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Fierce Battle Goes To Cardinal

Feb 20, 2022

EUGENE, Ore. — Two days after a victory in which the Ducks were frustrated by their play, it was the opposite outcome Sunday when the Oregon women's basketball team was much happier with its execution but lost, 66-62, to No. 2 Stanford at Matthew Knight Arena.

The Ducks on Friday missed all their three-pointers and saw their starters make fewer field goals than the bench in a win over California. On Sunday, Te-Hina Paopao made four three-pointers and Sydney Parrish hit a trio for Oregon, which led by 10 early in the fourth quarter before going cold down the stretch; Stanford finished the game on a 14-2 run to remain unbeaten in Pac-12 play this season.

"Obviously we want to win, but we want to play the best we can play," UO coach Kelly Graves said. "We want to compete. Certainly there are no moral victories; we obviously wanted to win the game, and had a chance to win the game. But I feel better, and I think they feel better, about the effort than we did the other night.

How It Happened: Friday's 0-of-16 misery from three-point range was flushed early Sunday when Parrish made a three-pointer on Oregon's opening possession. That gave the Ducks a 3-1 lead after they were assessed an administrative technical foul for a facility issue prior to the opening tip. Parrish hit another three later in the quarter for a 10-4 lead, and Oregon led 14-10 after one despite six turnovers, thanks to holding Stanford to 2-of-17 shooting.

Endyia Rogers and Parrish scored on consecutive possessions early in the second for a 20-11 lead, and Paopao followed with a three-pointer to make it 23-13. Stanford finally got some rhythm late in the quarter, making 7-of-9 shots heading into halftime, but baskets by Kylee Watson, Rogers and Paopao on Oregon's last three possessions gave the Ducks a 36-31 lead at the break.

The Cardinal closed within 38-35 early in the third, before Paopao hit another three and Sedona Prince followed moments later with two second-chance points for a 43-35 lead. Paopao hit jump shots on back-to-back possessions for a 47-40 advantage, before Stanford scored six straight to close the quarter within 47-46.

An upset seemed in store early in the fourth, which the Ducks opened with one three-pointer by Parrish and two by Paopao for a 56-46 lead. Paopao added a floater from the baseline to put Oregon up 58-49 and Prince scored moments later for a 60-52 lead.  But that basket, with 5:00 left on the clock, was Oregon's final field goal of the game. The Ducks missed their final 11 shots from the floor and Stanford ended the game on a 14-2 run to escape with a win.

"We controlled that game most of the night," Graves said. "Just didn't make our own breaks, didn't get many calls down the stretch — but that happens in the game. You've got to find a way to get it done, and credit Stanford: They know how to win, they have a veteran crew and a coach that knows a thing or two about what she's doing."

Who Stood Out: Paopao finished with 23 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Parrish added 13 points with six rebounds. Rogers scored 10 points and had five rebounds with two assists and two steals.

Oregon's bigs battled foul trouble, on a day the Ducks were whistled for 21 fouls and Stanford drew 14. Nyara Sabally had eight points, seven rebounds and four assists with two steals before fouling out in 19 minutes, and Watson fouled out in 15 minutes. Prince also was saddled with foul trouble, and scored four points in six minutes.

Senior Day: Following the game, Oregon held its Senior Day ceremony to honor Sabally and Shannon Dufficy. Sabally's video tribute included recorded greetings from her sister, UO alum Satou Sabally, as well as fellow German basketball star Dirk Nowitzki.

It was also senior weekend for the Graves family; the UO coach was at Gonzaga on Saturday night for the final regular-season home game with the Bulldogs for his youngest son, Will. Graves drove overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning to get back to Eugene for Sunday's game, and afterward he thanked his staff for preparing the team in his absence.

"They allowed me to be a dad, and to me that's the most important thing in the world," he said.

What It Means: Sunday's game was a golden opportunity for Oregon to grab a marquee win and perhaps remain in the conversation for the right to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. That wasn't to be, but the Ducks still left the arena feeling better about themselves than they did Friday.

"If we play as hard and as focused as we were tonight, I think we're really good and have a chance to beat anyone anywhere," Graves said.

Up Next: The Ducks open the final weekend of the regular season at Colorado on Wednesday (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network).