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Ducks guard, Sydney Parrish (33), turns the ball on the baseline after getting a rebound. The Oregon Ducks Women’s Basketball team takes on the Idaho State Bengals, on November 9th, 2021, at Matthew Knight Arena. (Serei Hendrie/Emerald)

“I’m reminded of that Subway commercial — eat fresh, refresh,” said Oregon head coach Kelly Graves when talking about the new coaching staff he brought into the program this offseason and the refreshing feel it brings to the team.

The women’s basketball program saw significant change within their roster and coaches. Too much turnover can change the team dynamic, bring in many unknowns and leave an impact on the athletes especially. But this is not the case for Oregon.

Before the 2021-22 season, Oregon had two vacancies open up inside the basketball program. Former assistant coach Mark Campbell was named head coach at Sacramento State and brought along assistant coach Xavier Lopez, who both had been a part of Graves’ staff for the past seven years and helped mold Oregon into the national recruiting powerhouse that it is today.

Graves’ coaching staff hires are not new to the University of Oregon.

Former Oregon basketball player Mike Moser joined Graves as an assistant coach for the 2021 season. The last time he was in Eugene, he played for the 2013-14 season as a graduate transfer and helped lead Oregon to the second round of the NCAA tournament under head coach Dana Altman.

Graves added another familiar face to the coaching staff with the hiring of Jackie Nared Hairston as the other assistant coach. For the 2017-18 season, she was Oregon’s director of creativity and video. She spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for the Arizona Wildcats, where she helped lead the team to the 2021 National Championship game.

“It’s been wonderful. They’ve stepped in and things have moved forward and upward,” Graves said.

Graves seemed in very high spirits when speaking to the media about the new faces he has brought aboard the program.

“The atmosphere around the office has been better; they’re peoplepeople,” Graves said. “They have Oregon’s best interest at heart because they’re from Portland, and I think that helps; that means something.”

With 398 points scored in their first five games of the season, the Ducks haven’t skipped a beat despite the offseason coaching changes.

The Ducks brought back many of their star athletes from the 2020 season, including Nyara Sabally, who was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last year. Sedona Prince, Kylee Watson, Sydney Parrish and Te-Hina Paopao also came back for the 2021 season.

While the majority of veterans came back to Oregon, as with many college teams, there was huge turnover, with seven players moving on from the team. During the busy offseason, notable players Taylor Chavez and Jaz Shelley both entered the transfer portal. Erin Boley and Lydia Giomi graduated from the university.

To fill these spaces, the 2021-22 roster has several new faces.

Five of the seven new players  are incoming transfers. Notable transfer and former coveted USC guard Endiya Rogers –– who led the Trojans in scoring, averaging 14.8 points per game –– unfortunately is out with a broken hand. She has yet to play in the regular season after soaring in an exhibition game against Saint Martin’s.

Oregon still awaits Taylor Hosendove’s eligibility waiver from the NCAA. The two-time transfer will be at her third school in her college career after spending time at Clemson and Georgia State.

“The NCAA goes at their own pace, and it’s the pace they want unfortunately,” Graves said. 

The team has been shorthanded thus far, riddled with injuries, resulting in back-to-back losses to  South Carolina and South Florida. With players Sabally and Pao-Pao out for consecutive games, joined by newly unavailable players Taylor Bigby and Rogers, Graves had only eight players suit up for the last two games.

“I have to do a better job of coaching the players that we actually have playing in the games, and I didn’t do a good enough job,” Graves said.

Despite these losses and the injuries in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, Graves is confident in his team.

“So we’re going to learn from it and get better from it.” Graves said. “This has been nothing but a positive..”

Daniel Vigil is a sports writer from San Clemente, California. He enjoys covering basketball, football and soccer. He also is a reporter for DuckTV Sports. When he’s not reporting, he enjoys reading, bodyboarding, astronomy and going to the beach.