Just five minutes remained in this afternoon’s Pac-12 Tournament first-round game between Oregon and Washington, and it all looked so familiar. Oregon was great early, racing to an 11 - 2 lead, but had also suffered through characteristic long periods unable to score the basketball. Oregon’s defense was solid, causing the Huskies to commit several shot-clock violations and shoot under 37 percent from the field. And then, with Washington leading 43 - 38, Endyia Rogers went off. Rogers scored five baskets down the stretch and, combined with a Te-Hina PaoPao 3-pointer and a Chance Gray free throw, it proved to be just enough as Oregon advanced over Washington 52 - 50.
New. Ball. Game.#GoDucks x @tehinapaopao12 pic.twitter.com/YvQhz33flL— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) March 2, 2023
Oregon’s offensive inefficiency is hard to explain. The Ducks typically have several periods of 4 minutes or longer in a game where they can’t score. During one 4:30 scoring drought in today’s second quarter, Oregon had 4 turnovers and 3 contested missed layups and 3 missed jump shots on 10 possessions. In the first quarter, after playing hard and building the 11 - 2 lead, the Ducks went over 3 minutes before scoring again and then were stuck on 13 points for the last 2 minutes of the quarter. This allowed the Huskies to cut an 11 - 2 Oregon lead to just 13 - 9. During the second half, Oregon repeatedly left 5 to 15 foot shots short, and even left one layup attempt short.
Don't blink. 4 points in a HURRY.— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) March 2, 2023
https://t.co/RcgnTfAzar#GoDucks x #Pac12WBB pic.twitter.com/dbS93obNog
This is all to note that it’s not a case of Oregon being unable to generate open shots or good shots. It’s not like the Ducks are just casting off wild attempts from everywhere. Most of the shots come from within the offense, but when Oregon starts missing, they miss everything - short jumpers, 3-point shots, layups. When they get hot, it’s something to see - the Ducks were 6 - 8 from the field in the last 5 minutes this afternoon. Today, at least, Oregon’s job would have been made easier with offensive contributions from more players. Outside Rogers and PaoPao, Oregon’s 7 other players generated only 11 points.
The good news is that Oregon’s defense against the Huskies was up to the task - keep it close until another offensive surge comes along. All-in-all, it was a gritty effort from the Ducks late - the team could have packed it in with 5 minutes left after the way the afternoon had been going. Rogers was having none of that and neither was the defense.
Back-to-back buckets by Endyia and the Ducks are within three.— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) March 1, 2023
https://t.co/RcgnTfAzar#GoDucks x @endyia_rogers pic.twitter.com/S88TvR8kht
A win’s a win, and Oregon advances to play the #1-seed Stanford Cardinal tomorrow afternoon. The strength of the Pac-12 has Oregon - despite its losing record in Conference and poor record against ranked teams - still seen as just outside the NCAA Tournament field. It goes without saying that a win over Stanford might help the Ducks start to be fitted for a Big Dance outfit. Their only match-up against the Cardinal this season was a 62 - 54 road loss in late January.
For the game, Rogers led the Ducks with 28 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. PaoPao added 13 and a team-high 4 assists. Phillipina Kyei had 6 points and 9 rebounds. As a team, Oregon shot just 35.7 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. The Ducks were 7 - 8 from the free throw line. It’s worth noting that, in Oregon’s wins this season, their 3-point shooting percentage is about 10 points higher than today’s effort. Grace VanSlooten returned to the court for Oregon and played significant minutes and was a factor on defense but scored only 2 free throws.
Hype us UP, Ducks pic.twitter.com/dmEgtZFmXv— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) March 2, 2023