SEATTLE, Washington — The Oregon Ducks kept it close against the Stanford Cardinal before fading in the second half, falling 71-56. Oregon shot the ball at a 14.3% clip in the fourth quarter, dooming any efforts at posting a second consecutive upset in the Pac-12 Tournament. Sabrina Ionescu and Maite Cazorla led the Ducks with 14 points apiece, and Mallory McGwire added 10 points and 5 rebounds. Stanford was paced by Erica McCall (17 points and 15 rebounds,) Brittany McPhee (15 points,) and Kaylee Johnson (11 points and 12 rebounds.) On the bright side USA Today has finally taken some photos of the Women’s Basketball team, so at least we have that going for us.
Stanford began the game on an 8-2 run behind 5 points from Johnson. Then Oregon capitalized on its size advantage, dumping the ball into McGwire for 8 points. A pair of buckets by Oti Gildon helped as well, and the Ducks took a 9 point lead into the second quarter, 25-16. Shooting went Oregon’s way, 50% to Stanford’s 38.9%.
The Cardinal were able to tighten up their paint defense, holding McGwire scoreless in the quarter and drawing a second personal foul on Ruthy Hebard early on. And three pointers by Karli Samuelson and Alanna Smith helped erase Oregon’s first half advantage. A McPhee 3 and layup, followed by a Smith layup gave the Cardnial a 36-34 lead. Sabrina Ionescu scored 5 points in the quarter, but finished the first half with only 1 assist, and the Ducks ended the half on a 2-11 shooting skid.
And then the rebounds all went Stanford’s way, as the Cardinal out-worked the Ducks for 5 extra caroms in the third. Hebard began the quarter with a layup, but she failed to score again in the quarter and McGwire’s first, and last, basket of the half came with 19 seconds left. In between McCall, Briana Roberson, and Johnson scored multiple baskets for Stanford, who led by as much as 7 points. Cazorla made 2 three pointers to keep the game respectable, but the Cardinal kept a 53-47 advantage into the fourth quarter.
And then the wheels came off for the Ducks. After a pair of Hebard free throws, Stanford scored 9 straight points to take a 13 point lead. Oregon was never able to put a dent in the scoring, and Stanford was able to walk away with a 15 point lead and a date with the Oregon State Beavers in the title game. Oregon will await its fate at the hands of the NCAA selection committee, but they have probably secured a bid with the wins over Arizona and Washington earlier in the tournament.