Craighead, Kraayeveld Lead Ducks To Win

Wednesday night in Seattle, Washington, the University of Oregon Ducks women's basketball team beat the University of Washington Huskies for the third time this season, but none of those wins were as big as this one. Oregon's 77-73 win allows them to advance to the Final Four of the WNIT.

If the first half against Oregon State on Saturday seemed ebb and flow, it was nothing compared to tonight's opening period. Both teams failed to put a run together of more than six points in a row, and five times the game was tied, although Washington never led. The Ducks finished the half with a 45-39 edge on the Huskies.

Oregon's Catherine Kraayeveld finished the half with 16 points and eight rebounds, two points away from her career high. Her strong shooting helped the Ducks to a 51% field goal percentage in the half.

"(Catherine Kraayeveld) played an awesome game," Alissa Edwards told OSN after the game. "She was rebounding when no one else was."

After an Andrea Bills free throw that gave the Ducks a 46-39 lead to open up the second half, the Huskies went on a 12-0 run. During the streak, Washington forced many Oregon turnovers which repeatedly led to Husky baskets. A Catherine Kraayeveld three pointer ended Oregon's dry spell which lasted nearly five minutes. With fourteen minutes to go, Washington led 51-49.

The Huskies put together another run, this one 7-0 to take a 62-57 lead with just over five minutes left. Soon after an Andrea Lalum field goal that put Washington up 66-60, Washington Head Coach June Daugherty was assessed a technical foul for arguing a call with official Mike Price. Oregon's Jamie Craighead made both free throws and momentum shifted.

"We weathered a storm when Washington came at us real hard in the second half there," Oregon Head Coach Bev Smith told OSN.

From then on out, it was the Jamie Craighead Show, live at the Bank of America Arena. Craighead drilled four of her five three pointers down the stretch. Twice giving Oregon the lead and silencing the Washington crowd of 2,779.

"Jamie was in the zone," Smith said. "She's a shooter and when a shooter is in the zone, nothing can take them out of it."

After Craighead's three that put Oregon up 76-73, Washington's Giuliana Mendiola air balled a three point attempt and Ednisha Curry grabbed the rebound for the Ducks, sealing Washington's fate.

Washington's top scorers for the game were Andrea Lalum with 21 points and nine rebounds, Giuliana Mendiola with 18 points and seven rebounds and Loree Payne who had 15 points and six rebounds.

Leading the way for the Ducks was Catherine Kraayeveld who posted a career high with 26 points. Kraayeveld also added 12 rebounds in 37 minutes for the Ducks. Jamie Craighead finished with 17 points and seven assists in 34 minutes. Alyssa Fredrick had 11 points.

The Ducks were able to pull this one out even with Andrea Bills battling a cold and without Courtney Shreve who has strep throat. Tonight's win was the 500th in the history of the program.

Next up for the Oregon Ducks are the Michigan State Spartans who defeated Alabama to reach the Final Four. The game will be played Saturday night at 7:00 at Mac Court in Eugene, Oregon. Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at 8:00am.

"Come on out and see these athletes, they deserve it," Smith said. "These women are playing for pride and representing the university. If we get a big, loud crowd and win, we have a very good chance to host a National Invitational Tournament Championship game next week."

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