The Oregon Ducks have concluded their conference season and went out against Utah with a resounding thud. Oregon was outrebounded 36-23 and shot only 35% from the field as the Utes teed off with 9 made threes en route to a 70-52 win against the home Ducks. Four Utes were in double figures and were led by Taryn Wicijowski who scored 18 leading all scorers. For the Ducks it was Jillian Alleyne who scored 13. Ariel Thomas also had 12 in the loss. Oregon seemed unable to share the ball as they only had 3 assists to 15 turnovers.
Oregon looked to push the ball inside going to Jillian Alleyne early and they were finding success. The only problem with that is that as Oregon was struggling to put the ball in the basket from close, Utah was shooting at 50% from deep. Utah started the game on a 13-4 run and wouldn't look back, managing to keep the Ducks at bay through the half. The Ducks wouldn't help themselves either, going on long droughts without field goals. When Ariel Thomas hit a jump shot with 6:52 in the first half, it would mark the last field goal the Ducks would make until the 17:50 mark in the second half marking almost a fourth of the game without a field goal. Leading scorers for the Ducks in the first half were Jillian Alleyne with 8 and Ariel Thomas with 7. For the Utes, they were paced by 12 from Iwalani Rodrigues who made three of Utah's three pointers in the first half. The Ducks were out of it by half time as the Utes used Oregon's inability to put the ball in the basket to stretch their lead to 16 by the break.
In the second half, the Utes would balloon their lead to as much as 23 and the Ducks would get it no closer than 16 on Ariel Thomas and the team's only three point make of the night. Defensively, the Ducks spent much of the game in their 2-3 zone, daring Utah to shoot and Utah obliged matching their first half mark and shooting 50% from deep. "I've said in the past, I thought we had a better than average zone defense, so we should have been able to cover that a little bit better," said Coach Westhead after the game, "we were focusing on [Michelle] Plouffe, trying to jam down on her when she caught the ball...there's some times when you're snake bit, you're snake bit and teams start making shots that routinely they don't make." Utah slow played the Ducks, probing at their zone until they found an open shot, often times with only 1 or 2 on the shot clock.
It's tough to win when you have a 16-15 field goal to turn over ratio. It's especially hard to win when your opponent shoots 48% overall from the field. The Ducks likely face the Huskies in the conference tournament and the last time the teams faced off, Kristi Kingma set a conference record for three pointers as Oregon lost 97-71. Despite that outcome, Jillian Alleyne seems confident. "We just need to use the tournament to show what we can do next year...get a win, get two if possible and we're just going to look forward to the next year."