SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - The Oregon Women’s Basketball team entered the 2021 NCAA Tournament having lost five of their previous six games, so last night’s 20-point victory must have felt like a neck-crack game for the Ducks who led for all but the first two minutes and 24 seconds of the contest.
The Ducks used a dominant opening quarter, in which they outscored the Coyotes 25 to 8, to build some distance between their opponent, and then held South Dakota to just a single point (a free throw with four seconds remaining before the half) in the second frame. Oregon played oppressive defense, however the Coyotes helped the cause by missing 25 consecutive shots during their ice-cold shooting streak.
Oregon had suffered through their own shooting woes throughout PAC-12 play, but an NCAA Tournament game turned out to be just what they needed as the team finished shooting 60.0 percent from the floor and 50 percent (6-of-12) from deep. Sedona Prince (12 pts, 7 rebs, 5/6 FG) and Nyara Sabally (17 pts, 5 Rebs 8/12 FG) both earned the start and helped lead the attack on both ends of the court.
Erin Boley surpassed 1,000 career points and led all scorers with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting which included four made triples out of six attempts, a welcome sign for a team that has struggled to find a consistent three-point shooter all season.
The Ducks were perfect from the charity stripe (7-of-7) which helped them maintain a 20-point cushion for much of the contest. Down two guards (Te-Hina Paopao and Jaz Shelley, the latter ruled a game-time decision that remained on the bench and the former being ruled out until at least April), Kelly Graves elected to start Maddie Scherr, who tallied two points in 25 minutes but also had five rebounds, two steals and pushed the tempo for the Ducks.
Of course not everything was perfect, Oregon committed 23 total turnovers, a number they will have to work on before they face 10-seed Georgia on Wednesday at 12 PM PT in the Round of 32.
NEXT UP: 3-seed Georgia
12 PM, Wednesday, ESPN2