by Rob Moseley
EUGENE — For the second straight season, Washington State is the cure to what ails Oregon, as the UO women's basketball team beat the Cougars 82-66 on Friday at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Ducks (10-8) won their first Pac-12 game of the season after six straight losses. Last season, Oregon's only two conference victories came against Washington State.
Oregon went up 18 early in the game, at 29-11, then allowed WSU to tie it 35-35 early in the second half before pulling away again. The Ducks eventually led by as much as 17 in the second half, at 80-63.
"I think we were just playing better basketball tonight," UO coach Paul Westhead said. "I don't think it was the opponent, and we took advantage. We played better team basketball."
Jillian Alleyne fell just short of her second career 20-20 game, scoring 21 points and grabbing 19 rebounds. Chrishae Rowe overcame an early shooting slump to lead Oregon with 24 points, and Danielle Love came down with a career-best 14 rebounds.
The Ducks played without Ariel Thomas for the second straight game due to an ankle injury. And for the second straight game in her place, Lexi Petersen played point guard much of the night and tied her career high with six assists.
"I was really just trying to distribute to my teammates," said Petersen, who added 13 points and overcame nine turnovers. "They were all running for me, so I figured I'd reward them with some baskets."
The Ducks used primarily a trapping zone defense to hold WSU guards Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley to 30 points. The duo came into the game averaging a combined 37.9 points per game but finished a combined 7-of-30 from the floor.
With the Cougars (11-8, 5-2) hanging around midway through the second half, Oregon got three-pointers from Petersen, Love, Petersen again and finally Katelyn Loper to go up 61-50. WSU never got back within single digits of the UO women.
"It feels so good," Petersen said. "It's like we finally got the monkey off our back. We played as a team and ran 'The System' the way we're supposed to."
The Ducks and Cougars traded baskets to open the second half, with WSU forging a tie a 35-35 on a Presley layin. Oregon quickly surged back ahead with two free throws by Alleyne and a tic-tac-toe play featuring Petersen passing to Rowe, who passed off to Alleyne for an and-one layin.
Oregon scored 10 straight for a 45-35 lead before the Cougars answered again.
"Honestly, I didn't even see it was tied at 35," Alleyne said. "At that point we were going to keep doing what we were doing, and not freak out or panic like we've done in the past."
The UO women started hot but then went ice cold late in the first half, ultimately taking a 33-28 lead into the break. Following a Rowe basket with 7:09 left, the Ducks didn't get another field goal until Rowe scored again with 19 seconds left, and WSU capitalized with a 17-4 run.
The Ducks committed seven of their 15 first-half turnovers during the run, and also went 2-of-5 from the free-throw line. Both Rowe and Megan Carpenter missed the front end of a one-and-one situation, while five Cougars hit from the field to close the gap.
The Ducks took command early on with an 11-0 run capped by a three-pointer and then a layin from Petersen, putting Oregon up 20-7. Love, Rowe and Carpenter also scored during the run, during which the UO women forced five WSU turnovers.
Washington State got on the scoreboard first with a three-pointer by Dawnyelle Awa, but Alleyne quickly converted at the other end to spark a 9-0 run for the Ducks. Loper put Oregon up for good in the first half with a three-pointer to make it 5-3, and Rowe added a steal and layup during the run.
WSU Postgame Notes: Oregon has more wins against the Cougars than any other team in the NCAA (61-14 all-time record)...The Ducks have beaten Washington State four straight times…Oregon’s only two wins in Pac-12 play last season were against Washington State…Oregon is now 8-0 this season when shooting 40-percent or better…Danielle Love set a new career-high with 14 rebounds…Lexi Petersen matched her career-high with six assists for the second straight game and set a new career-high with six rebounds…Jillian Alleyne posted her 28th career double-double with 21 points and 19 rebounds…Her 28 career double-doubles ties her with Catherine Kraayveld and Arianne Boyer for sixth all-time in school history...She has 16 double-doubles this season and 14 straight…Oregon ended the game on a Oregon led by as much as 18 points in the first half, at 29-11 with 7:09 left before the break, but Washington State ended the half on a 17-4 run and the Ducks led by just five, 33-28, at halftime…Over the last seven minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half, the Ducks scored 11 points…Oregon had a 34-20 edge on rebounds in the first half…Danielle Love and Alleyne each had 10 rebounds at halftime…Washington State didn’t reach double figures in scoring until a Lia Galdeira layup with 9:31 left in the first half…After Washington State tied up the game, 35-35, with 16:29 in the second half, Oregon responded with a 10-0 run to take a 45-35 lead with 14:35 to play…Oregon hit four straight three-pointers in the second half as Lexi Petersen sank two while Love and Katelyn Loper each added one.