Oregon head coach Paul Westhead isn’t one to take away moral victories, but that’s what the Oregon Ducks (2-15, 0-5) had to settle for, falling to the (8-9, 2-3) Oregon State Beavers, 63-53 on Tuesday night at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Ducks used good ball movement to jump out to a 4-0 lead to start the game, but the Beavers responded with a 15-2 run, fueled by blocks on defense and offensive rebounds for second chance points. The Beavers found their shot from beyond the arc, hitting three baskets from 3-point range during the run.
Oregon relied on multi-sport standout Liz Brenner, who had eight of Oregon’s nine points during the first 10 minutes of the game. The Ducks, known for having a high number of 3-point attempts, turned to Brenner in the post when the outside shots wouldn’t fall.
Normally, freshman Jillian Alleyne is a go-to in the post for the Ducks, but that was not the case tonight. Alleyne shot just 2-14 from the field.
“I thought early, Jill was struggling,” said Westhead. “She’s just a young freshman who’s been thrown at there to lead her team offensively. She’ll be fine.”
While Oregon couldn’t get the shots from beyond the arc to go down, the Beavers had no problem in that department, with five 3-pointers during the first half. A 3-pointer from Mollee Schwegler gave Oregon State a 13-point lead with 7:15 to go in the first half. By the end of the half, the Beavers led 37-20. Oregon’s 20 first-half points matched the lowest total of the season. Their other 20-point first half came against Illinois on December 12.
The Beavers’ bench came up big in the first half with 13 points, while Oregon’s bench was held scoreless. Poor shooting continued to be a problem for the Ducks, who shot 19.4% in the first half, while Oregon State shot 40.6% from the field.
Jamie Weisner opened the second half with a pair of 3-pointers, extending Oregon State’s lead to 24, their largest of the night.
The Ducks showed some signs of life in the second half, going on a 11-0 run to cut the Oregon State lead down to eight points with just over six minutes left in the game. With two minutes remaining, Amanda Delgado sunk a 3-pointer to bring the Ducks within seven, but that is as close as the Ducks would come as their late comeback effort fell short.
For the Ducks, Brenner led the way in scoring with a career high 17 points, adding eight rebounds. For the Beavers, Weisner used a hot performance from 3-point range to turn in 22 points.
“I definitely think as every game goes I get more and more comfortable, get more into basketball shape,” said Brenner. “Every game gets better.”
The Ducks shot just 25.8% from the field during the night, a problem that has plagued them all season long, while the Beavers shot 37.5%.
“We have to get back to scoring the basketball,” said Westhead. “The percentage is alarming.”
Oregon committed 11 turnovers, their lowest total for any game this season.
The Ducks will have a rematch against the Beavers on Sunday afternoon in Corvallis to wrap up the Civil War series between the two squads. After traveling north to face Washington State on January 25 and Washington on January 27, the Ducks will return home to Eugene to face No. 6 Stanford on February 1.