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Tar Heels beat Ducks at Matt Court, 76-59

EUGENE, Ore. - They defended, they rebounded, and they hustled.

They left all that they had out there on the floor, but it still wasn't enough for the Oregon women's basketball team to take down the No. 11 North Carolina Tar Heels, who left Eugene Sunday with a 76-59 victory.

Oregon played in front of a crowd of 2,038, the largest crowd the Ducks have seen since hosting UConn in the 2012-2013 season.

The Ducks were able to overcome an off night shooting for the first 20 minutes, leading the Tar Heels 29-28 at half. Oregon knocked down all five of their first half three pointers in the first 10:04, jumping out to a 25-14 lead.

North Carolina battled back and picked up the defensive intensity after a timeout midway through the first half, proceeding to hold the Ducks scoreless for an 8-minute stretch as the half came to a close.

Solid defense and active hands helped the Ducks force five first half turnovers, but North Carolina was determined to show that they were not about to leave the game against an unproven Oregon team with a loss.

The Tar Heels looked like a different team to open the second half, scoring 12 straight before the Ducks were able to add to their point total. North Carolina held Oregon without a field goal until the 13:35 mark, at which point they had jumped ahead, 45-34.

The Tar Heels eventually led by 23 points, thanks to 55.9 percent (19-34) shooting in the second half. Oregon continued to struggle from the floor, shooting 29.9 percent (20-67) for the game, and only 31 percent (9-29) from beyond the arc.

"That's why we preach defense, because there are nights like tonight where you go 9-29 from the three point line," head coach Kelly Graves said. "When we struggled tonight is when the defense kind of let us down. They got some easy baskets, but for the most part I think we defended pretty well tonight."

Junior forward Jillian Alleyne recorded her 43rd double-double with 18 points and 17 rebounds, although she experienced a rough night from the free throw line, shooting just 4-10.

"It effects (my rhythm) a lot," Alleyne said about her struggles from the line. "It's very frustrating because it carries over to the next play, which is something that I have to learn to let go. For me, it's frustrating because free throws are something I pride myself on. As a big, you're going to get fouled, and you have to make your free throws."

Freshman guard Lexi Bando shot 50 percent (3-6) from the three-point line on her way to 14 points. Bando logged 37 minutes in the game, tied with Alleyne for a team high.

"(Bando) has played well so far. She gives us some grit and some toughness and some enthusiasm out there," Graves said. "She's one of the few players we have that can actually attack the basket, and she's a pretty good defender. She's going to have to log a lot of minutes for us this year."

In a tale of two very different stories, the Ducks can build on a lot of good things from the first half, and learn from a lot of mistakes in the second half.

"I thought we played really hard tonight," Graves said. "I'm not into moral victories, and I told them that from the very start. We should all feel bad about the outcome tonight. But at the same time, I'm looking for some positives, and I saw a bunch."

The Ducks have fallen to 1-1 on the season, and look to get a win against Portland State on Tuesday in Matthew Knight Arena at 6 p.m.

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