SportsWomen's Basketball

Ducks dominate on both ends of court in 87-45 win over Hampton

Oregon women’s basketball took care of business with an 87-45 win over the Hampton Lady Pirates Tuesday night at Matthew Knight Arena.

Despite missing one of their key players in Ruthy Hebard due to a lower leg injury, the Ducks adapted to remain undefeated at home in 2017, and bring their record to 6-1 on the year.

“I was actually really proud of our team,” head coach Kelly Graves said. “We’ve got a lot of sickness and some people that’ve got to heal physically, so we were a little shorthanded tonight. But man, I was really impressed with the intensity we came out with tonight.”

The Ducks came out of the gate strong in the first quarter, cruising to a 21-11 lead. Junior forward Oti Gildon, who was filling in for Hebard, posted a double-double on a career-high 20 points and 12 rebounds. Her numbers led the team in both categories.

“I was a little nervous, ’cause I haven’t started in a college game yet,” Gildon said. “I stepped up to the plate and played pretty well.”

For his part, Graves wasn’t surprised.

“People forget that Oti won two state championships in the state of Washington,” Graves said. “She’s a heck of a player. Tonight we really needed her, and she stepped up. This is not out of the ordinary.”

The Ducks stifled the Lady Pirates defensively, holding them to just seven more points in the second quarter. The key in the performance was the Ducks’ conference-best 3-point defense — the team has allowed just four baskets from downtown over its previous three games.

“We’re active in the zone, you know, players like these two (Gildon and Satou Sabally) are so long, contesting shots on the perimeter, nothing’s coming easy. We gave up a little bit to the Oklahoma post player but at the same time we’re giving up 2s and not 3s and that was the key to beating that team and again tonight.”

The Ducks never let the pressure up, with double-digit efforts from Sabrina Ionescu (13 points) and Lexi Bando (11 points) contributing to the lopsided final score.

While the dominant win might not carry the same clout as a big win over a ranked opponent, Graves still considers the game valuable experience.

“That’s a really good team that we kinda made look not as good tonight,” Graves said. “They all can’t be top-10 opponents. You can still get a lot out of it… You can’t get lazy, you can’t take anything for granted. You’ve gotta go out and do the work.”

While pleased with the win, Graves wants to see more careful play on the ball from his team moving forward.

“Second half, sometimes we lose a little focus and kinda make some crazy mistakes, turnover-wise,” Graves said.

Next up for the Ducks is a home clash with the Weber State Wildcats on Sunday.

Follow Aaron on Twitter @aaronalter95

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Aaron Alter

Aaron Alter