Oregon makes quick work of No. 9 UConn women 72-59
Eugene, Ore. — Te-Hina Paopao had 22 points and eight rebounds as Oregon beat No. 9 UConn 72-59 on Monday.
Sedona Prince added 14 points as Oregon (10-5, 2-1) won its second game against a Top-10 team in three days. The Ducks defeated seventh-ranked Arizona 68-66 in overtime on Saturday.
"This was an enormous weekend," Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. "Hopefully, this puts us back in the national discussion as a team to be reckoned with after two great wins. People forgot about us and rightfully so, but this is our fourth game against a Final Four team from last year and we are 2-2 in those games. We are still a work-in-progress, nowhere near as good as we can be and we are trying to get better."
Freshman Caroline Ducharme scored 22 points while Olivia Nelson-Ododa added 17 for the Huskies (9-4, 4-0), who were without their top two scorers due to injury. UConn was without senior guard Christyn Williams, who averages 14.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, due to COVID protocols while All-American guard Paige Bueckers remains out with a tibial plateau fracture.
"We found out yesterday that Christyn would not play so that's another unfortunate blow to an already challenging season," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Especially when Christyn was playing a high level. We knew we were playing a team that was going to play zone for 40 minutes and all of a sudden, we are missing one more shooter. It's another gut-punch for our team."
Oregon built a 15-point halftime lead before Ducharme hit a 3-pointer to cut the margin to 44-34. Maddie Scherr followed with a 3-pointer for the Ducks. Prince hit a jumper and Nyara Sabally had a steal and layup before Endyia Rogers added a basket to push Oregon ahead 53-36.
Ahlise Hurst hit a 3-pointer late in the third quarter as Oregon extended its lead to 62-39.
"Hats off to UConn, they battled all the way until the end," Graves said. "They are a little shorthanded and obviously we know what that is like. We have been there. I thought after their initial 10-0 run, we were really good on both ends of the floor. ... UConn is the standard by which all programs are judged so to beat them at any time is always a feather in the cap for your program."
UConn scored the first 10 points of the game before Sydney Parrish and Sabally each hit a 3-pointer for Oregon. The Huskies took a 14-8 lead before Paopao scored the final seven points of the first quarter.
The Ducks followed with the first 11 points of the second quarter to take a 26-14 lead. UConn closed within 30-22 before the Ducks went on a 9-2 run to close out the half and take a 39-24 lead at the break.
"Our energy coming off this weekend is great," Paopao said. "We are trying to get continuity and this weekend we found a flow of things. Having a healthy team is a joy."
UConn: UConn fell to 16-5 all-time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. ... The Huskies moved up one spot to No. 9 in the AP Top 25 on Monday, marking the 537th straight week they are in the rankings.
Oregon: The Ducks have faced all four teams that reached last year's Final Four, beating Arizona and UConn and losing to Stanford and South Carolina. ... Oregon has won two straight against UConn to run its all-time record to 2-3 against the Huskies. ... Sabally, who leads Oregon with 16.4 points per game, scored seven points before leaving in the fourth quarter with an apparent knee injury. She has already missed seven games this season due to injury.
Connecticut: Hosts Seton Hall on Friday.
Oregon: At Washington on Friday.