Oregon made some appearances Monday night — in front of a sparse, second-exhibition crowd — that Paul Westhead‘s system could work this year. Sure, it was against NAIA Oregon Tech and the competition will soon get much more stringent, but the offense clicked and the defense forced errors. The team still has a lot to prove, but they said a lot with a 116-51 exhibition win.
“Another exhibition, tried to get some of the kinks out,” Westhead said. “We had reasonable success, we have a good bit of work to do. … If we can get (offensive rebounding) into their blood, we’ll be fine.”
Oregon enjoyed a 62-24 advantage for the intermission, as the Ducks were excellent early at both hitting threes and preventing the Hustlin’ Owls from distance buckets. Oregon was 8/20 from deep in the first half and held Tech to an 0/10 clip — which ended up 0-for-24.
Chrishae Rowe again led the Ducks with a silly offensive first half — knocking in 9 of her 14 field goals (2 of 3 from deep) and collecting 4 offensive rebounds to pair with her 20 points. Rowe finished with 35.
“She has a good sense of her game,” Westhead said. “She’s going to eventually be a crowd-pleaser, I can see it coming.”
To say that the freshman might be a go-to option for Oregon this fall is likely going to be an understatement. The game might as well have been a backdrop as Rowe’s performance stood out on a larger stage, hitting from deep and banging around for rebounds from both sides of the floor.
“I tend to do whatever I have to to make my team successful,” Rowe said.
Following her in scoring were teammates Katelyn Loper (26), Jillian Alleyne (15) and fellow freshman Drea Toler (16).
Both Rowe (14 rebounds) and Alleyne (11) put up double-doubles as well. Alleyne added three blocks in another gritty defensive effort.
In addition to keeping the Owls without a three-point connection in 24 attempts, the Ducks also restricted Tech to just 14 makes on 77 total attempts. The 46-18 advantage in FG percentage favoring Oregon told the tale the best in this one.
Ariel Thomas didn’t bunch up stats in any category, but finished with 6 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Westhead praised her hustle after the game.
“We need a whole bunch of Ariel Thomases,” he said. “She might be our best offensive rebounder, she’s fearless and she goes for it. She sacrifices her body on every possession.”
The coach called Thomas the best player on his team, and sees returner-to-the-roster Laura Stanulis’ return as creating a good problem to have — a glut of good point guards.
Oregon starts its regular season with a home opener against Cal State Bakersfield this Saturday at 7 p.m. The Ducks’ first road game is in Hartford, Conn., against the top-ranked Connecticut Huskies on Nov. 20.