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Lady Ducks Outlast Buffs 71-66

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional-Duke vs Oregon Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon Ducks defeated the Colorado Buffaloes 71-66 at Matt Court tonight. Ruthy Hebard had a monster game for the Lady Ducks, tallying 19 points and 11 rebounds. Maite Cazorla added 14 points and 6 assists. The Lady Buffs were led by Kennedy Leonard’s 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. Both teams played a sloppy game for much of the night as they combined for 30 turnovers and 45 fouls. Oregon trailed for most of the first half, but was able to open up a small advantage midway through the third quarter which they never relinquished.

The Lady Ducks jumped out to a 6-2 lead to open the first quarter behind Mallory McGwire (4 points) and Hebard (4 points.) But Oregon would score 4 more points in the quarter, as the game devolved into a slopfest. Both teams combined for 10 turnovers and 10 fouls committed. Colorado managed to tie the game up with 3:28 remaining behind an Alexis Robinson 3, and took the lead behind free throws from Haley Smith and Leonard. A Lexi Bando layup with 23 seconds left brought Oregon to within 1, and the quarter ended with the Lady Buffaloes leading 11-10.

Oregon and Colorado traded 3’s by Smith and Bando to open the second, and the Lady Ducks briefly took the lead 17-16 after Oti Gildon’s layup with 7:46 to go. Unfortunately Oregon didn’t clean up their play in the second, turning the ball over 5 more times and eventually falling behind by 8. A pair of scores by Sierra Campisano sandwiched around a Jacinta Vandenberg layup salvaged the quarter for Oregon, who trailed Colorado 31-29 at the half. McGwire was the leading scorer in the first half, putting up 6 points and grabbing 4 rebounds. Sabrina Ionescu (8 minutes) and Hebard (8 minutes) were limited by foul trouble in the first half. Leonard (7 points,) and Smith (6 points,) and Makenzie Ellis (6 points) led the way for the Buffs, who made 5 3-pointers in the first half.

The Ducks and the Buffs went back and forth to start the third quarter, before Hebard took over, scoring 9 points during an 11-0 run to take the lead, which the women of Oregon would not relinquish. A pair of Ionescu free throws with 57 seconds remaining were her first points of the game. Hebrad scored 10 points in the quarter, and Oregon had a 49-45 lead going into the fourth.

Colorado battled throughout the 4th quarter, but were never able to get the lead under 3. Oregon played their cleanest quarter of the game. Ionescu scored 6 points in the quarter, as did Cazorla, and Hebard added 5. Ellis and Zoe Beard-Fails fouled out in the Lady Buffs comeback attempt. The Ducks will face the Utah Utes on Sunday at 1 PM at Matt Court.