Los Angeles, Calif. – It wasn’t pretty, but the Oregon Ducks were able to overcome a poor first half performance to steal a victory away from the USC Trojans Friday night.
Freshman Sabrina Ionesu led three Oregon players in double figures, with 17 points. Sadie Edwards had 23 points for USC.
The Ducks entered halftime down 36-20, following a first half performance that saw them give up 14 turnovers. But they took control in the third quarter, turning the game into a tale of two halves. Their 15-2 run brought them to within three points before an Edwards jump shot ended it.
The hosts maintained control of the game until 1:43 remaining, when a jumper by Oregon freshman Ruthy Hebard tied it at 53. Hebard then stole the ball and found Ionesu, whose layup gave them the lead for the first time all night. The Trojans missed their next three shot attempts, sealing the win for the visitors.
Despite the poor first half performance, Oregon coach Kelly Graves was proud of his team’s performance in the second half.
“As uninspired as we played in the first half, we did just the opposite in the second,” he said.
“We have a bunch of character kids, and they played with a lot more pride and urgency in the second half. We took care of the ball much better, we shared it much better and I thought early on got the ball inside and got some easy baskets.”
Executing down the stretch was the problem for USC, according to coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke.
“We played with great intensity all game long. I just don’t know that we kept our focus on the things we needed to get done,” she said. “We weren’t able to get the important baskets that we needed.”
“We’ve got to execute on both ends of the floor.”
The Trojans were without leading scorer and rebounder Kristen Simon, who has taken an indefinite lead for personal reasons. Reserves Aliyah Mazyck and Marguerite Effa are out with injuries.
Oregon travels to UCLA Sunday, while USC hosts Oregon State.