Oregon women beat Portland State, 63-56: 'We didn't play our best'

EUGENE, Ore. - Once again, freshman Lexi Bando played beyond her years, racking up a career high 18 points and three assists, leading Oregon to the win in a nail-biter over Portland State, 63-56.

The Portland State Vikings (0-4) managed to keep it close throughout the game, trailing the Ducks (2-1) by only two points at half, 30-28.

The Vikings struggled from the field, shooting 34 percent (8-23) and only 14 percent (1-7) from three-point range.

A 20-11 Portland State first half rebounding advantage helped the Vikings stay in the game, along with making 14-18 free throws (77 percent). The Ducks were cold from beyond the arc again, shooting just 26 percent (5-19).

The second half script followed closely to that of the North Carolina game, but this time it was the Ducks who jumped out on a 10-2 run.

Senior guard Katelyn Loper took two charges in the first three minutes of the second half, and the Ducks built their largest lead of the game at 11 points. Loper struggled in the game, finishing with only 2 points, going 0-9 from the field.

The Vikings mounted a 10-0 run of their own in the next few minutes, and cut the lead to one with just over 11 minutes to play.

The two teams traded buckets for the next several minutes, and the Ducks found themselves leading by two, 58-56, with 1:04 left on the clock.

Junior guard Lexi Petersen, who finished with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists, nailed a game-clinching three-pointer with 13.6 seconds remaining, and the Ducks were able to walk into the locker room with a victory.

"In the moments that mattered, we stepped up and made clutch shots,"
said Petersen. "We didn't play our best tonight, but if there's anything we can take from this, it's that we came through in the end."

Junior forward Jillian Alleyne finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, marking the 44th double-double of her career, and her 12th straight, dating back to last season.

Alleyne continued to struggle from the free-throw line, going just 1-4, most of which came in the final few minutes. She made up for it in other ways though, coming up with three big rebounds in the final two minutes, and assisting on the three-pointer from Petersen that put the game away.

Alleyne "is an elite player, there is no question," said head coach Kelly Graves. "She is very unselfish. There are times where she says 'this is my game, everyone get out of the way,' and there's times like tonight where she's going to make that pass. It was nice that she made that pass to Lexi [Petersen], that was a big shot."

The Ducks held the Vikings to only 35 percent shooting on the night (19-53), and were able to force 19 turnovers.

Oregon players managed to stay calm and poised in in the first close game they have played this season.

"We have to tighten up some; I thought defensively we were pretty good tonight," Graves said. "But offensively in close games, you have to make free throws. You can't turn the ball over, and when you get that open look you just have to bury it. Those are some things that we didn't really do as well as we would have liked, but we did enough."

The Ducks will now take their first road trip of the season, traveling to Las Vegas to compete in the South Point Shootout. Oregon will face off against Central Michigan on Friday, and American on Saturday.

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