The Oregon women's basketball team lost at home for just the second time this season, falling to the Washington State Cougars 85-84 in overtime on Sunday. Endyia Rogers went off for 33 points and had a few timely steals to send the game to OT and to give the Ducks a chance to win it there, but was out-dueled by a Cougs' team that had five scorers in double-figures.
Despite a reinvigorated Matthew Knight Arena ready to welcome the Ducks after the men's basketball team got a huge win over No. 9 Arizona the night before, it was the visiting Cougars who had the upper hand to star out.
Six-foot-three Washington State center Bella Murekatete got the first two buckets of the game in the paint. Then three different Cougars knocked down three's, and suddenly it was 13-3 in less than four minutes of play. The Ducks' only points came from an and-one layup from Grace VanSlooten.
But after a well-timed timeout from Oregon head coach Kelly Graves, his team got more comfortable. Rogers knocked down a pair of layups, and the first quarter ended on a high-note with freshman Chance Gray splashing a three-pointer. The Ducks ended the first quarter down 19-14 despite shooting just 27.8% from the field in the quarter.
The Ducks followed Gray's cue in the second quarter and caught fire from beyond the arc. Ahlise Hurst knocked down a fast-break three to start the fun, followed by Rogers hitting from downtown.
But it was Gray who stole the show, nailing three three-pointers in the second quarter to inspire a 12-2 run. The excitement halted at the end of the half, as both teams went scoreless for the final two minutes of the second quarter. The Ducks took a 38-29 lead into halftime.
Coming out of the break, it was Murekatete and the Cougs' turn again. Murekatete took the game right at Phillipina Kyei, who couldn't keep up with her pace of play, to the tune of eight third quarter points including six straight to force a timeout and bring the score to 43-41 Oregon.
When the going got tough, it was Rogers who single-handedly kept the Ducks afloat. She was the only Duck to score in the third, scoring 13 points on three three-pointers and a beautiful double-clutch layup to give the Ducks the 51-50 lead heading into the final period.
Again, coming out of the gates, it was Washington State in control. Washington State had outscored Oregon 13-2 halfway through the fourth quarter and forced a Graves' timeout. Star guard Charlisse Leger-Walker woke up for six points in the period.
Things got hectic to end the game as the Ducks rallied back. Rogers knocked down a long three, immediately got the steal and found Hurst who knocked down a half-court buzzer-beater. However, Graves called timeout before the shot was off. Luckily for the Ducks, Grace VanSlooten was fouled and knocked down both free throws to send it to overtime.
With five extra minutes, the Cougs jumped out to a four-point lead. But a huge Te-Hina Paopao three and another Rogers steal gave the Ducks one last chance. But the Cougs clamped up one last time and forced a Paopao missed layup to finally dethrone the Ducks 85-84.
Next up for Oregon is a trip to Corvallis to face their in-state rivals in Oregon State next Friday.
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