Women's Basketball Loses to Arizona State 64-58 in Pac-10 Tourney Semifinals

March 3, 2002

EUGENE, Ore. - A gutsy second-half comeback wasn't enough as the University of Oregon's run in the inaugural women's basketball Pac-10 Tournament ended Sunday afternoon with a 64-58 loss to Arizona State in a semifinal matchup at McArthur Court.

Arizona State (23-8) will play Stanford (30-1) in the championship game Monday at 7:30 p.m. The winner receives the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Oregon, which started slow and trailed 31-19 at halftime after committing 18 turnovers, caught fire in the second half. Arizona State led 33-21 a minute into the second half, but the resilient Ducks went on a 24-4 run behind nine points from Shaquala Williams to take their largest lead of the game at 45-37 with 10:12 left. But Arizona State retaliated with a 20-4 run as Amanda Levens scored 11 points, including two 3-pointers, as the Sun Devils led 57-49 with 3:51 remaining.

'Amanda Levens hit a lot of tough shots,' said Williams, who scored a game-high 21 points. 'Some of her shots were three or four feet behind the 3-point line. Against most players, you don't have to defend that. I think we just caught on to her a little too late and let her get into a rhythm.'

Oregon pulled to within 57-55 at the 1:50 mark, but the Ducks committed 10 fouls in the final 1:36 as the Sun Devils made 7-of-12 from the foul line to seal the win. It was Oregon's third loss to Arizona State this season.

'We did a good job at making a run, but we let ASU get some shots that they shouldn't have had,'said Oregon forward Cathrine Kraayeveld, who grabbed a game-best 11 rebounds. 'We weren't able to get much in the first half offensively, but I think we did a good job of turning that around in the second half.'

The Ducks' 19 first-half points were their lowest total in a half this season. Oregon (17-13) also turned the ball over 21 times, although had just three in the second half.

Freshman post player Andrea Bills also gave Oregon a lift in the second half with 10 of her 12 points. She also had a career-high three steals and tied a career-best with three blocked shots. Edniesha Curry added 11 for the Ducks, but hit only 4-of-13 from the floor.

'It is not easy to beat a team three times, especially twice on their home floor,' Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said. 'Every time they have played us tougher and tougher and this was the toughest yet.'

Levens, who led Arizona State with 19, scored 16 of them in the second half. Melody Johnson was the Sun Devils' only other double-figure scorer with 13 on 6-of-9 shooting. Johnson also had seven rebounds.

'(The Ducks) are a great team and they are not going to lie down against you,' Turner Thorne said. 'In addition to Shaquala Williams, they just have some tremendous players. You are not going to be able to hold a team like that too much under 60 points.'

Williams, Oregon's junior All-America candidate, passed Julie Cushing to move into eighth place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,392 points.

The Ducks, who have been to eight straight NCAA Tournaments, will discover their postseason fate next Sunday as the 64-team NCAA Tournament field will be announced. Oregon also has submitted a bid to host the NIT.

The first Pac-10 Tournament in women's basketball history has been a success, noted Oregon coach Bev Smith. 'The atmosphere was unbelievable,' she said. 'We don't have to apologize for having the tournament here. What you saw (from the crowd) in the game today was what's special about Mac Court, the people of Eugene and the University.'

-UO-
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