Women's Basketball

Paopao Invited To USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team Trials

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Oregon point guard Te-Hina Paopao is one of 27 athletes to accept an invitation to the 2021 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Cup Team trials, the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Selection Committee announced on Wednesday.
 
Trials to select finalists for the 12-member team will be held May 14-16 at Metro State University in Denver. The 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup is scheduled for August 7-15 in Debrecen, Hungary.
 
“This is definitely a unique year for our committee after not getting to evaluate this age group of players in last summer’s U18 trials and competition,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, chair of the selection committee. “We do, however, feel confident that we’ve invited a very talented, diverse and exciting group of players. We’ve identified both some of the best college freshmen that make the age cut-off as well as some of the best high school players ready to make their mark.
 
Among the 27 invitees, Paopao is one of 16 athletes who were college freshmen in 2020-21. The Oceanside, Calif., native is also one of four current Pac-12 players to be invited, along with Ugonne Onyiah (California), Talia von Oelhoffen (Oregon State), and Lauren Ware (Arizona).
 
Paopao was terrific for the Ducks as a freshman, earning all-Pac-12 and Pac-12 all-freshman honors after averaging 10.2 points, 4.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game. She was the only Duck to start the first 19 games of the season before missing the final five due to injury, and her 2.40 assist-to-turnover ratio was No. 1 in the nation among freshmen.
 
Just the fifth UO freshman ever to receive all-conference honors and first since Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard in 2016-17, Paopao posted 11 double-figure scoring performances and shot 43.3 percent from the floor. She racked up 84 total assists in 19 games, good for No. 8 in UO freshman single-season history. Paopao was also solid defensively, leading Oregon with 27 steals and eight multi-steal performances.
 
UCLA head coach Cori Close is serving as the 2021 USA U19 World Cup Team head coach, and will be assisted by South Dakota State head coach Aaron Johnston and Georgia head coach Joni Taylor.

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Former Duck Mike Moser Joins Women’s Basketball Coaching Staff

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EUGENE, Ore. — Former Oregon men’s basketball standout Mike Moser has joined the UO women’s program as an assistant coach, head coach Kelly Graves announced on Monday.
 
Moser starred for Dana Altman and the Oregon men’s team in 2013-14 as a graduate transfer. The Portland native has been working in player development and analytics for the Dallas Mavericks since August 2019, while also serving as an international scouting consultant and personal basketball trainer.
 
“We are thrilled to bring Mike back to Eugene as part of our coaching staff,” said Graves. “Mike has a terrific basketball mind and is a great player development coach who will help our student-athletes grow and improve in every aspect of their game. His experience working in the NBA with scouting and analytics will be incredibly valuable, and he is more than ready to take this step in his coaching career.”
 
Moser came to Oregon in 2013-14 after earning his undergraduate degree at UNLV (2010-13). He led the Ducks to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and was an all-Pac-12 honorable mention recipient after averaging 13.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game with seven double-doubles.
 
“Being from Oregon and having played for the Ducks, the University of Oregon is truly a special place,” said Moser. “My family and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such an outstanding program. I believe in Coach Graves’ vision, and the values he and his staff have established that have made Oregon women’s basketball so successful. I look forward to meeting the team, and I know that together we are going to build cohesion and grow off of last season’s success.”

Moser announcement
 
Moser rounds out Oregon’s new-look coaching staff after Graves announced the hiring of Jackie Nared Hairston as an assistant coach on Friday. Moser and Nared Hairston join Graves and longtime assistant Jodie Berry.

With the Mavericks, Moser assisted players and coaches with on-court player development activities, and was instrumental in creating and implementing scouting and analytics reports. He has also been a personal basketball trainer since 2017, and has scouted international players for various EuroLeague, EuroCup, and Champions League competition.
 
Moser started his collegiate career at UCLA in 2009-10 before transferring to UNLV. He was a first-team all-Mountain West performer and an Associated Press all-America honorable mention selection for the Rebels in 2011-12, averaging a double-double with 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
 
After starting all 34 games for Oregon in 2013-14, Moser began his professional playing career. He made multiple NBA Summer League and training camp appearances and played five years overseas, with stops in Lithuania, Israel, Kosovo, Qatar, Finland, and France. In 2017, Moser was the Eurobasket.com all-Kosovo League forward of the year and the Kosovo Basketball SuperLeague Finals MVP.
 
Moser and his wife, Tasha, have three kids: Jayden, Malakai, and Makarri.

Moser family
 

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Jackie Nared Hairston Returns To Oregon As Assistant Coach

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EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon women’s basketball head coach Kelly Graves added a familiar face to his staff on Thursday, announcing the hiring of Jackie Nared Hairston as an assistant coach.
 
Oregon’s director of creativity and video during the 2017-18 season, Nared Hairston returns to Eugene after spending the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Arizona, where she helped lead the Wildcats to the 2021 national championship game.
 
“We are very excited to welcome Jackie back to Oregon,” said Graves. “She brings a championship mindset and a strong understanding of both our program and the Pac-12. She is one of the nation’s best recruiters, and her ability to teach and build relationships with student-athletes will be a tremendous asset to our staff.”
 
Prior to her move to Tucson, Nared Hairston worked as an assistant coach at Washington State for the 2018-19 season after helping Oregon reach the Elite Eight in 2017-18. She also spent two seasons (2014-16) at Washington as director of player development, going to the Final Four in 2016.
 
“I am thrilled to return to Oregon,” said Nared Hairston, “where I have the privilege of working alongside Coach Graves. He has been an incredible mentor and is a proven winner. I look forward to contributing to the continued success of this elite program, and playing a key role in developing these outstanding young women both on and off the court.”

Nared Hairston_Assistant
 
Nared Hairston has played a key role in Arizona’s recent success, helping the Wildcats to a 21-6 overall record and the first Final Four and NCAA title game appearances in program history this past season. She was crucial in the skill development of Arizona’s guards, including 2021 Pac-12 player of the year and two-time defensive player of the year Aari McDonald.
 
An elite recruiter, Nared Hairston helped Arizona sign two-time Gatorade North Dakota state player of the year Lauren Ware, a top-25 recruit by ESPN. She also played a big role in bringing in transfers such as Bendu Yeaney and Trinity Baptiste, the 2020 ACC sixth player of the year.
 
A 2014 graduate from St. Mary’s, Nared Hairston was a two-time first-team all-WCC selection for the Gaels. She led the league in scoring in each of her final two seasons, recording the sixth-best scoring season in WCC history with 21.8 points per game as a senior.
 
Nared Hairston spent two seasons on Washington’s staff after graduating, and then played professionally overseas in 2016-17 in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, and Waregem, Belgium. She was named guard of the year and also earned first-team all-league recognition.
 
Nared Hairston and her husband, Josh, were married in August 2020.
 

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Prince Named Finalist For 2021 USA Women’s AmeriCup Team

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Following four days of trials that featured 20 athletes, Oregon women’s basketball standout Sedona Prince has been named one of 13 finalists for the 2021 USA Basketball Women’s AmeriCup Team.
 
Prince will attend a training camp that begins on June 1, and the official 12-player roster will be named prior to the team’s departure for the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup, which is set for June 11-19 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Prince_AmeriCup Finalist
 
The top four finishing teams at the AmeriCup will advance to compete in one of four 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournaments.
 
Prince – who averaged 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor for Oregon in 2020-21 – is one of two Pac-12 players among the 13 finalists, along with Stanford’s Haley Jones.
 
The Liberty Hill, Texas, native is looking to collect more hardware with Team USA, having already won a gold medal at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. She also took home bronze medals at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2016 FIBA U17 World Cup.
 

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Prince Invited To USA Women’s AmeriCup Team Trials

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Oregon women’s basketball standout Sedona Prince has accepted an invitation to attend the upcoming 2021 USA Basketball Women’s AmeriCup Team trials.
 
Prince is one of 20 collegiate athletes to accept invitations to the trials, which are set for April 18-21 at the University of South Carolina. Invitations were issued by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee and USA Women’s Senior National Team Committee.
 
“The AmeriCup is a national level competition with some of the best players in the Americas,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee. “We need to bring the best players available and that’s who our committee has worked to identify. Because we are unable to bring WNBA players, we will rely on the best returning college players.
 
“Obviously, this is a very talented group with good junior national team level USA Basketball experience, but they will learn quickly the difference when playing against pros. So, we’ll need to find the 12 players who are up to the challenge of helping us in our dual goal of claiming gold and advancing to the 2022 World Cup qualifying tournament.”
 
A native of Liberty Hill, Texas, Prince already has a history of success when wearing the red, white and blue. Prince won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, and she was a bronze medalist at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2016 FIBA U17 World Cup.
 
Prince averaged 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor for Oregon in 2020-21, her first active season as a collegiate after missing 2018-19 due to injury and sitting out 2019-20 because of NCAA transfer rules.
 
The 6-foot-7 center helped lead Oregon to its fourth straight Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament, matching her career-high with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting in the Ducks’ second-round win over No. 10 ranked Georgia.
 
USA National Team head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina) will serve as head coach of the USA AmeriCup Team, and will be assisted by University of Arizona head coach Adia Barnes and Rizzotti, 2021 USA National Team assistant coach.
 
Ten nations from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean will take part in the 2021 AmeriCup, held June 11-19 in Puerto Rico. The top four finishing teams will advance to compete in one of four 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournaments in hopes of earning one of the 12 spots in the 2022 FIBA World Cup field.
 
The USA Basketball Women’s Junior and Senior National Team Committees, due to the nature of the event, combined efforts to identify the coaching staff and athletes for the 2021 USA AmeriCup Team.
 

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Beacons Bounced by Taylor in NAIA Opener

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The greatest season in school history came to an abrupt end on Wednesday afternoon as the Northwest Christian University women’s basketball team fell to Indiana’s Taylor University, 61-54 in the opening round of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Tournament.

Oregon women’s basketball hangs on in overtime to beat UCLA 101-94

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After missing her first of two free throws down 90-89, Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu knew she was not going to let her team down. She nailed the second shot, and when the game went to overtime, her renewed competitive fire proved too much for the UCLA. Her 7 points in OT helped Oregon shut the door on the Bruins.

“We had to fight adversity and stay composed, and I think we did,” Ionescu said. “We answered that test well.”

It took all of No. 8 Oregon’s offensive firepower and defensive grit to beat No. 10 UCLA 101-94 on Monday night at Matthew Knight Arena. A crowd of over 7,000 was on the scene to watch the top-10 matchup and honor the two seniors, Lexi Bando and Justine Hall.

Satou Sabally and Maite Cazorla provided much of the offense in the regulation period. Sabally arguably had one of her best games of the season, scoring her first seven attempts from three-point range — she finished 7-of-9 from behind the arc.

Cazorla was a spark whenever Oregon needed a lift of offense. Her 24-point performance earned her entry into Oregon’s 1000-point club, joining Ruthy Hebard and Ionescu who accomplished the same feat last week.

“I thought Maite was huge tonight. That is not easy going agsint the quickest of those guards,” head coach Kelly Graves said. “She showed great resilience.”

Senior guard Jordin Canada was as good as advertised. The senior guard hit multiple and-1 layups and deep three-pointers to keep Oregon’s defense on its toes.

“Jordin Canada and Billings, that’s an amazingly talented team,” Graves said. “Especially Jordin, … she single-handedly wrecked our defense.”

With 7:26 left in the third quarter, Oregon held a 19-point lead. The team could do no wrong, but eventually after enough laps in defensive rotations, UCLA fought its way back.

“We talked about that at halftime,” Ionescu said. “We knew they were going to come back and punch us and we just had to be able to punch back and take it.”

After making her 33 straight field goals, an NCAA record, Hebard finally missed after starting the night 3-for-3. The sophomore forward finished with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while also collecting 11 rebounds.

For the final 6:18 of the fourth quarter, the Bruins did not allow an Oregon field goal. Cazorla went down hard after getting blocked on a layup and needed support while limping to the bench. Then UCLA hit a 3-pointer to take its first lead of the game 90-87 with 2:18 to go. Ionescu kept the team in the game by driving to the hoop and getting fouled multiple times.

Right away, both teams knew the ball would be firmly in Ionescu’s hands. She stole the ball right away and hit a jumper to get the crowd roaring. Cazorla checked back into the game with 90 seconds left, and with the score tied at 94, the ball wound up in Sabally’s hands. She hit a fadeaway jumper to give Oregon the lead. UCLA would not score again.

The Ducks will finish out the regular season in Arizona, playing Arizona State on Friday and Arizona on Sunday to conclude Pac-12 play.

Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august

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With No. 8 Oregon’s win over No. 10 UCLA, the Ducks have one hand on the Pac-12 title

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Coming into this weekend’s fixtures, Oregon women’s basketball had Monday night’s game against UCLA locked in its sights.

Win or lose, there would be emotions after the game: The team would honor seniors Lexi Bando and Justine Hall during Senior Day ceremonies. Head coach Kelly Graves said it was arguably the biggest game in the Ducks’ history. With a national TV audience watching on ESPN2, future NCAA seedings and the conference title on the line, Graves wasn’t wrong.

“I wish I drank, I’d already grab a beer,” Graves said following Oregon’s 101-94 nail-biting overtime win over UCLA on Monday night.

With the win, the Ducks now sit alone at the top of the conference and have a Pac-12 regular season title within reach. Almost a year removed from going 8-10 in conference play with a freshman-heavy team that made a run to the Elite Eight, this year’s Ducks now have the chance to finish 16-2 in the Pac-12.

“Nobody saw that run coming but I think it just gave us a ton of confidence, especially these two,” Graves said. “And I’ve always felt that players improve the most between their freshmen and sophomore years — they certainly did that. I think it was the perfect storm last year and it just helped propel us.”

On Thursday, No. 9 Oregon, No. 7 UCLA and No. 14 Stanford were all tied at the top of the Pac-12 standings. Then the Bruins fell at No. 15 Oregon State while the Cardinal fell to Cal on Friday. With wins against USC on Friday and UCLA on Monday, the Ducks would grab sole possession of the top of the Pac-12 standings.

Oregon pulled it off with a close double-overtime win against USC on Friday followed by the Monday night win over the Bruins in front of 7,098 fans.

“It was electric. We needed them tonight,” Graves said.” I thought down the stretch they gave us a huge lift especially late in the game and into overtime. I heard them. There was a couple times I think sound actually had feel. That’s pretty neat.”

That feeling might return to Matthew Knight Arena if the Ducks earn the right to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament in just over a month’s time.

“This was a great showcase, you guys,” Graves said. “A great national showcase for our fans, our program, for this team.”

The Ducks, now No. 8 in the AP Poll, knew they needed to beat the No. 10 Bruins to get themselves perched atop the standings. They’ve done that.

They still have to beat Arizona State and Arizona on the road, who can both easily play the role of spoiler. But Oregon has a found groove.

Oregon will still travel to Seattle a week from Thursday for the Pac-12 Tournament. There are still two games to play but the Ducks can taste the Pac-12 regular season title, which Oregon last won back when it was still the Pac-10 in 2000.

Now, 18 years later, that title is on track to return.

Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow

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The No. 8 Oregon Ducks defeat the No. 10 UCLA Bruins 101-94 in OT

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Oregon Ducks forward Ruthy Hebard (24) reaches to block the shot of a UCLA Bruins player. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

Players Maite Cazorla and Sabrina Ionescu celebrate with their teammates. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Madi Mather/Emerald)

Oregon Ducks guard Lexi Bando (10) takes a shot during the first half. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

UCLA Bruins forward Lajahna Drummer (11), Oregon Ducks forward Oti Gildon (32) and Oregon Ducks forward Mallory McGwire (44) reach for possession of the ball. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

The Oregon Ducks bench cheer after a three pointer was scored. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

Ruthy Hebard, a forward for the Oregon Ducks, catches a rebound. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Madi Mather/Emerald)

UCLA Bruins guard Jordin Canada (3) falls after being fouled by Oregon Ducks forward Satou Sabally (0) and Oregon Ducks forward Mallory McGwire (44). The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

Maite Cazorla, guard on the University of Oregon basketball team, looks for an open shot. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Madi Mather/Emerald)

Sabrina Lonescu, guard on the University of Oregon’s basketball team, gets a foul against the Bruins. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Madi Mather/Emerald)

Oregon Ducks guard Maite Cazorla (5) dives on the ground to save the ball from going out. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

Oregon Ducks guard Maite Cazorla (5) falls after diving for the ball with UCLA Bruins guard Jordin Canada (3). The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

Satou Sabally, forward for the Oregon Ducks, dribbles through her opponents. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Madi Mather/Emerald)

Oregon Ducks guard Sabrina Ionescu (20) celebrates with her teammates after scoring a basket late in overtime. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

Justine Hall, a guard on the Univerisity of Oregon’s basketball team hugs her teammate after their win. The No. 8 Oregon Ducks play the No. 10 UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Madi Mather/Emerald)

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Oregon up to No. 8 in AP top 25 ahead of matchup with No. 10 UCLA

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After a thrilling double-overtime 80-74 win against USC on Friday night, Oregon jumped a spot to No. 8 in the latest AP top-25 poll.

UCLA, Oregon State, and Stanford were all also ranked in the top-25, coming in at No. 10, No. 12, and No. 16 respectively.

The Ducks have their final regular-season matchup against UCLA on Monday, in a highly anticipated top-10 matchup against the No. 10 Bruins. The game tips at 7 p.m.

Oregon will rely on powerhouse forward Ruthy Hebard to defend their 15-1 home-court record against the Bruins.

Hebard led Oregon’s victory against the Trojans on Friday with 27 points on 12-for-12 shooting, a single-game Oregon record. She has now made an NCAA-record 30 consecutive field goals and leads the county in field goal percentage at 67.0 percent. Her shooting has helped the Oregon team shoot 49.7 percent this season, the second highest percentage for the team since the 1980-81 season.

In their final home game this season, the Ducks will celebrate seniors Lexi Bando (the team’s four-year starter) and Justine Hall (a junior-year transfer from Purdue) in Monday night’s Senior Night festivities. The team will also wear pink uniforms to benefit cancer research.

Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter @maggie_vanoni

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