Ducks Close Strong In Regular Season Finale
SALT LAKE CITY – Oregon used a fourth-quarter run to break open a tight game going into the final 10 minutes in a 73-65 win at Utah in the regular season finale Saturday.
With the win, the Ducks locked up the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in next week's Pac-12 Tournament by finishing the season 11-6 in conference play. UO will take on the winner of UCLA and USC in a quarterfinal matchup on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Las Vegas.
"We talked yesterday about how this game is hugely important to us," said head coach Kelly Graves. "We knew that if we won we were the 2-seed. And you could tell by the way the team was on the bus and in film session that these kids were locked in."
Sydney Parrish led the way offensively for the Ducks, finishing with 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting from three-point range. Oregon's four other starters also scored in double figures while UO outrebounded the Utes, 40-27, and held them to 32.8 percent shooting from three-point range.
How it Happened: After a steal and layup trimmed the Oregon lead to just one, the Ducks responded with a 9-0 run to go up 10. Parrish hit a pair of big threes during that run, making one to put UO up 10 with 6:51 left and another with 5:25 to go to make it 68-55. Utah answered with a 7-0 run to cut the Ducks' lead to seven with three minutes to play, but Nyara Sabally got a layup with 2:08 to play to stop the run.
UO got back-to-back stops after that to keep the lead at eight with a minute to go before hitting a trio of free throws to ice the game.
The Ducks came out on fire offensively, hitting their first six shots from the field to open up a 16-3 lead three minutes in. Sabally started things off with an and-1 while Parrish hit a pair of threes before Endyia Rogers forced a Utah timeout with a step-back three with UO up 13 at the 6:49 mark. Oregon went cold the rest of the opening quarter from the field as Utah trimmed the Ducks' lead to 18-10 after one.
The two sides traded baskets throughout the first half of the second quarter as UO led 26-19 at the 4:46 mark. Phillipina Kyei gave the Ducks a boost off the bench with back-to-back buckets inside before Te-Hina Paopao scored the next four to open up a 34-19 lead with 2:25 left in the half. The Ducks took a 38-22 advantage into the half as Sedona Prince hit two free throws after getting fouled on a tip-in attempt with 0.6 seconds remaining.
Utah got it going from outside in the third, outscoring the Ducks 29-16 in the quarter to cut the UO lead to 54-51 heading into the fourth.
Who Stood Out: Parrish scored eight of her 18 points in the fourth quarter, knocking down two threes to help the Ducks stretch the lead out late.
Rogers was second on the team with 14 points while adding three steals and Sabally ended with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Paopao and Prince scored 10 points each to round out the Ducks' five starters in double figures. Paopao matched a career-high with eight rebounds while adding five assists and Prince set a career-high with four assists.
Up Next: The Ducks open the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday at 6 p.m. against the winner of Wednesday's game between UCLA and USC in Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.