Freshman Forward Grace VanSlooten led Oregon with 29 points on 11 – 16 shooting against #3 Ohio State this afternoon in the final of the San Diego Invitational. Unfortunately, VanSlooten was the only Duck player to shoot 50 percent or better and the Ducks fell to the Buckeyes 84 – 67. Oregon was overwhelmed a bit in the 2nd quarter and never quite recovered. For the game, Oregon went 5 – 25 from beyond the 3-point arc and shot only 41 percent overall from the field. The Ducks were down to 8 players as Freshman Guard Jennah Isai left the team yesterday for undisclosed personal reasons.
The contest was even early-on as Chance Gray scored on a drive, Te-Hina PaoPao scored 5 points and Endyia Rogers hit a 3-pointer to give Oregon a 10 – 9 lead in the first few minutes. Ohio State’s shooting was also good, as 7 of their 9 early points came on jump shots. VanSlooten made her first basket, a layup at 5:38 that knotted the score at 14. Ohio State continued to shoot well and rattled off 5 straight before another PaoPao layup cut the lead to 19 – 16 at 3:55.
Neither team could do much until Rogers made a layup at 2:17 to make it 19 – 18 Ohio State. After a Buckeye layup, Taya Hanson made a 3-pointer and the teams traded baskets until the first quarter buzzer sounded with Ohio State ahead 25 – 23. The Ducks shot an excellent 58.82 percent from the field and knocked down 3 of 7 from beyond the arc.
Ohio State continued to find open players on their offensive end, and Oregon’s shooting began to cool off. After a PaoPao layup made it 27 – 25 at 9:09, Oregon would not score for 2 minutes while Ohio State was opening up a 32 – 25 lead. After an Ahlise Hurst layup, Oregon would go cold again for another 3 minutes while Ohio State built a 42 – 27 lead with 4:48 left. The lead would grow to 16 a minute later on two Buckeye baskets sandwiched around a single VanSlooten free throw. The lead was still 15 with 1:23 left in the half but the Buckeye’s grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked out for a 3-pointer to lead by 18 at 52 – 34. The half ran out after that with a 3 – 2 Oregon advantage and Ohio State led 54 – 37. The Buckeyes outscored Oregon 29 – 14 in the second quarter. Oregon shot 40 percent in the quarter.
The third stanza saw one of the combined lowest-scoring quarters of the season of any Oregon game. The Buckeyes scored only 2 free throws and a single 3-pointer in the quarter, but Oregon couldn’t really take advantage as their shooting dropped off to just 33.3 percent during the third. Incredibly, the Buckeyes scored their 5th and last point with 7:18 left in the quarter but Oregon had not scored at all in the quarter, giving the Buckeyes a 59 – 37 lead.
The rest of the quarter belonged to the Ducks, though, as they went on a 12 – 0 run to close to 59-49. Phillpina Kyei blocked two shots and had a steal in the quarter, and Hurst had a block and a steal. VanSlooten had 7 points and 5 rebounds in the quarter.
The final quarter dawned optimistically for the Ducks as Rogers hit a 3-pointer to bring Oregon within 7 points for the first time since early in the 2nd quarter. VanSlooten would have another good quarter, scoring 11 points, but she got very little help. Rogers’s 3 and VanSlooten’s 11 were joined by just 4 other Duck points – layups from Gray and PaoPao – and it wasn’t enough. Ohio State scored 25 in the quarter and Oregon’s shooting dropped to just 31.58 percent as the Ducks went 1 – 7 from beyond the 3-point line in the quarter.
For the game, VanSlooten’s 29 led all scorers. PaoPao was the only other Duck in double figures with 17 while Rogers added 9. Kyei led all rebounders with 10, but also was held to just one shot from the field and no points. PaoPao had 4 assists and 2 steals. Oregon was torpedoed by poor shooting, particularly from the 3-point line which is why they fell behind and why it was so difficult to catch up. Oregon shot just 41 percent from the floor for the game and only 20 percent from beyond the arc. The Ducks did make 8 of 11 free throws. Ohio State was 12 – 22 from 3-point distance and that made all the difference.
Oregon (10-2) suffered its first loss in almost a month. The Ducks are off until they resume Pac-12 Conference play December 30 at home against UCLA at 6:00 pm and then take on the USC Trojans on Sunday, January 1 (2023!) at 2:00 pm. Both of those games will be available on Pac-12 Networks.