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Ducks on uptick for holiday tourney.

Byline: Rob Moseley The Register-Guard

Thursday's holiday feast for the Oregon women's basketball team was only the continuation of a celebration.

The party began two days earlier, when the Ducks came from behind to beat Marquette in dramatic fashion. They put their lone loss of the season behind them, and will bring a winning record into tonight's opening game of the New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament against Coppin State at 5 p.m. PST in Albuquerque.

"It would have been a little harder getting up (Wednesday) morning with another loss on our shoulders," UO coach Bev Smith said.

During one of the most crucial stretches of Tuesday's win, the Ducks (2-1) didn't score a single point. Neither, though, did the Golden Eagles. With Marquette up 12-3 less than six minutes into the game, Smith went to her bench, and although the reserves were as futile on offense as the starters, they also held the Golden Eagles scoreless on seven straight possessions.

That allowed Oregon to catch its collective breath and adjust to the intensity Marquette began the game with. And in what ended up being a one-point UO victory, every one of those stops was critical.

Credit for that defensive stand goes mostly to backup guards Micaela Cocks and Nia Jackson, who could again be called on to play important defensive roles tonight.

"They're very exciting players," UO wing Kaela Chapdelaine said. "Micaela's a great spark off the bench ... and Nia's such an intense, fireball kind of guard, she really sets the tone defensively for us."

Coppin State's Eagles (3-3) boast a pair of high-scoring guards in seniors Shalamar Oakley and Rashida Suber. Each is averaging more than 20 points per game, and on Tuesday Suber had a streak of 56 straight games with at least one three-pointer come to an end.

In McArthur Court on Tuesday, Marquette easily penetrated the post for pull-up jumpers early in the game. That ended once Cocks and Jackson entered. Jackson is Oregon's quickest player and finished with three steals in 12 minutes, while the tireless Cocks ended up playing as much as all but two starters.

The Ducks went with a small lineup for much of the night, in part because of foul trouble for freshman forwards Nicole Canepa and Ellie Manou. The 5-foot-10 Chapdelaine moved to power forward and grabbed two late, game-saving rebounds, but the Ducks also allowed 16 offensive boards, including five on the two late possessions in which Marquette took a late lead.

"We've got some work to do on the defensive boards, obviously," Smith said.

Limiting turnovers also remains an issue. In ultimately falling behind 14-3 to Marquette, Oregon committed 12 early turnovers, 15 total in the first half. Only by cutting that number to four in the second half were the Ducks able to come back.

"If we had taken care of the ball earlier, we wouldn't have had to come back in the first half," Chapdelaine said. "I don't know what the situation would have been. However, we need to take care of the ball way better."

OREGON WOMEN vs.?COPPIN STATE

Oregon (2-1) Starters

Tamika Nurse, 5-8, jr. (5.3 ppg, 2.3 apg)

Taylor Lilley, 5-6, so. (12.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg)

Kaela Chapdelaine, 5-10, sr. (6.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg)

Ellie Manou, 6-3, fr. (7.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg)

Nicole Canepa, 6-5, fr. (14.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg)

Coppin State (3-3) Starters

Sesalie Johnson, 5-6, so. (4.4 ppg, 4.2 apg)

Shalamar Oakley, 5-6, sr. (21.3 ppg, 3.7 apg)

Rashida Suber, 5-8, sr. (20.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg)

Lakeytah Irving, 5-11, so. (3.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg)

Jennifer Martin, 6-0, sr. (7.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg)

Time: 5 p.m.

Radio/TV: KSCR-AM (1320)/None.

UO WOMEN vs. COPPIN STATE

5 p.m. today at New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament, Albuquerque. TV: None. Radio: KSCR-AM (1320). More UO basketball at www.registerguard.com/blogs
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Title Annotation:Basketball Oregon Women
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 23, 2007
Words:659
Previous Article:DEFENSIVE PRESSURE.
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