The Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team (8-0) picked up where they left off in 2020, starting the new year with a 92-69 victory over USC (3-5). The win extended the program’s winning streak to 27 games, a record dating back to the 2019-20 season.
The Ducks were short-handed without Sedona Prince (ankle injury) or Taylor Chavez, who was in Arizona for a family matter.
Both teams came out fast and aggressive, but neither team scored until Oregon’s Jaz Shelley swished a three-pointer over two and a half minutes into the game.
Te-hina Paopao followed with two quick baskets to extend the lead to 7-0. USC took a timeout near the six-minute mark in the first quarter, having still not scored any points.
The Trojans came out of the timeout with their first two points, but Paopao fought back with her third basket of the game. Nyara Sabally followed with two baskets of her own, giving the Ducks a 13-4 lead.
A three-pointer from Paopao propelled the Ducks to a 19-12 lead after the first quarter, despite looking shaky out of the gate offensively. Paopao scored eight points in the quarter.
“I thought [Paopao] was very impressive early…,” head coach Kelly Graves said. “I think she will be critical of her own game tonight.”
The Ducks came out rolling in the second quarter, getting contributions from Lydia Giomi, Maddie Scherr, Taylor Mikesell and Kylee Watson to extend the lead to 28-12.
USC took almost five minutes to score their first points in the second quarter. The Ducks’ offense clicked, while their defense continued to dominate.
Oregon went on a 10-0 run after that, and they sprinted into halftime with a roaring 42-19 lead. Sabally and Erin Boley led the way with five and seven points, respectively, in the second quarter. The Ducks shot 51% from the field in the first half, while the Trojans shot just 30%.
After not scoring in the second quarter, Paopao opened the third quarter with a three. Mikesell scored her second three, giving the Ducks a 26-point lead.
The teams traded baskets for much of the third quarter. Back-to-back threes from USC helped them creep a little closer, shortening the lead to 62-45.
“We started to decline in our defense,” Paopao said.
Oregon bounced back though, widening the lead back to 70-46 with a three-pointer from Boley as the third quarter came to an end. Mikesell had eight points in the quarter, while Boley and Paopao each had six.
USC had a few layups early on in the fourth quarter, shortening the margin to less than 20 once again. Sabally helped the Ducks maintain the lead, scoring six of their first eight points in the quarter. Oregon took a timeout with less than five minutes to play, sporting a 78-62 lead.
“We just kind of let off the gas a little bit in terms of intensity defensively,” Graves said of the team’s second half performance.
A layup from Giomi and a three from Shelley extended the lead to 84-62. They ended up holding on to win, 92-69.
Mikesell, Sabally, Paopao, Shelley, Boley and Watson all had north of 10 points. Angela Dugalic had nine rebounds, while Sabally had six.
“I think it’s the deepest team I’ve had,” Graves said.
Oregon also held USC to just two offensive rebounds.
Next up for the Ducks is UCLA, who they will take on at Matthew Knight Arena at 1:00 on Sunday.