How Oregon lost: A nine-point lead heading into halftime wasn’t enough for the No. 6 Oregon Ducks to hold off the No. 24 Stanford Cardinal. At halftime, Ducks coach Kelly Graves warned his team that an experienced, 2017 Final Four team, Stanford would fight back until the clock hit 0:00. And that is exactly what happened. In the final five minutes, Stanford closed out on an 11-0 run and forced four Oregon turnovers. Oregon (21-4, 10-2 Pac-12) lost to the Cardinal (16-8, 10-2 Pac-12) 78-65 on their home court at Matthew Knight Arena.
Stanford senior guard Brittany McPhee completely took over in the second half. Oregon did a good job containing McPhee in the first half, limiting her to just two points, but McPhee came alive in the second half and finished with 33 points, hitting 14-of-22 shots and 3-of-3 from three-point range.
Sophomore guard Sabrina Ionescu said, “There were a lot of things we could’ve done differently, but I think we contained her pretty well in the first half. Our coaches told us ‘She’s a senior, she was going to come out and punch us’ and she did and we didn’t punch back. I think that’s something we’re going to grow and continue to learn from. She had a heck of a game so props to her.”
What it means: With five minutes left and Oregon down 67-65, Stanford went on a commanding 11-0 run to finish out the game. During that run, Oregon was all out of sorts struggling to find any offensive rhythm, committed four turnovers, and along with being unable to slow down McPhee.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what else to say. It’s not like they pressure you,” said Graves. We just made some poor decisions I think once in awhile. Sabrina is a phenomenal player and once in awhile she just tries to do just a little bit too much and they [Stanford] play to a great scout. That’s the one thing about Stanford, you got to beat them, they won’t beat themselves. Ever.”
A learning curve that a young Ducks squad will have to overcome moving into the second half of conference play.
High flying Ducks: Ionescu lead the Ducks in scoring with 22 points hitting 4-of-6 from three-point range, grabbed seven rebounds and seven assists. Sophomore forward Ruthy Hebard finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Satou Sabally finished with 14 points.
Foul play: Ionescu committed four fouls.
Up next: Oregon hits the road north to face the Washington Huskies (7-16, 1-11 Pac-12) at 8 PM (PT) this Friday.