Following a thrilling overtime victory to #7 Arizona at home on Saturday, the Oregon Ducks Women’s basketball team put on a show at Matthew Knight Arena defeating #9 UConn 72-59. Te-Hina Paopao built off of her career high on Saturday with another stellar performance finishing with 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. For the second straight game Sedona Prince (14 points, 5 rebounds) came off the bench, but her size and shooting skill were critical for Oregon’s victory. Guard Caroline Ducharme led the way for UConn with 21 points, and forward Olivia Nelson-Ododa chipped in 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists on 7-9 shooting.
After starting off the game down 10-0 the Ducks went on a 18-0 run starting with 2:31 left in the 1st quarter. Down 14-8, the run sparked by Paopao and Prince gave them a 26-14 lead midway through the 2nd quarter. Prince found her rhythm during that stretch, at one point scoring a 10-0 run by herself.
Oregon’s defense was a critical piece of Oregon’s victory. The Ducks mostly sat in a 3-2 zone which the Huskies were unable to shoot out of all game. UConn’s Ducharme was posting up some of Oregon’s small guards, but as a team the Ducks defense was able to swarm from side to side. As a team the Huskies shot 3-18 from three as the Ducks forced UConn into a lot of contested three-point shots.
In the second half of the game Oregon held off the Huskies after several runs pushed the game to single digits. While the Ducks didn’t dominate as much as they did in the first half, the advantage was enough to keep the Ducks comfortably ahead down the stretch. The only negative takeaway from Oregon’s side was a late injury to 2021’s leading scorer Nyara Sabally. She went down hard with around 4 minutes left in the game and was clutching her right knee in serious pain. She returned to the sidelines during the last few minutes with an icepack on her knee, but it will be something to watch out for going forward.
After two wins against top-10 teams the face two unranked opponents next weekend in Washington and Washington State. Oregon will certainly look to keep their momentum after putting themselves back into the national discussion.
The Oregon Ducks earned an electric 68-66 win against the No. 7 ranked and final four team in 2021, the Arizona Wildcats, thanks to a game-winner hit by Endyia Rogers with 0.04 seconds left. This comes as a complete offensive turnaround after a stagnant first half from the Ducks.
The first half showed no life from the Ducks. They finished shooting an ugly 7-24 from the field. Their one positive out of the half was the Ducks’ work from the free-throw line. Oregon finished 12-12 in the first that equaling 27 of their first-half points. Te-Hina Paopao did end the half with 13 points. But that was overshadowed by her three turnovers out of the team’s eight. But that still wasn’t enough to manage the Wildcats. They put on an offensive clinic of their own, outscoring Oregon 21-12 in the second quarter alone. It was highlighted by back-to-back threes from Cate Reese, which extended Arizona’s lead to as high as 10. She also led the Wildcats in scoring with 10. Oregon did attempt to switch to a zone defense for a few plays, but that failed to slow down the Wildcats’ momentum.
The Duck’s offensive turnaround started with Sedona Prince. She scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and was huge defensively when contesting shots from the Wildcats. Her placement for Sydney Parrish was a great decision made by Kelly Graves after choosing to go small with the starting lineup. Prince ended up finishing the game with 16 points. Oregon in the end was able to force more turnovers than Arizona, with a lot coming in critical moments where the Wildcats could have iced the game. Nyara Sabally also had a huge second half for the Ducks. She scored 11 points on 3-5 shooting during that period. She finished the game with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Paopao also massively improved as well. She finished the second half with nine points on 4-5 shooting and only registered one other turnover. Paopao finished with 24 points and three assists.
Arizona had an offensive collapse of their own in the second half. They failed to hit their free throws, going 3-8 in the second half. The Wildcats also only shot 38 percent from the field as well. Their playmaking also diminished since they only registered four assists in the half. That gave Oregon the keys when they were able to keep the score close down until the final play. Despite Rogers being only 2-11 from the field, the final shot was all that mattered. A corner mid-range jumper off an offensive rebound was all she needed to give the Ducks the victory.
Oregon now looks to an entertaining matchup they’ve had circled all season long when No. 10 UConn takes a visit to Eugene. While they might be without their star player in Paige Bueckners, UConn is still filled with talent that’ll make for a fun matchup. That game will be played this upcoming Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 2 pm.