Oregon women’s basketball head coach Paul Westhead debuted his fast-breaking, fast-paced offensive style to 1,692 eager fans in the Ducks’ exhibition game against Southern Oregon on Tuesday.
Forty minutes after tip-off, the Ducks had spent the majority of possessions in the half court. Specifically, their half of the court.
Oregon began the game against the physically outmatched Raiders with a 21-2 run over 4:58, employing a full-court press defense that forced 11 turnovers, and never looked back. When the dust finally settled, the Ducks came away with a 109-47 victory, with numbers popping off the box score like fireworks.
Micaela Cocks led the Ducks with 22 points and Amanda Johnson scored 19 points, with nine steals and five assists. Jasmin Holliday had Oregon’s only double-double of the game, with 16 points and 10 rebounds complemented by five assists and three steals.
Oregon racked up the points without the help of its second-leading scorer from last season, Taylor Lilley, who sat on the bench while recovering from a sprained ankle.
The Ducks forced 45 turnovers, including 29 steals. Southern Oregon entered halftime with 26 turnovers and 26 points.
“I was very pleased with some of the pressure,” Westhead said. “They scrambled. They caused turnovers.”
The Ducks towered over the Raiders, and ended the game with 27 offensive rebounds and 62 total.
“Sometimes you can go a season and not get that many (offensive rebounds),” Westhead said. “I think we can continue to get better and we will get that many.”
The Ducks shot a respectable 46.9 percent (46-98) from the field but made just 12 of 22 free throws (54.5 percent) and five of 19 three-pointers (26.3 percent). However, Westhead’s biggest area of concern on the night was turnovers. Oregon made 24 of them, along with 23 assists.
“I hate turnovers,” Westhead said. “We had about 20 more than I can live with.”
Most of the turnovers stemmed from miscommunications or indecision, as the Ducks — with a little help from the Raiders’ full-court press — tried to figure out where the pass should go or when the dribble should be picked up.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” guard Nia Jackson said. “We had more positives than negatives. Everybody wasn’t in the right positions and at the right times all the time.”
Jackson was one of the game’s positives, returning to the court for the first time after redshirting last season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. Wearing a protective brace, Jackson cut through the Raider defense to the tune of 15 points, three
assists and three steals.
“I was so excited to go out there and play,” she said. “Kind of anxious and a little bit nervous, but it was fun. It was a lot of fun. It’s a lot stronger.”
The level of competition will improve, and the Ducks showed a lot of room for improvement.
“It might take a half-dozen games (for the players to understand the system), to be honest with you,” Westhead said. “I hope it doesn’t take 30.”