Ducks feel good about their depth

December 2, 2017 GMT

The scoreboard didn’t reflect much adversity.

But No. 10 Oregon was able to overcome the unavailability of injured star Ruthy Hebard and a roster-ravaging virus during Tuesday’s 87-45 victory over Hampton.

Coach Kelly Graves is pleased with how the Ducks handled the weight of great expectations, a difficult draw in the preseason WNIT and their business against overmatched opponents during a 6-1 November.

“I haven’t liked our schedule up until now, the long trip, but it was good for us,” Graves said, referring to the daunting two-game swing that included a win at No. 18 Texas A&M and a loss at No. 4 Louisville. “I think it tested us, it’s toughened us up, it’s put us in situations that we might see later on.”

Oregon will host Weber State on Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena (2 p.m., no television) before the players focus on final exams next week.

The Wildcats (5-1) are coming off a 64-61 win on Thursday at Cal State Northridge. Kailie Quinn led the way with 17 points.


“They’re hard to scout just because they don’t run a lot,” Graves said. “They just play really hard, they space the floor … they can beat you three (points) at a time. So we’ve got our work cut out for us. This is not one of those just show up and play (games), that’s for sure.”

Hebard returned to practice on Friday for the first time since suffering an ankle injury against Oklahoma in the PK80 a week ago. The sophomore forward is averaging 16 points and 9.5 rebounds this season.

In Hebard’s absence, junior forward Oti Gildon had career highs of 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting and 12 rebounds against Hampton.

The Ducks have shown off their depth in five double-digit home wins this season.

“Oti is a great example,” Graves said. “She was given a chance because of Ruthy’s injury and look what she did. That’s what good teams have. They have those kind of players. I trust one through 14 on this team.”

True freshmen Satou Sabally (18 points) and Anneli Maley (five points, four rebounds, two steals) sparked Oregon off the bench against Hampton.

Aina Ayuso didn’t play because of illness, but the freshman point guard was also back at practice on Friday.

“We’re still getting to know each other and it’s still early on in the season, but I think we’re starting to get a feel for people’s strengths and weaknesses,” sophomore guard Sabrina Ionescu said, “and what we need to do in order to win and play well.”

Oregon leads the all-time series with Weber State 6-0, including an 88-73 victory in the last meeting on Nov. 24, 2011, in Eugene.