Kelly Graves and the Ducks have found their winning recipe.
After knocking off then-No.7 Arizona in overtime two days prior, the Oregon women’s basketball team dominated Geno Auriemma’s No.9 UConn Huskies on Monday afternoon 72-59 in a game that was more lopsided than the final score.
Playing without All-American Paige Bueckers (knee), star freshman Azzi Fudd (foot) and guard Christyn Williams (Covid-19 Protocols), the road Huskies still sprinted out to a 10-0 lead early in the first quarter. But after Oregon switched into a 3-2 zone on defense, the tide turned. The Ducks finished the quarter on a 15-4 run, including seven straight points from Te-Hina Paopao, to take a 15-14 lead. Paopao finished the game with a team-high 22 points to ago along with 8 rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes.
Oregon carried its momentum through the second quarter, outscoring UConn 24-10 in the period for a commanding 39-24 halftime lead. The Huskies could not solve Oregon’s zone, going 0-for-8 from beyond the arc in the first half, while Oregon capitalized on UConn mistakes for an 11-2 edge in points off turnovers.
The Ducks kept the foot on the gas pedal coming out of halftime when Nyara Sabally came up with a steal and drove the length of the court for a layup. On the next UConn possession, Oregon’s Maddie Scherr forced another steal and got it up the floor to Paopao who hit Endiya Rogers in stride for an easy bucket. That made it 53-36 Ducks and brought the crowd of 9, 439 to its feet at Matthew Knight Arena. Oregon went into the final period leading 62-41 and did not let UConn get close the rest of the way.
Despite a second straight win over a top-ten opponent, it was not all positive for Oregon. Leading by twenty with 4:42 left in regulation, Sabally went down with an apparent knee injury. She was helped to the locker room by her teammates. Graves said postgame he hopes Sabally will be okay going forward, and that the injury is not serious.
Kelly Graves says that he thinks Nyara Sabally “is going to be fine.”
“She’s not with a doctor right now, so that’s a good thing.”
— Zachary Neel (@zacharycneel) January 18, 2022
Oregon improves to 10-5 overall with the win.