Photo by Scott Boldt
Oregon Basketball

Week in Review: Men's & Women's Basketball

January 12, 2020

I’m starting up a new weekly article where I recap the week in both men’s and women’s basketball.

Let's start with the women. They traveled to Arizona and came home with a hard-earned split. They lost 72-66 to unranked Arizona State on Friday night, but they bounced back and beat 18th-ranked Arizona 71-64 on Sunday to move to 13-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play.

The game in Tempe was a must-win for the Ducks, who will slide in the rankings after the loss to Sun Devils but did add another top-25 win on the road. Oregon still has an insane schedule left, with six more games against teams currently ranked in the top 8 – and that's just in the regular season.

In the loss, Oregon just couldn’t score down the stretch. The Ducks were up by 12 with 7 minutes left only to see that lead deteriorate over the final few minutes.

One of the problems this season has been offensive spacing. Minyon Moore is one of the best defenders on the roster, but she lacks a consistent shot from deep. Because of that, defenders tend to sag off on her and clog up the passing lanes, making it harder for Oregon to attack the hoop.

I’m not saying Moore shouldn’t be starting, as she does bring a fiery edge to the court. But starting someone like freshman Jaz Shelly might stretch opposing defenses – as was the case last year with Maite Cazorla.

I’m not sure if Shelly is ready for that role, but she has shown flashes of greatness. I do know coach Kelly Graves will be looking for ways to improve, and I’m sure this thought has crossed his mind.

It will be something to monitor for the rest of the season.

The win against Arizona was a really solid team victory, paced by Oregon's Big 3. Ruthy Hebard notched a double-double, and Satou Sabally also had herself a really great game. But the player of the week is Sabrina Ionescu

Ionescu notched yet another triple-double -- her fourth of the season and the 22nd of her career. She finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Ionescu also had 6 turnovers, which were her only real blemish on her card. She can beat teams in so many ways, and Sunday's game was the perfect example.

Jumping over to the men’s side of things, they swept the Arizona schools at home.

The Ducks beat Arizona on Thursday in an overtime thriller, 74-73, and on Saturday night they fended off Arizona State 78-69. They move to 14-3 on the season and 3-1 in conference play.

Thursday's was one of the better team efforts I’ve seen all year. Four different players scored in double digits: N’Faly Dante with 10, Chris Duarte with 17, Payton Pritchard with 18 and Will Richardson with 21.

It was a career scoring high for Richardson, who also recorded 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Among his many big time plays were the game-winning shot in overtime, when fought through contact and finished at the rim.

On Saturday, it was the Pritchard and Duarte show. Duarte had one of his best efforts as a Duck, with 20 points (on 7 for 12 shooting) and 6 rebounds.

Pritchard ended the night with 29 points on 9 for 16 shooting. He also hit 6 threes -- just short of his career high – to go with 3 rebounds and 6 assists.

The other big takeaway from Saturday's game is just how solid Shakur Juiston was. The transfer was almost forgotten about after suffering a leg injury and missing a chunk of time. And when he came back, he wasn’t quite as effective as he had been.

One moment stood out to me. Juiston missed a three-pointer early that seemed to rattle his confidence. A few minutes later he had a wide-open three but passed.

A few possessions later, Pritchard hit Juiston on the outside, and he didn’t hesitate to knock down the three. He ended the night with 11 points and 9 rebounds.

As for the player of the week, this one was tough for me. Richardson helped carry Oregon against Arizona, but he didn’t play nearly as well against Arizona State.

Meanwhile, Pritchard he had a very solid game Thursday and an even better one Saturday. In the first half against Arizona State, all he did was hit 5 for 6 from deep.

Pritchard has been awesome all year. Depending on the team's success, Pritchard is a strong candidate for national player of the year.

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