Oregon women’s basketball: Seniors shine in final game of regular season against Arizona
It was so fitting. Senior Ariel Thomas scored Oregon’s first eight points of the game to pick up the 1,000th point of her career on senior day in a 90-78 win over Arizona.
It was just what one might expect from Thomas, in her final game at Matthew Knight Arena, to persevere and lead the team to an early lead despite a mid-season injury.
She finished with 17 points with seven rebounds to bring her point total at Oregon to 1,009—becoming the 26th player in Oregon history to hit the 1,000 point mark.
“It means the world,” Thomas said. “Especially because in my four years of being here, I’m pretty sure we haven’t won on senior night. It definitely was a good feeling. I tried not to cry. I tried to stay in the moment and probably will be teary-eyed later on today.”
Head coach Paul Westhead knew that the game would begin emotionally after a pre-game ceremony honoring the accomplishments of Thomas, Danielle Love, Chynna Miley and Laura Stanulis. Team manager Kevin Wade was also honored along with the senior class.
Miley, who entered the game with just six appearances and one point against Souther on Dec. 18, checked in with just about a minute left in the game to the chants of “Chynna, Chynna” all over the arena. When she scored a jumper with 20 seconds left, the Oregon bench exploded with excitement.
“It was pretty special,” Thomas said. “As soon as Chynna came in, I just like if I give you the ball, shoot it. It was cool to see that as soon as she got the ball, she scored it. To see how much joy and enthusiasm we had as a team for her to get that bucket was pretty amazing. And the fans, to chant her name, I think was pretty cool. I love Oregon fans so much.”
Westhead said after the game that Miley’s ability to be a member of the team without receiving a great deal of playing time should be admired.
“Chynna, she’s leading our team in points per seconds played,” Westhead joked after the game. “Good kid. It’s interesting. It’s really hard to play a whole season and not get hardly any playing time. A kid like that, they either give up or they buy in. And she clearly has bought in and played delightful. Nice to see her get the final shot.”
In her final home game for the Ducks, Love finished with 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting from three point range while grabbing five rebounds. She played 34 minutes.
Stanulis’ final game at Matthew Knight Arena ended with two total points in nine minutes on the floor, also grabbing one rebound.
“It was special to go out with a win, just tops it all off,” Thomas said, all smiles. “If we would’ve played hard and ended up in a loss, it wouldn’t have meant anything. At the end of the day, it’s all about winning and to be able to share that with my teammates is amazing.”
Follow Jonathan Hawthorne on Twitter @Jon_Hawthorne
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