Eugene, OR -- The Ducks undoubtedly took charge in the first quarter on their home court. With a basket by Maite Cazorla and a LONG three by Lexi Bando, the Ducks were up a quick 5-3 to kick the game off.
The Ducks played their defense well, holding Stanford to 38% shooting in the first quarter. Within the quarter, the Cardinals were 1 in 7 for field goals, and their three fouls within the first five minutes continued hurt them more.
Within three minutes in the second half of the quarter the Ducks went on a 6-0 run, and with what would have been a big play by Lexi Bando turned into offensive foul within the final seconds, which failed to put points on the board but kept the Ducks leading at the end of the quarter, 18-12.
Stanford began to wake up a bit in the second quarter, as Karlie Samuelson got a quick layup for the Cardinals. Lili Thompson got her first points of the night as she drove to the basket for a three-point play, and though she missed her free throw, the Cardinals were quick to go on a 4-0 run. Thompson continued to heat things up with a big three, gaining speed on the Ducks to tie the score at 19-19.
"They did a great job of attacking when we were out of position defensively, I mean Lili did an awesome job attacking our bigs," Oregon coach Kelly Graves noted after the game.
The game remained tied as the teams went back and forth until Kat Cooper, Lexi Bando and Jordan Loera all sunk huge three's to get Oregon back on top. Oregon was shooting 55% from the three-point line, going six for eleven.
Though Oregon gave three fouls in the quarter, Stanford struggled to coin from their free throws as they missed all three opportunities, only making 1/5 in the first half. Though Thompson gained a jumper within the final two seconds of the quarter to help the Cardinals, the Ducks maintained their lead going into the second half, 36-32.
Both teams were scoreless with fouls within the first minute and a half of the quarter until Samuelson grabbed a layup. However Lexi Petersen, in turn, responded with another three for the Ducks, and the team maintained their strong defense running the shot clock down on the other end of the floor. Kaylee Johnson was able to bring the score back down to a 3-point difference, but once things were starting to look good for the Cardinals it kept turning around.
The Ducks were doing exceptionally well rebounding, and they were able to turn their offensive rebounds into more shot opportunities. With a rebound by Alleyne, Petersen was able to get another huge three.
The three-point spree did not end there as it was nothing but three's for both teams for two minutes. The Ducks were ahead by nine with 3:28 remaining, but with the driving power of Samuelson, Johnson, and Marta Sniezek, the Cardinals were able to close the gap down to four points to end the quarter, 50-46.
The three's didn't stop there for Lexi Bando as she was nothing but net with her fourth 3-pointer to outset the final quarter. Stanford continued to give up fouls, which turned into points for the Ducks as they were 63% from the line.
Thompson was able to pick up five points in less than a minute to close the gap down to a close two, which Lexi Bando, in turn, did her thing as she did all game, sinking in another from the 3-point line. However Stanford would not go down without a fight, and with back-to-back layups from Johnson and Roberson, the game came to it's closest yet with 3:59 remaining at 61-60.
Tensions were high, and it was do or die time.
Both teams scrambled on the floor as the Ducks tried to maintain their lead while the Cardinals fought to get ahead. The ball kept going up and down the court until Jillian Alleyne stayed under the basket catching her own rebounds for three attempts to score until she drew a foul on Johnson.
With a successful free throw, the game was at 62-60 with 52 seconds remaining. With Stanford in possession, Lili Thompson drove to the basket for a possible 3-point play, but missed her free throw, which tied the teams. With Oregon in possession, Thompson blocked the ball and stole it away as she drove it to the other end of the court, making a layup with only three seconds remaining.
Once more " pic.twitter.com/VH05qtp6fI— Stanford WBB (@StanfordWBB) January 16, 2016
Fans grabbed their heads as the Ducks regrouped with the final two seconds to score. Kat Cooper grabbed the ball to make the final attempt for the Ducks, but fell short, as the Cardinals grabbed the win, 64-62.
"(We) didn't make the plays that were necessary. Got to hand it to Stanford, those kids know how to win. We're still learning. But I'm proud of our effort, proud of our hard work, and proud of the kids' character," said Graves.
"We had our opportunities, we had shots around the rim, we had several tough turnovers. I obviously didn't make the right calls when we needed it. The funny thing is we play two-minute games ... we play last minute games every single day, and it didn't look like it."
He continued, "we're 0 and 5. Bottom line. The reality is I think we've shown we can play with anybody; we just gotta close the deal."
Samuelson was the leading scorer for the Cardinals with 18 points. Thompson collected 16 points and 7 rebounds in the night, followed by Johnson with 16 points, 6 rebounds.
Lexi Petersen led the Ducks with 17 points and 6 rebounds, while Lexi Bando collected 15. Alleyne closed the night with only 5 points, but rebounded well with the game high of 14 rebounds.