Dec. 20, 2001
Los Angeles, Calif. - The University of Oregon held off a furious second-half UCLA rally to capture the Pac-10 season-opening game for both teams by a score of 76-67 Thursday evening in Pauley Pavilion. UCLA utilized a full-court press for most of the second half to help force 22 Oregon turnovers in the period and sliced a 25-point Duck lead to just two with in the game's final minutes. Oregon made its last five free throws of the game and hit a couple of key baskets to seal the win.
The Bruins trailed 43-25 at halftime after Oregon outscored them 22-5 to end the first half of play. After the Ducks went on to score the first seven points of the second half, UCLA trailed 50-25 with 18:00 to play in the game. Oregon still led 59-39 with 8:58 to play before the Bruin full court press began to produce results. UCLA scored the next eight points in the game to narrow the margin to 59-47 just a minute later.
Oregon held on to a 65-55 advantage with 2:55 to play when the Bruins once again outscored the visitors 8-0 and closed to within two points, 65-63, with 1:28 remaining on the clock. Duck sophomore forward Cathrine Kraayeveld made a layup and converted a free throw with 1:09 to play to make it 68-63 Oregon. After a UCLA turnover, Kraayeveld was fouled and hit both free throws with 44 seconds to play, which made the score 70-63.
UCLA sophomore forward Whitney Jones made two free throws to cut the gap to five points at the 30 seconds mark. Senior guard Jamie Craighead then made a layup and a free throw after breaking the UCLA press to give Oregon a 73-65 lead with 29 seconds remaining. UCLA junior guard Natalie Nakase's basket with 11 seconds to play made it 73-67. Oregon then closed out the game on junior guard Shaquala Williams' basket and free throw, which made the final score 76-67 in favor of Oregon.
Oregon senior guard Edniesha Curry led all scorers in the game with 22 points, all in the first half of play. Williams added 16 points and seven assists for the Ducks. Kraayeveld poured in 12 points and grabbed a game-high total of seven rebounds. Oregon upped its record to 6-4 on the year and 1-0 in Pac-10 play.
UCLA junior forward Kristee Porter paced the Bruins with a season-high 18 points. Three other Bruins were in double figures in points tonight. Jones, Jalina Bradley and Gennifer Arranaga each totaled 10 points. It was Bradley's fourth straight game in double figures. Jones added five steals.
"We pressed in the first half, but it was not effective, as Oregon beat it, and we did not make baskets to help set it up," said Bruin head coach Kathy Olivier. "In the second half we started to make some shots and set up the press, and Oregon became a little hesitant. Early in the game, we just did not make our shots from our plays. We must do a better job of finishing."
"We made some character plays at the end of the game," said Oregon head coach Bev Smith. "When UCLA began to come back on us, we stopped attacking and started reacting."
The Bruins will host Oregon State on Saturday at Noon in Pauley Pavilion.