Women's Basketball Bounces Back with 79-73 Win over USC

Dec. 29, 2002

EUGENE, Ore. - With their backs seemingly against the wall, the University of Oregon women's basketball team found a way to fight back Sunday afternoon. Five Ducks scored in double figures for the first time this season as Oregon dumped USC 79-73 in front of 4,561 fans at McArthur Court.

It was a much-needed win for the Ducks (5-6, 1-1 Pac-10), who suffered their second-worst conference home loss Friday to UCLA (98-63). USC fell to 5-7 and 0-2.

Oregon's roster has dwindled to nine players with its leading scorer and rebounder, Cathrine Kraayeveld, out with a staph infection in her right knee and the recent departure of sophomore forward Amy Parrish for medical reasons. Kraayeveld is expected to be out for at least six weeks.

The resilient Ducks, though, ignored the distractions. Oregon shot a season-high 56 percent from the field (28-of-50) - the best since shooting the same mark nearly two years ago against California - and led nearly the entire second half.

'I'm very happy for every member of this team,' second-year Oregon coach Bev Smith said. 'They played together and played hard. Given what we've gone through - UCLA was a long game and we were beaten up physically and morally. (We showed) the ability and character to get things done today.'

Sophomore guard Brandi Davis led all Ducks with 18 points and a career-high six assists while freshman Carolyn Ganes added 14 points and six rebounds. It was Ganes' second straight game with double-digit points and third of the year.

'This game tells us that we can still be a force if we play together,' said Ganes, who made 5-of-6 from the field. 'We came ready to play and we played strong together. We were a lot more collected today. We weren't so nervous and tense.'

USC led 57-55 on an Ebony Hoffman fast-break lay-in with 10:28 left. But sophomore guard Amy Taylor gave Oregon a lift with all seven of her points in the next seven minutes - on two driving lay-ins and three free throws - as the Ducks went on a 17-4 run to lead 72-61.

Oregon jumped out to a 32-22 first-half lead, but struggled with USC's full-court press. The Trojans caused a flurry of turnovers and ended the half with a 16-2 run, much of it without Hoffman, who sat with two fouls. Hoffman did her damage in the second half, though, scoring 23 of her game-high 25 points, to keep USC within striking distance.

The Ducks handled USC's pressure defense in the second half and also shot a blistering 67 percent from the field. Senior guard Alissa Edwards, who played in all but one minute, had a career-high 12 points, hitting 3-of-4 from the floor and 4-of-5 on free throws. Sophomore post player Andrea Bills added 11 points and junior guard Kayla Steen 10 points to go with a career-high seven rebounds.

For the Trojans, Rometra Craig scored 14 points while Jessica Cheeks and Aisha Hollans each had 13.

Oregon hits the road for its first conference road trip this year, taking on No. 21-ranked Arizona on Thursday at 6 p.m. PST and Arizona State on Saturday at 2 p.m. The ASU game will be on Fox Sports Net.

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