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Oregon Bench Ready for the Spotlight, Ducks 79 - Utes 59

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One down, two to go.

Utah v Oregon Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - The 1-Seed Oregon Ducks (29-2, 17-1) survived a slow start to beat the 8-Seed Utah Utes (14-17, 6-12) in the quarterfinal of the PAC-12 Tournament by a score of 79 to 59.

Oregon overcame a sloppy start by utilizing their talented bench players in the second quarter. Sabrina Ionescu nearly recorded her 26th triple-double and the Ducks earned their ticket to the PAC-12 semifinals.

1ST HALF: Sabrina Ionescu scored the game’s opening bucket, but the rest of the first quarter felt unfamiliar as the Ducks finished the frame trailing the Utes 19 to 16. Oregon’s starters had a tough time finding their rhythm early on; Satou Sabally hit a triple that put the Ducks up 7 to 5, but the Utes rattled off seven straight points capped off by a Brynna Maxwell three-pointer that gave the 8-Seed a five-point lead with 3:43 left in the quarter. Dru Gylten hit a triple to give Utah a lead of six, their largest of the night, but five points by freshman Jaz Shelley in the final minutes made it a 19-16 game in favor of the underdogs.

Oregon’s big three scored just 11 points in the first quarter, so coach Kelly Graves elected to go to his bench. Jaz Shelley continued her scoring streak with a jumper, then Lydia Giomi took a pass from Sabrina Ionsescu on the fastbreak to reclaim the lead for the rest of the evening. Taylor Chavez and Sabrina Ionescu hit back to back triples during an 18-2 run that was fueled by the inspired play of bench players Giomi, Shelley and Chavez. Oregon hit eight triples in the second quarter, including a Ionescu shot from downtown that gave the Ducks a 45 to 29 lead at the half.

2ND HALF: Oregon was able to end the third with a 20-point lead, and a triple by Taylor Chavez to start off the fourth gave the Ducks their largest lead of the game at 65-42. Sabrina Ionescu fell just shy of a triple-double (19 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists) while her co-star, Ruthy Hebard, was held to just eight points on 4-of-5 shooting, and both players committed six turnovers that likely haunted their dreams that night.

Oregon’s bench players scored 20 points, highlighting a stark difference from last year’s squad at this point in the season. The Ducks’ depth has become a strength, which should bode well for the post-season and future of the program. Oregon takes on 4-Seed Arizona at 6 PM today in the PAC-12 Semifinals on the dreaded PAC-12 Network.

Utah v Oregon Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

OREGON DUCKS

*Sabrina Ionescu (34 min): 11 REB - 8 AST - 2 BLK - 2 STL - 6 TO - 2 PF - 8/15 FG - 3/6 3PT - 0/1 FT - 19 PTS

*Satou Sabally (29 min): 4 REB - 1 TO - 2 PF - 5/13 FG - 2/4 3PT - 5/6 FT - 17 PTS

*Erin Boley (27 min): 2 REB - 3 AST - 2 STL - 3 PF - 3/7 FG - 3/6 3PT - 9 PTS

*Ruthy Hebard (29 min): 9 REB - 3 AST - 1 BLK - 3 STL - 6 TO - 1 PF - 4/5 FG - 8 PTS

*Minyon Moore (24 min): 3 REB - 4 AST - 2 STL - 2 PF - 2/7 FG - 0/1 3PT - 2/2 FT - 6 PTS

Jaz Shelley (23 min): 1 REB - 2 AST - 1 TO - 3 PF - 4/5 FG - 2/3 3PT - 10 PTS

Taylor Chavez (22 min): 3 REB - 1 BLK - 2 STL - 2/5 FG - 2/3 3PT - 2/4 FT - 8 PTS

Lydia Giomi (10 min): 1 REB - 1 BLK - 3 PF - 1/1 FG - 2 PTS

Holly Winterburn (2 min):

Utah v Oregon Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

UTAH STARTERS

*Brynna Maxwell: 2 REB - 1 AST - 1 STL - 5 TO - 4/9 FG - 3/5 3PT - 1/1 FT - 12 PTS

*Dru Gylten: 4 REB - 4 AST - 2 STL - 3 TO - 2 PF - 4/9 FG - 1/3 3PT - 9 PTS

*Daneesha Provo: 3 REB - 1 AST - 1 TO - 3 PF - 2/6 FG - 0/3 3PT - 3/3 FT - 7 PTS

*Andrea Torres: 1 REB - 1 STL - 3 TO - 1 PF - 2/5 FG - 0/3 3PT - 0/1 FT - 4 PTS

*Maurane Corbin: 3 REB - 1/2 FG - 2 PTS

Utah v Oregon Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

GO DUCKS!


NEXT UP: 4-SEED ARIZONA

3/7, Saturday, 6 PM, PAC12 NETWORK