EUGENE — The No. 19 Oregon women’s basketball team extended its win streak to seven games Sunday with an 80-48 victory over USC before 7,613 fans in Matthew Knight Arena.
Playing a USC team whose roster was short due to injury and whose coach was absent due to COVID protocols, the Ducks not only took care of business but put together one of their most complete performances of the season. They shot 50 percent from the floor, were plus-10 on the boards, forced 17 turnovers and limited the Trojans to 26.3 percent shooting.
“I feel really good,” UO coach Kelly Graves said. “I thought we put together a great performance today, at both ends of the floor and in every phase, really. … We shot it well from the perimeter, got points in the paint (and) I thought this was one of our best defensive efforts for 40 minutes.”
Nyara Sabally capped an outstanding month of January with 23 points and seven rebounds, her third 20-point game in her last five outings. Endyia Rogers added 17 points with seven rebounds and four assists against her former team, and the Ducks limited USC’s dangerous three-point threats to 4-of-17 shooting from behind the arc.
“By and large we did a really good job on them,” Graves said. “They didn’t really have many looks; it’s not like they had a bad shooting night, they just didn’t get many looks.”
The Ducks (13-5, 6-1 Pac-12) established the upper hand early, getting five points from Rogers during a 13-0 run for a 17-4 lead late in the first quarter. Oregon forced seven turnovers in building a 19-9 lead through one quarter.
The Ducks stayed hot in the second quarter, with Sabally scoring seven during a 9-0 run to open the period. Rogers added a couple of more buckets later in the quarter, and also drew a technical foul when she and a player from her former team got tangled up near the sideline during a dead ball. Sabally scored twice more in the waning moments of the half as Oregon led 38-21 at halftime.
The second half opened with yet another UO run, this one an 8-0 burst that included six more points from Sabally. Later in the period, Maddie Scherr rebounded a miss to keep alive a possession that ended in a three-pointer by Rogers for a 55-29 lead, and Sydney Parrish nailed another three-pointer on the next possession. The Ducks led 58-35 after three quarters.
A bucket by Sabally and a three-pointer by Scherr got the fourth quarter going, and Phillipina Kyei completed a three-point play for a 66-40 lead. Rogers hit another three for a 69-32 advantage, and Ahlise Hurst closed the game with a pair of threes as the Ducks finished the day with their largest lead of the game, at 32 points.
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Rogers played a team-high 32 minutes for the Ducks, as they beat the program she transferred from prior to this season. The technical foul perhaps illustrated the heightened emotions for both Rogers and the Trojans, but she was the one celebrating a win at the end of the afternoon.
“I thought she was great; from the start she came out and played really well,” Graves said. “We talked the other day … and I just told her to have fun. She’s on the better team — just go out and show she made the right choice.”
Te-Hina Paopao added nine points for the Ducks and Scherr scored eight with four rebounds, three assists and a steal. They also contributed to the sterling perimeter defense that limited USC’s three-point shooters, while Kyei helped anchor the 2-3 zone the Ducks employed at times.
The Ducks were happy to be back in action and appreciative of USC’s grit in playing short-handed, after UCLA had to forfeit a scheduled matchup in Eugene on Friday. The Ducks will now have to show some grit themselves, as Sunday’s game was the first of four in eight days for Oregon, due to a rescheduled game against Arizona State to be played Tuesday at home, before a road trip to play at Arizona and ASU later in the week.
“It’s one game,” Graves said after lauding Oregon’s effort Sunday. “Now we’ve gotta do it again.”
The Ducks host Arizona State in a rescheduled game in Matthew Knight Arena on Tuesday (2 p.m., Oregon Live Stream).