Duke ready for Oregon in 2nd round of women's NCAA tourney
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Duke has been tough to beat in NCAA Tournament games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Oregon will try to do it with three freshman starters.
''They don't know any better,'' Ducks coach Kelly Graves said Sunday. ''It's all the same to them.''
The second-seeded Blue Devils (28-5) face 10th-seeded Oregon (21-13) on Monday night with a spot in the Sweet 16 of the Bridgeport Regional on the line.
Duke is 24-2 in tournament games at Cameron, winning 21 of its last 22 postseason games there. The lone loss came to DePaul in the second round in 2014. The Blue Devils barely broke a sweat in routing 16th-seeded Hampton 94-31 in the first round Saturday night.
That game was the exact opposite of Oregon's opening-round victory - a 71-70 win over seventh-seeded Temple that featured three lead changes in the final 30 seconds. The Ducks won it after Ruthy Hebard hit the go-ahead jumper with 5.5 seconds remaining, then blocked the Owls' last-gasp layup attempt at the buzzer.
Oregon's three double-figure scorers in that game - Hebard, Sabrina Ionescu and Mallory McGwire - were all freshmen. The Ducks are the only team in the field to start three freshmen.
''I have not seen any teams with three freshmen playing that kind of role,'' Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. ''I think they are very special, and hard to compare in that way.''
They don't have any prior NCAA Tournament experience to draw upon because they're in the tournament for the first time since 2005 and have never reached the Sweet 16.
''Players like Sabrina, she lives for those moments,'' Graves said of the Pac-12's freshman of the year. ''It doesn't affect her. We will be ready. We won't win or lose the game because of the crowd.''
Some things to know about the Oregon-Duke matchup:
- NO LAMBERT: The Blue Devils won't have starting guard Kyra Lambert after she injured her left knee in a collision with a Hampton player in the second quarter of Duke's first-round victory. McCallie said after the game that Lambert will be out ''for a long time,'' and added that while Lambert's contributions are irreplaceable, she hopes her team can quickly evolve to make up for what figures to be an extended absence.
- LOTS OF 3S?: Not many teams make 3-pointers more frequently than Duke, but Oregon does. The Ducks entered the tournament as the nation's second-best team from long range, hitting nearly 40 percent of their 3s, but were just 4 of 16 from beyond the arc against a Temple team that defends the 3-point line well.
Duke - which makes nearly 39 percent of its 3s - will try to slow Oregon with a matchup zone that Graves called unfamiliar but added that ''if we play things right and try to get the ball inside as much as we can, then maybe that frees up some of our shooters.'' Duke's opponents shoot just 26 percent from 3-point range.
- HOME SWEET HOME: Duke is 17-0 at Cameron this season. A victory will give the Blue Devils their fifth undefeated home season in program history.
- EXPERIENCED GRAVES: Oregon's players may not have experience playing this deep into a season but their coach certainly does. Graves guided Gonzaga to three straight Sweet 16s (2010-12) and took the Bulldogs to the regional finals in 2011.
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