Women's Basketball Beats Washington State 85-67 in Pac-10 Tourney Opener

March 1, 2002

EUGENE, Ore. - After a slow start the University of Oregon women's basketball team pulled away from Washington State 85-67 in the inaugural Pac-10 Conference Tournament opener Friday at McArthur Court.

Five players scored in double-figures for the No. 7-seed Ducks (16-12) - led by Edniesha Curry's 16 - for the first time this season. Oregon, winners of four of its last five, now has a date with No. 2-seed Washington (17-10) in the second round at noon Saturday. The Huskies defeated the Ducks in Seattle last Saturday 88-80 to conclude the regular season. The game will be televised live on the Oregon Sports Network.

'We did what we needed to do to move on,' first-year Oregon coach Bev Smith said. 'I tip my hat to Washington State. They played an incredible game with intensity, work ethic, passion and fire. I think we were a little nervous and a little tight early on.'

The Cougars, which led only once two minutes into the game, kept it close as senior Brittney Hawks poured in a career-high 27 points to go with eight rebounds. Washington State trailed 27-26 after a basket by Whitney Martindale at the 4:33 mark in the first half. However, two 3-pointers by Jamie Craighead and three points by Andrea Bills helped Oregon take a 36-26 lead with 1:21 on the clock. Washington State's Jessica Perry, who had a season-best 21 points, cut the deficit to 36-31 at halftime after scoring five unanswered points.

Oregon led 57-48 with 12:23 left in the game and then went on an 11-2 run to lead 68-50 with 7:55 remaining. The Cougars got no closer than nine points down the rest of the way.

Bills scored 14 points for the Ducks on 6-of-8 shooting while Shaquala Williams, Alyssa Fredrick and Kraayeveld each had 12 points. Williams, who struggled from the floor by making 4-of-15, passed out a team-high five assists to go with three steals. She also continued her free-throw streak, as she has made 22 in a row.

'We realized that we probably wouldn't beat this team by 35-40 points,' said Williams, whose Ducks defeated the Cougars 88-47 last Thursday at Pullman. 'We knew they weren't going to go away - we had to put them away.'

The Cougars recorded their best shooting night against a Pac-10 team this year, hitting 42 percent. Meanwhile, Oregon, the second-best shooting team in the conference behind Stanford, shot 57 percent in the second half and 53 percent overall.

'I thought we played a really hard-fought ball game,' Washington State coach Jenny Przekwas said. 'We lost the ball game to a very good Oregon team. I am a little disappointed that we didn't win but I am certainly not disappointed with the effort.'

Hawks, a 6-foot-3 post player, shot 9-of-19 from the field and 9-of-10 from the foul line in 39 minutes.

'She's a good inside player,' Bills said. 'Being a senior post, we knew she was their threat. We just had to establish (ourselves) inside and do what we could.'

Washington State finished its season with a 2-27 record.

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