No. 10 Ducks Pull Away in Second Half
EUGENE, Ore. – The Colorado women's basketball team opened Pac-12 Conference play with a visit to No. 10 Oregon on Friday. The Buffaloes held tough with the Ducks through the first two quarters but were unable to keep pace on the road the final two quarters, falling 82-53.
The game marked the earliest conference start in CU and Pac-12 history. Colorado drops to 2-1 on the season, while Oregon moves to a 3-0 start.
Colorado trailed by just eight at the halfway point, 34-26, but the Ducks got a quick start to the third quarter and never looked back, outscoring CU 48-27 in the final two quarters.
Junior Peanut Tuitele and sophomore Charlotte Whittaker were the lone Buffs in double figures. Both players finished with 10 points on the day. Freshman Frida Formann went 2-for-4 from 3-point distance, finishing with a nine-point effort.
The Ducks were led by Nyara Sabally, who went 9-for-9 from the field for a game-high 20 points. Erin Boley and Te-Hina Paopao also finished in double-digits, totaling 17 and 13 points, respectively.
Colorado had a hard time getting to the basket inside the empty Matthew Knight Arena. CU shot just 31.9 percent (22-69), while the Ducks enjoyed a 50 percent (31-62) shooting performance. Oregon also had success from behind the arc, hitting 10-of-22 from deep. CU was just 4-for-18 from 3-point range.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado was the first to crack the scoreboard, getting the offense flowing early. Junior Lesila Finau opened the day with the first five points for the Buffs, opening up an early 5-2 lead. Tuitele added an early jumper to push the lead to 7-5, but the Buffs would go cold on their next four field-goal attempts. Meanwhile, the Ducks capitalized on the Buffs' woes, opening an 8-0 run to jump ahead 13-7. Oregon's lead grew to 10 in the first quarter, 20-10, but a Jaylyn Sherrod jumper cut it back to eight, 20-12, to close the quarter.
Colorado was without senior Mya Hollingshed for the majority of the first half. She picked up three fouls in the first six minutes of the first quarter and didn't play the rest of the first half.
Tuitele and Whittaker were left to pick up the offensive slack for the Buffs in the post the rest of the half. Colorado kept within single digits of Oregon the entire second quarter, not letting the Ducks get too much breathing room. Formann hit a bit 3-pointer to get CU back within four, 25-21, with just under four minutes to go in the quarter. The Ducks responded with a 5-for-5 shooting streak to expand its lead to 34-26. Tuitele led all Colorado players with eight in the first half.
The Ducks opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer from Boley, extending the lead to 27-26. Tuitele had a quick answer on the other end for the Buffs to get back within nine, 37-28, with nine minutes left in the quarter. The two teams swapped baskets once more, resulting in a 39-30 Oregon lead. That's when Oregon flipped on the switch, going on an 8-0 run, pushing its lead to 47-30. Oregon doubled CU's scoring in the third quarter, 26-13, and shot 45.5 percent in the quarter, running its lead to 60-39 at the end of the period.
The Ducks posted 48 points in the second half and outshot Colorado, 48.6 to 34.4 percent in the final twenty minutes.
KEY MOMENT: The Ducks got a layup from Sedona Prince with 7:59 to go in the third quarter that put Oregon up by 11, 41-30. That basket kickstarted a 21-9 run to end the third quarter, giving Oregon an insurmountable 21-point lead.
KEY STAT: Oregon shot 5-for-10 from deep in the third quarter, netting half their 3's for the game in the frame. Paopao went 3-for-3 from long range in the third and Taylor Mikesell hit her only attempt of the game.
NOTES: Friday was the earliest CU has played a ranked opponent (in terms of games) since playing No. 15/19 Kentucky in Boulder (game No. 3) on Nov. 19, 2016…Colorado is now 8-19 overall against the Ducks…For Oregon, the win set a new program record with 20th straight home win dating back to 2018-19 season; the previous record of 19 set in 1998-2000...CU struggled in the first half from the free-throw line, going just 2-6...CU finished just 5-12 from the free-throw line (41.7 percent)…Oregon converted on 10 3-pointers, marking the first time a CU opponent hit 10 or more since Stanford (14) on Feb. 16, 2020…CU's bench outscored Oregon's, 25-21.
NEXT UP: The Buffs visit No. 17 Oregon State for another road test against a ranked opponent on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Mountain.