Big Third Quarter Fuels Ducks
PORTLAND — A big third quarter provided some cushion for the Oregon women's basketball team as the No. 10 Ducks won their second nonconference game, 85-52 over Portland at the Chiles Center on Monday.
The UO women (2-0) got off to a halting start due in part to effective defensive pressure from the Pilots (1-1). Oregon led comfortably at halftime, 34-22, but then blew the game open by outscoring Portland 29-11 in the third quarter, fueled by a trio of three-pointers from Taylor Mikesell.
Oregon recorded its 21st straight victory, going back to last season, tying the program record. Erin Boley led the way with 25 points and nine rebounds for the Ducks, who open Pac-12 play on Friday at home against Colorado.
"The first half we looked really out of sync," UO coach Kelly Graves said. "We were just playing faster than we should; give them credit, they put a lot of pressure on us, and we just kind of panicked a little bit. …
"But at the same time, give our own team credit, because I thought we adjusted. At halftime we took a deep breath and took it to 'em."
How It Happened: The Ducks got off to a hot start that belied the unsteady play for the rest of the half. Boley had seven points in the first four possessions, and a short jumper by Sedona Prince made it 9-2 moments into the game. But after Taylor Chavez scored to put Oregon up 11-7, the Ducks went the next 5:07 without a field goal. Portland was held scoreless the final 4:42 of the quarter, however, and Sydney Parrish ended Oregon's dry spell in the last minute of the period to give the Ducks an 18-9 lead.
Portland's defensive pressure continued to give Oregon trouble into the second quarter; the Ducks had four turnovers in each of the first two quarters, one more than the three they had in Saturday's entire game. A three-pointer by Chavez and two buckets by Prince provided a 27-14 cushion midway through the period, and the Ducks later put together a 7-0 run with a three-pointer by Te-Hina Paopao, a pull-up jumper in transition by Chavez and a putback by Boley — one of five offense rebounds by Boley in the game. A flurry of late turnovers kept the Ducks from extending the lead, but they took a 34-22 edge into halftime.
"(Boley) got five offensive rebounds tonight — that's doing work," Graves said. "I'm really proud of her. She's been our best player, and it showed tonight."
Boley led the way to open the second half as well, scoring to spark an 8-0 run out of the break that included a three-point play by Prince and Mikesell's first basket of the night, a three-pointer. The Ducks scored another eight in a row to go up 52-27, on three-pointers by Boley and Mikesell sandwiched around a Prince basket. A third three-pointer by Mikesell was followed by a bucket for Nyara Sabally to make the lead 30, and Oregon took a 63-33 advantage into the fourth.
Sabally had two more baskets early in the fourth quarter as the Ducks maintained their advantage. Boley got the lead to 33 for the first time with a three-point play for a 78-45 lead, and she scored again on the next possession after a steal and assist by freshman Maddie Scherr. Yet another Boley bucket gave Oregon its biggest lead of the night at 82-45 with 2:09 to play.
Who Stood Out: Boley was 11-of-17 shooting, including 2-of-3 from three-point range. Prince added 13 points and seven rebounds, and Mikesell's trio of three-pointers helped her finish with 11 points. Sabally contributed eight points with seven rebounds.
What It Means: Oregon's turnover total spiked from three to 15, but an average of nine through two games is something the Ducks will gladly live with. And Graves was much more impressed with Oregon's defense against Portland than he was against Seattle in the opener — the Ducks forced 22 turnovers and blocked four shots.
All of that has the UO women feeling positive about the groundwork they laid prior to Pac-12 play.
"I think we're ready," Boley said. "We're excited for it. We improved from last game, and we'll improve from this game we played today. It's going to be a challenge, but we're ready for it."
Notable: Graves made an adjustment to his starting lineup, opening with Chavez along with Prince, Boley, Mikesell and Paopao. Chavez made 3-of-4 shots and finished with seven points. … All 13 players on the roster appeared in the game, for the second game in a row. … Sophomore Jaz Shelley scored her first points of the season with two free throws in the final minute.
Up Next: The Ducks open Pac-12 play against Colorado in Matthew Knight Arena on Friday.