Coming into the season, the Oregon Ducks Women’s team had very high expectations of themselves to be the best team in the country. Team’s Head Coach Kelly Graves has been preparing this team for a tough season all summer and we’re excited to see how the team will be able to flourish throughout the rest of the year.
After falling short to the Baylor Lady Bears in the Final Four of the National Tournament this past season, the Ducks have a chip on their shoulder headed into this year. With a team full of competitors, the bitter defeat of a championship loss does not sit well with these girls and they have a lot of questions to answer going forward into the season, expecting to be nothing short of spectacular as the season progresses.
So far this season, the Lady Ducks have responded to all of the questions that have been asked about them. Winning 9 of their first 10 games of the season, they have executed well on each end of the floor as they have dominated nearly each team that they’ve played against thus far. Although the schedule will only get tougher as the season progresses, the Ducks have built much momentum so far and will hopefully carry it into the tougher matchups that are ahead of them.
The Ducks have been lead by two phenomenal talented players in senior guard Sabrina Ionescu along with junior forward Satou Sabally. With both ladies showing leadership on the floor along with their high percentage shooting from the field, they are the front runners to why the Lady Ducks have had an impressive start through the first month and are looking to keep things going from here. With both stars having much experience being a higher class and playing through the competition of the NCAA, both leaders are ready to take this team to the next level which will hopefully lead to a championship at the end of the year.
Key contributors for the Lady Ducks have been getting the job done as well. Key role players for the Ducks have been Morgan Yaeger, Taylor Chavez, and even Ruthy Hebard. Without the players surrounded by the two captains doing their job, the Lady Ducks do not have as much success as they have this season. The role players should always get big props for understanding their position to the team and getting the job done on both ends of the floor.
As a team, the Lady Ducks have not missed a beat from a season ago. As a collective the team is shooting 49% from the field, which comes from their excellent ball movement and their ability to get good looks around the floor. They also average 43 rebounds per game as they attack the glass with assertiveness which leads to other opportunities. With the system that Coach Graves continues to go over during practice, the girls are able to make life easier for one another when they play on the court and the chemistry they’ve built together is one of the reasons why they’ve dominated their opponents through the first part of the season.
With everything going well for the Lady Ducks this season, the girls understand that the ultimate goal for this season is to win a National Championship. And after falling short in the NCAA Tournament a season ago, there’s no question that there is a chip on this team’s shoulders. “I’ll never get over it” Ionescu stated during an interview. After being so close to the ultimate goal, the tasteless feeling of not winning is not something any player would want. Many could tell prior to the season starting that the ladies were motivated and wanted to be the team that should hold the trophy when its all said and done.
We’re excited to watch what the Lady Ducks have to show once the tournament comes around. They’ve came back from a season ago more motivated and assertive to start the season and hopefully they’ll keep up the good work thus far. With their top players in Ionescu and Sabally leading the group along with their core of role players doing their job, teams will learn to fear this team everytime they matchup against this squad as the ladies are looking for nothing but a trophy to cap off the season.