Women's Basketball Struggles Offensively, Loses 67-40 to South Carolina

Nov. 28, 2002

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands - The University of Oregon women's basketball team couldn't get on track offensively Thursday as South Carolina gobbled up the Ducks in the Paradise Jam Tournament.

Despite playing with more intensity and emotion compared to Tuesday's loss at Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Ducks were stymied by the Gamecocks' constant defensive pressure. Oregon had 24 turnovers - many on entry passes to the post - and just five assists. It scored the fewest points since a 34-point outing on Jan. 13, 1978, against Washington.

'We weren't in control on the offensive end,' Oregon coach Bev Smith said. 'When we're in control, we make things happen. Tonight, we didn't cut well or set hard screens. It's going to take more time on the offensive end. It's not a short-term project.'

Oregon hung tight at the beginning, trailing 6-4 in the first seven minutes. But South Carolina (3-0) went on a 13-2 run, spurred by three lay-ins and an assist from All-American forward Jocelyn Penn, making it 19-6 with 10 minutes left in the half. Penn finished with a game-high 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting.

The Ducks (1-2) cut the lead to 29-22 with the help of five points from Kedzie Gunderson, but South Carolina, an NCAA Tournament qualifier last year, closed the half with a 12-4 spurt.

'We had an improved effort and increased intensity,' Oregon senior guard Shaquala Williams said, 'but we can't allow ourselves to get into a hole early against a team like that. It was hard to fight back.'

Williams, who has averaged nearly 15 points per game in her career, was held to nine points on 2-of-9 shooting. Sophomore post player Andrea Bills was the lone Duck in double-figures with 10 to go with five rebounds.

Although down by double-digits, Oregon had a chance to make a run in the second half as it got Penn and starting center Petra Ujhelyi in foul trouble early in the half. But South Carolina's offense went intentionally conservative to milk the clock and also grabbed key offensive rebounds.

South Carolina dominated the boards, hauling in 40 while Oregon managed just 28.

'We got busted on the boards,' Smith said. 'Any time a team gets that many offensive rebounds (18 for South Carolina), it's a problem.'

Following a Brandi Davis 3-pointer at the 3:45 mark, the Ducks' reserves failed to score the rest of the way. Oregon's 14 second-half points tied the school record, set in 1991, for the fewest points in a half.

The Ducks' schedule doesn't ease up Friday. Oregon will face No. 18-ranked Boston College (2-0) at 4:30 p.m. PST.

'For our team, playing as hard as we did, it takes some out of you,' said Smith, whose team made an uncharacteristic 6-of-15 free throws. 'Boston College is another challenge to rise up to and work at our offensive scheme.'

'The best thing for us now is to play right away,' Williams said.

- www.GoDucks.com
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