Oregon Ducks fall in Sweet 16 to Louisville as injuries pile up

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Dylan Mickanen
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Oregon Ducks fall in Sweet 16 to Louisville as injuries pile up originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

In the end, the Ducks' injuries were far too much to overcome.

After Maddie Scherr injured her left ankle in the first quarter, Oregon was without an active point guard for most of the game with Jaz Shelley (day-to-day) and Te-Hina Paopao (out for the season) both seemingly unavailable. However, Shelley did play the final 4:41 with the game out of reach, so perhaps she was cleared but not for meaningful game action, or Kelly Graves just opted to play without a point guard. 

For a team that already lacked off-the-dribble creation, Scherr's injury appeared to be a death sentence as Oregon fell 60-42 in the Sweet 16 to No. 2 Louisville. Erin Boley led Oregon with 14 points but on 17 shooting possessions in 36 minutes in her final time putting on a Ducks uniform. 

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Two-time reigning ACC Player of the Year Dana Evans scored a career-high 29 points with all of her damage coming after Scherr's injury. She was 0-3 when Scherr was available and 11-18 afterwards, including back-to-back dagger threes in the fourth quarter. 

When Scherr had to leave the game with 27 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Ducks trailed just 8-10. With the Ducks best perimeter defender receiving treatment on the bench, Louisville went on a 15-4 run in less than seven minutes.  

To make matters worse, Sedona Prince picked up her second foul with 2:44 remaining in the first quarter. Both fouls came from her being too aggressive in loose-ball situations. It did not take long for Oregon to be without a point guard and its best player in Prince. 

In the first half, Oregon had more turnovers (8) than field goals (7) and did not make a three-pointer (0-9). At halftime, the Ducks trailed 29-15. 

Oregon made it a game in the second half, but Nyara Sabally appeared to roll her left ankle near the end of the third quarter. She would miss the rest of the game while icing the injury. She finished with 14 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes. 

Oregon cut the deficit to six points midway through the fourth quarter, missing multiple shots that would have cut it to three or four, before giving up a game-clinching 11-0 run by the Cardinals.

This is the first time Kelly Graves has coached Oregon to the NCAA Tournament and lost before the Elite Eight. 

Erin Boley and Lydia Giomi are the only two Ducks who have said they will not return next season.