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What to watch this weekend in women’s sports

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The NWSL playoffs headline this weekend in women’s sports, with four teams facing off for a spot in the league championship.

The LPGA and WTA are also back in action as both Tours cap off their 2021 seasons.

Here’s what to watch this weekend in women’s sports:

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NWSL: OL Reign vs. Washington Spirit

Sunday, Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network

No. 2 OL Reign will host the Washington Spirit in the weekend’s first semifinal matchup, with the Spirit entering Sunday’s game after a thrilling 1-0 quarterfinal victory against the North Carolina Courage. The well-rested OL Reign have lost just one of their last ten games, falling to Washington 2-0 back in October.

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NWSL: Portland Thorns vs. Chicago Red Stars

Sunday, Nov. 14 at 5:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network

The Chicago Red Stars will travel to Providence Park on Sunday to take on the Portland Thorns for a place in the NWSL championship. The Thorns are the heavy favorites to take the title after winning the 2021 Challenge Cup and NWSL Shield but will first face a surging Chicago team that has won their last four contests.

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WTA Finals

Wednesday, Nov. 10 — Wednesday, Nov. 17 on the Tennis Channel

The world’s top eight singles players and doubles teams will face off in a week-long, year-end competition in the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara, competing for a total prize pool of $5 million. The weekend will begin with a round-robin stage of competition, with the knockout stages beginning on Tuesday.

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LPGA: Pelican Women’s Championship

Thursday, Nov. 11 at 10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

Friday, Nov. 12 at 10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

Saturday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

Sunday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

Nelly Korda and Ko Jin-Young have been battling it out for the World No. 1 spot all season long. Taking over the top spot on Monday, Korda will look to hold on to the top ranking as the Tour heads into the final two tournaments of the year.

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PHF: Boston Pride vs. Connecticut Whale

Saturday, Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+

The Boston Pride enter their Saturday matchup against Connecticut Whale with two wins under their belt from the PHF’s opening weekend. Katie Burt has been sensational in net for the Pride, posting a 27-save shutout in the team’s Sunday game against Minnesota.

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PHF: Boston Pride vs. Connecticut Whale

Sunday, Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+

The Connecticut Whale will look for a win against Boston after dropping a game to the Riveters in the team’s opening weekend. Alyssa Wohlfeiler has been dominant for Connecticut, recording three goals and an assist in the Whale’s first two games.

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Division 1 Feminine: Olympique Lyonnais vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Sunday, Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. ET on atafootball.com and nbcsports.com

Lyon and PSG will battle it out for the top of the Division 1 Feminine table on Sunday, in the league’s greatest and longest-lasting rivalry. Both clubs enter the matchup undefeated and tied in points.

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FAWSL: Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Saturday, Nov. 13 at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN

Arsenal looks to hold onto their undefeated record as the club faces off against third-ranked Tottenham. The two teams last met in September when Arsenal downed Tottenham 5-1 in the FA Cup quarterfinal.

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NCAAW: No. 6 Louisville vs. No. 22 Arizona

Friday, Nov. 12 at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU

Senior Kianna Smith and sophomores Hailey Van Lith and Olivia Cochran are ready to lead Louisville after a 2020 Elite Eight run. Their opening matchup against Arizona will be a tough initial test for the title contenders.

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NCAAW: No. 3 Stanford vs. No. 25 Texas

Sunday, Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN

Reigning NCAA Champions Stanford are back in action, taking on a top-25 Texas squad in their first regular-season matchup. With four starters returning from last year’s title-clinching team, Stanford is once again a heavy favorite to lift the trophy at the end of the season.

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NCAAW: No. 8 Indiana vs. No. 13 Kentucky 

Sunday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m ET on ESPN

Indiana enters the season with a stacked roster, as all five starters from last year’s Elite Eight run return to the Hoosiers. Their first game will be a test, facing a Rhyne Howard-led Kentucky.

Sofia Huerta signs contract extension with Seattle through 2027

(Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Oregon soccer players detail instances of verbal abuse from former USWNT assistant

(Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via Imagn Content Services)

Members of the Oregon women’s soccer team are saying they received harsh treatment and even verbal abuse from head coach and former USWNT assistant Graeme Abel. 

During the 2023 season, the team had zero wins, and upon its conclusion a total of 12 of the team’s 29 players departed the team. Former players told The Oregonian that Abel would verbally attack them, threaten to kick them off the team and at times would even throw objects.

"When I’d make a mistake at practice, it felt like he made it a job to embarrass you to the point where you just wanted to walk off the field,” one player said. “He’d stop the practice – and I know it’s college soccer, it’s very competitive — but he’d stop practice and just keep going nonstop on this one thing."

In total, the Oregonian spoke with 14 former players – including 12 who agreed to be interviewed in depth. All said that they experienced verbal abuse. Six of the players were among those who transferred following the season. 

One instance of Abel’s tirades included him throwing a water bottle that narrowly missed players’ heads. 

“He kicked all of our staff out of the locker room, kicked a trash can, threw a white board, sat on the trash can and started screaming,” one player recounted. “He wanted us to tell him what we thought went wrong in the game. Me and another player spoke up, and he said, ‘You’re just (expletive) wrong.’ And that if we didn’t want to be in this program, we could all quit, and he’d sign our release paperwork tomorrow.”

While Abel was not made available for an interview, he did say in a statement that “at no point have I used threatening statements or financial repercussions as a part of coaching.”

Instances of emotional distress stemming from Abel’s alleged harsh treatment date back to 2021 – his first full year leading the team following an abbreviated 2020 campaign.

Other former players contacted by The Oregonian detailed positive overall experiences, and described his style as “normal coaching.”

Others, like USWNT players Becky Sauerbrunn and Lindsey Horan, did not respond to requests for comment, although Sauerbrunn wrote in 2019 that she had a “great relationship” with Abel. 

Still, multiple players interviewed had similar stories, with one saying that girls would be “crying in the locker room” after practice because of what he would tell players. Attempts to speak with the administration about his behavior, players say, was “discouraging.”

“His office is like the scariest place,” one player said. “You’d have to sit there while he’d belittle you and say all these nasty things, and gaslight you into believing you’re not good enough. ... Our team fell apart because of the environment he created. We were just trying to get through the day. There was no way we could focus on soccer.”

Multiple players said they experienced suicidal ideation while playing at Oregon. In part of his statement, Abel wrote that “at no time do we put our student-athletes in any danger.”

Abel is currently in his fifth and final year of his contract at Oregon.

Gotham FC unveil Championship rings ahead of banner reveal

Gotham FC players celebrate Lynn Williams' goal in the first half of the 2023 NWSL Championship. (Ray Acevedo/USA TODAY Sports)

Gotham FC has unveiled their 2023 NWSL championship rings — and safe to say, they deliver.

The reveal has led to a little bit of trash talk ahead of the team’s matchup with Kansas City this weekend, as both teams have NFL owners. While the Current are co-owned by Patrick and Brittany Mahomes, former Giants quarterback Eli Manning is a co-owner of Gotham. 

On Wednesday, Manning took to Sportscenter to give Mahomes a bit of a hard time.

“He may have one more Super Bowl ring than me, but he does not have a NWSL championship ring like I do,” Manning joked.

“Come Sunday night at Red Bull Arena, April 14th, we’re dropping the banner on Kansas City. We got the ring ceremony, the players get their rings and their championship afterwards. This is it, I’ve got something to talk a little trash to him about because I can’t do it about football anymore, I gotta find something else.”

The appearance came after Manning posted to social media, inviting Mahomes to “come see [the championship ring] up close this Sunday.”

Mahomes responded in kind, writing that “we’ll see y’all Sunday!”

Gotham takes on current league-leaders Kansas City on Sunday at 6pm ET. The game is available on NWSL+.

Oregon State hit by transfer portal again as Raegan Beers departs

ALBANY, NEW YORK - MARCH 31: Raegan Beers #15 of the Oregon State Beavers shoots a free throw during the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 31, 2024 in Albany, New York. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Oregon State leading scorer and rebounder Raegan Beers announced on Thursday that she is entering the transfer portal. 

"Thank you for all of your endless love and support these past two years," she posted on social media. "I will never forget my time at OSU and I am thankful for the opportunity I had to meet and play with incredible people. My journey as a Beav was a special one and I am grateful for my teammates, coaches, fans, and friends who have changed my life throughout my time here."

A sophomore forward, Beers is a two-time All-Pac-12 selection who averaged 17.5 points per game last season while shooting 66.4 percent from the field. She also added 10.3 rebounds en route to earning third-team All-American honors from the AP. 

She’s the fourth Oregon State starter – and seventh player overall – to hit the portal this offseason. She joins Talia von Oelhoggen and Timea Gardiner in the transfer portal, as well as starting freshman Donovyn Hunter. 

Beers and Gardiner were both top-10 recruits in ESPN rankings coming out of high school. 

With the dissolution of the Pac-12, the program will join the WCC next season and no longer be a part of the Power 5.

Conference realignment is hitting the team hard, with coach Scott Rueck saying during the tournament that he knew it could seriously affect his team moving forward. 

"That's reality," Rueck said. "I can't control that, other than just keep doing what I'm doing. I think the opportunity within that for a leader provides a discipline that you'd better be on your A-game all the time. You'd better take care of people, and you'd better provide a great experience. That's the approach going forward and what happens, happens. We'll find a way."

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