EUGENE, OREGON - The No. 10 Oregon Ducks won their season opener against the Idaho State Bengals in dominating fashion, 91 to 34.
Behind big games from Nyara Sabally, Sedona Prince, and Maddie Scherr, the Oregon Ducks raced past the outmatched Bengals to start the season 1-0 in front to the Duck faithful at Matt Knight Arena.
Sabally left the third quarter due to a leg injury, but appeared to be alright enough to return the bench in the final frame. Otherwise, everything went according to plan for Coach Graves’ squad, which hopes to overcome injuries to Te-Hina Paopao and Endyia Rodgers and reclaim the PAC-12.
Just like they had in their two exhibition games earlier in the season the Ducks started the contest on a run that helped the home team pull away for a commanding first quarter lead. Led by forward Nyara Sabally, Oregon started the game on a 13-0 run against the Bengals. A pair of Idaho State free throws finally broke the scoring streak, but it wasn’t until 2:41 left in the first frame that the Bengals were able to score their first field goal to cut into the lead 21 to 4.
Sabally responded to Idaho State’s rare score with a three-pointer to cap off an 11-point quarter for the junior and the Ducks were able to end the frame with a 27-6 lead thanks in part to three made free throws from Taylor Bigby in the final minute. The Ducks helped fuel their early offensive success with 6 forced turnovers turned into 9 points for the home team.
The Bengals began to find their offensive footing in the second quarter, but still had no answer for the Oregon offense which seemingly scored at will. Freshman Phillipina Kyei scored the first bucket of the frame, followed by guard Sydney Parrish who drained a three to make it 32-6 in favor of the Ducks. A Maddie Scherr triple ended a 15-1 run for Oregon, however, Idaho State ended the quarter strong by adding 13 points to their score. Despite their late offensive success, the Ducks kept pace and finished the half with a 50-20 lead while shooting 60 percent from the floor.
The Oregon offense quickly put together a 7-0 run fueled by Sabally and Prince to kick off the third quarter. Turnovers continued to be a major problem for the Bengals as the Duck defense forced 11 in the frame.
Having already lost Te-Hina Paopao and Endyia Rodgers for some time due to injuries suffered between the first and second exhibition game, fans were reasonably concerned when they saw Sabally leave the court with assistance after an injury. She returned later in the game with some ice on her leg, which could be considered a good sign that the injury wasn’t super serious.
Oregon continued a scoring run that began late in the third quarter and rode it to 21 unanswered points and an 84-29 lead with 4:31 remaining in the contest. The Ducks outscored the Bengals 19 to 5 in the final frame to complete the blowout, limiting Idaho State to 23 percent from the floor while shooting 61 percent themselves on their home court. Oregon also hit 7-of-15 from three, compared to Idaho State’s 2-of-25 from three, and scored 27 points off of the Bengal’s 23 turnovers.
Sedona Prince (18 PTS, 9-of-10 FG, 3 REB) was nearly perfect on the floor, Maddie Scherr (14 PTS, 5 AST, 4 REB) did an excellent job orchestrating the attack, and Nyara Sabally (14 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST) had a full game of stats in two-and-a-half quarters.
Overall, it was a promising victory despite the troubling injuries the team is playing through. Good job, Ducks! On to the next one!
UP NEXT: Dixie State
Eugene, Oregon - 11/14, 5:00 PM, Sunday, Oregon Live Stream