No. 8 UCLA Up First For No. 13 Oregon in Los Angeles
EUGENE, Ore. - Looking to build some momentum with only a few weeks before the start of postseason play, the No. 13 ranked Oregon women's basketball team will head to Los Angeles this weekend for a pair of tough battles with eighth-ranked UCLA and a surging USC team. Oregon will get the Bruins first on Friday in Pauley Pavilion in the Ducks' third consecutive game against a top-10 opponent.
Matchup: #13 Oregon (12-5, 9-5 Pac-12) at #8 UCLA (12-3, 10-3 Pac-12)
Date: Friday, February 19, 2021
Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
Venue: Pauley Pavilion
Opening Tip: 5:06 p.m. PT
TV: Pac-12 Network
PxP: Anne Marie Anderson | Analyst: Ros Gold-Onwude
Radio: Oregon Sports Network
Eugene: KUGN 590 AM | Portland: KDZR 1640 AM
PXP: Terry Jonz | Analyst: Bev Smith
Tip-Off Tuesday Player Spotlight - Taylor Mikesell
"I was attracted to being able to play ???? ???????? fully on the court, and I knew that I could do that here."
— Oregon Women's Basketball (@OregonWBB) February 17, 2021
Series History vs. UCLA
All-Time Series: UCLA leads, 37-32
Current Streak: UCLA W1
Last Meeting: UCLA won, 73-71 (1/3/21)
Last Time vs. UCLA
The Ducks gave the Bruins everything they could handle on Jan. 3 in Matthew Knight Arena, fighting back from a double-digit deficit before being unable to complete the comeback in a 73-71 loss to then-No. 11 UCLA. Oregon saw its NCAA-leading 27-game win streak and 22-game home win streak come to an end with its first home loss since Feb. 22, 2019 (also to UCLA). The Ducks got 19 points from Te-Hina Paopao with three other players in double figures, but struggled to contain the high-scoring duo of Michaela Onyenwere (33 points) and Charisma Osborne (22) for UCLA.
Numbers to Know
1.29 - Led by Te-Hina Paopao (2.27), Oregon enters the weekend ranked 17th in the NCAA with a 1.29 assist-to-turnover ratio.
3 - Oregon has won three straight vs. UCLA in Los Angeles, including an 80-66 victory last season in Pauley Pavilion.
12 - Nyara Sabally leads Oregon with 12 double-figure scoring games this season as well as three double-doubles.
57.8 - Oregon ranks 36th nationally with 57.8 PPG allowed, tied for the fifth-fewest the program has given up through 17 games.
75 - Te-Hina Paopao ranks fourth in the Pac-12 and eighth in Oregon freshman single-season history with 75 total assists.
435 - UO's top-ranked freshman class - made up of five McDonald's all-Americans - has combined for 435 points through 17 games.
Quick Hits: #21 Erin Boley
» Oregon Career (87 GP, 87 GS): 10.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 0.9 APG, .457 FG% (347-760), .432 3PT% (208-482), .860 FT% (43-50).
» Collegiate Career (124 GP, 97 GS): 9.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.8 APG, .449 FG% (431-959), .424 3PT% (255-601), .870 FT% (67-77).
» 1,184 total career points, 945 as a Duck; 55 points away from becoming the 33rd 1,000-point scorer in Oregon history.
» Currently No. 5 all-time at Oregon with 208 made three-pointers as a Duck; three away from No. 4 (Maite Cazorla, 211).
» Second on team this season with 10.6 PPG and third with nine double-figure scoring performances, including seven in Pac-12 play.
» Has already made more two-point field goals this season (44 in 16 games) than she did in all of 2019-20 (30 in 33 games).
Signs Of Progress, Though In Defeat
Oregon rallied back from a double-digit deficit and led in the final two minutes against No. 6 Stanford on Monday in Eugene, but the Cardinal scored the final five points of the game to beat the Ducks, 63-61. UO had two chances to win the game coming out of timeouts in the final 30 seconds, but couldn't convert. Though a disappointing loss, the Ducks showed signs of breaking out of their current offensive slump, going 10-of-21 from three-point range for their most triples since Jan. 1. Junior Taylor Mikesell broke out of a recent shooting slump to go 5-of-7 from the floor and 2-of-3 from deep for a team-high 13 points, and both Nyara Sabally (12) and Te-Hina Paopao (11) joined her in double figures. "I know we're disappointed," said head coach Kelly Graves. "But at the same time, I'm proud of the team for the fight we showed. We played hard for four quarters; it just didn't go our way."
— Oregon Women's Basketball (@OregonWBB) February 17, 2021
Searching for Breakthrough
The Ducks enter the weekend as a top-15 team in the AP poll for the 72nd straight week, but Oregon is still looking for a breakthrough against top teams this season. After going 12-1 vs. ranked teams in 2019-20, all five of UO's losses this season have come to top-15 opponents. Oregon will look to reverse that trend Friday vs. No. 8 UCLA.
Ducks Playing Solid 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 the top 15 in the AP national rankings all season. Oregon ranks 36th in the nation in scoring defense with 57.8 points per game allowed, the fifth-fewest amount of points the program has allowed through the first 17 games of a season and an improvement so far on last season's program-record 57.9 points per game allowed. The Ducks have held five of their last seven opponents and 11 total teams to fewer than 60 points this season, and Oregon has kept three teams under 50 points. UO ranks second in the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage defense (36.5%) and third in three-point percentage defense (28.5%), and the Ducks are forcing 15.6 turnovers per game. 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 59 total double-figure scoring performances through 17 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 on Jan. 22-24. At least 10 different players have scored in eight of the first 17 games, including seven straight to open the season, and Nyara Sabally (12.4), Erin Boley (10.6) and Te-Hina Paopao (10.5) are all averaging double figures with six more Ducks averaging at least 4.5 PPG. Oregon has had nine different starting-lineup combinations already - with Paopao the only player to start every game - and the Ducks have racked up a whopping 448 bench points through just 17 contests.
Sabally Well Worth The Wait
It's been a long two-plus years for Nyara Sabally - who lost the opportunity to play with her sister Satou Sabally after suffering knee injuries in each of her first two seasons as a Duck - but so far in 2020-21 it seems the 6-foot-5 forward was well worth the wait. The redshirt sophomore is coming off double-digit scoring performances against both Arizona and Stanford.
So far in 2020-21, Sabally...
» Is one of only two players in the Pac-12 (Mya Hollingshed, Colorado) to lead their team in PPG (12.4), RPG (7.6) and blocks (20).
» Ranks No. 2 in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds per game (2.9), No. 5 in total RPG (7.5), and No. 5 in field goal percentage (54.3%).
» Leads UO with 12 double-figure scoring games and three double-doubles (20P & 10R vs. CU; 19P & 14R at WSU; 10P & 11R at STAN).
» Tied for the seventh-best individual shooting performance in UO single-game history on Dec. 4 vs. Colorado (9-of-9 FG).
» Has led Oregon or tied for the team lead in scoring five times, and led in rebounding seven times.
Paopao Could Be Next In Graves' Line of Great Point Guards
Few coaches have developed point guards as successfully as Kelly Graves, who recruited and coached the only two players ever to surpass 2,000 career points and 1,000 assists - Sabrina Ionescu and Courtney Vandersloot. With Ionescu's legendary career at an end, Graves immediately turned to Te-Hina Paopao, who he believes "has a chance a chance to be a real star." The only Duck to start every game this season and the first freshman to start a season opener for UO since Ionescu in 2016-17, Paopao is averaging 10.5 PPG on 42.9 percent shooting (72-of-168) and has racked up 10 double-figure scoring performances through 14 conference games, including a career-best 22-point showing at then-No. 15 Oregon State on Dec. 13. The Oceanside, Calif., native is No. 2 in the Pac-12 with a 2.27 assist-to-turnover ratio while ranking fourth for total assists (75) and fifth for assists per game (4.4), and she has led Oregon in assists in 14 of the Ducks' first 17 contests. Paopao's 75 total assists already rank eighth in UO freshman single-season history, and she had 11 points and a career-high nine rebounds in Monday's game vs. No. 6 Stanford.