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15th-ranked Raiders look to keep rolling

ASHLAND — The breaks are over and Cascade Conference basketball will get into full swing this weekend when the 15th-ranked Southern Oregon women visit two teams on the opposite ends of the standings.

The Raiders (12-1, 3-1 CCC) will be in Eugene today to face the last-place Northwest Christian Beacons (4-7, 0-3) and in Salem on Saturday to take on the first-place Corban Warriors (9-6, 3-0). Both games tip off at 5:30 p.m.

SOU has been off since a home sweep of Eastern Oregon (90-82) and College of Idaho (112-70) on Dec. 19-20. Since splitting their CCC openers at Concordia and Warner Pacific — two games in which they averaged 66.5 points — the Raiders have averaged 93.8 points in their last four games. They’re 12-1 overall for the third straight season.

The Beacons and Warriors have gone head-to-head (Corban won, 75-43) and played their last two CCC games at Northwest and Evergreen. Corban, led by CCC preseason player of the year Tara Van Weerdhuizen, was picked to finish fifth and NCU was picked last.

Quick hits:

- SOU ranks first in the NAIA at 20.2 assists per game. Against College of Idaho, 31 of SOU’s 43 made baskets were assisted. Ashley Claussen leads the team at 4.8 assists per game and Kristen Schoenherr averages 4.8, and forward Alexi Smith had a career-high nine against C of I.

- Seven different players have led the Raiders in scoring over the last seven games. Just once this season has the same player led the team in scoring in consecutive games. Four players are averaging double figures: Smith (12.4 points), Autumn Durand (12.3), Schoenherr (11.5) and Carly Meister (11.4).

- Bree Park has connected on 16 of 25 attempts from 3-point range in her last four games. She’s shooting 49.2 percent (32-for-65) from downtown this season with the second-most 3-point makes in the CCC.

- The Raiders’ 49.6-percent shooting from the field is second in the NAIA. Their top-six scorers are all shooting at least 49 percent.

- The 112 points against College of Idaho were the most the Coyotes have ever allowed, and the 42-point margin of victory was the largest in series history. SOU has only scored more than that on three occasions in program history, including last year’s 117-point outburst against Concordia.

About Northwest Christian: Heath Alexander was hired to take over the Beacons before the season after serving as an assistant for four years on the Weber State women’s basketball staff. The Beacons started the season 4-2 but have since lost five straight by an average margin of 20.8 points. Four players are averaging between eight and 9.5 points per game, but the NCU should get a boost from senior guard Hannah Frederick, who led the team last season at 11.9 points and returned last game after missing a month due to injury. She’ll help the Beacons work on a team shooting percentage of 38.

SOU has swept the last two season series with the Beacons and leads the all-time series, 13-2.

About Corban: Winners of six of their last seven, the Warriors are holding opponents to 36-percent shooting and 61.7 points per game. Junior point guard Jade Lowery leads the team and is fourth in the conference at 14.5 points per game, adding 3.6 assists. Van Weerdhuizen, a 6-foot-2 senior, averaged 12.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. Complementing that duo is 3-point specialist Sadie Pilgeram, who is shooting 51 percent (28-for-55) from outside and averaging 9.3 points.

The Raiders and Warriors split their series last season — each winning on the other’s home floor — and SOU leads the all-time series, 34-26.