In seemingly the blink of an eye, the Oregon Women’s Basketball program has risen to the top of the NCAA rankings, with some experts even favoring them to win the National Championship. However, with such a meteoric rise, it’s fair to wonder whether the program can sustain this level of success after this group of players moves on. I think it is safe to say that coach Kelly Graves has emphatically answered that question.
Over the past three months, the Oregon Women’s Basketball program has recruited like never before. During that span, Coach Graves was able to land seven commitments, five in the 2020 class, all of whom are rated as 5-star prospects on multiple websites. This is in addition to two incoming transfers, Minyon Moore and Sedona Prince.
The Future Is Bright
Not only is every commit in the 2020 class a 5-star talent, but they also all fit into Graves’s system. Sydney Parrish, Te-Hina PaoPao and Maddie Scherr are all guards who can do just about anything on the court. Angela Dugalic and Kylee Watson, both forwards, are versatile and agile athletes who should see success in the Ducks’ pick-and-roll offense. These five players could very well be the starting lineup for the women’s basketball team down the road.
Moore, a 5’8 graduate transfer guard from USC, will slide into the starting lineup in Maite Cazorla’s spot. Last season at USC, Moore averaged 15.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists. While she isn’t the shooter Cazorla is (29% for her career on three pointers), she can score in a multitude of other ways using her quickness and strength to get to the basket. She is an experienced ball-handler who will enable Sabrina Ionescu to play on or off the ball, and she’s also a tenacious defender, which should bring another level of toughness to the team.
Prince, a 6’7 post from Texas and another consensus 5-star recruit out of high school, had to sit out her freshman season in 2018-19 after breaking her leg during international play last summer. Prince and the Ducks are planning to apply for a waiver that would make her eligible to play right away this season. Whether she is eligible immediately or needs to sit out until 2020-2021, Prince, with her size and ability, gives the Ducks a post presence they have perhaps never had before.
Prince not only has the size to battle inside, but she is also mobile and skilled on the offensive end. She as great touch around the basket and can consistently step out and make the mid-range jumper. Prince may have been the biggest recruit of all this summer, as she could potentially be the piece that takes the Ducks to the top.
This recruiting success comes as no surprise after back-to-back Elite Eight appearances and a trip to the Final Four last season. Graves and his staff have drawn on their deep roots in the international game to snag great foreign recruits the past few seasons. The most notable are Maite Cazorla (Spain), Satou and Nyara Sabally (Germany), as well as the entire 2019 class, consisting of Holly Winterburn (England), Jaz Shelley (Australia) and Lucy Cochrane (Australia).
While all these international players have proven great additions to the program, the Ducks’ ability to sign top recruits from the States shows that people are taking notice of the program and are buying into what Coach Graves is doing. It shows that the Ducks aren’t just one-hit wonders because of Sabrina Ionescu, but that they are here to stay. With a program that can, and will, be a powerhouse National Championship contender year in and year out, it’s an exciting time for Oregon Women’s Basketball. And it’s possible this is just the beginning!
Coach Alex Nordstrand
Eugene, Oregon Top Photo From Twitter
Andrew Mueller, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in digital marketing in Chicago, Illinois.
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