Duck Women Drop One to Stanford

The number two team in the nation, the Stanford Cardinal (17-1, 7-0) defeated the Oregon Ducks 100-80 at McArthur Court on Saturday in a contest that was largely controlled by the Ducks (12-7, 3-4). With the loss, the Ducks, who fell to California on Thursday 72-62, have now lost four consecutive Pac-10 games after starting the season 3-0 in league play.

(PHOTO) Oregon coach Paul Westhead reacts to a call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Stanford in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010. Stanford won 100-80.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Although there is no column for moral victories, the Ducks felt good about their performance on Saturday.

"We fell into a little dead spot and we weren't playing well and I think this is just going to be a good start for us to start playing better as a team," said Oregon guard Nia Jackson.

The Ducks trailed 54-50 at halftime, but they had no answer for Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who recorded her eighth double-double of the season, scoring a career high 30 points and pulling down 24 rebounds. Ogwumike's 24 rebounds set a new Stanford single-game record for rebounds. Ogwumike, who came into the game averaging nearly 19 points and 10 rebounds per game, had already recorded a double-double at halftime with 16 points and 12 rebounds. In 37 minutes of action, she finished 9-for-12 from the field and 12-for-15 from the line.

"She was everywhere," Jackson said. "She made it hard for us tonight."

"She's so fluid," Oregon coach Paul Westhead said. "Her ability as an offensive rebounder is devastating. She's a terrific player."

For much of the game, Oregon star Taylor Lilley was hounded by Stanford redshirt senior, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who was over denying Lilley on every possession. Though Lilley was able to free herself in the second half and finished with 16 points, the size and defensive pressure on Lilley and Micaela Cocks disrupted Oregon's offense.

Aside from Oregon's intensity, if there was one bright spot for Oregon, it was the play of Jackson, who did her best to help Oregon hang with Stanford. Jackson, who finished with 26 points, four rebounds, four assist, no turnovers and three steals in 29 minutes, played with an intensity and fire that, at many times, brought the boisterous crowd of 2909 to their feet. She often scored at will, blowing by defenders and getting to the hoop when Micaela Cocks and Taylor Lilley were being over-played.

"Teams really get up and stick them [Lilley and Cocks], so there's not a lot of help that's avalaible and Nia just needs a half of a step and she's going to go to the rack," Westhead said.

"They [the coaches] want me to attack," Jackson said. "Teams have really been denying them [Taylor Lilley and Micaela Cocks].

"Nia is a gamer," Westhead said. "She likes to turn on the jets; she's a very very fast player and she goes hard to the rim."

For much of the first half and early second half, it looked as if the Ducks could upset the Cardinal. They dictated the pace and often had the Cardinal confused and on the ropes. The Ducks forced 16 turnovers with their unrelenting press they kept on the entire game and 3-2 zone defense designed to take away touches from Ogwumike. Oregon was able to score 21 points off of turnovers but they seemed to run out of gas in the second half as they were outscored 46-30.

"I thought they [Oregon] played as well as they could," Westhead said. "They played so hard they were out of gas."

"We left everything on the court," Lilley said. "I'm very proud of our team and the way we came out and played. I don't think the score necessarily reflects how we played."

Prior to Saturday morning's matchup against perennial powerhouse Stanford, which was coming off of a 63-47 win over the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis on Thursday, the Ducks were tied for fourth in the Pac-10 along with Arizona State, Arizona and Cal.

The Cardinal shot 50 percent from the field (35-for-70), while Oregon shot just 38 percent from the field on 27-for-71 shooting. On top of Ogwumike's career day, Stanford guards Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Jeanette Pohlen exploited Oregon's zone as they combined for eight three-pointers and ended with 11 and 15 points respectively. Stanford also got a huge boost from their bench players, who combined to score 20 points.

The atmosphere at Mac Court was much different than it has been in the past. Oregon was hungry, and the fans were hungry. With the men's team struggling mightily lately, the women's team seems like the only bright spot this winter and the crowd appreciated the effort.

"It was amazing," said Lilley of the fans support on Saturday. "The atmosphere was definitely something I haven't seen in awhile."

"We fought hard the whole game and sometimes you just come up short," Jackson said. "We had a lot of energy out there, we played hard and so we were pleased with that," Jackson said. "We rebounded tonight."

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