Coming off of a blowout win in Alaska, the Oregon Women’s Basketball team hoped to carry that momentum back to Matthew Knight in their home-opener against Syracuse. Though it was not pretty, the Ducks won 75-73.
The Ducks started the game strong, taking the early lead and keeping it throughout the opening quarter. They took a double-digit lead into the second quarter after Sabrina Ionescu (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Erin Boley (13 points, 5-19 FG) combined for 11 of Oregon’s 20 points.
The Orange – who switched the defense to a 2-3 zone – opened the second quarter with a mini-run, scoring on their first three baskets to cut the lead by six, 22-16. Ionescu and Maite Cazorla then took the game in their own hands, each scoring on four of Oregon’s next five possessions to bring the Duck-lead back to 15, 31-16. After Syracuse converted a few Oregon-turnovers, the lead was cut to just six by halftime.
The second half saw both teams’ play decline. After shooting 50% in the first half and holding the Orange to just 33% in half two, which matched the Orange’s shooting percentage. The game remained close, but in Oregon’s control until 3:28 left, when Gabrielle Cooper (11 points, 3-7 3FG) drilled a three to give Syracuse the 62-61 lead, its first of the game.
The Orange-lead would increase to six after Tiana Mangakahia (15 points, 7-14 FG) hit a layup and Cooper splashed another three. With only 2:00 remaining, Ionescu cut the lead to three after making a three. She imitated the same result on the following possession and tied the game at 67 with 1:24 left. After an Oregon-stop and another three from Boley, Oregon maintained the lead for the final minute and pulled out the victory.
Syracuse out-shot Oregon, hitting 31 makes on 77 attempts (40%) to the Ducks’ 23 makes on 63 attempts (37%). The difference came from beyond-the-arch where Oregon hit 11 threes to just five for Syracuse. The Ducks head to Logan, Utah to take on the Utah State Aggies on November 14th at 6:00 PM.
Game Story (by Jordan Brenner)
Kelly Graves, Erin Boley, Sabrina Ionescu