So close, but
No. 6 Stanford (19-2, 16-2) escaped Matthrew Knight Arena with a 63-61 win over No. 13 Oregon Ducks (12-5, 9-5).
Down two points with 11.3 seconds remaining, Te-Hina Paopao slipped on the drive resulting in a traveling violation with 2.5 seconds remaining to seal the loss.
Kianna Williams led Stanford with 20 points while Taylor Mikesell led Oregon with 13 points.
Here are the key takeaways.
No quit in this Ducks team.
With three minutes remaining in the first half, Kelly Graves needed to call his second timeout of the second quarter with the Ducks trailing by 15 points.
Rather than fold, the Oregon Ducks fought and finished the half on an 8-0 run to keep the game alive. That run extended into the second half with Oregon scoring the opening bucket, completing the 10-0 run.
Oregon hustled on defense
The Ducks played a zone during the second half where it played its best 20 minutes of the season. Once in a while, a rotation would be missed, or two players would run out to the same shooter but all five Oregon players were sprinting shooters off the line and covering for one another, at all times.
Oregon also forced many jump balls with 10 being forced between the teams. On multiple occasions, Oregon tied up the Stanford ball handler to prevent a bucket or even get possession back themselves.
Oregon's youth showed down the stretch.
Oregon had a five-point lead with 3:41 remaining after a Jaz Shelley stepback three-pointer and following trading some baskets, Oregon maintained that advantage with 2:50 left.
Stanford then outscored the Ducks by 7 points in the final 2:50 of the contest to steal a two-point road victory.
Erin Boley is an exceptional player, but the Ducks lacked the closer it had in Sabrina Ionescu the previous four years. Boley needs to be set up more rather than be able to create off the dribble which makes clutch offense less reliable.
For this Oregon team to reach its ceiling, the PaoPao-Boley Pick and Pop needs to be a deadly, go-to option down the stretch of games. Or a Spain pick-and-roll with Pao as the ball handler and Boley plus Prince setting a double screen.
Oregon could not contain Cameron Brink despite their size
WIth Nuara Sabally, Sedona Prince and Lydia Giomi, the Ducks are more equipped to defend elite post players than nearly any other team in the Pac-12. Despite that, stud freshman Cameron Brink dominated the Ducks front line, scoring 16 points on 7-12 shooting.
Sidenote, how did Kelly Graves let the Beaverton-native out of the state?
Paopao was feeling it in the first quarter scoring eight points on 3-3 from the field, followed up by this shotclock buzzer beating three-pointer.
In such a close game, it may have come down to Oregon being outrebounded on the offensive glass by 2, 11-9.
Also, Oregon shot a scorching 47.6% from behind the arc led by Taylor Mikesell's 5-7 from three-point range.
The Next Game
Oregon travels to Los Angeles to play No. 8 UCLA on Friday, February 19th at 5:00 p.m. PT.