In spite of having to play catch-up at the very beginning and ending of regulation, the Oregon Ducks showed some grit and put themselves in a position to win this game. They just couldn’t get over the hump and put this one away.
Washington State started with a 7-0 lead, and you could see right away that the Ducks were defensively not as sharp as they had been against Washington on Friday.
The Cougars were up by ten, 3-13, before Oregon kicked it into gear and closed the quarter down 14-19. The Ducks stiffened on defense, which allowed them to tie the game in the middle of the 2nd quarter.
Oregon tied the game 22-22, and then took the lead. After a brief lead change, the Ducks built up a nine-point lead going into halftime. Chance Gray hit two of the four three-pointers in this stretch to give Oregon a nine-point advantage going into the break.
Phillipina Kyei was knocked on the floor with a few minutes let to go in the second. It was a hard foul that was not called. Normally, I’m not one to complain about Pac-12 refs and their inconsistent foul calls, but this is not one of those occasions - you have to call the foul. Kyei left the game and was in for a few minutes in the third quarter before going to the bench again, and did not return for the rest of the game. (We happened to talk with her when we saw her after the game. Asked how she was doing, and she said that she had a headache and was under concussion protocol...but otherwise she was okay).
With Kyei on the bench and Grace VanSlooten not 100%, Oregon struggled in the 3rd quarter against the height advantage that the Cougars enjoyed, and the Ducks could not control the paint.
WSU pulled even twice during the quarter but could not gain the lead, despite Oregon’s poor shooting by everyone not named Endiya Rogers. Rogers scored all 13 points for the Ducks in the 3rd period. The third ended with the Ducks up by one, 51-50.
The Cougars opened the 4th quarter with a three and the lead. WSU took advantage of Oregon’s inability to defend inside and pulled ahead by 14 with 4:16 left to go in the game.
At 3:22, WSU had made 14 shots in a row, then started missing shots. The Ducks went on a 5-0 run, and were down three with 8 seconds left in the game. Oregon fouled and the Cougars made the FTs, going up by five, but the Ducks dug deep and picked up a clutch three from - who else - Endiya Rogers.
Rogers then immediately got a steal and passed to Ahlise Hurst who sunk a game-winning shot from beyond the arc...except the play was whistled dead before she shot due to the game clock having stopped at three seconds. With 1.5 seconds, Oregon inbounded and Grace VanSlooten picked up a foul, draining both of her free throws to send the game into overtime.
You heard that right - down six points with :08 left in the game, the Ducks hit two shots from downtown (Chance Gray and Rogers) and two FTs from their freshman star, Grace VanSlooten.
This one, however, was not meant to be. Down four with 19 seconds left in overtime, Te-Hina Paopao hit a three to make it 84-85, and that’s all that Oregon would be able to muster.
Endiya Rogers nearly had a career game, getting 33 points on 12-21 shooting, including 6-8 from beyond the arc. Chance Gray finally got the chance (no pun intended here, folks) to show why she’s been a starter this entire season, ending with 22 points, going 7-17 - 5-8 on threes - and a perfect 3-3 from the stripe. Te-Hina Paopao and Grace VanSlooten also ended with double digits, scoring 11 and 10 points respectively.
WSU had five players in double-digits, lead by Bella Murekatete with 20 points.
With Kyei out and GVS injured (Kennedy Basham did not play), the Cougars took advantage of their greater size and did as they wished against the Ducks. WSU had control of the paint on both ends, out-rebounding Oregon 50-36, and scoring 46 points in the paint to 24 for the Ducks.
Credit the ladies with fighting to the very end, and up to the end of the game they had a chance to win it. It was just not meant to be.
Here was the take by coach Kelly Graves after the game (courtesy of GoDucks):
The Ducks need to heal up and put this behind them, and they play only one game next week, traveling to Corvallis next Friday, 1/20/23 at 8:00 pm PT to take on the Oregon State Beavers.