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Lackeys surge leads Viks to tourney

What has got into Anthony Lackey? Confidence and urgency best explains the Portland State forward's surge, coach Joel Sobotka says.

The Vikings won four consecutive games to qualify for the Big Sky Conference tournament, with Lackey averaging 25.5 points and 7.8 rebounds and shooting 64 percent, including 58.6 (17 of 29) from 3-point land.

Last weekend, Lackey had 31 points and nine rebounds against Northern Arizona, then 30 and 12 against Sacramento State as the Vikings swept on the road.

Portland State (12-15) plays Weber State (17-10) on Thursday in the Big Sky tourney at Bozeman, Mont.

'I saw a different Anthony Lackey last weekend,' Sobotka says. 'He played like a player of the year.

'He's always been the focal point of our offense. But it's something you can't force on a player. He's had a great year, but he wasn't used to being a marked man or in the spotlight.'

The beauty of the 6-foot-5 Lackey is that he can post up inside, or draw a defending power forward or post to the perimeter because of his 3-point shooting. The Viks have been getting Lackey the ball at the right spots recently.

'We've tried to execute better, and we're taking care of the basketball,' Sobotka says. 'Our assists-to-turnovers have been great.'

Coinciding with Lackey's surge, Portland State has shot tremendously from the outside. Can the Viks stay hot enough to beat Weber State again? If so, they get to play host Montana State on Friday.

Pioneers do it again

Make it three years in a row to the Sweet 16 for Lewis & Clark. The Pioneers (23-5) will face Wisconsin-Oshkosh (24-5) at Kenosha, Wis., on Friday.

If the Pioneers win, they'll play the Carthage-Gustavus Adolphus winner for a berth in the NCAA Division III Final Four.

The Pioneers have lost their third-round NCAA games the last two years. Host Carthage is ranked No. 1 in the most recent poll, Wisconsin-Oshkosh ninth, Gustavus Adolphus 12th and Lewis & Clark 22nd.

On Saturday, the Pioneers traveled to Clinton, Miss., and beat Mississippi College 70-57 behind 20 points from Scott Davis and double figures from Danny Winchester, John Mietus and Colin Oriard.

Wisconsin-Oshkosh, otherwise known as the Titans, leads the country in field-goal percentage at 52.2 percent, including 41.2 from 3-point territory. Junior Tim Dworak, 6-7, leads the team in scoring (23.8) and rebounding (8.6). The Titans beat the University of St. Thomas in the second round, shooting 65 percent in the second half and making 22 of 25 free throws. Dworak had 33 points.

Pac-10 women

It appears that Oregon's eight-year run at the NCAA Women's Tournament will end. Arizona State beat the Ducks in the Pac-10 tournament semis in Eugene, and Oregon (17-13) probably will get an NIT bid. Same for Oregon State (16-14).

Next year?

The Beavers lose seniors Felicia Ragland and Ericka Cook but will have a pretty good backcourt in Leilani Estavan and Juleen Smith. The Ducks will have Shaquala Williams back at guard, along with frontcourt players Cathrine Kraayeveld and Andrea Bills Ñ the latter one of six UO freshmen.

A player to watch? Oregon's Brandi Davis, who routinely gets the best of Williams and Edniesha Curry in practice. The clincher: She's a 6-0 point guard, really athletic.

NOTES: The Pac-10 has been much maligned for being weak. Only Stanford and Arizona State may go to the NCAA tourney É Stanford's Nicole Powell was named Pac-10 player of the year. She's a women's Magic Johnson-style player É Announced attendance at the Pac-10 women's tournament in Eugene: 5,842 Friday, 5,407 Saturday afternoon, 5,232 Saturday evening and 5,585 Sunday afternoon. With emphasis on 'announced.' É Coaches and players offered mild complaints about the Pac-10 women's tournament being at Mac Court, rather than on a neutral court. Says UO coach Bev Smith: 'We don't have to apologize for having the tournament here. What you saw (from the crowd) in the game (Sunday) was what's special about Mac Court and the people of Eugene and University of Oregon.' Too bad we won't be able to see the same from the people of Pullman, Wash. Next year's Pac-10 tourney will be in San Jose. É Stanford's Lindsey Yamasaki limped around McArthur Court, missing the tournament after an appendectomy (she probably will be back for the NCAAs). One WNBA team already has Yamasaki clearly in its sights for the college draft in April: Don't be surprised to see the Portland Fire, with the No. 5 pick, select the Oregon City product.

The Oregon men have some interest in Madison's 6-11 Chris Botez, who probably will go the community college route first. É From the duly noted file: Portland coach Michael Holton feels blessed that fans, alumni and media have not been tougher on him this season. Well, if he doesn't improve on a 6-24 record, I'm sure whispers will start.

Miriam Jenkins will return as Concordia women's coach. The school will wait a year to search for a full-time coach.

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