In a normal season of women’s college hoops in the Pac-12 Conference, the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers play one another in back-to-back games within 48 hours in a given weekend.
Well, because this isn’t a normal season in the slightest due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, that “rivalry weekend” has been split up and round one of this matchup tips off on Sunday, December 13.
The No. 8 Oregon Ducks (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12 play) will be facing their first ranked opponent this season as the daunting and challenging Pac-12 Conference play has officially begun.
The No. 15 Oregon State Beavers (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12 play) are coming off their first conference loss of the season, 85-79 to the Utah Utes.
Oregon women’s head coach Kelly Graves joined host Jordan Kent on the latest Talkin’ Ducks to discuss more on the matchup.
“We haven’t had this much time to prepare in quite awhile,” said Graves. “They’re similar to us though Jordan. They’re relatively new. They lost a couple of huge parts of their offense in Destiny Slocum and Mikayla Pivec, just like we lost a bunch too. So, we’re both just trying to find our way. I think it will be a good matchup between the two teams.
“We both have good size and have skill players inside. We have a bunch of kids that can shoot the ball. Anytime you play Scott Rueck, you know you’re going to get a well-disciplined team, defensive oriented team.
These two teams definitely experienced some serious roster turnover from last season. While the Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally era is over in Eugene, Oregon, the Beavers also lost four-year starter Mikayla Pivec (drafted by the Atlanta Dream in the 2020 WNBA Draft but ended up playing overseas this season) and Destiny Slocum announced a surprise transfer to Arkansas.
However, like Graves stated above, keep an eye on the inside game between redshirt-sophomore Nyara Sabally, senior Lydia Giomi and sophomore Taylor Jones.
Sabally finally made her Ducks debut this season after missing out on the previous two seasons after suffering back-to-back ACL tears. In her first career start last Friday against Colorado, Sabally was a perfect 9-for-9 from the field for 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Her partner-in-crime Sedona Prince is dealing with an ankle injury and has not practiced this week and according to Graves, hoped to get her back for Friday's practice but her status for the game is still a question mark.
Giomi comes off the bench but gives the Oregon defense a huge boost with her 6’6” size and effort.
On the other side of the court, Taylor Jones is coming off one heck of a freshman season. The 6’4” forward averaged 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while also totaling 60 blocks last season.
And if that inside game isn’t working out, both teams have shooters that can hit over 40% from the three-point line…
This is going to be a good one! Tip-off between these two ranked teams is scheduled for 4 p.m. (PT) at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Oregon.
Watch more in the video above.