Conference play in the Pac-12 for the Oregon Ducks will start for both men and women’s basketball on the 29th of December against the Washington State Cougars. The lady Ducks will play in the Matt Court at 10:00 ET, while the men’s team will be at the Wallis Beasley and play an hour earlier. After this game, the women’s team will face off against the Washington Huskies on New Year’s Eve, No. 4 Stanford on the 5th of January, and the California Golden Bears a couple of days later.
The team is currently in eighth place in the conference with an 8-4 record, and star Amanda Johnson is still out with a left thumb fracture that she suffered on December 11th. Before the injury, she was averaging a double-double with 20.1 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game. She will be out for at least a few more weeks, and no rigid timeline has been set for her.
The Ducks are coming off of an atrocious loss to Saint Mary’s (9-4) at home, and it was the Ducks first loss at home this season. They shot just 24.3% from the floor and lost 72-62, and this was mainly because they were able to steal the ball 10 times and force 21 turnovers while committing just 11 TOs. Even Jasmin Holliday (16.8 PPG) had an off day and shot just 3-11 from the field, but Holliday did have three steals and nine rebounds.
At 8-4, it is vital for the Ducks to make strides and start out well in conference play. It’s going to be far from easy without their star player in Johnson, but Nia Jackson, Danielle Love, and Deanna Weaver make up a solid supporting cast that can give this team two wins during these four games.
The easiest of these four games will be the tilt against 6-6 Washington State, and the Ducks really don’t lose at home. The Cougars shouldn’t be taken lightly after scaring then-No.13 Louisville in a 75-71 loss, and their next opponent-Washington- has won their last five games. This rivalry game is obviously extremely important for Oregon, and Regina Rogers is averaging 17.7 points per game and 7.9 boards per game this season.
Afterwards, the Ducks will have to matchup against No. 4 Stanford and the Ogwumike sisters. The Ducks will likely lose this game, but college basketball has seen bigger upsets. The challenge is daunting, but the team will definitely try their hardest to overcome this challenge. It isn’t really even a fair fight without senior Amanda Johnson, but the Ducks should at least try to hold it close or keep this game within ten points. I know I sound pessimistic, but the Cardinal are crazy good.
A road trip to California is due on Jan. 7, and defeating the Golden Bears won’t be an easy feat. They only lost be three in their opener against No. 17 Rutgers, lost by one to No. 22 Texas, and they blew out Dartmouth 80-39 in their last game after taking No. 14 Ohio State to the brink in a 77-75 loss. Cal’s got talent with Gennifer Brandon, Brittany Boyd, Reshanda Gray, and Layshia Clarendon.
Look for the first two games to be the easiest ones for the lady Ducks, and the last two games will really test this ballclub. The Stanford game will present an extremely difficult challenge for this bunch, and the Golden Bears won’t be taken lightly either. I hope the Ducks can go 2-2 with Johnson still out, but a 1-3 record through this stretch seems more likely. I hope this team makes me eat a big dose of crow, because it’s the one thing I want on the menu come January 8th.
Topics: Amanda Johnson, Brittany Boyd, California Golden Bears, Chiney Ogwumike, Danielle Love, Dartmouth, Deanna Weaver, Gennifer Brandon, Jasmin Holliday, Layshia Clarendon, Louisville, Matthew Knight Arena, Nia Jackson, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Ohio State, Regina Rogers, Reshanda Gray, Rutgers, Saint Mary's, Stanford Cardinal, Texas, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars