Lady Ducks bedevil Arizona State

The last home stand of the season got underway just the way the Ducks wanted as the Oregon women's basketball team defeated Arizona State 66-59 in front of 3,601 fans Thursday night at McArthur Court.

The win moves the Ducks into a three way tie with USC and Arizona for second place in the conference standings with a record of 17-7 overall and 10-5 in the Pac-10. Arizona State's record fell to 17-8 and 9-6.

Senior center Andrea Bills posted a double double on 14 points and 11 rebounds. Guard Brandi Davis led the Ducks in scoring with 16.

Amy Denson was the leading scorer for the Sun Devils with 16 and Emily Westerberg added 12.

In an up-tempo and inconsistently officiated game, the Ducks kept their focus and composure in the face of the full court pressure defense offered by Arizona State.

Both teams shot the ball well; Oregon was 23-for-48 (2-for-10 3pt) to finish at 47.9% for the game while ASU was only marginally worse on 25-for-55 (4-for-11 3pt) and 45.5%. Free throws were a significant advantage for the Ducks, who shot 18-for-28 and 65.4% compared to the Sun Devils' 5-for-9 and 55.6%.

Trailing for most of the first half, senior point guard Corrie Mizusawa assisted with a nice pass over the top of the defense to Andrea Bills for a lay-up and the first Duck lead at 23-21. It was a lead they would not relinquish. Two more field goals surrounding an Arizona State free throw and the first half ended with Oregon in front 27-22.

In the second half Oregon established a dominating presence on the boards, out rebounding ASU 24-15, which limited the Sun Devils to a single attempt, most possessions.

After Arizona State had narrowed the gap to one point with 11 minutes left to play, Oregon put together a 12-2 run over the next six minutes, stretching their advantage to 11 points.

The Sun Devils made on last push to within four points in the last minute of play before Oregon pushed the lead to the final margin of seven on free throws by Mizusawa, Catherine Kraayeveld and Kristen Forristall.

Freshman forward Gabrielle Richards provided a nice spark off the bench with two offensive rebounds and six points, helping the home team to maintain an inside presence when Bills was sidelined with foul trouble for portions of the second half.

The victory represents a nice step toward qualifying for the NCAA tournament, something the Ducks haven't accomplished since the 2000-01 season. Arizona, who defeated Oregon State 78-59 on Thursday night to remain in a second place tie with USC and Oregon, is up next for the Ducks with a 2:00 pm Saturday tip-off at McArthur Court. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Northwest.

Saturday will also be Senior Day as the team honors its three graduating seniors Catherine Kraayeveld, Andrea Bills and Corrie Mizusawa. Pac-10 play will conclude the following weekend with a trip to the Bay Area to take on Stanford and California before the Conference Tournament begins March 4 in San Jose.

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