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Te-Hina Paopao doubtful for Pac-12 Tournment, hopeful for NCAA Tournament originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest
For the first time in her college career, Te-Hina Paopao was not starting.
Instead, she sat on the sidelines with her right foot in a boot for undisclosed reasons and watched her teammates lose at home to Oregon State, 88-77.
After the game, head coach Kelly Graves said Paopao is "doubtful" to play in the Pac-12 Tournament and that he is hopeful she can return for the NCAA Tournament.
The Ducks will begin their Pac-12 Tournament title defense Thursday against the winner of Oregon State and California, setting up a likely rematch of Sunday's contest just four days later.
The NCAA Tournament does not begin until March 21st in San Antonio, giving Paopo multiple weeks for her foot to heal enough she can suit up.
Before Sunday's loss to Oregon State, she was the lone Duck to start every game for Oregon this season. She's also the first freshman Oregon guard to start a season-opener since Sabrina Ionescu in 2016.
Graves has relied on Paopao to play heavy minutes at point guard for the Ducks with eight games of 30 minutes or more and Oregon clearly missed her on Sunday.
The offense appered out of sorts for large strecthes and Graves started a three-guard lineup of Taylor Chavez, Jaz Shelley and Taylor Mikesell. Chavez and Shelley both went scoreless missing a combined five field goal attempts while Mikesell shot 7-16 from the field. Interestingly, Kelly Graves only played Shelley 10 minutes despite her being the backup point guard for the team last season.
On the season, Paopao averages 10.2 points (43.3% from the floor, 39.5% from three) and 4.4 assists in 28.4 minutes per game.