EUGENE - Oregon battled back from a 13-point second half deficit to tie the game late, but USC closed out the last 1:57 of clock on a 10-0 run, handing the Ducks an 88-78 loss on Friday night at Matthew Knight Arena.
Oregon was led offensively by Chrishae Rowe, who had 28 points and seven boards, while Jillian Alleyne recorded her 21st double-double of the season with 19 points and 24 rebounds.
Alleyne now has 376 rebounds on the season, matching both the Oregon and Pac-12 single-season record. Bev Smith set the UO mark of 376 during the 1980-81 season, when Oregon women's basketball competed in the Northwest Basketball League. The Pac-12 record is also 376, set by Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogwumike during the 2009-10 campaign.
Ariel Thomas added 15 points, four rebounds and four assists.
“At the three minute mark when it’s a tie game or you’re up two or down two, you play to win the game,” head coach Paul Westhead said. “That means defend, take good shots at the end and it means get fouled and make free throws. I have to do a better job (late in games), and I haven’t."
Rowe was fouled on a three-point try and knocked down all three free throws to tie the game up at 78-78 with 2:21 remaining. But USC went on a 10-0 offensive spree after calling a 30-second timeout with 1:57 on the clock. The Ducks went cold in that stretch, going 0-for-7, from the floor in the final two minutes.
“At this point, I feel like all the players know exactly what the problem is and it's that we break down on the defensive end sometimes in the final minutes,” Rowe said. “Moving forward, we just have to look within ourselves because it's nothing that coach Westhead can do. He can't go out there and play defense for us. It's us. Either we're going to wake up and fix it, or it's going to be a tough ending to the season.”
“I think with any loss there's frustration," Thomas added. "But we're right there so it's not like we need to panic. It's just a matter of being able to close it out and keep doing the things we need to do to stay in the game and get ahead.”
USC led by as much as 13 points in the second half, but after an Alleyne offensive rebound, Thomas knocked down a three-pointer to tie up the game, 64-64, with 6:50 left to play. The Ducks then took their first lead of the second half, 68-66, on a Lexi Petersen layup with 6:03 remaining in the game.
After an 18-minute delay due to arena lights going off in the opening minutes, the Ducks and Trojans exchanged buckets that included four lead changes. With Oregon leading 30-23 and 6:08 remaining in the first half, USC went on an 18-2 tear to take the 41-32 lead heading into the break.
Despite a 21-8 advantage in points off turnovers and a 29-19 edge in second chance points, Oregon’s meager 17.6 shooting percentage from downtown and a six-point differential in free throws made the difference.
The Ducks continue Pac-12 play at 4 p.m. on Mon., Feb. 17, at Matthew Knight Arena as they host UCLA.
Play 4 Kay: The Ducks wore white uniforms with pink trim and pink shoes as part of the #Play4Kay event, which was started by the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in honor of Kay Yow. Oregon sold $2 raffle tickets at the game for a chance to win a pair of the pink shoes the Ducks wore against the Trojans. Another pair is available for bidding on www.OregonAuthentic.com. Proceeds from both will go to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
USC Postgame Notes: Jillian Alleyne moved into a tie for both the UO and Pac-12 single-season rebounds records with 376 boards this year...Alleyne recorded her fourth 20+ rebound game of the season and third 20-20 game with 24 boards and 19 points…Alleyne posted her 21st double-double of the season and 33rd of her career early in the game…Alleyne had 12 points and 16 rebounds at halftime…Alleyne entered the game averaging a NCAA-leading 15.3 rebounds per game and she eclipsed that average in the first half alone against USC…Oregon had a 30-23 lead with 6:08 left in the first half but USC went on an 18-2 run to end the half and led, 41-32, at the break…USC led by as much as 13 points in the second half, but after an Alleyne offensive rebound, Ariel Thomas knocked down a three-pointer to tie up the game, 64-64, with 6:50 left to play…The Ducks took their first lead of the second half, 68-66, on a Lexi Petersen layup with 6:03 remaining…Danielle Love fouled out with 4:03 left in the game…After the three free throws by Chrishae Rowe tied the game, 78-78, with 2:21 left, USC finished the game on a 10-0 run to get the win…Rowe tied the school record for the second time this season with 32 field goal attempts…She also did it against California in overtime.