The #10 Oregon Women’s Basketball team started off the 2020-21 season with a victory over the Seattle Redhawks at Matt Knight Arena, 116 to 51.
After the departures of Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard, Satou Sabally and Minyon Moore, it became obvious to Duck fans that the next basketball season would be a transitional period for the program as the new guard took over the now vacant starting roles.
But with talented players like Nyara Sabally and Sedona Prince ready to make their long-awaited debuts, the addition of five 5-star freshman, and a trio of veteran Ducks in Taylor Chavez, Lydia Giomi and Erin Boley, this “transitional” season may turn out to be just the next page in the Oregon Duck dynasty.
Coach Kelly Graves went with Te-Hina Paopao, Sedona Prince, Taylor Mikesell, Erin Boley, and Jaz Shelley as his starting five, though all 13 players on the roster got some time on the court.
Paopao made Oregon’s first bucket of the season and then they were off, racing to a 39-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. After two seasons riding the bench (first at Texas due to an injury, then at Oregon due to the transfer rule), Prince showed off her impressive size and skill in an offense that coach Graves noted would run through her.
Despite starting four new players, the Ducks looked like a fully-formed team from the get-go. At the half, the Ducks were up 71 to 25 and were shooting at 60 percent from the floor and 42 percent from three-point land, thanks in large part to the transfer from Maryland—Taylor Mikesell—who hit 7-of-8 from three before halftime. The only other Duck with double-digit points before the half? The much improved Lydia Giomi, who was 4-of-4 from the floor and a perfect 2-of-2 from the charity stripe.
The Fab Five (Oregon’s five five-star freshman: Sydney Parrish, Te-Hina Paopao, Kylee Watson, Maddie Scherr, and Angela Dugalic) took over the starting spots for much of the third quarter, a testament to Oregon’s depth. Understandably, the Duck offense slowed down a bit in the third, but they still managed to finish the quarter with a 94-41 lead and just three turnovers.
.@tehinapaopao12 for three!— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) November 28, 2020
Ducks' entire top-ranked freshman class is out on the floor right now getting some playing time together. #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/gXO9Tt2hbD
The Ducks finished the game with a 116-to-51 victory over the Redhawks. Oregon shot 53.1 percent from the floor (43-of-81), hit 32.3 percent from the three (10-of-31), and 76.9 percent from the free throw stripe (20-of-26). The Ducks also outrebounded the Redhawks 30 to 28, and committed just three turnovers in the contest.
Taylor Mikesell led all scorers with 28 points in just 22 minutes on 9-of-11 shooting with eight made three-pointers. Prince, Giomi, Chavez and Sabally were the four other Ducks to finish having scored in the double digits. Giomi in particular had a career game, finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
The Ducks will travel to Portland to take on the Portland Pilots, Monday at 8 PM PT.