March 1, 2003
Los Angeles, CA - UCLA senior guard Michelle Greco scored on a jump shot in the lane with 6.1 seconds remaining to break a 54-all tie and give the Bruins a 56-54 win over Oregon before a crowd of 5,029 in Pauley Pavilion. With the win, the Bruins recorded their first series sweep of the Ducks since the 1997-98 season. UCLA finishes the regular season with a 17-10 overall mark and a 12-6 record in Pac-10 play, good for fourth place.
Greco, who led all scorers in the game with 18 points, tied the game at 54-all with a jump shot with 56 seconds remaining. Oregon, which had led by as many as 13 points in the second half (39-26 at 15:04 of the second half), called two timeouts before Cathrine Kraayeveld missed a shot in the lane with 35 seconds to play. Jamila Veasley pulled down the rebound for UCLA with 34 seconds to play and UCLA put the ball in the hands of Greco. The senior, who was playing her last home game of her career, dribbled the clock down to about 10 seconds before driving into the lane for her game-winning shot. After a timeout, the Ducks brought the ball into the frontcourt and got two inbounds opportunities as loose balls went out of bounds under their basket. After the final inbounds play, Kraayeveld missed a shot at the buzzer, and Bruins had the win.
"I could not have drawn it up any better," said Greco. "I had the ball in my hands with the clock ticking down. It is the storybook ending to my final game at home."
Oregon, which led 28-22 at the half, went on an 11-2 run to start the second half. UCLA utilized a full court, pressing defense most of the second half, forcing 14 second-half Oregon turnovers, and slowly began to cut into the lead. A Greco free throw with 3:43 remaining gave the Bruins their first lead of the second half at 50-49. There were four ties and four lead changes after that, as neither team led by more than two points during the final 3:43 of the contest.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday, March 8 in the Pac-10 Tournament at San Jose, CA. The Ducks, who finished the regular season with a 12-15, 8-10 record, were led in the game by Andrea Bills, who scored 15 points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds.
"We got off to a poor start today," said Oregon head coach Bev Smith. "We wanted to get the ball inside but settled for the first outside shot. Once we figured that out, we played as we needed to play. It was frustrating that we played tentative instead of attack against their pressure. But, despite all that we had our opportunities, but did not finish.
Note: The UCLA-Oregon women's basketball game on Saturday featured a special promotion to help raise money for the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA. With the crowd of over 5,000 answering the Coach's Challenge, UCLA head coach Kathy Olivier donated $1,000 to the Hospital.