LOS ANGELES – After overcoming a slow first quarter, the No. 9 ranked Oregon women's basketball team held on to defeat USC, 70-66, on Friday night at the Galen Center.
The Ducks (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12) won their sixth straight game overall and fourth straight against the Trojans.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Oregon missed its first five shots and neither team scored until Satou Sabally went coast-to-coast for a layup with 6:52 left in the first quarter. USC ended the quarter on an 8-0 run and Oregon trailed, 14-7, going to the second. The Ducks went just 2-of-14 from the floor in the first and 1-of-10 from three. They also turned the ball over 10 times in the opening 10 minutes.
As cold as they were in the first, the Ducks came out hot in the second. Oregon made four straight shots, capped by a Sabally three-pointer, to cut the USC lead to just three, 19-16, with 6:57 left in the second. Maite Cazorla hit a three-pointer to tie it up, 24-24, with 3:07 left before halftime. Oregon closed out the second quarter on an 8-0 run and owned a 29-24 lead at halftime. After shooting 14.3 percent in the first quarter, UO shot 58.3 percent in the second.
Oregon led by as much as 10 in the third quarter, when Cazorla hit a three-pointer with 4:23 to go in the quarter to make it a 44-34 lead. But USC chipped into the lead, and Oregon took a 52-45 lead into the fourth quarter.
USC clawed back, tying the game up, 62-62, with 1:52 left to play. But Cazorla hit a big three-pointer to put the Ducks back on top. USC trimmed the Oregon lead to just one, 65-64, with 1:14 remaining but Ruthy Hebard scored inside and Sabrina Ionescu hit three of her final four free throws to put the game away in the final seconds.
COLD START, STRONG FINISH: After shooting 2-of-14 from the field in the first quarter, the Ducks went 21-of-35 over the final three quarters.
BOX SCORE: Maite Cazorla finished with a team-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-8 from three-point range. Sabrina Ionescu (16 points), Lexi Bando (12) and Ruthy Hebard (11) also finished in double figures. Aliya Mazyck had a game-high 21 points for the Trojans.
UP NEXT: No. 9 Oregon remains in the city of angels for a 5 PM tip on Sunday at No. 14 ranked UCLA. Pac-12 Networks will air the game on the national channel, plus Pac-12 Oregon and Pac-12 Los Angeles.
Story provided by UO Athletics.