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Lady Ducks storm back, beat USC 59-53

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-3rd Round-Oregon vs Wisconsin Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon Ducks defeated the USC Trojans 59-53 tonight after staging a furious second half comeback. USC certainly missed the presence of Kristen Simon, who did not play for personal reasons, but were able to storm out to a 16 point first half lead behind the play of Sadie Edwards. Ruthy Hebard was in foul trouble for much of the night, as she played only 2:44 in the first half and received her fourth personal foul with 7:44 remaining in the third. While the Ducks played a sloppy first half (14 first half turnovers,) they were able to steal the game in the second when USC could not handle the zone.

The Lady Trojans jumped out to a 8-2 lead at the beginning of the first quarter, and Oregon’s sloppy play hampered its efforts throughout the period. Oregon turned the ball over 9 times and shot 30% from the field, while USC was not much better shooting 33%. Edwards scored 6 points for the Trojans, who took a 14-7 lead into the second quarter.

Things did not improve for Oregon in the second half. The Lady Ducks were able to play them even for the first part of the quarter, but USC began to pull away When Edwards hit a 3 with 5:26 remaining. Neither team was able to score for the next 2:45, when Dani Milisic hit a layup. A Courtney Jaco layup and 3 sandwiched a jumper by Sabrina Ionescu to close out the scoring, as Oregon saw USC lead 36-20. Oregon was led in the first half by Ionescu (9 points) and Lexi Bando (5 points.) USC was led by Edwards (17 points.) Oregon shot 39% in the first half and USC shot 42%. USC out rebounded the Ducks in the first half by 7.

As poorly as the played in the first half, the Lady Ducks played that well in the 3rd quarter. Oregon started off the quarter with a 15-2 run, fueled by Hebard (6 points.) Oregon cut the lead to 2 on a Bando 3 with 1:15 remaining, but a Jaco 3 pushed the lead back up to 5 to end the quarter with USC leading 43-38. Oregon outscored USC 18-7 even as Hebard sat upon receiving her fourth personal foul with 7:44 remaining in quarter.

Oregon was able to bring the lead down to 1 behind scores by Bando, Mallory McGwire, and Oti Gildon. The USC lead then vacillated between 1 and 3 points for much of the fourth quarter until Hebard converted an and 1 with 1:43 left to tie the game. That was quickly followed by layups from Ionescu and Hebard to give the Ducks a 4 point lead. A pair of free throws by Ionescu with 13 seconds left closed out the scoring as Oregon completed the comeback to win 59-53. Oregon turned the ball over 21 times but compensated by shooting 50% from the field and 40% from 3. USC finished shooting 33% from the field and 25% from 3. Oregon was led by Ionescu (17 points/7 rebounds,) Bando (14 points,) and Hebard(14 points in limited action.) USC was paced by Edwards with 23 points, but only 6 in the second half where Oregon outscored the women of Troy by 22 points. Next up the Lady Ducks visit the UCLA Bruins on Sunday at 1:00 PM.