Oregon Advances In Pac-10 Tourney With 85-67 Win Over Cougars
March 1, 2002
EUGENE, Ore. - After a slow start the University of Oregon women'sbasketball team pulled away from Washington State 85-67 in the inaugural Pac-10Conference Tournament opener Friday at McArthur Court.
Five players scored indouble-figures for the No. 7-seed Ducks (16-12) - led by EdnieshaCurry's 16 - for the first time this season. Oregon, winners of four of itslast five, now has a date with No. 2-seed Washington (17-10) in the second roundat noon Saturday. The Huskies defeated the Ducks in Seattle last Saturday 88-80to conclude the regular season.
'We did what we needed to do to move on,' first-year Oregoncoach Bev Smith said. 'I tip my hat to Washington State. They played an incredible gamewith intensity, work ethic, passion and fire. I think we were a little nervousand a little tight early on.'
The Cougars, which led only once two minutesinto the game, kept it close as senior Brittney Hawks poured in a career-high 27points to go with eight rebounds. Washington State trailed 27-26 after a basketby Whitney Martindale at the 4:33 mark in the first half. However, two 3-pointersby Jamie Craighead and three points by AndreaBills helped Oregon take a 36-26 lead with 1:21 on the clock. WashingtonState's Jessica Perry, who had a season-best 21 points, cut the deficit to 36-31at halftime after scoring five unanswered points.
Oregon led 57-48 with 12:23left 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.
Billsscored 14 points for the Ducks on 6-of-8 shooting while ShaqualaWilliams, AlyssaFredrick and Kraayeveld each had 12 points. Williams, who struggled from thefloor by making 4-of-15, passed out a team-high five assists to go with threesteals. 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,' saidWilliams, whose Ducks defeated the Cougars 88-47 last Thursday at Pullman. 'Weknew they weren't going to go away - we had to put them away.'
The Cougarsrecorded their best shooting night against a Pac-10 team this year, hitting 42percent. Meanwhile, Oregon, the second-best shooting team in the conferencebehind Stanford, shot 57 percent in the second half and 53 percent overall.
'I thought we played a really hard-fought ball game,' Washington State coachJenny Przekwas said. 'We lost the ball game to a very good Oregon team. I am alittle disappointed that we didn't win but I am certainly not disappointed withthe effort.'
Hawks, a 6-foot-3 post player, shot 9-of-19 from the field and9-of-10 from the foul line in 39 minutes.
'She's a good inside player,' Billssaid. 'Being a senior post, we knew she was their threat. We just had toestablish (ourselves) inside and do what we could.'
Washington State finishedits season with a 2-27 record.