In No. 2 Oregon’s first full game without perennial starter, Ruthy Hebard, the Ducks took on the 16-10 UCLA Bruins. In a night that had as many tears as it did raindrops, the Bruins pulled off the improbable upset and beat the Ducks 74-69.
After a rocky start to the game, highlighted by turnovers and sloppy play from both sides. The Ducks took a 7-5 lead off a deep 3-pointer from Maite Cazorla. The Ducks eventually cleaned up their turnovers and started to put the pressure on the Bruins. Erin Boley and Cazorla were the primary benefactors of what was a great passing display by the Ducks. Boley and Cazorla finished the half with 16 and 9 points respectively, and Sabrina Ionescu chipped in with 6 points and 6 smooth dimes at the break. UCLA got the looks that they wanted to on the offensive end, but the shots refused to fall for the Bruins. They collectively shot 32.3% from the field and 22.2% from behind the line in the first half. The half fittingly ended with an air ball from Kiara Jefferson and the Ducks led 42-27.
In what was a tale of two halves, the Bruins opened the scoring in the second half with a layup from Kennedy Burke, and the comeback was on. Sloppy play and a lack of shooting from the Ducks helped UCLA fight to within single digits with 5:50 to go in the 3rd. Led by player of the game Kennedy Burke, who finished with 29-8-2. The 4th was a flash of blue, white and gold; before they knew it, Oregon was down 68-60 with 3:21 to go in the fourth. Down 69-72 Oregon had one last chance after Alana Smith missed 2 free throws for the Bruins, but a missed box out and a heck of an effort from Burke was the final straw that broke the Ducks’ back. Oregon fought valiantly, but ultimately fell short. Head Coach Kelly Graves admitted the Ducks really missed Hebard, who had 20-18 the last time these two teams met, but that going forward the Ducks need to find a way to jump-start their offense that “has been a mess lately.”
The Ducks will look to reconfigure the Hebard-less offense and regain momentum against 15-10 USC Trojans at home this Sunday at 11:00 am
Audio Story: By Adam Susman
Erin Boley Post game Audio:
Kelley Graves Post game Audio: