Hebard sets NCAA record, No. 9 Oregon beats USC in 2nd OT
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon coach Kelly Graves summed up Ruthy Hebard’s performance in one word: “Perfect.”
Hebard scored 27 points and set an NCAA record with 30 consecutive field goals to help the No. 9 Ducks hold off Southern California 80-74 in double-overtime Friday night.
Hebard was 12 of 12 from the field for her fifth perfect shooting game of the season, helping Oregon (24-4, 13-2 Pac-12) tie No. 14 Stanford for the conference lead. Hebard also had 10 rebounds.
“I think it’s amazing,” Graves said. “She’s a great competitor and a helluva player.”
There were 12 ties and 21 lead changes, the last on Hebard’s inside shot with 1:36 left as Oregon scored the final seven points of the game. That included Lexi Bando’s 3-pointer that bounced off the top of the backboard and through the net for a 78-74 lead as the shot clock expired.
“I actually thought that was out of bounds,” Bando said. “I threw it up there and got lucky I guess.”
Maite Cazorla had 17 points, and Sabrina Ionescu 15 for the Ducks. Bando added 11.
Kristen Simon had 19 of her career-high 26 points after halftime and finished with 15 rebounds for the Trojans (17-9, 7-8). Aliyah Mazyck added 18 points, and Sadie Edwards had 16.
USC scored 31 points on a season-high 24 turnovers by the Ducks. The Trojans also had 17 fast-break points to Oregon’s none.
Ionescu also had nine assists, but she and Cazorla combined for 15 turnovers.
“You can’t do that against them,” Graves said, “but we’re now 24-4 and they’re not all going to be pretty, they’re not all going to be blowouts and they’re not all going to be comfortable.
“You’ve got to wins some games like this and we did it when it counted.”
The Trojans’ largest lead was 38-33 as Simon scored 12 of their first 14 points in the third quarter. She finished with 10 offensive rebounds despite battling two or three defenders down low the entire game.
“It looked pretty physical. I think I’ll have bruises,” Hebard said. “She’s stronger than me and talks a lot. I just blocked it out.”
Oregon squandered a 21-12 lead by going scoreless for 4 1/2 minutes and shooting 2 of 13 in the second quarter as USC came back for a 26-26 tie at the half. Hebard hit her first five shots and had 11 points in the first quarter.
Oregon is one victory shy of matching its conference high of 14 when it won the Pac-10 title during the 1999-00 season. With three Pac-12 games left, the Ducks need to keep pace with Stanford for a share of this year’s crown.
USC remains stuck in neutral in conference play, having yet to win or lose more than three games in a row. The Trojans must finish strong to improve their NCAA tournament projection as an 11th seed.
Oregon has been ranked no worse than 10th for the entire regular season and likely will face its third top-10 opponent in UCLA, currently ranked seventh. The Ducks lost to two top-5 teams during nonconference play -- at Louisville in November and at Mississippi State in December.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Hebard, who is shooting 67.0 percent on the season, also was 12 of 12 in her last game against Washington. She broke the record of 28 consecutive field goals set by Southern Utah’s Myndee Kay Larsen in 1998.
Bando played in her second game as a reserve since missing seven with a leg injury. The nation’s best active 3-point shooter at 45.7 percent was 3 of 5 beyond the arc as she chases the career record of 47.6 percent by Notre Dame’s Alicia Ratay (2000-03).
SHE SAID IT
Hebard and Scott tangled under the basket late in regulation, upsetting the Oregon sophomore as Scott, a senior, walked away tapping her head and smiling. “I have really good teammates who come up to me and pick me up, and my mom was in the crowd, so I looked up at her,” Hebard said. “She’d be mad if I got in a fight.”
Southern California: At No. 15 Oregon State on Sunday.
Oregon: Hosts No. 7 UCLA on Monday night.