Depleted Ducks Drop Duel With Denver, 73-62

Steve Dykes

The shorthanded Oregon squad moved to 0-6 on the season as it continues to struggle with an unprecedented rash of injuries to key contributors.

With sophomore guard Jordan Loera forced into playing her third position of the young season, and only seven healthy players, the makeshift Oregon women's basketball team was only able to hang with the University of Denver for so long before their lack of depth caught up with them and the Pioneers pulled away.

"We're in the process of getting better, and hopefully next Sunday will be a turnaround," Head Coach Paul Westhead said. "I want to credit Denver for hanging in and playing a decent, good game."

"We had an offensive issue; just didn't generate enough points."

Both teams started the game ice cold, with Oregon shooting a measly 5-24 (20.8%) over the first nine minutes, and finishing the half 11-41 (26.8%).

With so many shots not falling, Westhead wasn't pleased with his team's offensive numbers but noted that there were multiple players in new positions for his squad.

"For us, one thing leads to another, Westhead said. "So, if we can get better speed in our point execution, we'll get even more open shots, better looks. So the pace is important for us. I thought Jordan and Devyn did a decent, good job (at point guard)."

On the offensive end, Oregon by forward Megan Carpenter, who recorded her first double-double of the season with 19 points and 17 rebounds.

"Megan Carpenter stepped up with a lot of poise and a lot of balance." Westhead said of the sophomore.

Carpenter's teammates also took notice of her efforts in these extreme circumstances for the Ducks, as the team tries to rally together and stay afloat during tough times.

"I told her after the game that she played amazing and fearless, Love said of her teammate. "I told her we need that every game."

The Ducks were able to keep it close with Denver in the second half behind a strong run by junior forward Danielle Love and had closed to within three points with under 10 minutes remaining in the game. However, the Pioneers had an answer for every Oregon run, pushing the lead to 11 with four minutes remaining and maintaining that advantage until the final whistle.

Despite out-rebounding the Pioneers by a sizable 55-39 clip – including 24-12 on the offensive end – the Ducks were simply unable to convert many second chance opportunities into points, only shooting 3-15 from three and tallying 11 second chance points.

The loss drops Oregon to 0-6 on the season and because of upcoming finals, the next opportunity for a win doesn't present itself until next Sunday against the University of Nevada Wolf Pack.

"There's signs that we can do that," Westhead said. "The problem with seven is that you better not have anyone doing that, there's no wiggle room."

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