Women's Basketball Shoots Down USC, Wins 75-65

Jan. 24, 2002

EUGENE, Ore. - After its worst shooting performance of the season last Saturday against Oregon State, the University of Oregon women's basketball team had its best Thursday against second-place USC. The Ducks shot 55 percent from the field en route to a 75-65 victory over the second-place Trojans before 4,521 fans at McArthur Court.

Oregon, which had lost two straight and three of its last four games, improved to 11-8 and 6-4 in the Pac-10. USC, meanwhile, fell to 10-9, 6-4.

With the exception of the game's first two-and-a-half minutes, the Ducks led the entire way by virtue of a balanced offense and aggressive play underneath. Oregon and USC each had 39 rebounds, but the Trojans came into the game ranked second in the Pac-10 with a plus-6.5 rebounding margin. In last year's two-point USC win at Eugene, it outrebounded Oregon 47-31.

'If we can control the defensive boards, we can take advantage of our quickness,' Oregon coach Bev Smith said. 'That's what we've talked about all year.'

In her first career start, Oregon freshman Andrea Bills grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds along with scoring nine points on 4-of-5 shooting. She also had the task of guarding All-Pac-10 player Ebony Hoffman for much of the game. Hoffman, who picked up two quick fouls in the game and played just eight minutes in the first half, was held to 5-of-19 shooting for 13 points.

'We felt we couldn't let her get position on the block,' Smith said of Hoffman. 'She's a heck of a player. I think Andrea Bills did a great job on her. (Bills) played a smart, tough game.'

Oregon jumped out to a 19-8 first-half lead at the 10:26 mark as eight different Ducks scored consecutive baskets - Jamie Craighead, Shaquala Williams, Cathrine Kraayeveld, Alissa Edwards, Edniesha Curry, Bills, Fredrick and Kourtney Shreve -six of them on lay-ins.

Oregon enjoyed its largest lead at 68-54 with 5:12 left before USC went on an 11-2 run to cut it to 70-65 on a Hoffman 3-pointer with 1:19 on the clock. But the Ducks proved resilient as Williams drove to the basket for a lay-in and Kedzie Gunderson and Fredrick combined to hit 3-of-4 from the foul line to secure the win.

'We gave 40 minutes of hard work and effort,' Smith said. 'It wasn't always pretty, but it was 40 minutes of effort.'

Williams, who played just six minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, led all players with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Back court mate Curry dropped in 14 points, including several coast-to-coast lay-ins, as well as had team-highs of five assists and three steals. Kraayeveld was Oregon's other double-figure scorer with 11. She also had nine rebounds - all on defensive end -two steals and a blocked shot.

'We let Oregon feel too good about themselves and they got into a rhythm,' USC coach Chris Gobrecht said. 'They did a very good job. Oregon was real active, aggressive and obviously wanted it badly.'

Oregon next plays host Saturday to UCLA (5-13, 2-8), which lost to Oregon State 77-36 on Thursday. Tipoff at McArthur Court is at 7 p.m.

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