In a disappointing resumption of Pac-12 action, Oregon ran into a career scoring game and a sudden, dramatic improvement in 3-point shooting by UCLA as the Bruins beat the Ducks at Matthew Knight Arena 82 - 74. Oregon got off to a very slow start after the 9-day break, particularly with 3-point shooting and ball handling. The Ducks were very careless with the ball, posting 20 turnovers for the game - twice their season average. UCLA came into the game with a reputation as a great offensive rebounding team (16.9 avg) but a poor 3-point shooting squad at 26.8 percent. The Ducks managed to limit UCLA to just 12 offensive rebounds, but the Bruins shot 37.5 percent from beyond the arc as Oregon’s defense backed off and UCLA showed good ball rotation to open shooters. The improved shooting provided the difference as UCLA outscored Oregon by 9 from beyond the arc. Bruin Freshman guard Kiki Rice had a career-high 21 points, including 2 - 5 on 3-pointers.
UCLA scored on a second-chance basket with their first possession and Oregon came right back to Phillipina Kyei inside to tie the game. The Ducks took a 6 - 4 lead at 5:52 on two Grace VanSlooten free throws. The Bruins then went on a 12 - 2 run over the next 3 minutes which featured a 3-pointer, a layup and one and a made 3-pointer with another Oregon foul for a 4-point play. In many parts of the game, Oregon was caught flatfooted and reaching in to foul the Bruins. With UCLA now up 16 - 8, Oregon tried to battle back but could score only 4 points over the last 2:44 while UCLA hit another three to go up 19 - 12 when the buzzer sounded. For the quarter, Oregon had 6 players with 2 points each. Kyei had 3 rebounds and a blocked shot. Oregon was just 5-16 (31.3%) from the field overall and 0-5 (0.0%) from the 3-point line.
The Ducks started out the quarter much better and things started looking up. Oregon went on a 10 - 5 run to close to just 24 - 22 at 6:43. The teams traded baskets and misses, and two Endyia Rogers free throws brought the Ducks to just a 31 - 30 with 3:08 left in the quarter. Oregon had a lot of trouble holding on to the ball in this quarter, and although UCLA’s defense gets credit for some of it, there was lots of sloppy ball handling and passes sailing out of bounds from the Ducks.
Gray treyyyyy— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) December 31, 2022
https://t.co/u4TggZBOaD#GoDucks x @chancegrayy pic.twitter.com/3309eNY2G9
UCLA would take advantage, going on a 7 - 2 run to take a 38 - 32 lead at the half. Rogers led Oregon with 12 points and Taylor Hosendove came off the bench for 10. Kyei had 6 rebounds and Hosendove 5. Oregon’s shooting improved to 39.3 percent on 11 - 28 from the field. The Ducks were 3 - 4 in the quarter from beyond the arc and were 7 - 7 from the free throw line. But the Ducks also had 11 turnovers in the half - matching their season average for an entire game.
The game continued close, and Oregon rallied back again and took its first lead since the first quarter at 43 - 42 on a Kyei layup at 5:20. As happened throughout the game, however, any Oregon advantage was fleeting. UCLA went on an 8 - 0 run over the next 2 minutes as the Ducks missed two jumpers and committed an offensive foul. The teams then traded baskets until the end of the quarter, with UCLA now leading by just 54 - 48. Oregon got some potentially bad news with 51 seconds left as Ahlise Hurst went down with an injury. No details available (obviously) but she went directly to the locker room for evaluation. Through three quarters Rogers still had 12 and PaoPao 10, with Van Slooten heating up a bit with 8 points. Kyei reached double-digits in rebounds with 10 and Hosendove now had 7. The Ducks were right at 39 percent shooting and had improved to 41.7 percent from beyond the arc going 2 - 3 in the quarter. However, Oregon continued to have trouble with turnovers, reaching 15 total for the game.
The game was still well in reach for Oregon as the last stanza began. The Bruins, though, had a great start, scoring 9 straight points to lead 63 - 48 at 8:32. UCLA stretched their lead to 18 points hitting another 3-pointer and going ahead 68 - 50. As they had done already several times in the game, the Ducks rallied, scoring 11 straight to challenge at 68 - 61 with 4:26 left. Oregon could never develop any consistency in this game, however, as UCLA continued to play harassing defense and to hit key shots at key moments. Oregon continued the fight, lurking just 8 points behind after a Chance Gray 3-point play at 1:42.
Bang! @tehinapaopao12 connects from deep and it's a two-possession game!— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) December 31, 2022
UCLA tried to cooperate, missing a 3-pointer and then getting a steal but turning the ball right back over on a Te-Hina PaoPao steal and layup to make it 78 - 72 at 1:02. Oregon pressed and got one steal but also had to foul and the Bruins hit 4 straight to ice the game.
For the game, Rogers led Oregon with 18 points while VanSlooten and PaoPao went for 17 each. Hosendove and Kyei each had 10 rebounds and VanSlooten added 8. Rogers added 5 assists. The Ducks won the battle on the boards, outrebounding UCLA 41 - 33. The turnovers really hurt Oregon as UCLA had 9 more shots and made 6 more baskets. The Ducks were +7 from the free throw line, going an excellent 18 - 21.
Oregon’s defensive strategy in this game backfired as UCLA had an uncharacteristically good shooting night, particularly from the 3-point line. The Ducks have had a season-long problem with long scoring droughts, and tonight was no exception. Oregon has a couple of days to hit the reset button before hosting USC on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully Ahlise Hurst will be able to return as otherwise Oregon appears to be down to just 7 healthy players.