Rapid Recap: Oregon 100, Northwestern 57


Daily file photo by Seeger Gray

Sophomore guard Jillian Brown. Brown tallied nine points in the season opener against Oregon.

Charlotte Varnes, Sports Editor

Call it the Michael Schill revenge game.

In a highly anticipated season opener, No. 20 Oregon overtook Northwestern 100-57. 

The Wildcats (0-1, 0-0 Big Ten) looked out of their element against the No. 20 Ducks (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) from the start. Oregon jumped out to a 9-0 lead that it held onto for the rest of the matchup, managing to lead the Cats by 40-plus points at multiple points in the fourth quarter. 

Here are key takeaways from NU’s road contest against the Ducks. 

  • Inexperience evident on offense

Thursday marked the first matchup of the post-Veronica Burton era, and the growing pains were evident.

Offensive errors abounded from the start. The Cats had six turnovers off bad passes in the first half alone — much higher than Oregon’s one. NU was seemingly unable to gain any sort of momentum, stymied by Oregon at every turn as it went just 12-for-34 from the field in the first half. 

The trouble continued in the second half. The Cats tallied two offensive fouls in the third quarter, including a charge on sophomore guard Jillian Brown after she soared through a sea of Oregon defenders. Shooting didn’t improve much, either. NU continued to struggle from the field, ultimately going just 22-for-61 over the course of the matchup. 

  • Defensive struggles amid Oregon firepower

The impact of Burton’s loss was felt on the defense as well. There’s a reason the Massachusetts native was called the “Backcourt Burglar” — and it’s a gap the Cats will need to fill. 

Oregon had no trouble evading NU’s defense from the start, driving in for layups and taking advantage of any and all free throws. By the second quarter, the Ducks were in their element. Their prowess on the 3-point line proved a difference-maker, as Oregon went 5-for-10 in the second half. 

Foul trouble hurt the Cats as well. NU tallied 20 fouls during the contest, including 11 in the second half alone, giving the Ducks plenty of chances at the free throw line. Oregon took full advantage, going 19-for-23. 

The Ducks’ Grace Van Slooten looked phenomenal in her first matchup, easily weaving past Cats’ defenders and even managing a coast-to-coast shot in the second quarter. She ultimately finished with 20 points — a game-high. 

  • Sophomore forward Caileigh Walsh provides glimmers of hope

When the Cats struggled to get on the scoreboard in the first half, Walsh led the charge. NU’s fourth-ranking scorer in 2021-22, Walsh emerged as seemingly the team’s only offensive weapon on Monday.

The New Jersey native looked at ease amid a broader lackluster offensive effort. Walsh opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, cutting the Ducks’ lead to six, and tallied the Cats’ next points as well. She also looked stellar on defense, tallying six defensive rebounds and two blocks. 

There’s no doubt Monday was a tough result for the Cats. But after a strong freshman campaign, Walsh looks poised to lead a young, less-experienced program in 2022-23. 

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Twitter: @charvarnes11

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