Oregon Women’s Basketball’s 2020-21 season was chaotic and somewhat disappointing.
Coming off the heartbreaking decision to cancel the 2020 NCAA Tournament - thereby snuffing out the legendary Ionsecu-Hebard era before they could take a shot at winning the program’s first national title - the Ducks entered a rebuild phase.
The result was a frequently shuffling starting lineup as Graves attempted to put together a solid unit, but just as it appeared to solidify (the Ducks made it to the Sweet 16) a series of offseason transfers drastically altered Graves’ plans for the upcoming season.
But there’s a silver lining to everything, and with the loss of Jaz Shelley, Taylor Chavez, Taylor Mikesell and Angela Dugalic comes more room on the roster for new talent. Here’s where the program stands now that the portal dust has momentarily settled.
On the morning of April 7, 2021, Jaz Shelley announced via Instagram that she would be entering the transfer portal. The decision came off of a disappointing season in which the sophomore guard averaged just 4.0 points, 1.9 assists, and 1.7 rebounds. After earning a lot of love from the fans during her freshman campaign - in which she made 10 three-pointers against UC Riverside to break the program’s single-game record - many believed Shelley was able to transition into a full-time starter.
However, Graves’ constant shuffle of the starting lineup netted Shelley just 11 starts out of 22 games played during the 2020-21 season. It appeared Shelley was unable to rekindle her deep-ball success during the chaotic COVID season, as her three-point shooting percentage went from 42 percent to 30 percent, and she only managed to score in the double digits in three of her contests. But to be fair, the entire team rarely appeared to be in sync.
It has recently been reported that Shelley will be taking her talents to Nebraska to play for the Cornhuskers (aka the Bugeaters). We wish her the best of luck!
April 7 proved to be a big day for Oregon, as hours after Shelley made her announcement Taylor Chavez followed suite by announcing her plans to move to the portal. This transfer was even more of a gut-punch for fans that were eager to replicate the Ionescu-Hebard era, as Chavez would have been the most experienced Duck on this squad.
The junior from Surprise, Arizona earned a surprising lack of playing time in the 2020-21 season considering she was the PAC-12’s Sixth Player of the Year due to her defensive intensity and three-point capabilities during what could have been a national title season for the Ducks. Her lack of playing time was partially due to her ill grandmother, which we are happy to read seems to be on her way towards recovery.
All in all, Chavez played in 19 of Oregon’s 24 games, and started in nine of them. It’ll be a bitter sweet moment when we see her play against the Ducks now that she’s announced she’ll be suiting up for Coach Adia at Arizona. Just know this Duck fans: she’ll be much closer to her family now, and will be able to have a hands on approach during her grandmother’s physical therapy.
The departure of two potential starters in a single day was shocking, then a couple weeks later junior guard Taylor Mikesell joined the departing Ducks. Considering the absence of Chavez, Shelley, and senior Erin Boley, Mikesell’s decision to leave the team caught a lot of fans of guard as she was one of the most likely candidates to earn a starting role, or at least some increased playing time.
Before Mikesell played for Oregon, she spent her first two seasons at Maryland where she averaged 12.3 points per game and hit 41.8 percent of her three-pointers. As a freshman, she broke the single-season program record for most triples in a season with 95.
The hope was that Mikesell’s 66 consecutive career starts as a Terrapin would translate to an immediate starting role as the deep-threat for Graves’ squad. She was able to make the starting lineup in 20 of her 24 appearances during the 2020-21 season, though her shooting percentage dropped significantly - 9.3 points per game, 33.3 percent shooting percentage from deep, and 39 total triples which was unfortunately a team high last season.
Though Mikesell never quite lived up to the high expectations set for her, she still managed to score over 20 points in three of her games as a Duck (in her Duck debut against Seattle U she scored 28, and then tallied 21 and 24 points in two of her games against Oregon State), and finished with 10 double-digit scoring performances.
Mikesell has announced that she will be returning to BIG 10 country, joining the Ohio State Buckeyes for the 2021-22 season. Best of luck, Mikesell!
Angela Dugalic was part of Oregon’s monster 2020 class, which featured five five-star commits. Even with the departure of three legendary starters in Ionescu, Hebard and Sabally, there was bound to be some future transfers in this group due to playing time. So in that regard I suppose we’re lucky that Dugalic is the first and only departure of this group so far, and it’s at a position of strength for the Ducks with superstars Sedona Prince and Nyara Sabally holding down the starting roles.
That being said, losing Dugalic can only be considered a net loss for the program, especially considering she’s taking her talents to UCLA. She appeared in all 24 games as a true freshman, and rose to the occasion in her lone start by putting up 12 points and snatching eight rebounds against the washington huskies. Though Sabally and Prince are a wonderful duo of bigs to build your team around, Graves now has just two players behind them in sophomore Kylee Watson and 6-foot-8 true freshman Phillipina Kyei.
The Portal finally gave back to the Ducks on May 12 with the commitment of Taylor Hosendove - a 6-foot-1 senior from Georgia State. Hosendove enters the program with two years of eligibility remaining after putting together an impressive career at Georgia State. For the last two seasons she’s led the Panthers in rebounding and scoring and last season she led the team in steals with 33.
She averaged 12.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last season, so it seems very likely that she will make a push for immediate playing time considering this roster was in constant rotation during the 2020-21 season. And with the recent wave of outgoing transfers most starting roles are wide open. Hosendove is a smart bet to eventually become a starter next season.
Hosendove began her career as a Clemson Tiger before becoming a Panther. She was a star player at Westlake High School in Georgia but is a Los Angeles native.
Two days later, Graves announced the addition of Ahlise Hurst - a transfer guard who played three seasons at New Mexico before joining the flock. She enters the program with two years of eligibility remaining.
The best case scenario for Hurst would be that she earns an immediate starting role by reliably hitting the three. Last season she shot 33 percent from deep, but in one legendary outing during Hurst’s freshman campaign she recorded a program-high 39 points against Oklahoma, hitting nine of her 17 shots from three-point range.
The Ducks are losing one Australian (Shelley), but are gaining another in Hurst, who hails from Bendigo, Australia.
Graves added another 6-foot-1 forward in Chanaya Pinto, the two-time NJCAA All-American. She led Northwest Florida State College to their first ever NJCAA women’s basketball national championship last season - a game in which she scored 19 points and 10 rebounds to help seal the victory.
During the 2020-21 season, she averaged 14.6 points and 8.3 rebounds. She also tallied 10 double-doubles and scored in double figures in 19 games during the championship run. Pinto is a native of Maputo, Mozambique.