Coming into the week, the big question for the Ducks was how they were going to react to missing one of their most prolific scorers and floor leader in Lexi Petersen. They had a chance to make a statement against Portland State, Thursday night. In what Coach Paul Westhead called an "uncharacteristic" performance, the Ducks turned the ball over 29 times en route to an 87-85 defeat at the hands of the Portland State Vikings. "We came out slow again…we need to keep learning from these games and it proved we need to come out harder," senior Laura Stanulis commented after the game.
The Ducks faced adversity early as the Vikings controlled the first half. Oregon simply couldn’t find the basket in a half that saw them shooting 31% from the field including an abysmal 1-9 from behind the arc. The Vikings defense was aided by several unforced errors by the Ducks A mixture of poor rebounding and turnovers in the first left the Ducks with a 10 point deficit at the half. Trying to make up for Petersen’s absence was Laura Stanulis who had 9 and Jillian Alleyne contributed 8 at the half for the Ducks. PSU was paced by Courtney Van Brocklin who had 11 at half and paced the Vikings with 26 total points. "For whatever reason we were a little reluctant in the first half, kind of unsure of ourselves." Coach Westhead said about their effort in the first. "We don’t have a key player out there who we’ve become accustomed to, I don’t have an answer. They settled in, in the second half."
The Ducks’ shooting woes continued in the second half, but they turned up the defensive pressure. They clawed their way back into the game on the back of Freshman Jillian Alleyne who tied a school record with 38 points and set a new record with 27 boards. She became the focus as they dumped the ball into the post in the second half. Coach Westhead said of Alleyne effort that she "created her own pace [and] she generated the fast break." The Ducks tied the score but never lead in the second half as the Ducks forced over time. "Coming off the bench I felt like I had something to prove…it was just a thing proving myself" freshman Jillian Alleyne commented after the game.
In the extra session; the Ducks had a three point lead after Danielle Love made a layup, but in the next possession Mikaela Rivard would connect from deep to send the game into the second over time. In the second over time the Ducks were in control for much of the period but again, Van Brocklin would tie the score up at 81. Oregon would take a hit as Alleyne would go down with an ankle injury that wasn’t serious. "I was able to walk it off and was trying to get in the last couple minutes…I’m fine though." The Ducks had the ball with the score tied at 85 in the closing seconds but Jordan Loera would stumble and not get a good look at the hoop as Van Brocklin would get out on the break hitting the game winning layup as time expired.
The Ducks have a week off to get some rest before they head to Hawaii for the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown where they will face off against the likes of Hawai’i, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Rotating only 8 players, it’s going to be a real test for the team to see if they can keep their conditioning at the levels Westhead’s system requires. They’re next matchups will require the young team to grow up in a hurry and get the season back on track.
POST GAME INTERVIEW
Paul Westhead Post Game Interview 11/15 (via Jake Tabor)