LOS ANGELES – Oregon mounted a momentous comeback but came up just one bucket short as No. 4 seed Arizona narrowly escaped to the quarterfinals of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament with a 90-89 victory over No. 9 seed Oregon on Wednesday afternoon at the Galen Center.
Freshman point guard Ariel Thomas willed Oregon to erase what was a one-time 18-point second-half deficit as the Sacramento native scored a career and game high 29 points in the highest scoring game in the history of the Pac-10 Tournament.
The Ducks end their season with a 13-17 record, while Arizona (20-10) moves on to play in the quarterfinals.
Thomas’ 3-pointer with 2:13 to play gave Oregon its first lead, 87-86, since the early moments of the first half. Thomas then came right back at Arizona on the next possession with a lay-in as the Ducks took an 89-86 advantage.
But back-to-back Oregon miscues led to two lay-ups from Arizona’s Soana Lucet. The Ducks turned the ball over leading to Lucet’s first two-point bucket and junior Amanda Johnson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free-throw opportunity leading to Lucet’s go-ahead basket as the Wildcats led 90-89 with 14 seconds to play.
Oregon freshman Deanna Weaver was fouled on UO’s next offensive play, but missed two free throws, although Oregon had one more chance with an offensive board, but Thomas’ 3-point attempt from the top of the arc was short as the final buzzer sounded.
In addition to her game and career high 29 points, Thomas dished a career-high tying and game-high six assists – all in the second half. Thomas' 29 points were also the most any Oregon women's basketball player has scored in a Pac-10 Tournament game.
After shooting 34.9 percent in the first half, Oregon shot 52.5 percent (21-of-40) in the second period.
Johnson added 25 points and 11 rebounds for Oregon, recording her eighth double-double of the season. Freshman Danielle Love posted the first double-double of her career with a career-high 11 points and also a career best 13 rebounds. The Everett, Wash., native also matched a career high draining three 3-pointers.
Love’s second trey of the game finally brought Oregon within single digits as Arizona led 68-61 with 8:53 to play. The Wildcats were able to build up a 10-point lead again, but Love knocked down her third basket from long distance as Oregon closed, 75-68 with 6:37 to play.
Arizona was led by the duo of Lucet and Davellyn Whyte, who scored 23 points apiece while Ify Ibekwe recorded the 13th double-double of her season with 19 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Wildcats shot 45.5 percent (35-of-77) from the floor, and outscored Oregon 52-46 in the paing while scoring 26 points off the Ducks’ 21 turnovers.
Oregon finished the season losing 11 of its final 12 games, missing All-Pac-10 Conference selection Nia Jackson for nine of those contests.
Thomas led all scorers with 15 first-half points, but Oregon couldn’t compete with Arizona’s .537 shooting percentage (22-of-41) from the floor as UO trailed 51-36 at the break.
Oregon led 12-6 in the first half, but the Wildcats executed a 14-0 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers to take the lead away.
Arizona knocked down five 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes, and Whyte led Arizona with 14 points.
Notes: Oregon is now 4-10 all-time at the Pac-10 Tournament since 2002, and 0-3 at the Pac-10 Tournament since it was moved to the Galen Center in 2008…UO is 0-2 when playing the Wildcats at the Pac-10 Tournament...senior Victoria Kenyon played in the 117th game of her career, tying with Alison Lang for the 10th all-time at Oregon…Wednesday’s game was the final for Oregon’s six seniors, Nicole Canepa, Kristi Fallin, Candyce Flynn, Ellyce Ironmonger, Victoria Kenyon and Tatianna Thomas...Oregon's 89 points were the program's most since scoring 90 in an 96-90 loss at Washington State on Feb. 5.