The now 10-8 Oregon Ducks have slipped in conference play (2-4) without star Amanda Johnson who is still out with a fractured left thumb. The Ducks will travel to the Galen Center to face off against the 9-6 USC Trojans who are 4-1 in conference play. The Trojans success in conference play has come from their stifling defense; they allow just 54.6 points per game against Pac-12 foes. Points will be difficult to come by, but coach Paul Westhead says he wants the Ducks to play faster. They are among the top teams in the nation in points per game, but they will need to do more against a team that has averaged 81.6 points per game against them in their last five meetings. This will be a test for the Ducks against the second best team in Pac-12 play.
USC has three players who are averaging double figures: Ashley Corral (12.5 points per game), Briana Gilbreat (11.6), and Cassie Harberts (11.4). Gilbreath and Harberts average 6.3 and 6.0 rebounds per game respectively. The key in this game for the Ducks will be Jasmin Holliday, because she needs to impose herself in the paint to give the Ducks the advantage in a key matchup.
In the Ducks last game, Liz Brenner went off for a total of four blocks, and she will need to continue to play well on defense to contain Harberts. For the Trojans, shooting guard Briana Gilbreath is unquestionably their star on defense. She averages 1.6 steals per game and 1.9 blocks per game for an average of 3.5 of both per game. Gilbreath hits about 40% of her shots and is a well above-average rebounder; especially for a guard. Deanna Weaver has played well recently and is one of the better shooters from three-point range in the conference, so it will be interesting to watch her match up against Gilbreath on the court.
Without Amanda Johnson, the Oregon Ducks are sliding and playing poor basketball at the wrong time. USC gets the win at home 70-65, because the Ducks are just playing much worse basketball. These are two teams on the opposite ends of the spectrum in conference play, because USC struggled during non-conference play. This is a difficult game to predict, but the Trojans have the advantage here due to recent performance. The Ducks had a lackluster display in their last game against Arizona State, as they scored just 49 points.
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