Eugene – Corvallis, OR – The start of the college basketball season is always interesting. This year I’m starting it with four games. Due to scheduling for the benefit of television, most Pac-12 games have staggered times. That makes it possible to attend a quadruple-header today. The Oregon women’s team opened up the day in Eugene at Noon against Utah State. Then it’s up to Corvallis (one hour drive) for the nationally-ranked Oregon State women’s game against Portland at 4PM. That’s followed by two mens games, Oregon State vs. Rice at 7PM and Oregon vs. Coppin State at 9PM. I’ll need to take off at halftime of the Beaver game to make it back to Eugene in time for the final game of the day.
The Oregon Duck women opened up the Kelly Graves era with a hot hand, taking an 11-0 lead over Utah State and extended the lead to 59-41 at the half. The Ducks shot 13-of-20 on three-pointers in the half led by 6-of-7 long-distance shooting from Katelyn Loper who had 22 first half points. Frosh Lexi Bando who initially committed to Gonzaga but then followed Graves to Eugene, added 11 points, making 3-of-4 of her threes. Utah State cut the lead to 11 early in the second half, but then the Ducks pulled away for the 100-77 victory. Loper lead Oregon with 33 points while Jillian Alleyne added 20 points and 12 rebounds. Bando and point guard Lexi Petersen added 13 points each.
The Oregon State women looked better than their No. 20 national ranking as they dismantled a Portland Pilot team that went 14-16 last year. The Beavers look like they have it all his year, excellent point guard play, strong bigs and solid shooters. They play solid defense, have depth and are very well coached. Don’t be surprised if they challenge Stanford for the Pac-12 title.
The Beavers ran out to an quick 20-point lead and had a 52-32 halftime lead. Playing ten players in the rotation, they shot 59% from the field, 6-of-11 on three-pointers and had a +8 rebounding advantage at the half. 6’6 Ruth Hamblin led the Beavers with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting with four blocks.
The second half was more of the same as Oregon State scored the first 11 points to take a 63-32 lead. They coasted to the win playing their bench liberally in the 87-65 win. Hamblin, who Portland could not match up with due to her height advantage led the Beavers with 20 points and added six rebounds. 5’11 Ali Gibson helped out with 16 points and seven boards.
Next game up in Corvallis was the Oregon State – Rice contest, two teams in serious rebuilding mode, both with a new coaching staff. The Beavers showed their squad was superior turning a +17 rebounding advantage into a 67-54 win. Malcolm Duvivier and Jarmal Reid each scored 17 points to lead the Beavers. Oregon State showed strong rebounding from their guards with Langston Morris-Walker (10) and Gary Payton II (9) being particularly effective.
It was back to Eugene for the final game of the day between the Oregon Ducks and Coppin State. The Eagles got off to a hot shooting start and took an 11-2 lead on the home team. That was the highlight for Coppin State as Oregon finished the half on a 58-16 run as they took a 60-27 lead into halftime. Joseph Young had a full game worth of stats by halftime with 25 points and six assists. We’re looking for Young to show more point guard skills this year and he certainly has gotten off to a good start, with several nice passes to add to his 5-of-7 long distance shooting (plus four rebounds).
Young finished with 32 points and eight assists as the Ducks coasted to the 107-65 win. Joining Young in double-figures were Elgin Cook (15), Dillon Brooks (14), Casey Benson (13 on 5-of-6 FG) and Ahmaad Rorie (10). 6’8 freshman Jordan Bell grabbed 12 rebounds. Oregon, with only eight scholarship players available, has shown good teamwork, energy on the boards despite their limited size and solid athleticism in forcing the pace of the game. They may be better than anticipated. They’ll get more of a game when Detroit and a strong Toledo squad come to town next week. We’ll see how the Ducks compete as the competition gets more difficult.
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