The Oregon Women’s Basketball team now know their non-conference opponents! Highlighted by five NCAA Tournament teams (Syracuse, Louisville, South Dakota State, Kansas State, and UConn), the Ducks will rarely be the underdogs but still have their work cut out for them if they wish to enter PAC-12 play undefeated.
- NOV. 11 - Northeastern
- NOV. 13 - Utah State
- NOV. 16 - Texas Southern
- NOV. 24 - @ Syracuse
- NOV. 28 - VS Oklahoma State*
- NOV. 29 - VS UT Arlington*
- NOV. 30 - VS Louisville*
- DEC 8 - South Dakota State
- DEC 14 - @ Long Beach State
- DEC 16 - UC Riverside
- DEC 21 - Kansas State
- DEC 28 - Corban (exhibition)
- FEB 3 - @ Connecticut
Once again, Oregon will be tested early in the season. After a currently unscheduled exhibition game, the Ducks play against Northeastern in what should be a blowout (Nov. 11), then will face off against Utah State (Nov. 13), Texas Southern (Nov. 16), and Syracuse (Nov. 24).
It’s safe to say that neither Northeastern nor Texas Southern will be much of a threat against this loaded Ducks roster at Matt Knight Arena (after all, this isn’t the Men’s team we’re talking about here), but it’s worth noting that Satou Sabally will be absent during the first three official games while she plays with the German national team.
Utah State and Syracuse were tougher outs last year, though both fell to the Ducks in Eugene - the former by a score of 88 to 58, and the latter in a barn burner that gave the Ducks their first top 25 win of the season.
Down six points with two minutes left, Ionescu and crew pulled off the 75-73 victory against then-No. 16 Syracuse at home. This time, Oregon will travel to New York to take on the Orange.
NOV 28 - NOV 30
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Following Oregon’s match-up against Syracuse, the Ducks will travel to the Virgin Islands to compete in the Paradise Jam! Oklahoma State, UT Arlington, and Louisville are the unfortunate few who are scheduled to face off against our feathered friends.
The tournament is in a round-robin format and should provide an excellent stage for what will most definitely be a great game in Louisville VS Oregon. The Ducks last played the Cardinals two seasons ago in Kentucky, resulting in a 61-74 loss. Should Oregon remain undefeated through the Paradise Jam that would give them two wins over recently great programs, possibly enough for a #1 ranking depending on how they’ve looked and how Baylor and UConn are doing.
Oregon’s next opponent will be eager to avenge a couple of losses from last season. The South Dakota State Jackrabbits lost to the Ducks both in the regular season, 87-79, and in the second round of the tournament, 63-53.
The first contest (which took place in Brookings and was sandwiched in between the Ducks’ first loss of the season against Michigan State and a top-five victory over Mississippi State) was a frenzied game that almost saw the ducks lose two in a row. Their second crack at beating the quack was also highly competitive, but also finished with the Ducks on top despite a spirited fourth quarter from the Jackrabbits.
The chances of Oregon remaining undefeated through the non-conference portion of the schedule increase significantly should they escape the clutches of the Jackrabbits unscathed. Long Beach State and UC Riverside lost to the Ducks by a combined score of 204 to 92, and while Kansas State had a respectable season, going 21-12 and making a NCAA Tournament appearance, Matt Knight Arena’s raucous environment should aide the Ducks toward a victory.
An exhibition game against Corban will close out the month of December but not the non-conference schedule as a whole. Oregon will face the mighty UConn Huskies on February 3rd when they travel to Storrs in ESPN’s Big Monday. Not since Hebard and Ionescu’s freshman years have the Ducks faced the Huskies, and this will undoubtedly be the biggest non-conference game of the season.
Ionescu and Hebard won gold with UConns’ Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Christyn Williams in the Pan-American games over the summer, and the teams are often mentioned side-by-side when talking about potential champions for 2020. So make sure to get your butts on the couch for this one!