Ducks’ offense stalls in first loss of season
In Oregon’s first-ever visit to the state of Wisconsin, the women’s basketball team found history awaiting.
The Ducks never found the right path in their first away game, as the Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix handed Oregon its first loss, 69-53.
Oregon’s 16-point loss was the largest margin of victory for an Oregon opponent since the Ducks lost to the Phoenix last year 75-57, in Oregon’s home opener.
Wisconsin-Green Bay put pressure on Oregon all night, and the Ducks could not convert. In the first half, Oregon shot 29 percent on just 7-of-24 shooting and committed 14 turnovers.
“Wisconsin-Green Bay is a team that plays very well,” Oregon head coach Bev Smith told KSCR radio. “We were not ready to play against that kind of pressure that they put on us. They put a lot of pressure on the ball and definitely take you out of your rhythm offensively.”
Offense is what Oregon struggled with from the beginning. The Ducks never led, and the only tie was in the first two minutes when both teams had two points.
Oregon would keep it close in the first 10 minutes, after a baseline jumper by sophomore Kedzie Gunderson to bring the Ducks within three.
But then the offense went stagnant, and after back-to-back three pointers by the Phoenix four minutes later, the Ducks trailed 24-10.
Oregon found itself down by 19 at one point but battled in the final minutes of the first half to reduce the lead to 34-20.
In the start of the second half, junior Kayla Steen hit back-to-back shots to bring Oregon as close as 10 with 17:30 left to play.
The Ducks’ offense continued to struggle in an attempt to establish rhythm, and the Phoenix would go on a 10-0 run to lead 56-36.
Oregon would only come as close as 15 points after that. A three-pointer by Phoenix senior Sara Boyer pushed the lead to 20, and that was the final straw for the Ducks.
Oregon ended the night better than it started, with 39.6 percent shooting from the field. Wisconsin-Green Bay also shot 40.3 percent. The two teams also tied in the battle of the boards at 35 apiece.
But Oregon’s 25 turnovers and 2-of-14 shooting from downtown would be too much to overcome in the end.
Junior Cathrine Kraayeveld led the way for Oregon with a double-double on 11 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore center Andrea Bills would bring in nine points and seven rebounds for the Ducks.
The Phoenix were led by Johnson with 17 points and five rebounds, followed by senior Elizabeth Dudley with 12 points, and Dudley also accounted for six of her team’s 17 steals.
Oregon walks away from Wisconsin with its first loss, but the long weekend for the Ducks is far from over. Oregon has just 48 hours to travel to the Virgin Islands to face South Carolina (2-0) tomorrow and No. 18 Boston College on Friday.
Both teams will present a strong challenge for Oregon (1-1). The Ducks have faced the Gamecocks only once, in 1979, where they lost, and have never played Boston College.
“These are all important lessons for a young team that is out here on the road,” Smith said. “We are going to have to quickly take the lessons and put them behind us and get ready to face South Carolina.”
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