The No.9 Oregon Ducks (24-4, 13-2) outlasted USC (17-9, 7-8) in an entertaining double-overtime duel that ended 80-74. The most memorable moment of this matchup was Lexi Bando's game-clinching triple that hit the rim, bounced above the board, tapped the back, and then sank through the hoop.
Although Bando's victorious three-pointer was certainly headline worthy, the thrilling battle between Oregon's Ruthy Hebard and USC's Kristen Simon stole the show. Perhaps Simon found a little more motivation knowing she was about to play Hebard, who leads her ever so slightly in many categories (Ruthy 17.8 PPG, Simon 17.5 / Ruthy 8.5 RPG, Simon 8.4.) Whatever her motives were, Simon turned in a remarkable performance in Eugene.
Hebard at 6'4 had a little bit of a height advantage over 6'2 Simon, though it was hard to tell as Simon was clearly the more aggressive offensive player. Her footwork and strength in the paint was effective to say the least; she scored 26 points and snatched 10 offensive rebounds, 15 in total.
Simon's sensational final four quarters could only be outshined by Hebard, whose heroic performance continued a historic run. Hebard outscored Simon by one point, and did so with far fewer shots from the field (Hebard 27 PTs, 12-12 FG, Simon 26 PTs, 9-21 FG). The two were paired against each other all night and Simon attempted to frustrate Ruthy by gesturing she was getting into her head after a particularly rough bucket. But Hebard's steady performance set a NCAA record by hitting her 30th shot in a row.
Maite Cazorla and Sabrina Ionescu also performed well, with 17 and 15 points respectively. Ionescu turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 8 times in what could be called an off night, though things are good when you can score 15 points and dish out 9 assists in an "off night". Cazorla (4-7 3PT) carried a lot of the Duck's early momentum with her deep ball, which was much needed after they only scored 5 points in the second. She even outscored the conference's leading three point shooter, USC's Aliyah Mazyck (18 PTs, 1-10 3PT).
Hebard's 30-30 record, which includes a perfect game against Washington State and a near perfect game against Washington, will have a chance to grow against No. 7 UCLA (21-5, 12-3) this Monday, at 7pm on the PAC-12 Network.