With star freshman guard Te-Hina Paopao out for the beginning of the NCAA Tournament, the Oregon Ducks women's basketball team was already going to be short-handed when it plays No. 11 South Dakota.
Now, it's a matter of just how short-handed they will be.
On Saturday, Kelly Graves said the status of Nyara Sabally, Taylor Chavez, and Jaz Shelley is up in the air for the opening contest of the women's NCAA Tournament.
"They haven't practiced yet fully," explained Graves. " We hope to have them in the game, obviously not going to be 100% but that's still to be determined.
Graves went on to say he could not tell the media which two, however.
Nyara Sabally has arguably been the Ducks best player for most of the season averaging 12.4 points and 7.3 rebounds and getting the starting gig at five for most of the season.
Meanwhile, Shelley and Chavez have both struggled after stellar 2019-20 campaigns which saw Chavez win the Pac-12 6th Player of the Year award. Chavez averages 4.7 points and 2.3 assists per game this season while Shelley averages 4.4 points and 2.1 assists.
In the first game Paopao missed this season, Graves started a three-guard lineup which included Shelley, Chavez and Taylor Mikesell in the regular-season finale versus Oregon State. Chavez and Shelley both went scoreless, missing a combined five field-goal attempts while Mikesell shot 7-16 from the field. Interestingly, Kelly Graves only played Shelley 10 minutes despite her being the backup point guard for the team last season.
Then in the quarterfinals rematch against Oregon State, Graves started freshman Maddie Scherr to defend Aleah Goodman but she also did not score a point. Paopao remains the last Ducks starting point guard to score despite missing the final two games.
Graves did say he liked how Scherr played overall, especially defensively, so perhaps expect her to see more run in the NCAA Tournament.
If Maddie Scherr does start, expect her to guard South Daota guard Liv Korngable who Graves said he would need to put his best defender on. For the season, Korngable averages 14.5 points and 3.9 assists.
No. 6 Oregon takes on No. 11 South Dakota on Monday, March 22nd at 7:00 p.m. PT on ESPN2.