Oregon Ducks women’s basketball hosted the Northwestern Wildcats for their opening game of the 2022-23 season, and won it going away 100-57. The opener win means that coach Kelly Graves has won every season opener since he began coaching for the Ducks, and is now 9-0. Oregon has now won 20 of their last 21 season openers.
The 5 for Game 1!#GoDucks pic.twitter.com/NC7QePXGP6— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) November 7, 2022
Today’ starters were Te-Hina Paopao, Chance Gray, Grace VanSlooten, Phillipina Kyei, and Endiya Rogers.
With Sedona Prince having ended her Oregon career a week and a half ago, the Ducks roster is down to 10 players. It’s a given that we were going to see all four of the freshmen in Oregon’s #2 in the nation recruiting class. The tipoff went to Oregon, and Grace VanSlooten took the assist from Endiya Rogers for the first points of her Oregon career.
The Ducks played tough defense in the first quarter and made scoring points difficult for NW right away. Chance Gray scored her first point of her Oregon career on the second of two free throw attempts, and then scored the next basket on a fast break steal and assist from Rogers.
Swipe. Run. Dish.— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) November 7, 2022
Rogers to Gray and the Ducks jump out quick 9-0. Timeout, Cats.#GoDucks pic.twitter.com/XbtuRf45SK
With Oregon’s height advantage, the Ducks worked the paint all game. When the first quarter ended, VanSlooten and Phillipina Kyei were the scoring leaders with six points each.
Grace VanSlooten suffered a minor ankle injury late in the first period, but it was taped up and it did not appear to slow her down.
Jennah Isai scored her first points as a Duck not from the field, but from going 4-4 at the line and ending the first quarter with Oregon up 21-7.
In the second quarter, Kyei and VanSlooten continued to be unstoppable. VanSlooten opened up scoring with a crazy layup that went up the glass and somehow found net. Later on in the 2nd, this coast-to-coast layup was all Grace VanSlooten:
GVS! Coast to coast— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) November 7, 2022
2Q | Ducks up 34-15#GoDucks x @gvanslooten40 pic.twitter.com/ac6MRvED09
Freshman Kennedy Basham entered the game with a little over three and a half minutes to the half, and with 2:01 left in the period scored her first points as an Oregon Duck on a layup.
The Ducks entered halftime with a 50-27 lead. In the first half, Oregon shot 54.3% from the field, 44.4% on 3-point shots, and was 8-9 from the line.
The third quarter saw Northwestern playing more physical and having better success at drawing fouls. Both Taya Hanson and Phillipina Kyei picked up three fouls by mid-quarter and Hanson incurred a fourth late in the quarter.
Jennah Isai and Endiya Rogers provided much of Oregon’s momentum as the Ducks looked to prevent a Wildcat run. Isai hit a couple of threes while Rogers brought her usual energy to the court.
aaaaaaaaaand ☝️#GoDucks x @endyia_rogers pic.twitter.com/U2jL1nNQMm— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) November 8, 2022
The Ducks ended the third quarter up 31 points, 74-43.
The fourth quarter began ominously, with Kennedy Basham suffering a lower leg injury that sent her to the locker room. Head coach Kelly Graves noted after the game that Basham has had some health issues leading up to today, and he “hopes for the best” while having no information on the extent of the injury.
NW ran out of gas and Oregon kept their foot on the pedal, ending the match with their second-widest margin of the game (43 points), 100-57.
Coach Graves lauded the defense of the starters in the first period to get the game going, saying “Defensively, that first unit set the tone for the whole game, and (Northwestern) never got comfortable.”
Three of Oregon’s freshmen scored in double digits today, lead by Grace VanSlooten with 20 points. Jennah Isai brought 17 points, including a couple of threes and a stellar 9-10 from the line. In addition to some outstanding defensive work, Chance Gray added 14 points. Te-Hine Paopao quietly added 15 points and went 2-4 from beyond the arc.
Oregon shot 52.9% on the game, to NW’s 36.1%. The Ducks went 19-23 on the line, 82.6%.
The Wildcats were really hurt by turnovers, turning the ball over 21 times to Oregon’s 13.
The Ducks feel better about themselves after having played the first game of the season that counts. “For the first game, I thought they did great,” remarked coach Graves. “To be honest with you, (I) didn’t know what we had. It was great to see the start we got.”