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I won’t lie, it was hard. I stood nine rows back on the 20-yard line, surrounded by my fellow students and friends, watching the Ducks let opportunity after opportunity slip out of their grasps. We were wet and cold, but simultaneously...
The Oregon women’s basketball team traveled to Pullman, Wash., Sunday afternoon to take on Washington State, losing 108-88.
This was the fifth loss in a row for Oregon (13-14, 4-12 Pac-12), who had just come up short Friday in a 108-100 loss to Washington. The defeat also snapped a four-game winning streak against Washington State (15-13, 9-7).
The game was closer than the final score would indicate. Late in the second half, with the Ducks leading 64-62,Washington State went on a 10-0 run to definitively take control of the game. After the run, the Cougars kept scoring while the Ducks started missing shots, leading to the lopsided final result.
Sophomore forward Jillian Alleyne tied Bev Smith for the Oregon single-season double-double record by recording her 24th of the season against the Cougars. She ended up with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Guard Katelyn Loper also had a strong showing for Oregon, as she was one of the few who was able to score points consistently. She ended the game with a team-high 22 points.
Careless ball handling hurt the Ducks and Washington State was able to take advantage in transition. Oregon ended with 21 turnovers, which led to 26 points off turnovers for the Cougars.
The Cougars were led by the scoring duo of guards Tia Presley and Lia Galdeira, neither of whom the Ducks were able to stop defensively. Presley shot 13-17 (76.5 percent) and scored 32 points while Galdeira added 27.
Oregon will return home to close out the regular season against the Arizona schools, with the game against Arizona on Sunday at 1 p.m. being slated for senior night.
Follow Chris Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur
The stands may have been empty, but the back of Washington State’s net wasn’t.
After what first seemed like a rocky start this weekend against Utah, Oregon’s club hockey team pulled through against WSU and won the third game in their four-game homestand.
At first, it looked as if the Ducks were repeating their previous two nights when the Cougars scored the first goal of the night on goalie Ty Anderton only 3:12 into the first. It went straight downhill for the Cougers after that. One minute and 41 seconds after that first goal, Oregon tied it up and began the eight-goal scoring streak which lasted halfway into the second.
The surplus of goals can’t only be attributed to Oregon’s offense. While Oregon had around 12 players on the bench at any one time, Washington State only had four.
“It’s brutal,” Ducks defenseman Terran Donnelly said. “Whenever you have four guys on the bench, it just wears you down within the first five minutes of game. It’s pretty easy to skate them into the ground when they have many players.”
Even when Washington State’s Jack Krienen broke the scoring streak of the Ducks and made it 8-2 on the scoreboard, the Ducks didn’t let that affect them. Less than two minutes later, forward Dan Sulitzer scored to keep Oregon’s seven-goal lead.
That lead quickly became six when Zach Sonnichsen scored his second goal of the night for WSU just 10 seconds after Oregon.
Luck ran out for Washington State after that. When the Cougers committed a pair of penalties for boarding and charging, rookie Nick Sciabarra capitalized on the power play for Oregon to score the last goal of the period, making it 10-3. The goal was his second of the game and the fourth point of what would become a six-point night for Sciabarra.
As for how Washington ended up scoring two goals in the later-half of the second alone, it can be chalked up in one word: laziness.
“It’s quite a change (from Utah),” Donnelly, who had four assists, said. “I mean we kind of dropped our speed down to Washington State’s level after we played such a fast team like Utah.
“We weren’t really thinking,” he continued. “We had offensive lines all of the time so we weren’t really thinking how to play defense. It’s not a good thing to do.”
Even though the Ducks barred Washington State from getting anything to the back of the net in the third period, they still acknowledge that their play wasn’t the best.
“It’s never a good idea to play less than your potential,” Donnelly said. “We always have the potential to skate as hard as we can at Utah speed, so we always need to skate like that so next time we see Utah or another team like that, we can actually play to our full potential.”
One good thing came from the night’s blowout though.
“It was quite a good point night for the defensemen,” Donnelly said.
What if I told you that going into halftime of tonight’s game versus Washington State, the Ducks would only have a four point lead? You wouldn’t believe me, right? Well that is exactly what happened.
After jumping out to a 20-3 lead seemingly before you could blink, the Cougars fought their way back into the game. As the first quarter was winding down, Teondray Caldwell of Washington State returned a kick 92 yards all the way down to he Oregon 6-yard line. Oregon seemed to catch a break when Ifo Ekpre-Olomu picked off a pass in the end zone, only for the play to be called back due to a roughing the passer call. On the ensuing play, Carl Winston carried the ball in the end zone to cut the Ducks lead to 11.
The Ducks ended the first quarter on a sloppy note with quarterback Marcus Mariota throwing an interception, which the Cougars would be able to tack on three more points to make it a one posession game. About halfway into the second quarter, Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday found Brett Bartolone in the end zone on a 26-yard touchdown pass. Suddenly, the Cougars only trailed by four.
It was as if someone had pumped a surge of energy into every Cougar fan in the stadium. The stadium was rocking, the press box was even shaking a bit. Suddenly, Cougars fans began to look at each other, thinking to themselves, “We can win this thing.”
Chip Kelly and the Ducks had other ideas, however. While Washington State came out of the tunnel looking even more fired up than they did before the game, it was the Ducks who found their step in the second half.
The Ducks, known for scoring fast, often in less than two minutes a drive, executed an 18 play, 76 yard scoring drive capped off by a four yard touchdown run from De’Anthony Thomas. The drive took six minutes and twenty seconds off the clock to behind the second half.
Washington State’s first drive ended almost as quickly as it had started, as Avery Patterson intercepted a pass, returning it 34 yards to the endzone to extend Oregon’s lead to double digits once again. After a three-and-out from the Cougars, the Ducks put the game away after a 10-yard touchdown run from Barner gave Oregon a 44-19 lead. The remainder of the game was more of a formality as the Ducks went on to win by a final of 51-26.
Early in the season, we had seen the Ducks’ offense sputter in the second half after getting off to an electric start, with most of their first four games of the year over by halftime. This game was a classic example of Oregon football that we had seen last season with the Ducks putting their foot on the gas pedal coming out of the locker room. Oregon exploded out of the gates in the third quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points to put the nail on the coffin of another opponent.
Even as the number two team in the nation, wins will hardly ever come easy for the rest of the year. This is conference play, and as we have seen early on, anything can happen on any given week. Just two nights earlier on the same exact field, the Washington Huskies stunned the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal 17-13. The Oregon State Beavers, ranked No. 18 coming into this week, continued their hot start, executing a last minute touchdown drive to knock off Arizona on the road 38-35. Last week, Colorado outscored Washington State 21-6 in the 4th quarter to pull off a comeback of epic proportions. If there is one mantra for the Pac-12 this season, it is to expect the unexpected.
Next week, Oregon returns home to Autzen Stadium to take on the Washington Huskies who are fresh off their huge upset of No. 8 Stanford. The Huskies will be looking to snap an 8-game losing streak that dates back to 2004. Washington’s last win against Oregon was in 2003, a 42-10 win in Seattle. The last time the Huskies won in Eugene was back in 2002. Oregon will enter the game as a heavy favorite, but the Huskies will no doubt attempt to have yet another Pac-12 powerhouse bow down to Washington.
Rick Morgan, for EDN
All week long Oregon head coach Chip Kelly touted the Washington State Cougars as “a much improved team.” They proved to be just that before falling 43-28 to the Ducks Saturday afternoon in front of 59,126 at Autzen Stadium.
The Cougars clearly felt their best defense against Oregon’s offense was to keep them on the sidelines and, to a significant degree, they did just that. Time of possession favored the Cougars by better than a two-to-one margin.
But as Kelly is fond of pointing out, time of possession isn’t as important as points on the scoreboard. However, getting those points on the scoreboard got a bit more complicated in the early going as the Ducks tried to work two key players back into the lineup.
Both quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James returned to action after missing time due to injury. But Thomas was replaced at the half by Bryan Bennett in a move Kelly thought was best for the team.
“We were a little bit out of sync,” Kelly described the offensive performance in the opening half. “We were off a little bit offensively with a ball here and a ball there. We just felt that Bryan gave us a better chance in the second half.”
Kelly praised Thomas’ mature attitude about the change.
“Darron handled it great,” he stated. “It’s all about the team. This team is all about we, not about me. I just felt in the best interests of what we had to do for him that we were going with Bryan.”
Early on, it didn’t seem like it was going to be a tough day for the Ducks as they opened the game up with a haymaker. After holding the Cougars to a three-and-out, Avery Patterson blasted past three defenders to smother Daniel Wagner’s punt. Boseko Lokombo scooped the ball off the turf and led a four-player convoy to the goal line.
Oregon converted the two-point attempt when holder Jackson Rice, in the clutches of a defender, completed a jump pass, ala Tim Tebow, to kicker Alejandro Maldonado to go up 8-0.
Washington State answered early in the second quarter with an Andrew Furney 40-yard field goal.
The Ducks then turned WSU away at the doorstep when Eddie Pleasant intercepted quarterback Marshall Lobbestael on the Oregon two-yard line and returned it 25 yards. A personal foul penalty added 15 more.
After two carries by LaMichael James netted three yards, Thomas had his best moment of the day. Flushed from the pocket and rolling to his right, Thomas spotted Lavasier Tuinei behind the Cougar defense and launched a wrong-footed rocket. Tuinei corralled the pass at about the 10-yard line, tumbling into the end zone for a 55-yard score.
Thomas’ fortunes took a turn for the worse on Oregon’s next possession. With 2:53 to go in the first half, the Ducks got the ball on their own 20 after a missed field goal attempt.
Kenjon Barner ripped off a pair of first downs, on runs of 13 yards and 26 yards, to put Oregon into WSU territory. On fourth-and-seven, Thomas’ pass bounced through the hands of Tuinei and into the hands of WSU cornerback Damante Horton. Seventy six yards later, the Ducks’ halftime lead was just 15-10 and Oregon fans sat quietly from the shock.
Enter Bennett and De’Anthony Thomas.
Thomas took the kickoff 27 yards to the Oregon 42. Three plays later, Bennett sent Thomas in motion to the left, hitting him at the hashmark with a swing pass. Over the next 45 yards, the freshman sensation undressed the same Washington State defender three times on his way to the end zone.
“He’s a special player when you can get the ball in his hands,” said Kelly. “Our job is to try and figure out a couple different ways we can get him in there. He’s just a talented, talented kid. You watch him catch that swing pass and run down the sideline. I’m thinking in my head ‘wow, that was an unbelievable move’. He did a good job.”
Kelly made sure not to take too much credit for his young prodigy’s shifty manuevers.
“I taught him that last move,” deadpanned Kelly. “No, I didn’t.”
Bennett later directed a 14-play, 77-yard scoring drive that pushed the Ducks’ lead to 29-13. A 19-yard pitch and catch to Tuinei put the exclamation point on a possession that saw the Ducks run the ball 11 times with Bennett and Barner doing most of the work.
“I thought Bryan did a good job,” Kelly said. “When he goes in there, we know that he’s got a lot of weapons. What Bryan can do is he play within himself. I don’t think he forced the issue again and, for the third straight game, he took what the defense gave him. I thought he made some really good decisions and put the ball on people when he had to put the ball on people.”
WSU cut the lead to 29-20 when Lobbestael connected with Jared Karstetter for a 24-yard touchdown.
“I said before the game that this was a much improved team,” said Kelly. “I think Paul (Wulff) is doing a really good job. I thought they ran hard and I thought Marshall Lobbestael did a great job of really managing that offense.”
Any momentum the Cougars may have fashioned was quickly cut short again, thanks to the electric Thomas. Gathering in the WSU kickoff on his own seven, Thomas veered to the right and exploded through the wedge. He then ran out of the grasp of the only WSU defender who had a prayer of making the tackle for a 93-yard touchdown, his 11th of the season, breaking an Oregon single season record for touchdowns for a true freshman.
Thomas ended the day with 262 all-purpose yards and a pair of scores.
Barner paced the Oregon running attack with 107 yards on 11 carries. In his 30 minutes of work, Darron Thomas completed eight of 13 passes for 153 yards and two interceptions. Bennett completed four out of seven for 88 yards and two scores.
Barner’s 28-yard scamper to open the fourth quarter sealed Oregon’s victory, although the Cougars did mount a scoring drive late in the game for the final margin. Oregon recovered the onside kick and improved to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in Pac-12 play
With their fourth consecutive loss, the Cougars’ record fell to 3-5, 1-4.
“Our offensive line started to assert themselves in the second half,” said Kelly of what changed in the course of the game. “We ran the ball better than we ran it in the first half.”
Kelly gave his defense high marks for keeping the Cougars at bay, despite being on the field most of the day.
“I thought our defense did a great job of making them work the field,” he explained. “We didn’t have the ball very often on offense and we made a few mistakes there. But our defense did a really good job in the red zone and they’ve done it all year long.”
Oregon will have the chance to give a better performance this coming Saturday. The Ducks will head north on I-5 to face their regional nemesis, the Washington Huskies, who are coming off a 42-31 win over Arizona to improve to 4-1 in Pac-12 North play and 6-2 overall.