EUGENE – Arizona’s Ify Ibekwe and Soana Lucet proved to be too much for the Oregon women’s basketball team, combining for 53 points to send the Ducks to an 88-65 setback in the regular season finale at Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday.
Oregon (13-16, 4-14) finishes the regular season ninth in the league standings and will play fourth seed Arizona (19-10, 10-8) in the first round of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament on Wednesday.
Ibekwe led all players with 31 points and 15 rebounds, Lucet scored 22 points and Brooke Jackson (16 points) also cracked double figures for UA.
Ariel Thomas led UO with 12 points and five assists while Danielle Love and Elyce Ironmonger tied for the team lead with six rebounds.
UA went up by 11 on a pair of free throws early in the second half, but a Kristi Fallin three made it 43-35 at the 2:14 mark. An 8-0 Arizona run made it a 15-point game, a deficit that was cut to 50-40 on a pair of Nicole Canepa free throws with 13:47 left.
Arizona grabbed its largest lead of the day by scoring nine-straight points, seven of which came from Ibekwe on a buzzer-beating three and a pair of layups, to make it 59-40 with 12:10 to play to put the game away. The Wildcats led by as many as 23 points, their final margin of victory. The Ducks never led in the game.
Oregon got off to a cold-shooting start, missing its first seven shots before an Ariel Thomas jumper four and a half minutes in. The UO defense kept UA from building more than a five-point during the offensive struggles and a Deanna Weaver bucket tied the contest up at 7-7 at the 5:01 mark.
An 8-0 run by the Wildcats snapped a 9-9 tie and put them up 17-9 before an Ashley Buis three cut the deficit to five. After Oregon got within 22-17, Arizona went on a 12-3 run to make it 34-20 with 6:01 left in the opening stanza.
The Ducks responded with a 10-1 spurt of their own to get back within five as Weaver hit a jumper, Victoria Kenyon drained a three, Nicole Canepa made a pair of free throws and Thomas converted a three-point play to make it 35-30.
The score was 37-32 and Arizona had possession with less than a minute remaining in the first half when Soana Lucet converted a layup and Ify Ibekwe made two free throws to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 41-32 at the break. Ibekwe led all scorers with 15 points in the first 20 minutes while tying a game high with nine rebounds. Thomas and Weaver each scored seven points to tie for the Oregon lead.
Arizona shot 43.7
percent for the game and 51.4 percent in the second half while Oregon
countered with 26.9 percent shooting. UA nearly matched its efficiency
from three-point range, draining 9-of-21 (42.9 percent) trifectas
against UO’s 9-of-27 (33.3 percent) mark from beyond the arc. The
Wildcats held a 56-42 advantage in rebounding while the Ducks won the
turnover battle, forcing 21 Arizona miscues against only 16 of their
own. Both teams shot well at the free throw line, UA made 17-of-20 (85
percent) from the charity stripe and UO hit 14-of-17 (82.4 percent).
Wednesday’s Pac-10 Tournament game against Arizona will tip off at 2:15 p.m. at the Galen Center.
The Ducks’ six seniors all saw action in their final regular season game…Kristi Fallin drained 3-of-5 three-pointers for nine points, Tatianta Thomas finished with six points, Nicole Canepa contributed five points on 5-of-6 free throw shooting, C andyce Flynn tied a career-high with four points, Victoria Kenyon totaled three points and Elyce Ironmonger scored three points and led Oregon with six rebounds…Ariel Thomas (12 points) scored in double figures for the second straight game (first time this season) and seventh time this season…Oregon used 14 players, 12 of whom scored...Oregon shot under 30 percent (26.9) for the fourth time this season... Arizona swept Oregon in the regular season series for the first time since 2004.