On Friday, Oregon began a brutal stretch of of seven games against ranked Pac-12 foes - #16 Utah, #3 Colorado, #25 Oregon State, Colorado and Utah again, #11 USC, and #2 UCLA.
This game was the same story that we’ve seen all year; the Ducks are great on defense, and only seem to have three players that can score significant offensive numbers: Grace VanSlooten, Chance Gray, and Phillipina Kyei.
VanSlooten was injured late in the Cal game and did not play on Friday due to concussion protocol. With the absence of GVS, others would have to step up and get buckets. Thus far this season, it’s a task that this Ducks bench is not capable of performing.
The game was a tale of two halves - Oregon put shots in, got an early lead, and was ahead all of the first half. Their shots were going in, and the Utes were not finding the basket.
Oregon enjoyed a double digit lead in parts of the second quarter and was ahead going into the half, 29-21. Much of that was due to Utah not finding the bucket, as they shot only 25% in the first half. That was not going to hold up, however - Utah is a high scoring team that has the number 8 offense in the nation.
The Ducks started the third quarter with a couple of turnovers, and then lost Sofia Bell a little over three minutes into the period with a left leg injury. Bell had to be helped into the locker room and did not return to the bench. Shortly after that, Oregon lost the lead for good.
After that, the Ducks had nothing, and Utah knew it. They could focus on stopping Kyei, and knowing that Oregon did not have shooters allowed them to triple-team Kyei and take her out of the game.
Kyei scored 5 points in the 3rd, and zero in the 4th, and Chance Gray scored 0 points in the third and 9 in the 4th. And the other eight players? They scored only five points in the second half; two from Kennedy Basham and three from Priscilla Williams.
Utah was held to just under 35% shooting for the game. The Utes had three players score in double-digits, led by Alissa Pili with 16 points.
Oregon shot 34% from the field, but it should be kept in mind that the Ducks shot 40% in the first half and 27.3% in the second half. Turnovers were a problem in the second half, with the Ducks committing 10 of their 15 turnovers in the final 20 minutes.
Phillipina Kyei put up another double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds, and was 7-8 from the line. Chance Gray ended with 18 points and was 4-4 from the free throw line.
Here is what coach Kelly Graves had to say after the game:
Grace VanSlooten and Sophia Bell will be out for today’s contest against Colorado. With one of their best shooters and their best defender out of the game, the Ducks will likely have difficulty being competitive against the Buffaloes.