Sports Reporter Jerry Thompson for Mighty Oregon Magazine and FishDuck.com from Matt Knight Arena …
In their third contest of the season, the Oregon women’s basketball team stayed unbeaten with a 79-51 victory over the outmatched UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Sunday afternoon at Matt Knight Arena.
The Ducks won despite some very poor ball handling (27 turnovers) during major stretches of the game. Frankly, the entire game was sloppy, with both teams committing a total of 48 turnovers in 40 minutes of play. However, Oregon’s emerging post play shows promise, and points to a winning season for the Duck women.
Oregon head coach Kelly Graves lamented the turnovers, but was happy with the play of 6-5 center Jacinta Vandenberg. He also praised the execution of the Duck’s bread and butter: the inside-out offense.
Graves likened the Oregon offense to the Ducks football team, where they try to establish the run to open up the passing game.
The post combo of Vanderberg (14 points) and senior Jillian Alleyne (15) was simply too much for the Gauchos. And when the duo was not scoring inside, they unselfishly looked to the perimeter.
Lexi Petersen made two 3-pointers en route to 14 points, and freshman point guard Maite Carzola (8 points) was a perfect two-for-two beyond the arc. The 5-10 Carzola also added 10 assists to lead the Ducks.
The UO women, clad in yellow with green trim, began the game well with very good ball movement, jumping out to a 14-2 lead. The Gauchos responded with more defensive intensity, which resulted in 15 Duck turnovers by halftime.
Despite the miscues, the Ducks had a comfortable 37-24 lead at intermission. The Ducks improved their ball handling in the third quarter, adding only four to their total. As a result, Oregon led 60-43 after 30 minutes of play.
One of the best highlights of the game occured in the final stanza, when Petersen’s made a beautiful pass to Carzola on a coast-to-coast fast break, allowing Carzola to knock down a three and put the Ducks up 74-49 with 3:28 to play.
Vandenburg, the junior transfer from Australia, said she is taking “baby steps” on offense. She has a nice mid-range game out to 15 feet, and is an impressive scorer around the basket.
Coach Graves said in the past Vandenburg’s role was strictly that of a facilitator, and the biggest positive of the game was seeing her look to be aggressive offensively.
Graves said the Ducks will need to play much better to be victorious when they take on ACC foe Clemson today at 6 p.m. at Matt Knight Arena.
Top Photo by Gary Breedlove