No. 11 Ducks Head to Salt Lake City
EUGENE, Ore. - Coming off a home sweep of the Washington schools, the Oregon women's basketball team will hit the road again this weekend beginning with a Friday afternoon showdown with Utah in Salt Lake City.
The No. 11 Ducks have won three of their last four games and are in the thick of a four-team race for the Pac-12 regular-season championship. Oregon will play Colorado on Sunday in Boulder before returning home to play five of its final seven scheduled regular-season games in Matthew Knight Arena.
Oregon kicked off the 2020-21 conference schedule with a sweep of the Mountain schools at home back in December, opening Pac-12 play with an 82-53 win over Colorado before handing Utah an 85-43 defeat two days later.
"We feel good going down the stretch."@GoDucksKG talks about the four-team race for the Pac-12 title and previews this weekend's trip to the Mountain schools.#GoDucks x @UOSportsNetwork pic.twitter.com/2V1SuP36Nf
— Oregon Women's Basketball (@OregonWBB) January 27, 2021
Matchup: #11 Oregon (11-3, 9-3) at Utah (4-9, 3-9)
Date: Friday, January 29, 2021
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Venue: Jon M. Huntsman Center
Opening Tip: 2:06 p.m. PT
TV: Pac-12 Network
PxP: Krista Blunk | Analyst: Amanda Smith
Radio: Oregon Sports Network
Eugene: KUGN 590 AM | Portland: KDZR 1640 AM
PXP: Terry Jonz | Analyst: Bev Smith
Series History vs. Utah
All-Time Series Record: Oregon leads, 22-9
Current Streak: Oregon W11
Last Meeting: Oregon won, 85-43 (Eugene)
Last Time vs. The Utes
The Ducks extended their winning streak vs. Utah to 11 straight games with an 85-43 win over the Utes on Dec. 6 in Eugene, Oregon's third-biggest victory of the season and second-most lopsided in Pac-12 play. Utah's 43 points are the second-fewest UO has allowed all season, and one of three times where Oregon held its opponent to fewer than 50 points. Erin Boley and Te-Hina Paopao each had 17 points to lead the offense, with Sydney Parrish adding 12 and Jaz Shelley finishing with 11. Nyara Sabally also impacted the game on both ends with seven points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, and freshman Angela Dugalic nearly had a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds in just 14 minutes. The Ducks earned the 42-point win despite playing without Sedona Prince, who missed that game due to an ankle injury. Oregon holds a 22-9 lead over Utah in the all-time series and is 11-1 vs. the Utes since Kelly Graves took over ahead of the 2014-15 season.
Numbers to Know
5 - Sedona Prince led Oregon with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks vs. UW, the most by a Duck since March 2018.
7 - UO has had 7 different leading scorers in 14 games, and 11 Ducks have combined for 51 double-figure scoring performances.
11 - The Ducks have won 11 straight vs. Utah - including an 85-43 win in Eugene on Dec. 6 - and hold a 22-9 lead in the all-time series.
21.4 - Oregon ranks 11th in the nation with a 21.4 PPG scoring margin, headlined by 8 wins of 20+ points and 4 wins of 30+ points.
46.8% - The Ducks lead the Pac-12 and rank 18th in the nation with a 46.8 team field goal percentage this season.
56.0 - Oregon is 24th in the NCAA with just 56.0 PPG allowed, the fewest UO has given up through 14 games since 2005-06 (55.9).
Ducks In Thick Of Pac-12 Race
The four Pac-12 teams ranked in the AP top 15 have pulled away at the top of the league standings, and the Ducks remain very much alive in their quest for a fourth straight regular-season conference championship. No. 11 Oregon sits in fourth place at 9-3 after sweeping the Washington schools, just a half-game behind No. 6 Stanford and No. 10 Arizona, who currently share the conference lead at 9-2 with No. 5 UCLA in third at 7-2. Oregon's three losses came against those three teams, and the Ducks will get a chance to avenge each one next month in rematches that will undoubtedly play a critical role in determining the league champion.
Different Faces Step Up vs. UW
Playing without two starters and a third rotation player due to injuries, the Ducks saw players like Lydia Giomi and Angela Dugalic step up on Sunday as Oregon defeated Washington, 69-52. Giomi recorded her second career double-double off the bench with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Dugalic nearly had one as well with 12 points and eight boards in her first career start. Sedona Prince continued her resurgence and capped her best weekend so far with 16 points, seven rebounds and five blocks - the most by a Duck since March 2018 - and Oregon continued to impress defensively by holding its opponent to fewer than 60 points for the fourth straight game and 10th time this season.
Ducks Playing Stellar Defense
The new-look Ducks have been searching for their offensive identity in recent weeks, but Oregon's terrific play on the defensive end this season has kept Kelly Graves' squad in position to make a run at its fourth straight Pac-12 championship. Oregon ranks 24th in the nation in scoring defense with just 56.0 points per game allowed, the program's best mark through 14 games since 2005-06 (55.9) and an improvement on last season's program-record 57.9 points per game allowed. The Ducks enter Friday's game at Utah having held four straight teams and 10 total opponents to fewer than 60 points, and Oregon has kept three teams under 50 points. UO leads the Pac-12 in three-point percentage defense, limiting opponents to just 25.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc, and the Ducks rank second in the league in total field-goal percentage defense at 34.7 percent. Oregon forced a season-high 23 turnovers and allowed a season-low 41 points to California on Jan. 10, tied for the fewest points the Ducks have given up in a conference game since Jan. 17, 2009.
Depth on Full Display
Despite having to replace four starters - including three top-10 WNBA Draft picks - Kelly Graves boasts one of the deepest teams in the country this season. Oregon has already had 11 different players combine for 51 total double-figure scoring performances through 14 games, and seven different Ducks have led or tied for the team lead in scoring at least once after Sedona Prince paced UO in scoring against both WSU and Washington over the weekend. At least 10 different players have scored in eight of the first 14 games, including seven straight to open the season, and Nyara Sabally (11.9), Te-Hina Paopao (11.1) and Erin Boley (11.1) are all averaging double figures with six more Ducks averaging at least 4.9 PPG. Oregon has had seven different starting lineups already - with Paopao the only player to start every game - and the Ducks have racked up a whopping 400 bench points through just 14 contests.
Prince Shines In Return to Starting Lineup
After missing the last two seasons - first due to a knee injury and then NCAA transfer rules - and then dealing with an ankle injury that forced her to miss five games this season, redshirt sophomore Sedona Prince appears to finally be back at full strength for the Ducks. The 6-foot-7 center returned to the starting lineup last weekend for the first time since Dec. 4, leading the Ducks to a weekend and season sweep of the Washington schools. Prince had 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting with six rebounds on Friday vs. Washington State, and then once again went 7-of-12 from the floor for 16 points vs. Washington while matching her season-high with seven rebounds and recording a career-high five blocks. Prince's five blocked shots are the most by a Duck since Ruthy Hebard had six in the 2018 Sweet Sixteen, and are tied for the second-most by an Oregon player inside Matthew Knight Arena. Most importantly, Prince looked healthy throughout both contests, playing a season-high 27 minutes against the Cougars and then exceeding that with 33 minutes of action vs. the Huskies. A preseason all-Pac-12 selection despite not playing a collegiate game entering this season, Prince is averaging 9.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 1.6 BPG in nine appearances this season, including five starts.
"I just had this feeling of happiness and joy here."
Great conversation with @sedonaprince_ on this week's Tip-Off Tuesday Player Spotlight.
— Oregon Women's Basketball (@OregonWBB) January 27, 2021
Giomi Torches Hometown Teams
The longest-tenured player on the roster, senior Lydia Giomi kicked off her fifth season with the Ducks in style in the 2020-21 opener vs. Seattle with the first double-double of her career. Giomi finished with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting while grabbing a career-high 13 rebounds, including five on the offensive end. The Seattle, Wash., native once again shined against a team from her hometown on Sunday vs. Washington, recording her second double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds while going a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor. With fellow forwards Erin Boley, Nyara Sabally and Kylee Watson out due to injury, Giomi stepped up in 22 minutes off the bench with arguably the most complete game of her career. "We needed her tonight, and she played really well," said Kelly Graves after UO's 69-52 win.
The Ducks will face Colorado in Boulder at 11 a.m. PT on Sunday (Pac-12 Network).