a ball you bought with a donation closest to center court). Even with Bingo, there was still time for the dance team to perform. Sorry. No pics, so it must have not happened. The UofO dance routine was well executed, and good in a "future stripper" sort of way, if that's your thing.
Oh, and HooDoo Hustle Board showed I was right about Layshia carrying the team. She got 17 points in the first half!
It was a tight game in the first half, but in the second half Cal pulled away. Especially when we started making our free throws.
The Oregon cheerleaders were right next to us the whole game. I kind of expected them to have pink outfits for Pink Day, but they only had pink pom-poms. I knew I had to take at least one picture of the Oregon cheerleaders if I ever wanted to put these photos on CGB.
Another crazy thing about Matt Court (where you can tell UofO is rolling in money) is the movie clips. The hanging video thingy played clips from different movies during the game. Here is Gene Hackman giving his inspirational speech from Hoosiers (SPOILER ALERT: It didn't work). They also played a clip from Animal House (filmed at UofO) and Anchorman.
UofO also used up all their timeouts trying to stop the Cal run. I have to say, Ducks, all the timeouts in the world won't help you if the other team is more skilled, athletic, better coached, and better looking.
The receipt. GO BEARS!
On Friday, between the two games, we took a trip up to Portland. The first stop was Voodoo Doughnut, located in the "bad" neighborhood of Burnside. I have to say, Burnside reminded me of the better parts of downtown Oakland.
This is the interior of Voodoo Doughnut. There was a queue to get in that went outside and halfway down the block. We ended up in line for doughnuts behind a goth street urchin. Very Portland!
Bacon, Captain Crunch, and Oreos on doughnuts. Of course. Absolutely. Why not, really? I would say the bacon maple bar was worth the wait in line. Back to basketball.
On Saturday, when we arrived in Corvallis, we quickly realized it was Pink Day again! And I didn't bring any pink item of clothing with me to Oregon... what a faux pas. The Oregon State University Marching Band was even decked out in pink, unlike those lazy bastards in OMB.
They even had pink sousaphone covers! I have a bit of a soft spot for the OSUMB because they were the local college marching band when I was growing up. But every time I see them play, I realize how bad their arrangements are. Stevie Wonder? OSUMB plays a swing arrangement. Offspring's Come Out and Play? It becomes a samba. A stinger to end the song? Two stingers would be better. Also it's subtle, but the uniform at the game is jeans, a pink t-shirt, and... white gloves. Square. Amazingly square. But no electric bass, so OSUMB has that going for them.
We were running late, so we got there right at tip-off. Cal opened up with an aggressive full court press. The press was pretty successful, and you could tell it was wearing out the OSU women's team right away. The OSU turnovers almost all turned into points, and Cal pulled out to a 9-2 lead. I thought the game was going to be a breeze, but I also noticed we had (in my experience) the worst group of PAC-12 refs. Spiky haired lady calls some bad fouls. Bald guy is just embarrassing: he even misses the out of bounds call with regularity. Thank goodness the second lady is there to correct him, even if she never calls any contact. We were in for an adventure.
The game went back and forth all the way to halftime. Not because of good play, either. On one possession near half court, there were three consecutive turnovers. Cal ended up with the ball, but Dear Bak, it was terrible. The game in Berkeley was also full of turnovers, and because of that game, I had confidence Cal would get the win over OSU. At halftime, Cal had an one point lead thanks to a last second layup (literally) from EP.
The halftime entertainment at the OSU pink day was Spirit Day.
There were just as many little girls in pink with pink pom-poms on the other side of the court. The OSU cheerleaders (wearing pink of course) were trying to lead the girls in cheers. They put the smallest girls at half court, presumably to draw attention to them. But those little girls were terrible. No rhythm. No memory of the moves. Some of them were just standing there, confused. It really reminded me of the OSU Marching Band.
I was so confident in a win, that I went for a walk around Gill Coliseum at the beginning of the second half.
Gill is an amazing old venue. About as different as possible from the modern box full of fluorescent lights that is Matt Court.
CGB had a thread just the other day about missing the windows from Harmon in Haas Pavilion. Well, the windows are still there in Gill Coliseum. There's no natural light in Matt Court. (Forgive me that the pictures are a little out of order, this was my best shot of the windows.)
Even on the overcast and raining Corvallis day, the windows still let in a lot of light. I think OSU had pretty good attendance at the game. I was worried that women's basketball in rural Oregon would have no following. It was a pretty good crowd.
Now the bad news. (No, not the game, that was going great. Cal was up 10 on the Beavers for most of the second half.) With a fun old venue like Gill (or Harmon or Old Memorial), fans also get to deal with bathrooms that look like this:
Exposed concrete! Exposed duct work! Exposed piping! And stairwells like this one:
Ugly exposed light fixture. Ugly 80's linoleum. Ugly paint peeling off of everything. So what I mean is, you take the good with the bad. Haas might not have the great ambiance of Harmon, but I bet the bathrooms are better.
When I got back to my seat, Cal was up fifteen points. It seemed unsurmountable for the Beavs. The OSU women were playing poorly, and Cal was beating them at every facet of the game. But the OSU coach had a vision. A vision of terrible basketball, wasting everyone's time, and trying to claw back into the game by... ...fouling. It was a cunning, devious plan, but would it work?
No, it wouldn't work.
But the Beavs sure made a try of it. OSU hit four three pointers in the last three minutes of the game, and three of those shots were well guarded by Cal. Two of the OSU three pointers were circus shots. One banked in, the other, a two handed fling with eyes closed.
At one point, the Beavers were so desperate for a foul to stop time that three exhausted OSU women were chasing Brittany Boyd around the court in a line, like a mother duck with her tired orange and black ducklings. It was a little obvious what the Beavs were trying to do.
It was so obvious, that the resulting foul was reviewed to see whether or not it was flagrant. It was at this point, I started wondering how the NCAA could make this "Hack-A-Bear" strategy illegal, or at least less common. A lot of people have wasted their lives in Corvallis, but I didn't want to be one of them. I wanted the game to be over.
I was so excited to leave Gill, I forgot to get a receipt of the score. You just have to take my word for it. Cal won despite OSU's best efforts (16 points in the last three minutes). With all the circus three pointers and fouls, OSU had moved the score differential from sixteen points to seven.
We went shopping in Corvallis to use up the time between the women's game and the men's game on TV. The PAC-12 TV deal can't start soon enough because, even though the men's game was on CSN-California, it was not on the local Corvallis ROOT network. (Even in Corvallis, ROOT was showing the Gonzaga game instead.) We did eventually find a local brewery with the satellite package. Hooray!
At one of the shops in Corvallis, we found this example of local "humor." In the book, University of Oregon, Arizona State University, University of Arizona, UC Riverside, UC Davis, and Oregon State University were all listed. UC Berkeley was, of course, not in there.