The Oregon Ducks came back from 6 down in the fourth quarter to defeat the Temple Owls 71-70. Ruthy Hebard connected on a short jumper with 7 seconds remaining, and then blocked a layup attempt by Feyonda Fitzgerald as time expired to seal the victory. The freshman forward finished with a team high 23 points to go along with 7 rebounds. She was aided by Mallory McGwire (13 points and 10 rebounds,) and Sabrina Ionescu (16 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists.) The Owls were led by Alliya Butts (28 points on 50% shooting from beyond the arc,) and Fitzgerald (16 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists.)
Neither team could gain an advantage in the first quarter. McGwire scored 8 points for Oregon in the quarter, and she was on point with her mid-range jumper. The Ducks pounded the ball into the paint as well, garnering 6 points from Hebard, all from close range. Temple countered with Butts, who hit four jumpers in the quarter to finish with 9 points. A last second layup by Oti Gildon finished the scoring, and Temple took a 2 point advantage after one quarter, 20-18.
A pair of threes by Maite Cazorla and Ionescu to start the second, followed by scoring from Hebard helped push the Ducks out to a 6 point lead. Oregon would eventually take a 7 point lead after a free throw by Hebard, but Temple would score 6 straight points behind a pair of Ruth Sherrill layups and a Butts jumper to go into halftime down one, 35-34. Oregon’s trio of starting guards was MIA in the first half, shooting 2/12 for 6 points, but they had held Fitzgerald to 4 points as well.
Then Fitzgerald and Ionescu started to warm up. The Owl guard opened the scoring with a layup. Ionescu would make her second three of the game a short time later, and a jumper gave Oregon a 2 point lead, the last they would see until late in the fourth quarter. Temple 8 straight points, and outscore the Ducks 18-10 over the final 6 minutes to take the lead 58-52.
Oregon clawed its way back into contention using jumpers by Gildon and Ionescu, and a Hebard and 1. Lexi Bando’s three pointer with 4:56 remaining tied the game at 62. Ionescu put the Ducks up by 1 with a made jumper, but Fitzgerald answered with a jumper and a pair of free throws to give Temple the 3 point advantage with 1:17 left. Ionescu scored 4 consecutive points on a pair of jumpers for a one point Oregon lead. Fitzgerald then drained a mid-range jumper with 16 seconds left to put the Owls up by 1. McGwire found Hebard near the hoop, and the freshman drained a short jump hook with 7 seconds left. One blocked layup later, and it was all over.
Up next Oregon will face the winner of the Duke/Hampton game on Monday in Durham.