Basketball season is just getting under way in the NCAA, and as usual there is a great deal of excitement surrounding the Oregon women’s team, who since their surprise run in the 2017 NCAA Tournament have been a must-see show in Eugene.
Unfortunately, this season they will start without two of their impact guards, third-year sophomore Endyia Rogers and second-year freshman Te-Hina Paopao.
Both missed Saturday’s 96-65 win over Westmont at Matthew Knight Arena. Head coach Kelly Graves said that Rogers suffered a broken hand and will be out for several weeks, and that Paopao has not practiced since their last exhibition. Graves said that he was unsure how much time she would miss with an undisclosed injury.
Rogers is a transfer from USC, following in the footsteps of Minyon Moore, who came to Eugene from SC for her final year of eligibility to help spearhead Oregon’s historic 2020 team that went 31-2. Rogers averaged 14.8 points and 4.3 assists last season.
Paopao, a highly touted freshman who arrived to fill the void at point left by the “GOAT” Sabrina Ionescu, was an immediate hit in Eugene, averaging 10.2 points and 4.4 assists while leading all freshmen nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio. Luckily, Graves described her injury as day-to-day in nature.
Freshmen Maddie Scheer and Taylor Bigby will be the primary fill-ins while Rogers and Paopao recover. Scheer had eight points, eight assists, and two steals in Saturday’s victory and Bigby had six points, a rebound, and a block.
Freshman Kylee Watson also missed Saturday’s contest, although Graves said her absence was illness-related and that she would likely be back by Tuesday’s season-opener.