Ducks give new coach Kelly Graves a W to open season
EUGENE, Ore. - The Ducks opened their season with a win in an exhibition game over the Westmont Warriors, 81-44.
Point Guard Lexi Petersen led the way with 17 points, and Jillian Alleyne recorded her first double-double of the year with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Ducks jumped out to an early lead thanks to a hot hand from freshman Lexi Bando, who went 3-4 from behind the arc, racking up 10 points in her first collegiate start.
"I was a little nervous going in, but knocking down those three's early definitely boosted my confidence and got me pumped up," said Bando.
Oregon shot 50.8 percent from the field compared to the Warriors 31.3 percent. The three-ball played a big part in the Duck's ability to put up 81 points, shooting 50 percent on the game.
Petersen, a junior, led all scorers with 17 points shooting 7-11 from the field and tallying 5 assists.
Her strong performance received high praise from her teammates.
"Lexi Petersen, I will tell you, will be the breakout player for our team this year," said Alleyne, also a junior. "She has improved so much and I think her role on the floor is to be a leader and take the right shots when we need her to."
In his first game as head coach of the Oregon Ducks, Kelly Graves had little to criticize about how well his team performed. "I was quite pleased with how everybody played today. I liked the effort, I was glad that everybody got in, a lot of people contributed," said Graves.
Every player on the Oregon roster saw time Sunday, something that Graves wanted to make a point of before the game started.
"Our rotation is thinner now, so some of our players are going to have to shoulder a bigger load in terms of minutes," said the coach.
The bench was responsible for 22 points to help lift the Ducks over the Warriors.
"We were lucky to have several players step up and do a good job tonight. If we can continually have our (bench) players get in and give us some quality minutes then I think we're going to be in good shape," said Graves.
Five players scored in double figures as the Ducks tallied 17 assists thanks to good ball movement.
Oregon turned the ball over 16 times but forced 28 turnovers with a mix of man-to-man and zone defense. "I think man defense is what we specialize in but being able to switch to a zone makes their offense think a lot more. Our zone needs some work but we are getting a feel for it," said Bando.
The Ducks missed having fellow teammate Chrishae Rowe on the court, who was recently released from the team for reasons unknown. Rowe led the team in scoring last year averaging 21.6 points per game.
"It's a tough loss because she's a good person and a good basketball player," said Alleyne. "We have to move forward. Now we have to come together and step it up. We need to play as a team and continue what Coach Kelly has started."
The Oregon women tip off at 12 p.m. against Utah State on Friday, November 15, at Matt Knight Arena.