Ducks Show Signs of Fight During 86-62 Loss Against No. 4 Cardinal

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Ariel Thomas scored 17 points. (Courtesy: Eric Evans, GoDucks.com)

The Oregon Ducks showed some signs of fight against the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal, but ultimately were outshot and outplayed, falling 86-62 on Friday night at Matthew Knight Arena.

Stanford (19-2, 8-1) came out of the gates on fire, opening with a 16-2 run in the first four minutes. The Cardinal broke down Oregon’s zone to find open shots, including back-to-back three-pointers from Sara James and Joslyn Tinkle. Stanford hit 7 of their first 9 shots during the run.

“In our system, we take fastbreak shots,” said Oregon guard Ariel Thomas. “I think it’s more just about taking composed shots.”

Ariel Thomas scored 17 points. (Courtesy: Eric Evans, GoDucks.com)
Ariel Thomas scored 17 points. (Courtesy: Eric Evans, GoDucks.com)

The Cardinal followed the opening run with a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 19 points. Things slowly started to turn for the Ducks, beginning with a 3-point play from Jillian Alleyne. It was then time for a Ducks scoring run, as Oregon (3-18, 1-8) went on a 10-0 run to cut the Stanford lead to 10 with 2:45 left in the half.

Thomas did everything she could to keep the Ducks in the game during the first half, scoring 10 points in less than four minutes.

“Ariel has been playing well for the last four or five games,” said Oregon head coach Paul Westhead. “She has a lot of fire and toughness, and that goes a long way for our team.”

Despite being down by 19 in the first part of the game, the Ducks were able to cut into the lead, trailing 38-27 at halftime.

The Cardinal came out of the locker room clicking on all cylinders with a 16-4 run to increase their lead to 25 points, including a 9-0 capped off by a 3-pointer from Toni Kokenis. Just like the first half, the Ducks answered back with two scoring runs to try and stay in the game, but during a 13-5 run, the Cardinal extended their lead to 29 points, their largest of the game, burying any chances the Ducks had at a miraculous comeback.

“Sometimes I was a little frustrated where we get a team down but don’t build on it,” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer. “Our leadership took care of it more than I did.”

That would be all Stanford would need as they cruised to the win. Chiney Ogwumike led the Cardinal with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Thomas led the Ducks with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Alleyne turned in her eighth double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

The Ducks had yet another poor night from the field, shooting 19-67 (28.4%). The Cardinal shot 32-72 (44.4%), with 10 of those coming from beyond the arc. The Ducks committed 17 turnovers, and Stanford was able to capitalize, outscoring the Ducks 22-4 off of turnovers.

“We’re still our worst enemies in some ways because we’re turning the ball over unnecessarily, and we aren’t making shots,” said Westhead.

The win was the 400th career win in conference play for Tara VanDerveer, who is in her 34th season as the head coach of the Stanford women’s basketball program.

“I think it means I’ve been here a long time,” said VanDerveer with a chuckle. “I think this is a great conference, it’s very competitive. Every game is hard fought.”

The Ducks weekend won’t get any easier as they prepare to take on No. 4 California on Sunday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena. The Bears are second in the conference behind Stanford with a 7-1 record in the Pac-12, and are 17-2 overall on the season. Tip-off is set for 1 PM.

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