Is Something UP with Oregon Womens Basketball?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 31 Comments

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You had to done a double-take as I did when I learned of Angela Dugalic entering the transfer portal. I can understand others leaving for more playing time such as Jaz Shelly and Taylor Chavez, or perhaps because it was not a fit for Taylor Mikesell. It was assumed that these players were making-way for Oregon’s Fab-Five that are on the rise within the program.

But nobody thought one of the Fab-Five would leave.

My theory is that perhaps the assistants had such a relationship with the players that the massive departure of coaches left the players feeling a bit isolated?

Just throwing it out there, but I am much more curious about what your thoughts are on this?

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Gary Breedlove

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Dugalic got a lot of playing time during the regular season – usually the 2nd off the bench. Very good defender and rebounder but not really a consistent scoring threat on inside or outside. Good hustle motor. Given little playing time in both Tournaments.


Could the covid related sports management by the state of Oregon and Lane county have an influence? Is going to college in Eugene presently as enjoyable as other less restrictive states? These are still kids/young adults whose social life might well play a factor into decision making. Hearing the recent complaints from Oregon sports professionals and Oregon sorts media about this very subject makes me wonder. Have we heard about Covid case clusters around less restrictive sports environments?


I believe that once the new Coaches get to spend some time together with Coach Graves and Berry and then the Team does as well, things will start to come together again.
I also believe because the player’s are so young and until late in the season, they didn’t have a natural leader emerge, they struggled on the court to stay focused as a unit.
My guess is that Sedona will see the value of being a strong, positive leader and that Coach Graves will let Nyara become a leader by her play, more than what she says.
We have many great young players that will lead by their on court effort and positive feedback to their teammates.
I honestly feel that if everyone works as hard as they can and remembers this isn’t High School Basketball where they all were their teams top player and understands that being the top Division 1 team is what is the most important thing.
Once the Roster is set, and the players take total ownership in each of their individual responsibilities to the team, the Lady Ducks will get right back to their place as a National Championship contender!

Riverview 2

Something happened to this team this year. I don’t know what it was or what caused it but if you go back and watch the replays, about halfway through their schedule they lost their confidence. When they lost that they lost their outside shot their spacing and ball movement.
I too was shocked to see the number of players transferring out of the program after the season.
I do think that it’s unfair to try to lay the blame on coach Graves because Kelly has been successful at every post he has held. Coach Graves was very successful at Gonzaga and to my knowledge there has never been an issue or problems. That said I don’t think that this past year was Kelly’s best job of coaching, but then with all the Covid disruptions everyone had a tough year.
I wasn’t surprised or upset when the 3 guards decided to go elsewhere. In fact I was delighted because I knew that Graves wouldn’t have to find playing time for them when they didn’t deserve it. I’ve rewatched the Duck’s last 10 games over and over and neither of the Taylors nor Jaz could buy a shot. None of the 3 were efficient dribbling in traffic yet they continually tried.
I was especially disappointed with Taylor Chavez. I truly thought she would blossom into an All Star level point guard. Mikesell was useless after her shot went cold, Shelley pretty much the same story.
Angela Dugalic going into the Transfer Portal was the one that killed me. She is a terrific talent, a tiger on defense who is going to become a star. If anyone out of the Fan 5 was going to transfer I was sure it was going to be Kylee Watson who looked a step slow and out of place the entire year.
I have great faith in Kelly Graves and I’ll be interested in seeing who with these new assistants they will bring into the Program through the transfer process. Wouldn’t it be grand if they could poach a couple of quality guards from their PAC12 rivals?
The nucleus of Prince, Sabally, and PaoPao have the potential to become another “Big 3” so I’m very optimistic.
Sabrina was so special she would have masked any and all of these problems but she’s gone and we may never see a player like her again.


Y’all I just want to remind you that the was a similar bunch of transfers after the group that included Sabrina and Ruthy came in. Mallory McGwire, Sierra Campisano, and Lauren Yearwood were all pretty highly ranked, right? I hope Dugalic stays for at least another year because I think this year was a terrible one to understand the Eugene playing environment, and because selfishly I want to see her play in person, but given the easier transfer rules now, I would have been shocked NOT to see one or more of them want to make a change. I’m not that worried yet.


I’m not that worried yet either! Transfers will happen every year it seems in these days. I was pretty down on the season, but always try to come back to the majority of the games that the team lost to were to the 2 teams that played for the National Championship! (Plus UCLA/Louisville/1-1 with the Beavers) considering that after losing the Big 3, it is a pretty great season. I hope Dugalic stays and I think she has great potential, but I could see her fitting in really well at UCLA.


Sorry Ducks. It’s the coach. He did not start his best player until very late in the year. Erin, the best three point shooter, played out of position the entire year. She had very few attempts from three point land and could not rebound like a big. And coach had real talent sitting on the bench that could have enabled her to move outside.

And worst of all, his scattered rotations did nothing to improve the new talent. They were no better at the end of the year than the beginning of the year. Very possible he looked like a great coach because of Sabrina.


Charles, interesting point about coaching ability or ability of players being coached determining one’s opinion of a coach. It strikes me as especially interesting to consider your statement with regard to David’s fine article this morning ( 5/7).

Maybe, unlike the crop of highly regarded recruits seemingly thriving on competition for playing time in football, the highly regarded young women Graves brought in aren’t so keen on earning a starting spot via intense competition in practice? I only offer this up as something to consider. Aside from attending games, when that was possible, and being a member of the women’s basketball Fast Break booster organization, I have no firsthand knowledge about what’s up with Graves’ team. It does make you though.


It’s not the coach. Kelly Graves has been successful everywhere he has coached….St. Mary‘s, Gonzaga and now Oregon. Erin Boley was Oregon’s best three point shooter, but she is a spot up shooter and without other players like Sabrina and Satou to attract attention, she got far fewer good looks this season. The shooting woes of Jaz Shelley and Mikesell’s midseason slump didn’t help Boley either as teams paid more attention to her and her ability to create shots is not her strong suit. Oregon’s 5-star recruits, other than Te-Hina, underperformed this year, forcing Boley to play a role that really didn’t suit her.


My impression was they were working Boley’s inside game to give her a shot at making it in the pros. Funny how nobody is worried about Altman’s constant player turnover.


A timely topic, Mr. Fishduck. I have no info, but to me Something Smells in Denmark (Eugene?).

Kelly Graves is the Master, and the recent events, transfers and departures must be a gut wrenching wakeup call for him.

We fans, drooling at the stacked roster of McDonald’s All-Americans and Gatorade State Players of the year, are left holding an empty bag.

As on “Laugh In”; ” Very Strange”. “But True”.


I am glad you posted the article Mr. FishDuck, I have been worrying and pondering the same thoughts.

It was one thing when upperclass-women were hitting the transfer portal, as you could assume they saw the writing on the wall concerning limited minutes due to Uber talented youngsters.

Then when an Uber talented youngster goes in to the transfer portal you start wondering what in the heck is going on.

Add to that the recent slate of coaching openings, and I too, was asking myself “what’s going on?”

I suppose we will have to get used to this kind of thing happening when we keep racking up 5 star recruits! I guess that is a good thing?

Jon Sousa

I had the same reaction Charles. It is concerning. I hope Graves makes great hires. He hasn´t had to reload the coaching staff that much.

He is a great coach with a long history of great teams, so I’m buckled in that trusting that at the end of this bumpy ride things will turn out alright and next year the Lady Ducks will make another deep run… Final Four in two years??? That’s as good as I am expecting.


I believe Kelly has already filled the two assistant coaching positions with Jackie Nared Hairston and Mike Moser. That just leaves the Director of Operations position to be determined.


Dugalic is in Serbia playing for the national team and I heard she hasn’t 100% made up her mind if she really is leaving. Putting her name in the transfer portal definitely isn’t a good sign. I think a major issue this season was, we had a team of 12 women who all think of themselves as starter players.

Even Graves mentioned it was hard to coach because he was trying to fairly distribute minutes. With everybody getting a free season, Sabally and Prince I believe still have 3 years of eligibility remaining and possibly 4, if they tried to get a medical redshirt. I think Dugalic might not want to play off the bench, even though she would be option 1 for the forward position.

It is always nice to “win” recruiting rankings, but with basketball getting all 5 star recruits can lead to mass exodus, like we have seen. As has been said before, I think it has been the combination of coaches leaving and the fab 5 forcing older players to see they aren’t in the teams future plans. I hope nobody gets hurt because 8 players is not enough for a division 1 basketball team. I really hope coach Graves is able to add 2 more players.


If she in fact chooses to leave, Dugalic will be a big loss. She, along with Te-Hina, were the only freshmen that didn’t appear intimidated by the level of competition. Dugalic is aggressive, tough and more athletic than she appears. I hope she reconsiders. With her up front with Sabally and Prince, the Ducks would be formidable.


It certainly makes me wonder. The team didn’t seem to have an identity for most of the year. The sputtering mini run in the NCAA tournament suggested Graves was giving up on finding a guard capable of running the show and would instead feed the post players inside focusing on a set half court style. Maybe this upset players recruited to play a running/pressing game?

The Constitutionalist

I couldn’t agree more. Our identity is missing across a few sports, though I remain cautiously optimistic about the future, Graves has a tough task bouncing back from our Sabrina-led golden era.

The Constitutionalist

I haven’t been able to watch any of the baseball games this year out in Virginia (since we still can’t get the P12 Network), but I’ve been following the scores periodically. How have the Beavers done in baseball? I remember a few (could be 10 or more) years ago they had a pretty decent program.

I thought for sure our softball team would’ve suffered more after Mike White’s departure, but it seems that Coach Lombardi is doing well also.


Maddie Scherr, stepping in at point guard in the tournament, played admirably on defense, but was no threat offensively, nor was Sydney Parrish, whose outside shooting seemed rushed most of the time. Both players were examples, even as 5-stars, that there is a big adjustment in going from high school to a top level college program, unless you’re Paige Bueckers. Dumping the ball inside was Oregon’s best hope in the tournament and it gave us a glimpse of what to expect from Sedona Prince in the future.


Ducked you nailed it. After Te-Hina went down the team was essentially without a penetrating, ball handling point guard. Graves choice to go to a half court inside game in the NCAA seemed pretty brilliant to me at that time. Had the team gone one and out it would have been a lost season.

My biggest disappointment was the lack of grit down the stretch by the upper class men. Scherr and Parrish did step up on defense as you noted. I like Prince more and more. She has a mean streak, reminds me of Stan Love, has sharp elbows and is not afraid to use them. I look for her to step into a leadership role in the coming years.