Bruins Best Ducks On Buzzer-Beater

March 5, 2009

UCLA (18-10-9-8) bested Oregon (9-19, 5-9) 70-69 on a buzzer-beating 40-footer by sophomore guard Darxia Morris in a Pac-10 Conference game on Thursday night in Eugene, OR. Oregon had won the first meeting of the season by a score of 73-56 in Pauley Pavilion.

UCLA ended the first half on a 16-3 run, recovering from a 10-point deficit in the process, to take a 37-34 lead at the break. The Bruins found themselves looking at the short end of a 31-21 score, at the 4:43 mark. Sophomore forward Christina Nzekwe then kick started the Bruin run with a driving basket in the lane. Sophomore forward Nina Earl scored another basket after a steal by soph guard Doreena Campbell and then added a free throw to slice the Duck lead to 31-26 with 3:24 to play. After a couple of Oregon free throws pushed the gap back up to seven, Campbell nailed four straight free throw attempts to pull the Bruins to within three. UCLA pulled even with the Ducks at 34 on a basket by freshman guard Rebekah Gardner which followed a block and rebound at the opposite end of the court by Nzekwe. Freshman forward Atonye Nyingifa converted both ends of a double bonus free throw situation with 1:02 on the clock to move the Bruins in front by two. Campbell, who finished the half with a team-high 10 points, hit one of two free throws with 13 seconds remaining to complete the run and make the score 37-34 at halftime.

UCLA kept the pressure on and outscored the Ducks 10-3 to start the second half to take its first double digit lead in the contest, 47-37, with 14:39 on the clock. Six of the points came on a trio of baskets by soph guard Darxia Morris, a fourth basket came on a Morris assist. Another Morris basket at the 8:03 mark gave UCLA its biggest lead of the game, 58-45.

The Ducks then answered back and after a 12-4 run, narrowed the score to 64-61 with 2:57 to play. Gardner drove to the basket for UCLA and was fouled with 2:10 to play. The Bruins freshman made both shots from the line to give UCLA a 66-61 lead. Amanda Johnson hit an outside jumper for the Ducks to reduce the margin to three points, 66-63, with 1:55 to play. Campbell then made the first of two free throw attempts to move the Bruins back out in front by four. Oregon's Macaela Cocks then hit a floater in the lane to cut the lead to two.

The Bruins missed a pair of shots as the clock went under a minute. The second shot was by Morris in the lane with 32 seconds to play. Oregon grabbed the rebound and Nicole Canepa hit a baseline jumper with 13 seconds on the clock to tie the score at 67-all. Oregon's Taylor Lilley then stole the ball near midcourt and drove the lane for a basket to give Oregon a 69-67 lead with 4.6 seconds remaining. After each team burned a timeout, UCLA inbounded the ball under the Duck basket. Morris grabbed the pass and banked in a 40-footer at the buzzer to give the Bruins to a 70-69 win.

Campbell led UCLA with 17 points. Morris finished with 13 points, 11 coming in the second half of play. Nyingifa also scored in double digits with 10 points and grabbed a team-high seven boards.

UCLA will wrap up the regular season with a game at Oregon State (18-10, 8-9) on Saturday afternoon, March 7, in Corvallis, OR. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

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