Ducks Win 4th in a Row

The Oregon Ducks (16-8, 7-5) have now won four straight games and moved into a tie for third place in the Pac-10 after a thrilling 82-81 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils at McArthur Court on Saturday.

The win put the Ducks a half-game in front of the Sun Devils and bumped the Ducks into a tie for third place with the California Golden Bears and the USC Trojans, who lost to the UCLA Bruins in Pac-10 action on Saturday.

"It's been a good weekend," Westhead said. "It was a good win for the

Arizona State (15-9, (7-6), which was coming off of a 62-49 win over the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis on Thursday, was led by guard Danielle Orsillo, who scored 29 points in 32 minutes of action. Sun Devil's center Becca Tobin chipped in with 20 points, but she was the only other Arizona State player in double figures. The Sun Devils were without starting point guard, junior Tenaya Watson, who missed her second consecutive game with a foot injury.

The Ducks struggled in the first half as they committed nine turnovers and dug themselves into several early deficits that they clawed their way back from. The Sun Devils started hot as they jumped in front to an 8-0 lead after just two minutes of play. The Ducks were scoreless until Taylor Lilley finally got Oregon on the board with a three-pointer after three minutes of play. The first half saw five ties and six lead changes and by halftime, the Sun Devils led the Ducks 44-43. Lilley, who hit three three-pointers in the first half, paced the Ducks at the break with 11 points. .

Oregon got off to another slow start in the second half after it turned the ball over on its first two possessions. The Sun Devils came out firing and put together a 12-4 run in the first five minutes of the half, but the Ducks, as they had done in the first half, fought their way back into the game with 12-0 run of their own. The run started after consecutive steals and layups by Lilley and Nia Jackson, and was capped off after Jackson stole an inbounds pass and found Lilley who isolated her defender and drained an NBA-range three-pointer with two second left on the shot clock to put the Ducks in front 59-58.

Lilley came up huge again throughout the half as she had another steal and three-pointer to extend Oregon's lead to 68-64, she then found Cocks on the perimeter for another three that put the Ducks ahead 71-64. Arizona State then pulled within one after two consecutive three-pointers by Orsillo with 3:30 left in the game.

"I was just kind of going with the flow, going with the game pace and coach ran some plays for me up top and I just read my defender on how they were playing me," Lilley said.

After Lilley went one-for-two from the line, the Ducks grabbed an offensive rebound and Lilley found Johnson for a deep three-pointer to stretch the Ducks lead to 75-70. After a Sun Devils basket, Cocks drained another three with 50 seconds left to put the Ducks up 78-72, but Orsillo got a lay in and was fouled by Kenyon. She missed the free-throw, but Arizona State got the loose ball and Tobin laid the ball in to make it 78-76, Ducks. Cocks scored Oregon's next four points as she knocked down four of her eight free-throws in the last seconds of the game. After two free throws by Orsillo, Sun Devils guard Deja Mann knocked down a three-pointer to make it an 82-81 game with .3 seconds left, but time expired when Oregon inbounded the ball to Cocks.

"The team played extremely hard despite giving up the advantage at the start of the game and the start of the half," Westhead said. "The second half, the final 15 minutes of the game is about as good and as hard as we played. We stepped up the press, got some steals [and] made shots."

Down the stretch, Oregon's 22 offensive rebounds and 31 second-chance points proved to be devastating for the Sun Devils, who were outrebounded 35-27 in the game. Westhead couldn't have been happier of the Ducks performance on the boards.

"We had 22 offensive rebounds. We've gone weeks with less than 22 for three or four games together," Westhead said. "[It was a] big turnaround especially when you're down and things aren't looking good. We got terrific offensive rebounding in the second half."

Lilley finished the game with 26 points on 10-for-21 shooting, including five three-pointers.

"She made some marvelous plays," Westhead said. "She's a marvelous player." Westhead also said that Lilley's key three-pointers really changed the momentum of the game.

Cocks finished the game with 20 points as she went 8-for-8 from the line, helping seal the victory for Oregon. Amanda Johnson, who hit a crucial three in the final minutes of the game chipped in with 13 points and seven rebounds.

Oregon shot just 39 percent in the game but scored 39 points off of the Sun Devils' 21 turnovers to go along with the 31 second-chance points.

"On the press, we really picked it up," Lilley said.

"Our full-court press has been the singular thing that has helped us do well. If the press isn't working, I think we would be in trouble," Westhead said. "The full-court defense has generated much of our scoring."

The Ducks now head to Palo Alto, Calif. to take on the no.2 Stanford Cardinal (22-1, 12-0) on Thursday and then head to Berkley Saturday Feb. 20, to take on Cal. The road trip is crucial in Oregon's fight to keep their post-season NCAA tournament hopes alive. Riding the four game win streak, and giving Stanford all they could handle in their matchup last month, the Ducks are budding with confidence and seem poised to make a statement on the Bay Area road trip.

"I think we're starting to realize our potential," said Amanda Johnson. "As a team, we're collectively coming together and realizing where we want to go and the fact that we can get there."

"I think we're going to be fine. I don't really care who our opponent is, we do not go anywhere with trepidation." said Westhead of the difficult road trip. "We have no problem going to Stanford and California. None."


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