What’s not to like?

Oregon shared the basketball and shot well, defended like the Ducks haven’t in years and it all added up to an overwhelming performance almost from the opening possession in a 99-46 victory over Warner Pacific in a women’s basketball exhibition game Wednesday night at Matthew Knight Arena.

“That was a good first effort,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “We had a lot of different people that did good things.

“What I was most impressed about is we have a lot of different players who can impact the game in different ways.”

Lexi Bando led the Ducks with 17 points, making all five of her three-point attempts, and Lexi Petersen tallied 16 points, making four of her five three-point attempts as the Ducks were 15-of-28 from beyond the arc and had an overall shooting percentage of .612. Petersen was also credited with a team-high six assists as Oregon recorded 24 assists on their 41 field goals.

The other double-figure scorers were a pair of freshman as Oti Gildon added 12 points and point guard Maite Cazorla chipped in 11 points and three assists. On the inside, Jillian Alleyne led the Ducks with 10 rebounds and she and fellow post starter Jacinta Vandenberg were each three-of-six from the field while senior reserve Liz Brenner added seven points on three-for-three shooting to go with five rebounds in only 12 minutes.

Defensively, the Ducks used full-court pressure and a harassing half-court defense to record 13 steals, four by transfer Mar’Shay Moore, among the 22 turnovers by the visitors that led to 32 Oregon points.

“Everybody can do something different,” Bando said. “We have such a wide variety of players, which is going to be really cool.”

The Ducks believe their strong outside shooting will continue when the games count, with Petersen explaining that “at any time in the game we have three people in (the lineup) who can make threes. That’s really going to be one of our strengths this year.”

Bando said what will help the Oregon outside shooters is “we have bigs down low who can make their shots and people are going to close in on them which opens up the guards. Working the ball in and out is going to be really important this year.”

Off one game, the most startling change with these Ducks appears to be their defense. In his first year with the program, Graves talked about almost starting from scratch in teaching defensive concepts to his team after the free-wheeling days before him, when defending the other team was an after-thought, if that.

“I think this year is going to be a breakout year for us defensively,” Petersen predicted. “We’ll see a big difference in the defense.”

Graves said Oregon’s ability to pressure on the perimeter comes from having post players who can cover for defenders who do get beat.

“We’ve got basket protectors so we can do little bit more pressuring on the basketball,” Graves said. “Jacinta did a great job defensively. She organized everybody, she’s such a great anchor to the defense.”

The one disappointing number for the Ducks was a 2-of-12 performance at the free throw line.

“That’s an area where we’ve just got to get better,” Graves said. “Obviously our players are capable of making free throws (so) I hate to make an issue of it because then it gets in their heads.”

Oregon plays its first counting game Sunday at 22nd-ranked North Carolina. The Ducks then play their final 10 non-conference games at Matthew Knight Arena, beginning next Thursday against Hampton at 6 p.m.

“It’s a typical Carolina team,” Graves said. “They put a lot of pressure on the basketball … if we don’t turn the basketball over I think we’re going to be in great shape.”

– Click Here To Visit Article Source