Eugene, OR – The Oregon and Colorado women’s basketball teams opened Pac-12 play with an afternoon contest in Eugene. Both teams were coming off two easy non-conference wins but this game figured to be more competitive. The Buffaloes were 16-14 last season and return most of their key players setting up the No. 10-ranked Ducks’ first key contest of the new season.
Oregon used a third quarter surge to turn a close game into a relatively easy 82-53 victory. The Ducks’ 26-13 third quarter edge turned an eight-point halftime lead to a 21-point lead after three quarters. They then more or less coasted to the win.
Nyara Sabally, Satou’s 6-5 sister, was the star of the game, leading Oregon in both scoring (20 points) and rebounding (10). She made all her ten shots from the floor. Sabally, coming off two missed seasons due to two knee injuries, appeared to be moving much better than in the first two games. She dominated the game inside, pulling down four offensive rebounds and scoring repeatedly inside the paint.
The Ducks were also helped by solid games from 6-2 senior Erin Boley and 5-9 freshman point guard Te-Hina Paopao. Boley connected on 4-of-8 three-pointers, scored 17 points and pulled down six rebounds. Paopao, who looks like she is coming into her own as the starting point guard, added 13 points, three rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes and added two steals. She connected on 3-of-6 3s.
Oregon rebounded the ball much better in the second half and closed the contest with a 44-37 edge on the boards. They were more active on the offensive glass in the second half grabbing 11 offense boards to eight for Colorado in the half.
The first half was a low-scoring start to the game with both teams missing open shots and playing well on defense. Oregon went out to an 8-point lead (20-12) and maintained that lead at halftime (34-26). Sabally dominated the half. She scored 12 points on perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the field, connecting on one three-pointer while pulling down five rebounds. Boley added eight points for the Ducks hitting two 3s. Oregon was helped as Colorado’s best player, 6-4 senior Mya Hollingshed, committed three fouls in the first quarter and was scoreless at the half in only six minutes of action. Hollingshed ended up fouling out after scoring only four points in 20 minutes of play. Peanut Tuitele, a 6-1 junior, was active and led the Buffaloes at the half with eight points on 4-of-12 shooting. She finished the game with ten points. Charlotte Whittaker, a 6-4 freshman from New Zealand, also scored ten points for the Buffaloes. Colorado stayed in the game in the first half with a 9-1 edge on offensive boards and a 10-0 advantage on fast break points.