The No. 8 Oregon Ducks (8-1, 6-1) lost their first game of the season, a 73-71 hard-fought contest against the No. 11 UCLA Bruins (5-2, 3-2) at Matt Knight Arena.
EUGENE, OREGON - The Ducks hadn’t lost a home game since February 22, 2019, when UCLA shocked the fans at Matt Knight by completing a comeback bid to ultimately upset Oregon 74 to 69. And now that the Bruins have repeated their success, Oregon’s win streak ends at 27 games.
Offensively, the Ducks were led by two of their freshman phenoms: Te-Hina Paopao and Angela Dugalic. Paopao earned the start and was a constant threat to score, finishing with a team-high 19 points on 8 for 14 shooting from the floor and hitting three of her six shots from downtown. Dugalic had the best game of her young career, coming off the bench to tally nine rebounds and 13 points, many of which came during Oregon’s spirited comeback bid.
Nyara Sabally (12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks) scored the game’s opening bucket, but for most of the first half the Ducks trailed the limited but feisty Bruins. Michaela Onyenwere began her monster day by scoring UCLA’s first four points to take an early 4-2 lead.
Taylor Mikesell (7 points, 1 rebound) and Erin Boley (10 points, 3 rebounds) each reclaimed the lead in the first frame with three-pointers, but Onyenwere and Charisma Osborne set the tone early by scoring all 20 of UCLA’s first-quarter points.
Strong play from Dugalic and Sabally helped Oregon pull ahead in the second, but an Onyenwere triple began a 10-3 run for the Bruins that closed out the half and gave UCLA a 38-34 lead.
The Ducks put together two second-half runs that kept the Bruins from pulling away: the first was a 9-0 run in the later half of the third quarter that cut the UCLA lead to two points, and the last Oregon push took place in the final 4:23 of the contest, where the Ducks outscored the Bruins 11 to 2. Unfortunately, that final bucket (a jumper from Onyenwere after chasing down her own miss) from UCLA would turn out to be the game-winner.
Oregon was given two miraculous opportunities to tie or take the lead: down 73 to 71 with less than a minute remaining, Onyenwere, expecting contact on a foul, turned over the ball with 24 seconds remaining. Then, after Mikesell turned over the ball on a travel, Osborne gifted possession back to the Ducks by stepping out of bounds.
But alas, Oregon wasn’t able to take advantage of their fourth-quarter luck, and failed to score in the final 1:24 of the contest despite having just come all the way back from an 11-point deficit.
Onyenwere and Osborne played crucial roles in the upset victory, scoring 33 and 22 points, respectively. And as a team, UCLA shot 44.1 percent from the floor and hit seven of their 15 shots from downtown. They forced 14 turnovers and held the Ducks to just 46.4 percent shooting.
Things only get harder for the Ducks, as they travel down to Stanford, California to take on the country’s No. 1 team in the Cardinal.
NEXT UP: @ Stanford
Friday, 6 PM, PAC-12 Network