Westhead's Ducks win their way to another game in WNIT

Westhead's Ducks win their way to another game in WNIT
Oregon Ducks Ariel Thomas (#22) tries to find a lane to the basket around Pacific Tigers Erin Butler (#12). The Ducks won the game 90-63 and Thomas finished the game with 20 points. Elora Overbey, Oregon News Lab

EUGENE, Ore. - In a game dominated by defense, the Ducks defeated the Pacific Tigers 90-63 in the first game of the WNIT.

The win means coach Paul Westhead - whose contract is up at the end of the season - will coach at least one more game at Oregon.

Five of Westhead's Duck players ran up double digits in scoring: Jillian Alleyne with 14; Ariel Thomas with 20; Katelyn Loper got 20; Lexi Petersen scored 14; and Chrishae Rowe got 16. 

Both Alleyne and Rowe finished the game with a double-double, Alleyne with 14 points and 18 rebounds, Rowe with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

The game was lopsided from the second minute on, with the Ducks at one point ahead by 35 points.

Westhead played 11 of his players, and seven of them got double digit playing time in minutes.

Westhead gave all the credit to his team for shutting down the Tigers.

“I don’t know where the defense came from,” Westhead said.  63 points was the second lowest score of an opponent in the team’s history. “I don’t want to take any credit for that. But we scored 90 points, and I’ll take a little credit for that.”

Westhead singled out a few players that were critical to the victory. “Chrishae Rowe off the bench was helpful. Lexi Petersen started shooting the ball better. Ariel Thomas had a magnificent game. Jillian [Alleyne] was okay. But when Jillian is okay she is better than most.”

“The victory came from the heart,” team captain Ariel Thomas said. “We’ve just been pounding it in practice. Better late than never. I know we’ve struggled this season, but that was our best defensive game ever.”

Jillian Alleyne said, “I honestly think our defensive game came from just wanting it. It’s our last go around with our coaches and our seniors. I think that is our motivation. They’ve put in so much time for us and we want to give our all for them. Honestly, that’s why we’re going so hard and so competitive.”

The Ducks will play the winner of the game between Washington and Hawaii. Alleyne said she is excited to play either team, but after splitting with Washington during the season, would rather play them.

“That,” Alleyne said with a smile, “would be redemption.”

The opponent, the time and the place of the next Duck game was to be announced Friday night after the conclusion of the Hawaii vs. Washington game.