Women's Basketball Drops USC 75-70

Feb. 27, 2003

LOS ANGELES - Road wins don't come easy in the Pac-10. With conference tournament seeding on the line, Thursday's game against USC was no exception as the University of Oregon women's basketball team came through with a crucial 75-70 victory.

The win assures the Ducks (12-14, 8-9) will be at least a No. 6 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament, therefore bypassing the first day of play next Friday in San Jose. If Oregon defeats UCLA and Oregon State loses to USC on Saturday, the Ducks would lock up the No. 5 seed and play Washington. Otherwise, Oregon will take on Arizona next Saturday.

Junior forward Cathrine Kraayeveld helped Oregon's cause with 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go with seven rebounds as her team led the entire game.

'We played well and worked at getting open shots,' said Kraayeveld, who scored the most points since she had 33 in a Dec. 15 game against Santa Clara. 'Overall, we played one of our best games defensively. Offensively, we rushed some things at the end.'

The Ducks, who had their biggest lead of the second half at 64-48 after a Kedzie Gunderson lay-in with 7:53 left, saw their lead quickly shrink. USC's pressure defense forced six turnovers in the next six minutes scored eight of her game-high 27 points in that span to cut the lead to 68-64 with 2:11 remaining.

With the shot clock winding down, the Ducks' Amy Taylor drilled a baseline 3-pointer to make it 71-64 with 1:15 left.

'It was a really big shot,' Kraayeveld said. 'We were a little flustered on offense and no one was really taking initiative. So I was like, 'Shoot it Amy!'

Oregon struggled from the foul line, making just 4-of-8 in the final 52 seconds, but its defense forced several tough USC shots as the Ducks hung on. The Women of Troy, who were swept by Oregon in the season series for just the third time in school history, dropped to 12-16 and 7-10. They also have lost four straight.

'USC is a tough team and really put pressure on the ball,' said Oregon coach Bev Smith, whose team had just four turnovers at halftime, but 17 after the intermission.

Brandi Davis added 11 points for Oregon while Andrea Bills had 10, all in the first half. Bills also finished with seven rebounds. For USC, Rometra Craig was its only other double-digit scorer with 17, despite shooting 7-of-22 from the floor.

The Ducks jumped out to a 44-34 first half lead - the most points scored in the first half of any game this year - and shot 59 percent from the field. Overall, Oregon had its second-best shooting night of the season at 57 percent.

Oregon next will play UCLA in the final Pac-10 regular season game Saturday. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on Fox Sports Net.

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