Oregon traveled a little over 100 miles as the Duck flies to face off against Arizona State today, and many of the problems evident at Arizona on Friday persisted against the Sun Devils. The question prior to the game was how Oregon would respond to its poor game at Arizona. While Oregon’s defense most of the game was solid, the team generated very little offense and missed numerous close shots. ASU capitalized on some favorable officiating, outscoring the Ducks by 12 at the free throw line, and pulling away down the stretch to beat Oregon 55 - 49.
Oregon seemed ready to put the Arizona game behind it early, bolting to a 5 - 0 lead in the first two minutes on a Sydney Parrish 3 and a Nyara Sabally rebound of her own miss and subsequent layup. ASU was ice cold from the field early, going more than 4 minutes without a basket, but Oregon failed to take full advantage. When ASU hit a circus 3-pointer, they closed to 5 - 3 with 5:47 left. In a scary play with 5:03 left, Sabally drove, and was knocked to the floor, falling on her back and neck. She was able to walk to the bench, obviously shaken up, and Sedona Prince replaced her, making the two free throws to give Oregon a 7 - 3 lead. Oregon gained its largest lead at 10 - 3 on an Endyia Rogers 3 and the defense looked sharp, forcing quick releases and off-balance shots from the Sun Devils. Oregon repeatedly took the ball to the basket but could not score as the officials were “letting them play” on the ASU defensive end of the floor. But with 2 minutes left in the quarter, the Pac-12 crew tightened up on Oregon’s defensive effort, a stance that would last for much of the rest of the game. After 3 ASU free throws Oregon led just 10 - 6 before a Prince layup closed out first quarter scoring with Oregon ahead 12 - 6. Prince led Oregon with 4 points off the bench and Rogers and Parrish added 3 each. Oregon shot just 28 percent but 2 - 5 from beyond the arc in the quarter, while ASU shot 7 percent and 1 - 6 from 3.
Rogers opened the scoring for Oregon with a 3, to make it 15 - 6. Duck fans breathed a sign of relief when Sabally returned at 8:45. ASU had three possessions in a row with offensive rebounds. The Sun Devils took 9 shots in those possessions, making only one, a 3-pointer to make it 15 - 9. After the third possession, where ASU fortunately missed 2 layups, Oregon Coach Kelly Graves had seen enough and called timeout. At this point in the game, 8 of ASU’s 9 points had come on second-chance buckets. ASU scored another rebound basket to cut Oregon’s lead to just 15 - 11 with 6:45 left. The teams traded baskets and then Prince scored inside to make it 19 - 13 Oregon. Two-and-a-half minutes of missed shots and turnovers by both teams were broken as ASU made 2 free throws to close to 19 - 15. With 1:32 left in the quarter, ASU was within a point at 19 - 18 on a layup. Sabally scored on a put-back of her own miss, and Rogers also scored inside, offsetting an ASU jumper, leaving Oregon with a 23 - 20 halftime lead. Rogers and Prince led Oregon with 8 each in the half, and Sabally had 8 rebounds. Tellingly, Oregon shot only 31 percent in the half, and went 1 - 5 from the 3-point line in the 2nd quarter. Sabally was only 2 - 7 in the half, and had drawn only 2 fouls despite some heavy contact inside. ASU outscored Oregon 6 - 2 from the charity stripe, and was very effectively double-teaming Sabally inside.
Oregon’s offensive struggles continued in the third quarter - but so long as ASU was also having problems with cold shooting and Oregon’s defensive effort, the Ducks seemed to have time to right the ship. But the Sun Devils ability to grab offensive rebounds continued to haunt Oregon and ASU took its first lead of the game on a second-chance basket 24 - 23 with 8:29 left in the third. On that play, Parrish was elbowed in the face, but no foul was called. Sabally hit a layup and Te-Hina PaoPao scored her first basket, as Oregon re-took the lead 27 - 24 over the next minute. The game was tied at 29 by a Rogers 2 after 2 Sun Devil free throws and 3-pointer. The teams traded jumpers and then ASU scored 3-pointers sandwiched around another PaoPao basket for a 37 - 33 ASU lead. Rogers hit another 3-pointer to draw Oregon to within 1 at 39 - 38 with 47 seconds left in the quarter. But two more ASU free throws and another non-call as Sabally was bodied aside as her shot was blocked gave ASU the 41 - 38 lead after 3 quarters. Oregon was outscored 21 - 15 in the third as ASU shot 50 percent from the field.
Neither team could score early in the fourth quarter. Oregon missed 3 shots from the field and 2 free throws, also committing 2 turnovers during the first 3 minutes. ASU was only marginally better, scoring a single breakaway layup over that span to lead 43 - 38. The Ducks scored their first points of the fourth when Parrish hit a 3 with 5:52 remaining in the game to make it 43 - 41, still ASU. Two made free throws, a layup and a mid-range jumper for the Sun Devils more than matched a single Rogers free throw, and Oregon was now staring at a 49 - 44 ASU lead with 3:38 to play. As they have done frequently this season, however, the Ducks cranked up some defense and closed to 49 - 48 on a pretty Prince hook in the lane and a Rogers layup at 1:35. ASU called a timeout and set up a play that worked to perfection, resulting in a score at the basket and a 51 - 48 lead for ASU. Oregon missed a shot at 1:21, but Oregon stole the subsequent ASU possession and after Ahlise Hurst missed a 3, Prince was fouled on the rebound and made one of two free throws. When ASU missed a jumper with only 49 seconds to play, Oregon got the ball back and a chance to tie or take the lead. Oregon called a timeout to draw up a play, but a 3-pointer for the lead missed at 29 seconds, and Oregon fouled. ASU missed the second of the two free throws (now leading 52 - 49) but again grabbed the offensive rebound, leading to another Oregon foul to stop the clock with 25.6 seconds remaining. Two more made free throws made it 54 - 49 Sun Devils. Oregon would not score again, and ASU made only 1 of 4 free throws in the final seconds to give the Sun Devils a 55 - 49 victory.
Oregon had a very poor offensive outing, as they did Friday at Arizona. Oregon has averaged over 70 points per game, and has shot over 40 percent from the field for the season coming into today. The Ducks, however, shot just 34 percent from the field and finished only 5 - 18 from beyond the arc after a good first quarter from the 3-point line. ASU ended up outscoring Oregon 16 - 4 from the free throw line and the Sun Devils were called for only 11 personal fouls, to 18 for Oregon.
Rogers led Oregon with 18 points and Prince added 13. Sabally had 10 rebounds, but only 6 points and an uncharacteristic 3 - 12 shooting from the field. Oregon was outscored in every quarter but the first. ASU shot only 30 percent from the field.
The Ducks now head to the Palouse for a mid-week make-up game against Washington State. Game time is Noon on Wednesday, February 9. Join us for the game thread!