Oregon’s women’s team continued whatever it is that ails them in a poor offensive showing at MKA on Friday night. They dropped a game that, like Stanford, they could have won, had they only been able to find the basket.
Oregon scored the first three points and that would prove to be their only lead of the game. In spite of trailing all game, the Ducks showed some life in the third quarter and were only down by two at its end, 37-39. Their offense could not be resuscitated by any means in the 4th, however, and Oregon ended to a disappointing finish.
This Oregon offense continues to under-perform, same as the Stanford game, despite showing overall very good defensive chops. In both of these games, the Ducks’ defense kept them in the game, and for a lack of finding the basket, they had a good chance of coming out with a win.
I thought that, during the game, Oregon was in trouble after turning the ball over six times in the first quarter. As alarming as that was, the turnovers evened out over the course of the match and the game ended evenly, with 15 turnovers to Colorado’s 14.
The board play was not really a factor. Both team tied with 36 rebounds.
With both this game and the Stanford match, Oregon’s inability to find the basket is dumbfounding. We’re not talking just the three shot – the Ducks went 0-16 on threes tonight – but just an inability to finish open looks and easy layups. In the Stanford game, Oregon was 20-80. Tonight, they were 20-55. Oregon went to the line much more than the Buffaloes, and their 13 points from the charity stripe accounted for 20% of their point total. That kind of badness (but really good FT shooting) is mind boggling.
I was asked, during the game, is this Oregon team just bad? I don’t have a definitive answer to that. During warmups, and the practices that I’ve seen, players like Chance Gray and Te-Hina Paopao knock down long shots like no one’s business. In fact, I was watching exactly that before the game and marvelling at the shots and precision, and I consciously thought to myself “Those are great shots…Can they do that in the game?” Alas, no. It would appear that these shooters can’t put it together in the game. When I see good field shots in practice and warmups, that tells me that there is some sort of mental block in the game. That will happen, game-to-game, on an individual level, The problem here is that it’s happening team-wide.
The team is frustrated. Coach Kelly Graves is flabbergasted. I think that, in his post-game remarks, he took one for the team in taking blame upon himself, as you will see in the remarks below. I think that he’s as puzzled as I am that great practice performance is translating into substandard game play. I don’t get it; I don’t think that he gets it.
I would like to say that the women’s team shows the same inconsistency as the men’s team, same as last year, but that’s not true. This year’s women’s incarnation has shown that it’s not capable of beating top-25 teams. Never mind the moral victories; that does not turn into wins. I don’t want to say that this is a bad team…but repeated patterns trump any belief system. That’s just the way it is.
It’s not going to get any easier for Oregon when they host a very good #7 Utah team at MKA on Sunday. That match is at 2:00 pm PT and will be on the Pac-12 Network.