The No. 6 Stanford Cardinal (18-2, 15-2 Pac-12) have won seven games in a row and six of them have been by at least 20 points.
The No. 13 Oregon Ducks, on the other hand, haven’t been the same since a 57-41 loss to the No. 10 Arizona Wildcats on Jan. 14. Oregon’s offense was unrecognizable in that game and, while the team does have two wins since then, the Ducks also suffered a close call against the UC Davis Aggies on Feb. 6 and got blown out by Arizona (again) on Feb. 8.
Can the Ducks (12-4, 9-4 Pac-12) still contend for a return to the Final Four? Their last Final Four appearance was at the 2019 NCAA Tournament and they were expected to repeat in 2020 had the season not been canceled.
We’ll find out shortly as they take on the Cardinal in a big-time ESPN matchup at 9 p.m. ET on Monday.
Stanford lost two in a row before immediately before their current win streak. One was a bad loss in overtime to the Colorado Buffaloes (8-9, 6-8 Pac-12). The other came against a good UCLA team that is currently ranked No. 8 in the nation.
Kiana Williams has scored in double figures in eight-straight games for the Cardinal, who also got 17 points from leading scorer Haley Jones against the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday. Jones averages 14.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and three assists per game, while Williams is second on the team in scoring with 13.6 points per contest. Also watch out for freshman Cameron Brink, who averages 10 points and 6.9 boards in just 17.1 minutes per game. Brink made her seventh start in 19 games on Saturday.
Oregon should continue to try and get the ball down to Nyara Sabally in the paint. She leads the team with 12.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Erin Boley (10.9) and Te-Hina Paopao (10.5) also average double-figure scoring for the Ducks, while Sedona Prince (9.5) has risen up the ranks with four-straight games in double figures. Prince is 6-foot-7 and if she and Sabally can both get going — watch out.
However, the team’s 3-point shooters need to step up after a 3-of-15 effort from distance in the second game against Arizona. Oregon has not played since then because it’s contest scheduled for Friday against the California Golden Bears was canceled.
No. 6 Stanford Cardinal (18-2, 15-2 Pac-12) vs. No. 13 Oregon Ducks (12-4, 9-4 Pac-12)
When: Monday, Feb. 15, at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, OR
Key to the matchup: Defense. Stanford holds opponents to 54.4 points per game and Oregon holds opponents to 57.5 points per game. The two teams are evenly matched in scoring offense, field-goal percentage, rebounding and turnovers. So this one may come down to heart and effort on the defensive end. One thing that stands out, however, is that both teams excel at 3-point-percentage defense. Stanford holds opponents to 27.3-percent shooting from beyond the arc compared to 28.2 percent for Oregon.
Reason to watch: The Ducks may have enough talent to upset the Cardinal on the national stage.