Q&A with Angela Dugalic, former Maine West Star and current Oregon freshman

Former Maine West all-state performer and 2019-2020 Illinois girls basketball Gatorade Player of the Year Angela Dugalic is having a blast early in her time for the Oregon Ducks, in the midst of a historic year.

Ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press, the 7-0 Ducks have had only had one game postponed due to COVID-19 this season. Duke women’s basketball, for example, shut down its season entirely.

Already 5-0 in PAC-12 play, Oregon has a convincing 79-59 victory under its belt over then-No. 15 Oregon State –the program that Naperville North’s Greta Kampshroeder will join for the 2020-21 season.

The 6-4 Dugalic was featured in a strong 2020 recruiting class for Oregon that has put rotation minutes at a premium. She’s played at least 12 minutes in five-of-seven games thus far, with a high of 18 minutes. Her most productive game to-date came in a nine-point, nine-rebound effort in a Dec. 6 win over Utah.

“Angela is one of the most versatile forwards in the country,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said on goducks.com. “She can score with either hand around the rim and is a great mid-range and three-point shooter. She can handle the ball like a guard at 6-4, and perhaps her most underrated skill is her elite passing ability. Angela is highly skilled, a winner, a hard worker, and an unselfish teammate.”

Illinois-Basketball.com’s Kaleb Carter conducted a Q&A about her short time in Eugene, playing with the Serbian National Basketball Team this past summer and for her hopes for the rest of the year.

Q: What has the experience at Oregon been like, and has it lived up to expectations or has it just been super weird?

AD: It’s definitely lived up to my expectations … I knew it was going to be hard from the beginning and it definitely has been, but it’s … a good challenge. It’s something I enjoy doing. I honestly think about it like: I know people that are my age who go to school, have a 9-to-5 job and all of this stuff to save money for school. I’m truly blessed to have a full ride doing the things I love.

Q: How did the experience with the Serbian National Team prepare you for the season?

It definitely prepared me just because in high school you’re playing against girls who are smaller than you, not as committed to basketball. And I go over there to Serbia and everyone’s just big, strong or much more experienced. I definitely just tried to soak up as much as I can because I knew it would help me in college.

Q: Has there been a moment that it’s hit you like, ‘Holy crap, I‘m playing at this level?

It usually happens when I’m on the court during the game (laughs). I’ll be like (in) good defensive position, I stop the ball, someone calls a timeout, and I look up and I’m like, ‘Even though there’s no people it’s like, I’m playing Division I basketball with one of the best teams in the country, in the world, honestly.’ You know, that just to me is still shocking every time. 

Q: With your role on the team, do you feel you’re still discovering it or do you have a role you’re fitting so far?

A little bit of both. I’m definitely very vocal. Especially because I’m obviously not a starter, I’m on the bench at the beginning. We won’t even be in and I’m just like screaming, ‘Let’s go!’ just to hype up the team. And when I’m on the court, I still try to make the right plays, be smart, learn from others and have them take something from me.

Q: With the uncertain times we’re experiencing, what are your hopes for this season, the next couple months on the basketball court and in school? 

I just hope we actually have a season and we finish it. I really hope this doesn’t end up like last year and I hope we finish with a national championship. I mean, we are a young team, we’re definitely out of all these teams that are ranked (high) the most (inexperienced), and by that meaning we’re the youngest and we have a new team. But I personally think if we just keep playing the way we are, just be good people toward each other, it’ll all fall into place.

Oregon rides a 26-game win streak into play at home against USC Friday to open up the New Year.

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