Oregon Ducks beat Arizona Wildcats, 75-61
EUGENE, Ore. - The Oregon women's basketball team used strong defense Friday night to overcome a slow start and fuel two big runs, one at the end of the first half and one at the beginning of the second, to beat Arizona 75-61 at the Matt Knight Arena.
"The slow start was tough, but I thought our kids kind of hung in there," Coach Kelly Graves said. "The last 12 minutes of the first half, we played about as good a defense as we possibly can."
Defense wasn't the only key to this win, though.
Forward Jillian Alleyne had her 22nd double-double of the season with 19 points and 17 rebounds, and guard Lexi Bando added 14 points, 12 on three-pointers. Back-up Jordan Loera added 11 points, including two first-half three-pointers that sparked the Ducks' first-half run.
The win was Oregon's fifth in conference play and raised the team's record to 12-12 overall and 5-8 in the Pac-12 after a slow start to the season.
"We've taken more pride in our game," Alleyne said. "And Coach said the post season goes as far as we want to take it."
Arizona had the lead early in the game, but the Ducks gradually came back. They tied the score 23-23 on Loera's first three-pointer with 5:33 left in the first half. That started a 14-2 run that gave Oregon a 34-27 lead at the half.
"I think it was just getting in the flow of the game," Loera said. "We were making that extra pass, and we were all doing it."
The Ducks started the second half strong, too, with a layup from Lexi Petersen 57 seconds in and a three-pointer from Bando less than a minute later. The 13-2 run forced Arizona to call time out with 16:25 left and the Ducks with a 47-29 lead. A minute and a half later, the Ducks had built a 20-point lead, 53-33.
The Wildcats fought back, and even shrunk the deficit to nine points with 7:09 to play when Alleyne was on the bench with four fouls.
The Wildcats' comeback attempt didn't last long, though. Bando hit a three-pointer with 6:48 to play which put Oregon's lead back in double digits.
The game was the annual "Pink Game," in which funds are raised for breast cancer research. To support the cause, the UO donated $5 for each fan who wore pink to the Oregon Cancer Foundation. Attendance was 1,435, with many fans wearing pink.
Players and coaches wore pink, too. Players sported pink socks and pink accented shorts, and Graves wore bright pink tennis shoes that could be spotted from across the gym. Graves said he let the team pick his shoes for the game.
The Ducks' next game is against Arizona State at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Matt Knight Arena. "I think we need to translate that over from this game, just playing great defense," Alleyne said. "Defense wins games, and if we play a great defense against a scrappy team like Arizona State, we'll be in the game."