A decided size and talent advantage wasn’t enough for Oregon to dominate the paint until the second half agaisnt Seattle.
Grace VanSlooten had 16 points and Endyia Rogers and Jennah Isai each had 15 points for the No. 20 Ducks in a 90-47 win over the Redhawks Saturday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena.
Oregon capitalized on 21 Seattle turnovers, which led to 30 points, and got to the line consistently and made 21 of 24 free throws. However, the Ducks had a 42-22 edge in the paint that was padded late.
“I didn’t like it,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “I didn’t think we did a great job of getting it inside. … We made it a concerted effort the second half to try to get it inside a little bit more.”
Center Phillipina Kyei had nine of 14 points in the third quarter, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks. But the sophomore was just plus-13 in 20 minutes, with nearly all of her positive efficiency coming during a blowout second half.
“She’s still a work in progress and I thought early they did a good job of kind of pushing her off,” Graves said. “We don’t really run a ton of stuff that is isolating her.”
Irena Korolenko had 14 points for Seattle, which shot 40.54% from inside the arc compared to just 23.8% from three.
Isai, one of Oregon’s true freshmen, had all of her points during the first half to help Oregon take a 42-25 lead into the break.
“We had a little talk to stay energized, come out there with energy,” Isai said. “Being a basketball player you have to be ready for any time of game. I think we came out with that mentality.”
Te-Hina Paopao had 10 points and seven rebounds and VanSlooten had 10 of her points in the second half to go with nine rebounds and three blocks, one of five UO players with a block.
Oregon relied on a smaller lineup without Kyei on the floor and freshman Kennedy Basham out for several weeks with a right knee injury. All nine available Ducks scored, eight had rebounds and seven had assists.
“Everybody’s embracing their roles,” Rogers said. “Nothing has really changed because Grace can play in that position and we can play small and run fast.”
Graves was pleased with the balance in production and performance of the smaller lineup but not in the total effort, which won’t suffice against better opponents that can shoot better outside and have the size to challenge the Ducks.
“We didn’t sustain the effort, the energy, the focus the entire 40 minutes I thought,” Graves said. “But when we were good we were pretty good tonight.”