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WBB Recap: Ducks Pull Away Late, Beat Utes 73-61

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Oregon Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon Ducks pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the Utah Utes 73-61. Ruthy Hebard led Oregon with 16 points (15 in the second half) and 7 rebounds. Mallory McGwire added 14 points in 17 minutes, and Ionescu pitched in 11 points/6 rebounds/9 assists. Utah received career nights from Malia Nawahine (23 points on 5-7 shooting from 3,) and Tanaeya Boclair (19 points.) The Ducks’ front court players spent much of the game in foul trouble, but otherwise played a clean game outrebounding Utah 41-30 and scoring 10 more points off of turnovers.

McGwire’s strong play against USC carried over into the first quarter, as the freshman scored 10 points in the frame to lead the Ducks. It looked like this game might turn into a blowout after McGwire drained consecutive jumpers to give Oregon a 12-4 lead. Utah would fight back to within 2 on baskets by Boclair and Emily Potter, but Lexi Bando would score 7 consectuive points to close out the frame and give Oregon the lead 21-13.

The Ducks threatened to blow the game open in the second, as Ionescu converted a 3 and a layup to stretch the lead to 34-19. Hebard and McGwire received their second personal fouls within 30 seconds of each other midway through the quarter, after which Boclair began her parade to the free throw line. The guard would get 7 attempts, converting 6 over the final 4:44 of the half to get Utah back into the game. Her 3 pointer with 9 seconds remaining cut the deficit to 7, and Oregon would take a 37-30 lead into halftime.

The Utes would cut further into the Duck lead at the start of the third until Hebard began to put in some work. The forward scored 9 points in the period to keep Oregon afloat against a trio of threes from Nawahine. Potter failed to convert the and 1 at the end of the quarter and Oregon led by 8, 55-47.

Justine Hall played some valuable minutes in the fourth quarter, scoring 7 points in the first 4 minutes. Her 3 pointer gave the Ducks a 17 point advantage, and Oregon cruised to a 12 point victory 73-61. Up next the Ducks will travel to Boulder to face the Colorado Buffaloes on Sunday at 11 AM.