No. 24 Oregon (15-7, 8-3) left Pullman, Wash. with its largest victory in its series with the Washington State Cougars women’s basketball team (14-8, 6-5) on Wednesday afternoon with a final score of 83-30. WSU had one of its poorest shooting performances in recent memory, and it was crystal clear that it was going to be that type of game from the opening tip.
Absolutely nothing went right for Washington State in the first quarter as the Cougs went 0-11 from the field before they bought their first bucket — WSU’s first two points had come off of a pair of free throws by BellaMurekatete. It was Krystal Leger-Walker who was able to break the extended field goal drought with 2:37 left in the first frame. Oregon had started off the quarter on a 21-2 run that was primarily fueled by Rogers (whom scored 10 points in the quarter to lead all scorers). The Ducks entered the first intermission with a 23-6 lead after their shot at the buzzer fell short.
While the second quarter was objectively a better quarter for WSU — Oregon only outscored them 17-11 — the Cougar offense continued to force threes at the most in opportune times instead of taking advantage for what had led to consistent buckets. And that was to feed Murekatete and Charlisse Leger-Walker in the paint. Charlisse hit Washington State’s first three of the game, and only three of the half, quickly into the second quarter as both squads went bucket for bucket in the first four minutes. But the Ducks closed out the quarter on a 9-4 run that extended their lead out to 23 points at the half.
Oregon’s offense slowed down its torrid pace from behind the arc as Paopao’s three was the only one in the second quarter — compared to the three the Ducks had hit in the first. But they still hit 44% of their three point attempts in the first half; meanwhile, WSU had hit a measly 6%. The biggest problem for the Cougars was the fact that they turned the ball over on 22.5% of their possessions in the half. Washington State trailed 17-40 when it headed to the locker room.
There was absolutely no reprieve for the Cougars as the Ducks came out of the halftime locker room on fire. Oregon finished the game on a 43-13 run as it was able to tap into its deeper bench to give the Cougars more trouble than they could handle.
While the margin of victory, and WSU’s horrific offensive performance (17.5% from the field and 10.3% from beyond the arc), is troubling; the most troubling part was the complete and utter failure of the defense. The Cougs ran man throughout a lot of the game and there seemed to be a lack of communication on the court as players easily got crossed up on passes which left more than one Oregon player wide open for an uncontested shot.
Checkout the below bucket from Te-Hina Paopao — which came while WSU was in zone, but it’s a good example of the lack of communication on defense all night.
There was no rotation from the top of the key or from Murekatete to help out Grace Sarver who was in an unfavorable 2-on-1 situation. And there was no rotation from the top of the key either to help. It was these kind of issues, and tendency to double team the Ducks, that kept Washington State’s defense out of position all game. As a result, Oregon averaged 1.4 points per possession on Wednesday afternoon.
When the defensive communication issues are coupled with the poor shooting night that the Cougars had, it led to a game that got out of hand extremely fast. It was a long day at Beasley Coliseum, and I doubt the players or staff are particularly looking forward to reviewing this film as they head into the next game.
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Photo Credit: Oregon Women’s Basketball