News from the Associated Press
AAA Mar. 18, 2017 10:39 PM ET
Hebard lifts Oregon past Temple 71-70 in women's 1st round
By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer
Teammates hug Oregon's Ruthy Hebard (24) following Hebard's late shot to give their team a 71-70 win over Temple during a first-round game in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Ruthy Hebard hit the biggest shot of the year for Oregon — then got her hand on the final shot of Temple's season.
"I was kidding Ruthy, this might be the best 5 seconds of her life," Ducks coach Kelly Graves said.
Hebard hit a jumper with 5.5 seconds remaining, then blocked the Owls' layup at the buzzer to preserve Oregon's 71-70 victory on Saturday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
She finished with 23 points and Sabrina Ionescu added 16 points to help the 10th-seeded Ducks (21-13) win a wild game that had three lead changes in the final 30 seconds and advance to Monday night's second-round matchup with second-seeded Duke.
Alliya Butts scored 28 points and Feyonda Fitzgerald added 16 for the seventh-seeded Owls (24-8), in the tournament for the first time since 2011. Fitzgerald put Temple up 70-69 with a jumper with 14.3 seconds remaining.
Oregon called a timeout and dialed up a play the Ducks had repeatedly run for Ionescu. This time, Graves said, he wanted the ball in Hebard's hands.
Mallory McGwire delivered a perfect high-post pass to Hebard, who hit the go-ahead jumper from the edge of the lane.
"I just felt that they were going to give (Ionescu) some added attention, and that Ruthy might be open kind of slipping to the basket," Graves said. "Both defenders kind of went with Sabrina."
The Owls were out of timeouts so they inbounded the ball to Fitzgerald, who then raced coast-to-coast but Hebard got a piece of her last-gasp layup attempt at the buzzer.
Hebard said she "just swung my arm and hoped I didn't foul," while Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said she had no regrets with how the game ended.
"We're going to live and die with her taking the last shot," coach Tonya Cardoza said.
McGwire finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Oregon, which overcame a rough night from 3-point range to win the opener of its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005.
Lexi Bando, who makes a Division I-best 50 percent of her 3-pointers, was 0-for-4 from long range for the Ducks before her 3 from the corner tied it at 62 with just under 5 minutes left. It was a one-possession game the rest of the way.
Oregon: The Ducks entered as the nation's second-best team from 3-point range, hitting nearly 40 percent of their attempts. They were just 4 of 16 against a Temple team that allows its opponents to shoot just 30 percent from long range.
"We grinded it out, we got stops when we needed to," Ionescu said. "We made big shots down the stretch even though our shots weren't falling like they usually do."
Temple: Ruth Sherrill, a 6-foot forward who had four double-figure scoring games all season, had 10 points by halftime but was held scoreless and missed all five of her shots after halftime while going up against one of the tallest frontcourts in Division I.
"They're a lot bigger than they look on film," Cardoza said.
Butts was 12 of 19 from the field and hit all four of Temple's 3-pointers. "When I started shooting, shots started falling," she said, "so I continued to shoot the ball."
NOT FRESHMEN ANYMORE
Oregon's three double-figure scorers — Hebard, Ionescu and McGwire — were all freshmen, and they combined to take 45 of the Ducks' 67 shots. "I don't think we consider ourselves freshmen anymore," said Ionescu, the Pac-12's freshman of the year. "We have to step up to the level of competition."
HE SAID IT
Graves said he was so impressed by Temple's guards that "I would have bought season tickets" to watch them play.
Oregon: Plays second-seeded Duke on Monday night in the second round of the Bridgeport Regional.Associated Press