Oregon failed to use its height advantage, and for the second time in a week ran into an opponent that shot out-of-its-mind from beyond the 3-point line and lost to the Arizona Wildcats 79 – 71 in Tucson. Oregon looked out of sorts after building a first quarter lead and committed a gigantic number of unforced turnovers, doubling its season average. The Ducks again went through long periods without being able to score the basketball, not even managing to get off a shot on many possessions.
Keys to the Game – Phillipina Kyei – by far the tallest player on the court at 6’8” – was almost unused in Oregon’s offense despite towering over every Arizona player. Oregon repeatedly declined to get the ball inside to her, and Kyei took only 3 shots in the entire game, all of which she made.
Arizona was simply unconscious from beyond the 3-point arc. To this point in the season, the Wildcats were shooting just 38 percent on the long ball but hit 50 percent against Oregon. Arizona was 10 – 20, a stat made even more remarkable when it’s noted that starting Guards Lauren Fields and Jade Loville were a combined 2 – 9, leaving the rest of the team at an otherworldly 8 – 11. The Ducks never could figure out how to consistently rotate onto the Arizona shooters and even when they did, the shots went in anyway.
Oregon had a pretty good shooting game themselves, hitting 52.7 percent from the field but 7 – 22 from the 3-point line. Oregon’s 3-point shooting faded dramatically as the game went on. Over the last 3 quarters the Ducks were just 5 – 18 including 2 – 7 in the fourth quarter when the game was winnable.
Arizona plays very active defense, trying hard to get into passing lanes, and double-teaming the ball at inconvenient moments. Oregon played right into their hands and never consistently protected the ball, committing 20 total turnovers on the night to Arizona’s 9. Taking care of the ball had been a team strength so far this season but holding a 25 – 19 lead after the first quarter, the Ducks then turned the ball over on 6 of their first 7 possessions to open the second. With 3 minutes left in that quarter, Oregon had more turnovers than baskets and Arizona had taken advantage to close the game. The Ducks consistently threw entry passes into the Wildcats hands or into the seats. Oregon had 10 turnovers in the second quarter, the same number of points they scored.
Oregon’s stunning lack of an inside game and constant turnovers also showed up in free throw shooting. The Ducks took only 9 free throws, making 6. Arizona, on the other hand, was 15 – 19 from the charity stripe. The 78 percent mark was 13 points better than Arizona’s season average. The Wildcats outscored the Ducks by 18 points on 3-pointers and free throws combined.
Arizona’s bench outscored Oregon’s 26 – 3. While some of this can be attributed to all the players Oregon has lost to, or who are just returning from, injury, the Ducks can usually count on some production from the bench, as the players there are talented. The three players off Oregon’s bench had 4 turnovers and 6 personal fouls.
For the game, Grace VanSlooten led Oregon with 18 points while Endyia Rogers and Te-Hina PaoPao each had 17. Kyei had 10 rebounds but 5 turnovers. Rogers and PaoPao had 4 assists each. VanSlooten left the game late in the third quarter with a leg cramp but was later helped off the court with just 30 seconds to play with what might have been an ankle injury.
Oregon fell to 12 – 4 overall and 3 – 2 in Pac-12 play. They now return home to face the Washington schools next weekend.