Ducks Get Much Needed Win

Losing, as they did, 76-58 against Portland on Thursday, the #20 Oregon Women could have hung their heads and bemoaned the loss of star player Catherine Kraayeveld to a possible season-ending knee injury earlier in the week. The Ducks, however did just the opposite. Oregon had to battle but beat the Colorado State Rams, 62-50 in the sixth annual Papé Jam in Portland, Oregon. <br><br> Oregon's Corrie Mizusawa passes during Oregon's 62-50 win over Colorado State. (AP Photo/John Klicker)

Throughout the game, it was obvious that the Ducks (6-1) missed Kraayeveld. Oregon tried 6-6 freshman Jessica Shetters, sophomore Carolyn Ganes, and junior Andrea Bills at her spot on the floor. Bills, who finished with 17 points and eight boards, and Gaines who had 16 both had great numbers but some of that fluidity to the offense was gone.

The Ducks fought against that though. In just their second game without Kraayeveld, Oregon found a way to win. After the first half, the Ducks only led the Rams (3-3) by five and that was with the Rams shooting a pitiful 27 percent from the floor. Oregon had to come out in the second half with a new attitude. They did.

"This gives us a lot of confidence because it tells us that even if we have an off half, we can bounce back," Ganes said.

The game was back and forth during the start of the final period but when Colorado State took the lead on a Joy Jenkins three pointer with 6:17 to go, a fire was lit under Oregon. From that point on, Oregon outscored the Rams 17-4 with big contributions coming from Bills and Ganes at the power forward and center spots and guard Corrie Mizusawa from the line.

"In the crunch time we did a couple of things," Oregon Head Coach, Bev Smith said. "We played very good defense and we played smart defense. The second thing we did; we got the defensive rebounds. Once we get the defensive board we're able to run, we're able to move the ball and I think it gave us some tempo that they weren't able to keep up with or defend against."

With just 2:20 left and Oregon only up seven points, Ganes was on the receiving end of a great Mizusawa pass to start a fast break and led to a key lay-up. The 50 foot pass and score killed CSU's spirits and locked up the win for the Ducks.

Mizusawa gave the fans in Portland a ball handling show tonight, something that Portland fans haven't seen in the Rose Garden in some time. The 5-8 transfer from St. Mary's was in total control all night, running the Oregon offense and dishing out seven assists. She also added six boards.

The Duck defense also played great in the contest. Colorado State shot only 29 percent for the game and only had two players in double figures. Melissa Dennett had 14 points and eight rebounds, and Vanessa Espinoza added 10 points.

"Colorado State is a team that (averages) five people in double figures," Smith said. "Tonight they had two people in double figures. We have tall, athletic young women. Traditionally we front but we felt that tonight we had the size advantage and we could move our feet and challenge shots."

The season won't be the same for Oregon without Kraayeveld's points, rebounding and defense but they have until after Christmas to get ready for Pac-10 play.

"We were rocked by (Kraayeveld's injury)," Smith said. "We are a little bit bent but not broken. Today gives the team a great belief in themselves and what they can do when they play together.

Next up for the Ducks will be Montana on Friday, December 12th in Mac Court at the tail end of finals week for the team. The Grizzlies are 5-1 and were a tough match for the Ducks last year in Missoula. Their only loss was to #2 Texas. Oregon's game against the Grizzlies will tipoff at 7:00.

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