Eugene, Ore. -- No. 1 Oregon women's basketball will be on the road for the rest of the month, taking not only a trip to Syracuse but also to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam. Last season the Ducks and Orange faced off at Matthew Knight Arena, a game that Oregon escaped 75-73 after mounting a comeback down six points with two minutes to play. Syracuse then returned to Eugene for the 2019 NCAA Tournament, where they were eliminated by South Dakota State.
"That was a heck of a game," recalls Oregon head coach Kelly Graves. "They were one of the few teams that really slowed our offense down last year. We had a significant dry spell in that second half and we're gonna have to play much better this time around."
Syracuse kicks off a slate of games that includes matchups with Oklahoma State, UT Arlington, and 2019 Elite 8 team Louisville. Despite playing so many rotation players early in the season, Graves believes that the minutes will likely be more concentrated towards starters as the caliber of opponent increases.
"More than likely, we aren't gonna go 10 or 11 deep in most of these games," says Graves. "We're somewhat starting from scratch again with Satou (Sabally) coming back into the lineup. I think we're really solid 1-9 right now."
Sabally, one of the premier scorers in the country, is returning from a spell with the German national team, who are in the midst of 2019 Eurobasket qualification. With the forward back in the lineup, the Ducks will be back to full strength for a period that Graves says will teach him and his staff a lot about the type of team that they have.
Tip off vs. Syracuse is slated for Sunday, November 24th at 1:00 p.m.