The Arizona-Oregon women’s basketball rivalry is already reaching a high level although the Wildcats are only a year into making it a competitive series.
The Wildcats swept the Ducks last season for the first time since the 2010-11 season — when they won both regular season games and defeated Oregon in a first-round game of the Pac-10 tournament.
No. 7 Arizona (12-1, 2-1 Pac-12) will try to match that three-game winning streak today against Oregon, which uncommonly enters the game unranked at 8-5 and 1-1 after an injury-ravaged start to the season.
The game will be televised live by the Pac-12 Network at 3:30 p.m., Tucson time. It will also be broadcast live on radio at KTUC (1400-AM).
All business in Eugene 💼
— Arizona Women's Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) January 15, 2022
Other factors that have the Arizona-Oregon rivalry brewing:
— Arizona reserve guard Taylor Chavez is a transfer from the Ducks who is returning to Eugene, Ore., for the first time. “I’m just trying not to think about it too much and prepare for it like any other game because, in reality, that’s what it is,” Chavez told P.J. Brown of The Arizona Daily Star.
— Former Arizona assistant coach Jackie Nared Hairston rejoined Kelly Graves’ staff at the end of last April. She previously served as the program’s director of creativity and video during the 2017-18 season before spending a season as Washington State and two seasons in Arizona.
— High-profile USC transfer Endyia Rogers was heavily pursued by Adia Barnes during the offseason but Rogers chose the Ducks over the Wildcats. She is averaging 15 points and 3.3 assists per game through four games after missing the first month of the season with a broken left hand. Rogers told the media a factor in her choosing Oregon over Arizona was for marketing implications. “Now that we’re getting paid for our name, image and likeness I feel like Oregon is the place to be,” she said.
One of Oregon's newest commits–Endyia Rogers (@endyia_rogers) shared a cool piece of info with me about how NIL factored into her college commitment.
"Now that we're getting paid for our name, image and likeness I feel like Oregon is the place to be." pic.twitter.com/Kj5LJTrLqJ
— Max Torres (@mtorressports) June 29, 2021
— The programs are challenging for the Pac-12 attendance lead. Oregon leads the conference averaging 7,466 through six home games while Arizona is next at a 7,084 average in six games. Oregon State is third way behind with an average of 4,123. The Ducks have drawn 44,674 fans while Arizona is at 42,501. The family and friends of Bendu Yeaney, of Portland, will help Oregon’s attendance numbers Saturday as she anticipates at least 50 supporters at the game.
— Overall Pac-12 supremacy is significant. Arizona goes into the game ranked while Oregon is unranked as Graves tries to mesh together his roster. The Wildcats lost 10 straight games to Oregon before last season’s sweep.
Arizona — Adia Barnes achieved her 100th win at Arizona last week in her sixth season at her alma mater. Her record is 101-67 (which is also her career mark). Making that record especially impressive is the fact that Barnes started 20-40 in her first two seasons of rebuilding the program. She reached 100 wins faster than any other coach in program history at 166 games. Joan Bonvicini held the former record at 181 games. With two more wins, Barnes, who coached Arizona to its first Final Four and national championship game appearance last season, will trail only Bonvicini for the most wins in Arizona history. Bonvicini was 287-223 from 1991-2008 and Niya Butts was 102-147 from 2008-16.
Oregon — Kelly Graves is 178-68 in his eighth season at Oregon and is 560-230 in his 25th season (14 seasons at Gonzaga after three years at St. Mary’s). Graves coached Oregon to the Final Four in 2018-19 after the Ducks advanced to consecutive Elite Eight games. He also coached Gonzaga to the Elite Eight in 2010-11.
WHEN ARIZONA HAS THE BALL
— Cate Reese, who is now No. 9 on the Arizona career scoring list with 1,347 points, has averaged 20.3 points a game in her last three games. She was named Pac-12 Player of the Week last season after scoring a season-high 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting at Oregon when the Wildcats beat the Ducks 79-59.
— Arizona senior forward Sam Thomas went from leading the Pac-12 with a 4.1 assist/turnover ratio to now being at fourth after the Oregon State game with a 3.0 ratio (33 assists and only 11 turnovers). She had three turnovers without an assist against the Beavers. Helena Pueyo is sixth with a 2.9 ratio (35 assists and 12 turnovers).
— The Wildcats are third in the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage at 45.1 while Oregon is fifth in the conference allowing opponents to shoot 36 percent.
— The Ducks are third in the Pac-12 in steals averaging 9.3 a game led by Maddie Scherr’s 23 steals (1.6 a game). The Ducks’ Sedona Prince leads her team with 1.3 blocked shots per game, the only one on her team in the league’s top 15 shot blockers.
— Oregon is one of two Pac-12 teams to have held at least four opponents to under 30 percent shooting from the field.
WHEN OREGON HAS THE BALL
— Oregon leads the Pac-12 in 3-point field goal percentage and eighth in the country shooting 38.6 percent from beyond the arc. Sydney Parrish is shooting 43.5 percent from 3-point range while Ahlise Hurst is shooting 40.0 percent.
— After going without a number of players during the early part of the season, Oregon has gotten some of those players back over the last few games and it has helped the offensive production. Endyia Rogers has played in the last four games after missing the first nine with a hand injury, while Nyara Sabally has also played in the last four games after being sidelined for seven of the previous eight with a knee injury. Rogers is averaging 15 points in the four games while Sabally leads the team with 15.8 points per game. All-Pac-12 guard Te-Hina Paopao (unspecified injury) has gotten her first significant action of the season over the last three games, averaging 11.8 points per game highlighted by a 21-point performance against California last week. Paopao, Rogers and Sabally were all in the starting lineup together for the first time this season at Stanford on Jan. 7.
— As of Friday, Arizona is 14th in field goal percentage defense (34.3), 13th in scoring defense (52.2), 14th in blocked shots per game (5.6) and 18th in steals per game (12.1).
— Shaina Pellington scored 12 second-half points including the game winner at Oregon State in her return on Thursday but she did not record a steal, snapping a seven-game streak with at least one. She looks to improve on her average of 1.3 a game. Lauren Ware, who also returned after missing four games following a knee injury, will try to get her blocked shots going again. She averaged 2.4 blocks before recording none in 25 minutes against Oregon State.
— Helena Pueyo, who replaced Pellington in the starting lineup in previous games against Washington State and USC, recorded four steals against the Beavers. She is third in the Pac-12 averaging 2.23 steals a game.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District