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Oregon’s Bench Left Sparse After Four Transfers, Must Rely on Elite Starters

Four key transfers leave Oregon a much thinner team than last year

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Spokane Regional-Oregon Ducks vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon Women’s Basketball team will be one of the betting favorites for the 2018 season, but they’ll have to do it with less bench support than expected.

The Ducks are coming off a historic season in which they went 33-5, won the conference regular season, and defeated Stanford in the PAC-12 Tournament Championship. Their season ended against Notre Dame, the eventual National Champions, in their second straight elite eight appearance.

But with great success comes great bench players transferring away. Thus is the case with the Oregon Duck squad of 2018, which now must change their game-plan after the departures of Sierra Campisano, Mallory McGwire, Aina Ayuso and Anneli Maley.

Coach Kelly Graves knew that he would have to find a replacement for his two seniors Justine Hall and hometown hero Lexi Bando, but the mass exodus will limit the teams options.

Here’s a breakdown of who transferred and where they landed:

Sierra Campisano

Forward, Junior

Cal Poly Mustangs

2017 production- After starting 35 games in her freshman year, Campisano’s workload decreased to 23 the following year. She averaged 6.1 minutes, went 16-45 on field goals, blocked six shots and stole five balls.

Best Game- A 77-62 win over CSU Bakerfield in which she scored 12 points in 11 minutes of play.

Mallory McGwire

Forward, Junior

Boise State Broncos

2017 production- McGwire was the most crucial loss from the bench. During her two-year career at Oregon she played 75 games, averaged 16 minutes, and hit .522 percent of her shots. She was regularly the first off the bench and will be missed due to her accurate mid-range shot and size in the paint.

Best Game- In a crucial game against Oregon State, McGwire started the game and earned 14 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes. She also played locked down defense on OSU’s star player Marie Gülich. The win snapped the beavers’ 14-game win streak over the Ducks.

Aina Ayuso

Guard, Sophomore

Went back to Spain after hiring an agent, reportedly wanted to major in Physical Therapy, a program that the UO does not offer.

2017 production- The spectacular Spaniard played 31 games in her first and only season. Her numbers alone don’t fully express what fans saw in Ayuso (8.1 AVG MIN, 7-28 3PT, 10 STL) as she frequently showed flashes of offensive dominance.

Best Game- Ayuso’s ankle breaker against Colorado in the PAC-12 Tournament made ESPN’s top 10.

Anneli Maley

Guard, Sophomore


2017 production- Maley never lit up the scoreboard, but she averaged ten minutes in 37 games played her freshman year. The loss of Maley may not be earth-shattering, but combined with the five other players who left the Ducks, her absence will be felt.

Best Game- When she hit three 3-pointers during a blowout win against Cal.

Despite this list of transfers, Duck fans shouldn’t be too worried about the upcoming season. Projected starters Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard, Maite Cazorla, Satou Sabally and Erin Boley should be able to compete against any team in the nation - and the world, considering Hebard, Ionescu, Boley and Oti Gildon are coming off an impressive run in the 3X3 Basketball World Cup.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-Oregon vs Stanford Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon will most likely be a team that runs eight deep, assuming the incoming freshman get immediate playing time and that Junior Morgan Yaeger and Sophomore Lydia Giomi haven’t improved drastically over the Summer.

Oti Gildon has added muscle during the off-season, and the Senior has already proven herself as a crucial component of this team- which is good, since it’s clear she will be first off the bench.

Two incoming freshman- Nyara Sabally and Taylor Chavez - will ultimately become the deciding factor of how good this team can be; If the newbies can find success off the bench against the tougher parts of the schedule, then nobody will stand in this team’s way.

Or... we can put just Ionescu and Hebard out there. That’s got to be good for at least 30 wins, right?