PORTLAND, Ore (AP)Erin Boley had 25 points and nine rebounds, and No. 10 Oregon defeated Portland 85-52 on Monday night to extend its winning streak to 21 games dating to last season.
The winning streak matches the Oregon record set in 1978-79. Sedona Prince added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Ducks (2-0), who led by as many as 37.
”I think it’s really important right now to be aggressive as much as we can, especially to start each half, because it really sets a tone,” Boley said. ”Because we don’t have any one person that’s super dominant on the court, it’s really important for all of us to try and be aggressive and have a lot of energy and attack to start each half.”
Alex Fowler paced the Pilots (1-1) with 12 points.
Both teams were coming off victories over Seattle. The Pilots downed the Redhawks 82-70 in Seattle last Wednesday before the Ducks beat them 116-51 at home in Eugene on Saturday.
The Ducks have a new look after standouts Sabrina Ionescu, Satou Sabally and Ruthy Hebard moved on to the WNBA. Oregon went 31-2 last season and won the Pac-12 Tournament before the NCAA Tournament was called off due to the coronavirus.
”I’m not gonna lie, it was really difficult for the returners to let go of last season. It took a long time. It was a big transition,” Boley said. ”But we are so excited to have this new team, and it feels like a really great opportunity for us to create something special.”
Junior transfer Taylor Mikesell, who had a career-high 28 points in her Ducks debut against Seattle, scored 11.
The Pilots won the West Coast Conference Tournament in Las Vegas last season and were headed to their first NCAA Tournament since 1997. Portland finished 20-11 for the team’s first 20-win season since 1996-97.
The Pilots played Monday without junior guard Haylee Andrews because of a concussion. Andrews averaged 16 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game last season.
”That’s a team that can win a national championship, so I think it’s a great opportunity early on, as we’re making changes in the program, to see what that looks like, to see a team so talented,” Portland coach Michael Meek said. ”I’m really proud of our team the way they stepped up to that.”
Boley, one of two seniors on the Ducks’ roster, scored the first seven points of the game and Oregon led 18-9 at the end of the first quarter. Portland’s defensive pressure helped keep the margin from getting any wider.
”I thought the first half we looked really out of sync, and we were just playing faster than we should,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. ”We’ve got to give them credit – they put a lot of pressure on us and we just kind of panicked a little bit and we overpassed sometimes, and passed to Casper the ghost.”
Prince, a 6-foot-7 transfer from Texas, had eight points and four rebounds as the Ducks took a 34-22 lead into halftime. Oregon’s 9-0 run to open the third quarter stretched the lead to 42-22.
”At halftime they just took a deep breath and played more under control. That third quarter we really took it to them, 29-11. That was really much more our style,” Graves said.
The Ducks have won five straight in the series.
Oregon: Mikesell came to the Ducks from Maryland, where she was a starter for the past two seasons. … Boley made her 73rd career start. … The Ducks have opened 2-0 for the sixth straight season.
Portland: The Pilots lost just one player from last season’s starting five, Kate Anderson, who graduated. … Portland’s roster includes three Australians and one player from New Zealand.
Oregon is set to host Colorado in a Pac-12 Conference game Friday.
Portland is scheduled to play Seattle again on Sunday, this time at home in the Chiles Center.
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