Up big after three quarters, Oregon took its foot off the gas and made what was a blowout appear somewhat competitive.
Te-Hina Paopao had 17 points and freshmen Grace VanSlooten and Chance Gray each had 12 for the No. 18 Ducks in a 66-54 win over Southern Utah Monday night at Matthew Knight Arena.
“One of the things we talked about before the game was our consistency and kind of reared its ugly head again,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “Great first quarter, great third quarter, poor second, poor fourth. It’s not like you have your second unit in during those times as much. With us we’re just kind of playing everybody. It’s a little disappointing.”
Oregon (4-0) opened 11 of 16 from the field, including 3 of 4 by Paopao, to take 24-15 lead after one.
“Te-Hina played a really good game tonight,” Graves said. “Was under control the whole time.”
Phillipina Kyei had four points and four rebounds in the second as UO took a 35-25 lead to the break. The sophomore center finished with six points and nine rebounds.
Gray had seven of Oregon’s 24 points in the third, when Southern Utah (2-3) was just 4 of 14 from the field and the gap grew to 59-33.
Cherita Daugherty had nine of her 17 points in the fourth to go with 10 points and four assists for the Thunderbirds, who played their starters through the fourth and outscored the Ducks 21-7.
“We started off really strong in the third,” Paopao said. “Hearing it was 21-7. I think we can work harder in the fourth and finish games stronger. I think it was a lack of energy and lack of effort on our part and that’s on us. I think as team I think since we were up so big we didn’t need to continue that effort from the third quarter but we need to pick up our effort in the fourth.”
Oregon was out-rebounded 41-33 and went just 5 of 12 at the free throw line and its bigs were responsible for eight of those attempts.
“For the time this year we got out-worked and got our-rebounded,” Graves said. “That was a little disappointing.”
The Ducks head to Portland to face No. 8 North Carolina at the Chiles Center at 2 p.m. Thursday as part of the PKI.