Kyei’s Career Day Lifts Ducks

EUGENE, Ore. — Playing its second game in less than 24 hours, a 20-point, 18-rebound performance from Phillipina Kyei helped Oregon outlast Portland State, 65-54, Saturday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena.

Kyei turned in the first 20-point outing of her career in notching her seventh double-double of the season. Grace VanSlooten and Chance Gray combined for 28 of Oregon’s 43 second-half points and finished with 18 and 15, respectively.

“I thought we finished the game well,” said UO head coach Kelly Graves. “The fourth quarter I thought we played really good basketball, especially defensively.

“In the second half we did a much better job. I thought Philli (Kyei) was terrific tonight. Grace in the second half was really, really good. I thought Kennedi Williams played a good ballgame for us tonight. We had a lot that came in and did well for us.”

The Ducks trailed by one at halftime and by as many as six in the third quarter before a 10-0 run handed UO the lead for good. Gray dropped a dozen in the fourth quarter and knocked down a trey on three consecutive trips down the floor in the fourth quarter to give the Ducks a 15-point lead with just over a minute to play.

Oregon outscored Portland State 43-31 in the second half and registered an assist on 13 of 16 made field goals. Williams, who came off the bench for the second straight game, dished out seven of her season-high eight assists in the second half.

“When you’re coming off the bench, you can see what the game needs,” Williams said. “I can go in and bring energy if we need energy, I can bring ball movement if we need ball movement and set the right people up, if they need it.”

Kyei gave the Ducks a spark in the first quarter, as she finished with nine points and four rebounds in the first 10 minutes. Twelve of Kyei’s season-high 18 rebounds came in the second half.

“She came off aggressive right from the jump,” VanSlooten said of Kyei. “She was kind of our spark when things weren’t going well in the first half. She kept going strong and we kept getting her the ball.”

“We call her ‘biggest’ for a reason,” Williams added. “She’s an undeniable force, she can’t be stopped. She’s a dominant force and she’s starting to realize that more and more and more. She has more confidence every game.”

How It Happened: Oregon scored the game’s first seven points, four coming from Kyei, but saw Portland State score the next seven to even the score midway through the quarter. Kyei ended the quarter with nine points and four rebounds, as the teams were tied at 12 after the first 10 minutes.

Neither team led by more than three points in the second quarter, and Paige Winter gave PSU a one-point lead after hitting a jumper with just over a minute to play in the half, 23-22. Just four Ducks registered a field goal in the second, with Gray hitting the team’s lone trey of the half.

The Vikings opened their largest lead of the game, 34-28, after a 7-0 run midway through the third quarter. Oregon immediately responded by scoring the next 10 points, grasping a lead it would not relinquish.

VanSlooten, who scored two points in the first half, dropped 13 in the third quarter alone, hitting on 5-of-9 field goal tries. She added five rebounds in helping UO to a 42-38 lead after 30 minutes.

Gray served the role as closer, scoring 12 of her 15 points in the final frame. Gray knocked down 3-pointers on three consecutive trips down the floor in going 4-for-6 from deep in the fourth. Her final trey of the game pushed the Ducks’ lead to 15, their largest of the day, with 1:24 to go.

Notable: Kyei poured in a career-high 20 points and finished with her seventh double-double of the season behind a season-high 18 rebounds … She now has 15 double-doubles for her career, as she now sits alone in 14th place in UO history … VanSlooten was a rebound shy of her second straight double-double with 18 points and nine boards … Williams dished out a season-high eight assists, one away from her career-best output … Oregon held a 50-29 rebounding advantage and improved to 6-0 when out-rebounding its opponent.

Up Next: The Ducks’ home stretch continues Monday at Matthew Knight Arena against Southern, as part of the Pac-12/SWAC Legacy Series (7 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network).