Ducks Run Off Pilots, 95-68

Amanda Johnson struck while the iron was hot. It didn't matter where she was on the floor, the sophomore forward from Santa Rosa, Calif. threw it up and it went in. Johnson scored a career-high 32 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as the Ducks defeated the visiting Portland Pilots 95-68.

Johnson said she was frustrated in last weekend's World Vision Invitational with her shot and her shooting percentage and was thinking too much. "Tonight I was feeling it," Johnson said. "I really wasn't thinking about the shots and they were falling for me."

Johnson has had some unforgettable performances in the young 2009-2010 season, but none tops Wednesday night's 32-point explosion. For Johnson, it was a textbook "shooters night". Johnson, who scored 15 points in the first half and came into the game averaging 14.3 ppg., shot a blistering 72 percent as she went 13-for-18 from the field, and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. She left the game with 3:24 left after she turning her ankle.

"I'm pleased that she's rebounding the ball on a consistent basis," coach Paul Westhead said. "She's been a pleasant, but kind of expected surprise."

Taylor Lilley and Micaela Cocks, two of Oregon's most consistent scorers, both got off to a slow start on Wednesday, but Victoria Kenyon, who got the start for the Ducks, poured in a career high 11 points in the first half, while shooting 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in. Kenyon came into Wednesday night's game averaging 4.8 ppg and finished with 13 points.

"I definitely had a good rhythm," Kenyon said. "I was just taking the shots I was given."

The Ducks, fresh off of an 87-58 win over Portland State on Sunday, used their full-court press to cause problems for Portland. The Pilots turned the ball over 24 times and Oregon capitalized, scoring 29 points off of turnovers. But the Ducks also turned the ball over 15 times, a number that Westhead said needs to come down.

The Pilots seemed to visibly ware down with eight minutes left in the first half as the Ducks stretched their lead to 32-19 and held a 49-32 lead at halftime. Oregon finished the night shooting 48 percent (36-for-74) from the field, while holding the Pilots to 34 percent on 24-of-69 shooting. Four Oregon starters scored in double-digits and the Ducks got another strong outing form Nicole Canepa, who came off the bench to record nine points and nine rebounds.

"I'm happy for our team," Westhead said. "But I'm very well aware that we need to improve."

Specifically, Westhead said he wants to see more offensive rebounds. "12 offensive rebounds is not near enough," Westhead said. "It should be 18 to 24."

The press is also something that Westhead, and his players know they need to tighten up.

"We did an okay job," said Kenyon of the full-court press. "We just need to improve our energy and our spark."

That lack of energy could be accredited to the Ducks having played four games in six days and a schedule that has become increasingly difficult, but Johnson said their intense practices have prepared them well.

"Progressively we're facing tougher and tougher opponents and we're testing ourselves and I think it forces us to continue getting better until Pac-10, which is what we want."

"I'm happy our players are feeling the good things about winning, I just want us to shore up some of the things that will help us win some more games."

Shoring things up will be vital for the Ducks this weekend as they are back at Mac Court on Friday taking on Boise State (8-0) in the first game of a two-game weekend home stand. The Ducks then face-off against Long Beach State in their final non-conference home game on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.


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