Next Up: Ducks vs #1 Baylor
  • Fri Apr 5 @ 4:00 PM PT: Oregon vs. Baylor, followed by UConn vs. Notre Dame
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Watch Party @ MKA 🏀🏀 (details here)
  • Sun Apr 7 @ 3:00 PM PT: Championship Game
  • TV: ESPN
  • GoDucks Tourney Central (link)
Going Four It All

Most every email I imply this is *the* big week, but to be honest this week is pretty big. 😄 Our Ducks didn't just hope for this -- they had a plan to make this happen and they're not done yet.

Cheers & Go Ducks! 💛🦆💚

  • Steve
In Case You Missed It:

(There's too much to fit here this week, so I had to filter it down)
National Media:
  • 4/2 ESPN: Rebecca Lobo excited for Oregon vs. Baylor Final Four matchup (video)
  • 4/2 ESPN: Women's Final Four preview: Why each team could win in Tampa (link)
  • 4/3 ESPN: Women's Final Four primer: What to watch for in Baylor-Oregon and Notre Dame-UConn (link)

Local Media:
  • 4/2: Press Interview with Coach KG (link). 🏀 Starts with a good peek at Baylor
  • 4/3 GoDucks/Moseley: A Dream Realized (link)
  • 4/2 RG: Kelly Graves wants the Oregon Ducks to remain calm in the Final Four spotlight (link)
  • 4/3 RG: Bev Smith appreciates how Oregon women’s basketball players serve as role models for girls in Kidsports (link)
  • 4/3 SportsTalk interview with Satou (link)

UO WBB Behind-the-Scenes Vids: 🏀🏀
  • "Keep on Ridin'" (link)
  • "We've Flown South" (link)
  • "Fitted for the Final Four" (link) Courtesy of Nike
  • "Great way to end the first day in Tampa" (link)
  • QuackMinute Tampa Updates from Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Expect more vids Thursday via @OregonWBB

Quick Mentions:
  • Last and the First! Morgan is the Final Aussie left in the NCAA WBB tourney (link). Maite is the First Spanish player to reach the NCAA WBB Final Four (congrats from Pau Gasol!)
  • FBC's Lisa Kaye posted her photos from Portland (link). Congrats to Lisa for getting NCAA photographer credentials!
Final Four Scouts -- by Ralph Watkins

Click the icon to the right for the full/downloadable/printable version:
Seventh-ranked Oregon (33-4) will be the underdog when it steps on the court Friday to face top-ranked Baylor (35-1) in the first of two Final Four contests. The game will match Oregon’s superior discipline against Baylor’s dominating defense. Oregon leads the NCAA in terms of fewest turnovers, points-per-possession, and fewest fouls committed. Baylor tops the NCAA in field goal percentage defense, rebounding margin, and blocked shot per game.

In addition to the defensive categories noted above, Baylor ranks in the top five nationally in several offensive categories: scoring margin (2), field goal percentage (4), 3-point field goal percentage (4), assists per game (1), and assist-to-turnover ratio (2). The Bears have a tall, balanced, and experienced team that dominates the paint, makes few mistakes, and can shoot the ball accurately from distance when necessary.

The twin towers of 6-7 senior Kalani Brown and 6-4 junior Lauren Cox make for an imposing back line on both offense and defense. The pair combines for 28 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks per game. Each was named to both the All-Big 12 First Team and Big 12 All-Defensive Team this season, with Cox also honored as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Brown likes to work close to the basket where she sports a 61% FG accuracy, while Cox likes to step out for the option of a mid-range jumper or driving to the hole. She connects on 51% of her shots. Cox has an excellent handle, dishing out 2.6 assists for each turnover committed.
Baylor sports a pair of quick 5-8 combo guards in LSU graduate transfer Chloe Jackson and hometown junior Juicy Landrum. Each was honored as All-Big 12 Second Team members this season. The duo combines for 23 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals per game. Jackson uses her speed to get to the basket (48% FG accuracy) or dish to a big, while Landrum is the Bears’ most effective outside shooter, connecting on 40% of her shots from beyond the arc.

While Landrum shows off her shooting skills on the wing, 6-1 sophomore off guard DiDi Richards uses her height to lob passes to Brown and Cox or to overpower opposing guards while driving to the hole. She has not attempted a 3-point shot this season. She is more likely to pass the ball than to shoot it, but when she does release her shot, she makes good on over half of her attempts. Richards is second on the team in assists (4 apg), with an excellent assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.45 to one. Richards is also a shut-down defender and was named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team this season. Satou Sabally and Erin Boley will likely share responsibility for disrupting Richards’ offensive efficiency and testing her defensive skills.
Second-ranked Connecticut (35-2) will seek to halt third-ranked Notre-Dame (33-3), the defending NCAA National Champion, in Friday’s second national semifinal game. Both teams are ranked in the NCAA top four for scoring and scoring margin. Notre Dame is a better rebounding team, while UConn has better defensive stats. Like Oregon, both teams rely on their starters for the bulk of their scoring, with little help off the bench. Both teams have five starters averaging in double-figure scoring, with UConn’s starters accounting for 93% of the team’s total points per game, compared with 91% for Notre Dame. (Oregon’s starters account for 88% of the Ducks’ total points.)

Notre Dame lost only one starter to graduation after its NCAA Championship in 2018. 6-2 Kathryn Westbeld was replaced in the starting lineup by 6-3 graduate student Brianna Turner who sat out last season following a devastating knee injury. Prior to her injury, Turner was named to several All-America teams in 2016 and 2017. She is still working to regain past form.
PS... Misc Extras, for Rabid Fans...
  • If you're still looking for Portland Regional shirts, try Nike (link). Speaking of Nike...

  • There's a Petition to help convince Nike to sell Oregon Women's Basketball Jerseys (link).  SIGN and SHARE if you agree 😃

  • from Mississippi Today: Need to blame somebody? Only one person – Sabrina Ionescu – to blame for State’s loss (linkA good view of that Elite-8 game from a Mississippi viewpoint

  • Geno Auriemma saw this coming. Before our first Elite-8 matchup with UConn, he said: "I remember when Kelly got the job, I told everyone in the coaching profession, I said, They’re going to be in the Final Four sooner than anybody thinks." (3/26/2017 RG link)