Blue's Big Night Carries UCLA Past Oregon, 71-58
March 8, 2003
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Nikki Blue set one tournament record and came close to another. Not bad for a freshman.
Blue scored 30 points, the second best effort in tournament history and had a record eight steals to go with six assists as UCLA defeated Oregon 71-58 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament on Saturday night.
'I pretty much got the feeling,' said Blue. 'I'm not ready to go home yet and I guess that's what it took tonight.'
Michelle Greco added 16 points for the fourth-seeded Bruins (18-10), who won for the sixth time in seven games.
Greco moved past Ann Meyers and into sixth place on the UCLA career scoring list. Blue, a freshman, scored 30 or more for the third time this season.
Andrea Bills scored 15 points as fifth-seeded Oregon (12-16) endured its first losing season in 10 years. Brandi Davis added 12 points.
'It's a frustrating way to end the season,' said Oregon coach Bev Smith. 'Blue had a tremendous game for them. We turned the ball over 25 times and that really hurt us.'
UCLA beat the Ducks twice during the regular season - after losing its previous six to them - but needed a basket in the final six seconds to win a week ago in Los Angeles.
UCLA meets top seeded Stanford, which beat California 60-35 earlier, in Sunday's semifinal.
'We're looking forward to the challenge of Stanford,' said Greco. 'We're here to play; we're here to battle.'
No. 2 Washington and No. 3 Arizona meet in the other semifinal.
The Ducks scored the first six points of the second half, all on inside baskets by Catherine Kraayeveld, to tie the score. They took their first lead of the game a few minutes later when Bills sank a pair of free throws.
'We played our best basketball at the beginning of the second half but we couldn't sustain it,' said Smith.
The lead changed hands six times before Blue hit a 3-pointer with 9:34 remaining which sparked an 11-0 run that put the Bruins up 54-45 with 6:50 remaining.
Oregon shot nearly 48 percent in the first half but turned the ball over 14 times and fell behind by as many as 12 points. Blue had five steals in the early going.
The Ducks had fought back to within three points in the final seconds of the first half but Greco intercepted a long pass and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give UCLA a 32-26 halftime lead.
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