The Oregon Ducks ladies did enough this afternoon to secure a bye in the first round of this week’s Pac-12 tournament later this week, with the defeat of the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City, 73-65.
Oregon started strong, led by Nyara Sabally inside and a barrage of threes by Sydney Parrish and TeHina Paopao. The Ducks quickly went up by 13 mid-period when Utah found a groove and went on a 7-0 run in the second part of the first quarter, closing to six before a Parrish layup pushed the Ducks ahead 18-10. The only troubling sign in the first period was the five Oregon turnovers.
The Ducks traded some baskets before going up 12 in the first part of the second quarter behind a stifling defensive display. A lull mid-quarter allowed Utah to go on a quick 5-0 run, but Oregon’s defense kicked back in and closed the final 4:25 of the period with a dominating 12-5 run, going into halftime with a 38-22 lead.
How good was the Ducks D? Oregon shot 47% in the first half and 30% from beyond the arc, while keeping the Utes at 31% shooting and only 1-12 on threes. Oregon also hit the boards well, with 25 rebounds to Utah’s 12. Perhaps the most telling sign was that Giana Kneepkins and Kennady McQueen - Utah’s high scorers in the January games against the Ducks - scored a combined zero in the first half.
Oregon traded baskets and maintained their double-digit lead through the first half of the 3rd quarter, but someone lit a spark under Utah’s Jenna Johnson as she almost single-handedly brought the Utes back into the game, scoring 17 points in the period. The Ducks looked a bit sluggish and had ball control issues, allowing Utah to close within three at the end of the 3rd, 54-51.
A McQueen layup to start the 4th quarter brought Utah one point behind, 54-53. That was as close as Utah would get in this game. Sydney Parrish hit a couple of threes to extend Oregon’s lead back into double digits. A lightning-fast drive by Endyia Rogers along with Parrish’s threes put Oregon up 13 in the middle of the 4th. Utah gamely put together a 7-0 run, but the Ducks clamped down on both ends of the court, ultimately denying Utah’s efforts at an upset. And with :50 to go, Rogers displayed masterful dribbling that kept three Utah players from fouling her. After that, it was over and Utah knew it.
Utah ends their regular season with a 17-10 record, 8-7 in the Pac-12. Utah shot 42.6% on the game, led by Jenna Johnson’s 27 points - the only Ute to score in double digits.
Sydney Parrish was the star today, with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, but it bears noting that all of Oregon’s starters closed the day with double-digit scores. A total team effort made today’s win happen, and the Ducks need to continue that cohesion going into the tournament season. The Ducks finished with 46% field goal shooting, including 28.6% on 6-21 shooting from downtown, led by Parrish’s four-threes for the game. Oregon owned the boards, 40-27. Offensive ball movement was very good in this game, with all of the starters contributing at least two assists en route to Oregon’s 18 assists for the game.
Oregon ends the regular season with a 19-10 record, and their 11-6 conference record has earned them the #2 seed in the Pac-12 tournament, and a bye in the first round.
Look to Addicted To Quack tomorrow morning as we preview the Pac-12 tournament, which takes place March 2-6 in Las Vegas.