Oregon Ducks women’s basketball hosted the Carroll College Saints last Friday. Carroll College is a private Catholic school out of Helena, MT. The Saints are coached by Rachelle Sayers and posted a 21-10 record last season while winning the FCC championship.
Carroll took advantage of a slow start by the Ducks to lead for most of the 1st period and end the period on top 10-11. Oregon had initial problems jump starting and playing to Carroll’s speed; the Saints are fast and their ball handling skills are very good. The Ducks opted for a steady rotation and used all of their players. As coach Kelly Graves noted after the game, “We only have 10 players on the roster, they’re all going to play.” The standouts in the 1st period were freshman Grace VanSlooten and ASU transfer Taya Hanson.
While Oregon struggled a bit to keep pace with Carroll, it was certain not to last. The Ducks are bigger and the bigs are athletic, so that will win out over 40 minutes. The spark plug that got Oregon going was the same player that did it so often last season – Endiya Rogers. Rogers is every bit as fast as anyone on the Saints, and she kicked it into gear in leading all scorers in the 2nd period. Rogers and VanSlooten – plus better defense, playing to the speed of Carroll, and getting four steals to one for the Saints – resulted in Oregon going into the half with a nine-point lead, 26-17.
The third period was where the Oregon guards that had been quiet in the first half finally took over and made some noise, with Te-Hina Paopao, Chance Gray, and Taylor Hanson joining Endiya Rogers in leading scorers for the period. The Ducks shot better in the period at 47.8%, and were a perfect 3-3 on the line. That production put Oregon up at the end of the period 52-29.
Oregon continued to improve their shooting in the 4th period, going 50% and again shot a perfect 4-4 on free throws. Freshman Jennah Isai lead all scorers in the 4th, and the Ducks put the Saints away with a better second half effort, 72-41.
The Oregon Ducks finished the night shooting 41.8%, and went 13-18 on the line at 72.2%. The Ducks could not get the three-ball in and landed only 3 of 21. Coach Graves indicated after the game that it wasn’t a huge concern for him, noting that his team had done better in practice and scrimmage. “I’m not that worried about it,” he said.
Freshmen Grace VanSlooten and Jennah Isai stood out today, both being points leaders with 12 each. VanSlooten was especially noteworthy as she was never fouled and did not shoot any FTs. Endiya Rogers added 11 points and Te-Hina Paopao was the other double-digit scorer with 10.
After the game, tribute was paid to Sedona Prince, as it was announced earlier that she would require season-ending surgery and would be leaving Oregon to pursue a professional career. It was a teary moment as she thanked the University of Oregon, the coaching staff and players, but especially the fans and the people on Eugene that helped her end up in a better place personally than when she arrived.