Ducks In Command From Start To Finish

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EUGENE, Ore. — Playing against a projected conference titlist coming off an NCAA Tournament berth, Oregon dominated its season opener from start to finish Tuesday in Matthew Knight Arena, beating Idaho State, 91-34.

The No. 10 Ducks got 18 points from Sedona Prince and 14 apiece from Nyara Sabally and Maddie Scherr to beat the Bengals, the returning Big Sky champs who are preseason favorites to win that conference again this season.

“Tonight was a blast,” Prince said. “We were a little nervous going in, to be honest. They’re strong, competitive — they’re just tough. We knew if we didn’t come out ready, especially on the defensive side, it could have been a close game. But we were so ready and prepared.”

How It Happened: Sabally got the scoring started right off the bat, with eight points during Oregon’s 13-0 run to open the game. Idaho State went scoreless until making two free throws with 5:39 left in the opening quarter, and the Bengals didn’t hit their first field goal until there was 2:41 left in the period.

By that point Oregon had built a 21-2 lead that included a beautifully executed pick-and-roll between Scherr and Prince, and back-to-back field goals off the bench by Chanaya Pinto.

Prince_ISU

“Right from the get-go, I thought defensively we were on point,” UO coach Kelly Graves said. “Offensively we wanted to get the ball inside early and often, and we did that. And then it just started to snowball a bit. I thought this was a complete game; we played both ends of the floor well. I was proud of the team.”

The second period opened with a basket by Phillipina Kyei and a three-pointer from Sydney Parrish, before Scherr sliced through the defense for a basket that made it 34-7. After a bucket from Prince, Scherr hit a three and then pulled up for a another three-pointer for a 42-9 lead. The Ducks led 50-20 at halftime.

The second half featured more contributions from the likes of Kyei, Kylee Watson and Taylor Bigby. The Ducks led 72-29 after three quarters and kept up the pace to finish the game with their largest lead all night, 57 points. The half was marred by an injury to Sabally, who had to be helped off the court in the third, but Graves said afterward, “I think she’s going to be OK.”

Who Stood Out: Prince scored her 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting, and Sabally was 6-of-9 from the floor while adding four rebounds and a blocked shot. Scherr filled it up with five assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block, along with four turnovers as she handled the bulk of the ballhandling with fellow guards Te-Hina Paopao and Endyia Rogers sidelined by injuries.

Scherr_ISU_EE

“She’s one of our best leaders, on and off the court,” Prince said of Scherr. “So I’m really proud of her.”

Kyei finished with six points and 10 rebounds in just 13 minutes. Starting wings Parrish and Ahlise Hurst combined for 13 points, five rebounds, five assists and six steals with two blocked shots.

What It Means: The Ducks were on alert entering Tuesday’s game given Idaho State’s pedigree and projection for this season, but came away with a dominant performance.

“I think this team can go very, very far,” Prince said. “And I hope we proved that to everyone in the country tonight.”

Up Next: The Ducks host Dixie State on Sunday at 5 p.m.


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