The Oregon Ducks came away with a win tonight against Cal because of Sedona Prince. That’s not exactly true, but it sure felt like it when the game ended. On a night where the Duck shooters missed all of their threes, going 0-16, Prince was the decisive factor on both sides of the court, from the beginning of the game to the end.
Since when does a Kelly Graves team come up 0% on 3-point shooting??
The game started ominously enough, with the Ducks missing their first five field goals. Endyia Rogers broke the ice nearly three minutes into the game, making 7 of her 11 points on the game in the first quarter. But with the Bears pulling ahead by six points in taking advantage of Oregon’s slow transition defense, it was Sedona Prince that had a timely jumper, two free throws, and set the tone for what is ultimately the reason why the Ducks came out with a win: an aggressive defense, especially around the basket, that - after getting burned on transition twice - was relentless for the rest of the game. That allowed the Ducks to come ahead, 13-12, at the end of the first quarter.
The second period would display Oregon’s best play of the night. The Ducks defense gave Cal ball control fits with Ahlise Hurst coming away with several steals. Unfortunately, Oregon did not convert turnovers into point and went scoreless for over 4 minutes in the middle of the period before Rogers again broke the spell. Oregon had good looks on many of their threes; they just didn’t go in. Cal was then unable to score in the last 2:35 before halftime and the Ducks were up six at 25-19.
Oregon started after halftime cold - yet again - and the Bears were eventually able to tie the game at 27 mid-quarter. Cal was only able to score three points in nearly the last four minutes of the period and saw Oregon pull ahead by five in that span.
Phillipina Kyei contributed valuable minutes in the 3rd and 4th quarters, both on defense and in scoring 6 of her 8 points on the night in that span. Cal hit a three to pull within three at 45-42, and when they made a free throw to take it to a two point game, that’s as close as the game would come for the Bears. TeHina Paopao and Rogers would make shots to pull the game ahead, but it was two free throws by Sedona Prince that put the night to bed.
When offense is not working for you, defense can still win games. Oregon did an outstanding job of controlling Cal’s Jayda Curry all night. Curry averages 19.2 points per game and only came away with 8 on the night. The only Bear to score double digits was Dalaya Daniels with 10 - zero in the fourth quarter. Cal performed better against the Ducks on the boards than last month, but still came up short, 39-43, and shot 29% on the night.
Oregon was lead by Sedona Prince’s 15 points, followed by Endyia Rogers with 11. All of the Ducks did well at the line, going 75% on 12-16 shooting, lead by Prince with 7-8 at the line. Oregon shot 35% and had 18 turnovers, and that is generally not going to convert into a W when all is said and done.
Oregon (18-8, 10-4 Pac-12) has two days to try and figure out what they can do when #2 Stanford comes into town on Sunday. The Cardinal is always a tough draw and they will be again when the teams meet on Sunday, 2/20, at 1:00 pm in Matthew Knight Arena.