EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team quickly ran up a 10-0 lead in their game against the Portland State University Vikings Saturday afternoon in Matt Knight Arena, and never let up. The Ducks came out on top 113-78, payback for a loss to the Vikings last year in double overtime.
It was a balanced attack. 14 Ducks got playing time, and seven of those ran up double digits: Danielle Love 13; Jillian Alleyne 18; Chrishae Rowe 24; Ariel Thomas 12; Katelyn Loper 10; Amanda Delgado 12; and Lexi Petersen 13.
After the win Coach Paul Westhead said, “I talked to our players and said, ‘Let’s go out and play the game who we are.’ After about six or seven games you create an identity and then for the most part you experience that. You deliver that. Our identity, the one we want, is press and run, press and run. Speed game. Four or five games ago we got about eight minutes of that, and now we are up to about 28 minutes of that. We’re not at the 40-minute mark yet, but we’re moving in that direction.”
Of the balanced attack Westhead said, “The motto is: ‘Five run for one, and you don’t know who the one is until you do the run.’ This was a game where it was getting spread out pretty good.”
Westhead is still not quite satisfied with the pace of the game. “I want to press and run 40 minutes.” According to the coach, there are two parts to it. “It’s faster. And longer. Faster means you ran the break and you got a shot in three seconds, well, do it in two-and-a-half. If you did it eight straight times, do it 18 straight times. And then eventually it becomes perpetual. If we played like that all the time I’d be as happy as all get out.”
“That’s the key to every game,” said Chrishae Rowe. “We come out hard with our press and try to get steals which create points. We have to execute on the steals and the turnovers. And we did a good job of that.”
According to Lexi Petersen, some of the credit goes to the increased intensity of the players. “This year is a lot more competitive in practice. Everyone is intense and ready to play.”
Petersen is confident the team can get better. “I think we are just getting started, I don’t think we’ve played a full 40-minute press and run game like we need to. We showed flashes of it definitely in the first half when we went up really fast. When we can keep that pace for 40 minutes then we’ll show our full potential.
Although the head coach wants his team to pick up the pace and maintain it longer, he had high praise for Ariel Thomas. “The only player who never breaks down with the effort is Ariel Thomas. You’re getting it all the time. Boom boom boom boom. Right now she’s the exception, but the others aren’t that far behind.
The Ducks next game is Wednesday, December 18 at home against Southern. Tip off time is 7 pm.