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Ducks Struggle But Rally Late to Beat Bears

“Streaky” 3-Point Shooting is Achilles Heel for Oregon

Syndication: The Register Guard Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK

Grace VanSlooten returned full force and led Oregon in scoring with 20 points, but the Ducks waited until she had fouled out late to rally past the California Golden Bears 78 - 73 in Berkeley tonight. Oregon continued to shoot poorly from beyond the 3-point arc, making only 3 of 19 shots from distance. Oregon’s starters all scored in double figures - Endyia Rogers had 18, Te-Hina PaoPao 13, Chance Gray 12 and Phillipina Kyei 11. Gray’s total included a perfect 10 - 10 from the free throw line - her 2 foul shots with 20 seconds remaining tied Oregon’s largest lead of the game at 4, and basically closed out the matchup.


In general, Oregon got off to a better start in the first quarter than they have in some recent games. VanSlooten, who had been slowed by injury in recent losses to Washington State and Oregon State in which she shot a combined 3 - 21 from the floor, scored 6 points in the quarter. Rogers had 5 and PaoPao 4, and the Ducks led 19 - 18 at the first quarter buzzer.

However, the lead could have been much more with decent shooting by Oregon - for the quarter they were just 6 - 17 from the floor including 2 - 7 from beyond the 3-point arc. Incredibly, Oregon would go 1 - 12 from distance over the remaining three quarters. Meanwhile, as so many opponents this year seem to have, Cal was lighting it up shooting 50 percent from the floor overall and from 3-point distance. A surprise of the quarter was the ease with which Cal broke Oregon’s efforts to apply full-court pressure - the Bears repeatedly broke out and scored easy baskets.

Oregon had a low-scoring second quarter and were outscored by Cal 17 - 14, giving the Bears a 35 - 33 halftime lead. After a VanSlooten layup at 6:38 of the quarter that gave them a 27 - 24 lead, the Ducks did not score again for over two minutes on a VanSlooten jumper to lead just 29 - 28. The Ducks then went almost 3 minutes before Rogers scored at 1:38. A Rogers jumper at the halftime buzzer were just Oregon’s 6th points over the last 6 minutes of the second quarter.

At the half, VanSlooten had 12 points and Rogers 11. VanSlooten added 5 rebounds and Kyei had 3. Rogers added 3 assists. Oregon had just 6 turnovers and was shooting 40.6 percent on 13 - 32 from the field but were only 2 - 12 from 3-point distance. Cal maintained its shooting edge, making 46.9 percent from the field.

Things were marginally better for Oregon in the third quarter at least on the offensive end as they outscored Cal 22 - 21 to cut the deficit to just one point. The Ducks retook the lead at 43 - 42 on a Rogers layup at 6:20. Both teams were stuck on 47 points for a minute until a VanSlooten layup, which Cal quickly answered with a 3-pointer to take a 50 - 49 lead at 3:09. The teams traded baskets for the remainder of the quarter and Cal took a 56 - 55 lead into the final stanza on a buzzer-beating jumper.

VanSlooten now had 18 points, Rogers had scored 15 and Kyei and PaoPao had 8 apiece. VanSlooten had 8 rebounds and Kyei 7 and Gray and Rogers had 4 assists each. Despite its 3-point woes (now just 2 - 16) Oregon had improved its overall shooting to 44 percent on 22 - 50. The Ducks were also 9 - 11 from the free throw line for the game.

It was anyone’s game heading into the fourth quarter. The Ducks quickly went ahead again on jumpers by Gray and Taya Hanson, who was the only bench player to score. Cal hung tough, however, and after two Gray free throws put Oregon ahead gave the Ducks a 61 - 58 lead, Cal scored 5 straight points to lead 63 - 61, a lead they held until 6:29 was left in the game. A Pao-Pao 3-pointer on Oregon’s next possession gave Oregon back the lead by one and Cal then made 1 of 2 free throws to tie again at 64. The teams traded baskets until a Cal 3-pointer put them back in control 71 - 68 with just 2:58 left.

Layups by Rogers and VanSlooten put Oregon back in the lead but Cal free thrown see’d them into the lead until a PaoPao jumper saw’d the Ducks ahead again. VanSlooten collected her fifth foul with 1:53 left and Oregon clinging to a one-point lead - a moment in the game that seemed like it could be bad for the Ducks. But Cal would remain stuck on 73 points for the remainder of the game as Oregon began a parade to the foul line. Kyei, Gray and Rogers went 4 - 6 from the charity stripe over the last 34 seconds to close out the Golden Bears, 78 - 73.

For the game, VanSlooten led all 5 Oregon starters in double figures with 20 points. She also added 9 rebounds while Kyei had 8. Rogers had 5 assists and Gray 4. Oregon returned to their previous season average with just 10 turnovers and won the rebound battle 40 - 34. Oregon ended the game shooting 46 percent on 29 - 63 from the field and were 17 - 21 from the free throw line.

Oregon’s glaring weakness is shooting from 3-point distance. It’s a bit of a misnomer to call them “streaky.” On nights when they are “off” the entire team seems to be unable to hit anything. Tonight, PaoPao’s 2 - 5 was by far the best. Three Oregon shooters combined for 0 - 11 from beyond the arc.

Oregon (14-6, 5-4 Conference) closes out its Bay Area trip against Stanford on Sunday, January 29 at 1:00 pm. The Cardinal have lost only once in Conference play.