Oregon survives slow start, beats USC 70-66
For the first time in eight years, the Ducks are 3-0 to start conference play after No. 9 Oregon (14-2, 3-0) came away with a 70-66 win at Southern California (10-4, 0-3).
Maite Cazorla, who doubled her season scoring average, had 18 points and six assists on 7-of-12 shooting. She and three other Ducks had double-digit points in the win.
Oregon struggled in the first quarter, committing 10 turnovers while shooting 2-of-10 from the field. Prior to this game, the Ducks were 2-11 at USC, and after the first quarter it seemed to be heading the same way as history with Oregon trailing 14-7.
Cazorla and Ionescu led a 13-5 run at the start of the 2nd quarter.
Though Oregon committed 20 turnovers in the game, head coach Kelly Graves was happy with how the Spaniard controlled the game.
“She kept the ball,” Graves told the Pac-12 Network. “She was more patient.”
USC senior forward Kristen Simon was a force in the paint with 18 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Minyon Moore had 16 points, seven assists and six steals.
Ruthy Hebard played restricted minutes due to foul trouble, but came up with critical baskets for Oregon late in the game. She scored six of her 11 points in the final quarter.
Ionescu hit two free throws with 21 seconds left to boost the lead 69-64, though she struggled from the field, shooting 27 percent. Nine of her 16 points came from the foul line, where she was 9-of-10 from on the night.
Oregon will stay in Los Angeles to take on UCLA on Jan. 7.
Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august
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