The No. 11 Oregon Ducks (9-3, 7-3) were handed one of their worst losses of the Kelly Graves era when they took on the No. 10 Arizona Wildcats (9-2, 7-2) at the McKale Center.
TUCSON, ARIZONA - Coming off of a trip to the Bay Area in which they went toe-to-toe with Stanford (the No, 1 team in the Country) and laid down 100 points against California, the Oregon Ducks were humbled by a 57-41 Wildcat beatdown in the desert.
Arizona’s defensive pressure wreaked havoc on Oregon’s offensive flow, forcing 23 Duck turnovers which turned into 26 points for the Wildcats. Oregon was held to a season-low 32.6 percent shooting (15-of-46) from the floor and hit just three of their 11 shots from beyond the arc. And for the first time all season, the Ducks only had one scorer reach double digits: Nyara Sabally with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Cate Reese drained a triple to kickoff the scoring and give the WIldcats a lead they would not surrender for the rest of the contest. Jaz Shelley got the Ducks on the board with a layup, but Arizona responded by putting together a 14-point run that gave them a 17-2 lead with under three minutes remaining. Freshman Sydney Parrish managed to add a couple of free throws and a triple to Oregon’s score, and at the end of the first quarter the Ducks were behind 15 points after going 2-of-12 from the floor.
Sabally scored Oregon’s first six points of the second quarter, then a triple from Shelley cut the lead to single digits again at the 5:20 mark. The return of Sedona Prince from injury was a welcome sight for Duck fans, however, Arizona’s tenacious defense nullified her presence.
After Te-Hina Paopao scored her first bucket of the match to make it a seven-point game, the Ducks were unable to put together one of their signature scoring runs, and the lead only widened from that point on. Arizona built a 36-to-22 lead at the half and protected their advantage by limiting the Ducks to just five points in the third quarter.
Down by 19 points in the final frame, the Ducks looked lifeless to close out the match, only managing to get within 13 points of the Wildcats - who looked like they were ready to play four more quarters after the game. Outside of a technical, Coach Kelly Graves looked oddly calm on the sideline with his feet up - no doubt eager to return to Matt Knight for an intense week of practice.
The Wildcats were ultimately victorious over the Ducks, 57 to 41, for the first time since 2016 due in large part to the impressive performances of seniors Aari McDonald (16 Pts - 2 Reb - 2 Ast), Sam Thomas (10 Pts - 6 Reb - 4 Stl) and Trinity Baptiste (14 Pts - 6 Reb).
The silver lining for Oregon is that their defense held a prolific offense to under 60 points and just 34.6 percent from the floor, however, with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 6-to-23 the Ducks had little hope of a comeback.
The Ducks will now be forced to stew in their loss for a week, since ASU has cancelled Sunday’s matchup due to COVID-19 protocol. Which means the next opponent Oregon faces will be the suddenly formidable Washington State Cougars at Matt Knight Arena.
none of us like tonights outcome, but we will watch the film, learn & get back to work. ducks wbb team will be ready for the 2nd half of pac 12 play.— (@tehinapaopao12) January 15, 2021
NEXT UP: Washington State