Belmont women knock off Oregon 73-70 in double OT in NCAAs

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Destinee Wells knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:02 left in double overtime, and the Belmont Bruins knocked off No. 5 seed Oregon 73-70 Saturday for their second straight win as a 12 seed to open an NCAA Tournament.

Belmont (23-7) upset 14th-ranked Gonzaga in the Texas bubble last year in the women’s NCAA Tournament. With plenty of Lady Vols’ fans hanging around to cheer a fellow Tennessee school, the Bruins won their 13th straight and 19th in their last 21 games overall.

They will play fourth-seeded Tennessee, an 80-67 winner over Buffalo, on Monday in the second round.

This was the first double-overtime game in the NCAA Tournament since Dayton and St John’s in the first round in 2013. This was a thriller from start to finish with 10 ties and Wells’ go-ahead free throws was the seventh lead change and the only time Belmont led in the second overtime.

After Wells split two free throws with 4.5 seconds left, Oregon had a final chance. But Sedona Prince’s long 3 bounced off the rim as the Bruins rushed the court to hug each other and Prince hung her head in dejection.

Oregon had the ball for much of the final minute in the second overtime and couldn’t get a shot to fall.

The Ducks won a jump ball situation with 29.8 seconds remaining. They kicked the ball out to Endiya Rogers whose 3 hit off the far rim, and Madison Bartley got the rebound with 6.5 seconds left to start the Belmont celebration.

The Bruins led 50-44 lead with 5:02 left in the fourth before Oregon rallied with a 9-3 run capped by Te-Hina Paopao’s 3 from the left corner with 7.9 seconds left tying it up at 53. All Pac-12 forward Nyara Sabally blocked Nikki Baird’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer to force overtime.

Both teams had a chance to win at the end of the first overtime tied at 64. Sabally missed a layup in the final seconds before the All-Pac-12 forward blocked a couple inside chances by Bartley before the buzzer.

Tuti Jones led Belmont with 22 points, making all four of her 3-pointers. Wells finished with 16, and Conley Chinn added 10. The Bruins came in 20th in the nation knocking down an average of 8.4 3s per game. This time, they set a program record making 12.

Oregon (20-12) snapped a streak of five straight wins in the first round of the tournament under coach Kelly Graves. The Duck also snapped a streak of four straight Sweet 16 berths after being one of only six teams to make the regional semifinals each of the last four tournaments.

Sabally finished with a career-high 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Te-hina Paopao added 18.

Belmont set the tone early taking a 9-2 lead with three 3s and led 13-8 after the first quarter. Oregon led 28-26 at halftime and 40-36 after the third.

BIG PICTURE

Belmont: The Bruins came into the tournament with a NET ranking of 50 and had the sixth-most difficult non-conference schedule in the country. They beat Mississippi early in the season and and also played Georgia Tech, Louisville, Auburn and Arkansas.

Oregon: The Ducks had been very strong in the fourth quarter this season, outscoring teams by an average of 19 to 14.5 points a game.

Oregon’s Richardson to miss Pac-12 tournament with illness

Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports
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EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon will be without guard Will Richardson for the upcoming Pac-12 tournament because of an illness.

Richardson is averaging 14.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists a game. He will not travel with the team to Las Vegas for the tournament, Oregon announced Tuesday.

A senior, Richardson did not play in the team’s regular-season finale at Washington State on Saturday because of the illness. The Ducks lost 94-74.

Fifth-seeded Oregon plays No. 12 seed Oregon State to open the league tournament Wednesday.

No. 2 Stanford women rally to beat Oregon 66-62

Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK
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EUGENE, Ore.- Stanford snapped out of its funk against the Ducks just in time to stay unbeaten in the Pac-12.

Haley Jones scored 18 points and the second-ranked Cardinal rallied in the fourth quarter to remain undefeated in the conference with a 66-62 victory Sunday over Oregon.

Jones made a layup while falling to the ground and added a free throw with 36.4 seconds left to put the Cardinal up 63-60. Stanford (23-3, 14-0) hung on for its 15th straight win.

“We knew that we weren’t playing our best basketball, but we were able to snap out of it, focus on one another and stay tight,” said Jones, who had 10 of her points in the final quarter.

Te-Hina Paopao had 23 points, including four 3-pointers, for Oregon (18-9, 10-5).

Stanford extended its winning streak over Pac-12 opponents to 29 straight games, including the postseason. The defending national champions have won four straight against Oregon.

The Cardinal had clinched the team’s 25th overall Pac-12 regular season title on Friday with an 87-63 victory at Oregon State.

The Ducks led by as many as 10 points in the first half and went into the break up 36-31. Stanford closed within a point heading into the fourth quarter, but three consecutive 3-pointers, one from Sydney Parrish and a pair from Paopao, pushed Oregon to a 56-46 lead with 8:08 remaining.

Jones made a pair of layups to pull Stanford within 60-58 before Cameron Brink’s basket tied the game at 60 with 2:15 to go.

Jones’ falling-down layup and free throw put the Cardinal up 63-60, but Nyara Sabally made a pair of free throws to pull Oregon within a point. But the Ducks ultimately fell short.

“We didn’t give up. I’m really proud of our team’s resilience, our determination,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We just stayed with it.”

Oregon was assessed a technical foul before the opening tip because of the LED lighting on one of the basket stands working improperly.

The Ducks jumped out to a 14-10 lead after the first quarter in a game that was physical from the start. Oregon was hurt by six turnovers in the period, but held the Cardinal to 2-of-17 shooting from the floor.

The Ducks extended the lead to 23-13 on Paopao’s 3-pointer. An 11-4 run got the Cardinal within 34-31, but Paopao closed out the half with another 3.

Sedona Prince’s layup pushed Oregon’s lead to 43-35 in the third quarter and Stanford struggled to close the gap until Agnes Emma-Nnopu’s corner 3-pointer got the Cardinal within 47-46 going into the final period.

“Tonight’s game was fun. The energy was insane. Stanford is a great team, they have a lot of talent, they play really well together,” Prince said. “And we’re learning, we’re still young. We’re going to keep working.”

BIG PICTURE

Stanford: Stanford has won 12 straight road games. … Russell Wilson, the older brother of Stanford’s Anna Wilson, and his wife Ciara were at the game. Afterward, they chatted with VanDerveer outside Stanford’s lockerroom.

Oregon: Prince announced on social media on Saturday that she would return to Oregon for another season next year. She’ll also pursue her master’s degree. … On senior day for the Ducks, junior Sabally was honored, so she won’t be back for her final season with the Ducks.

ROUGH NIGHT

Kelly Graves was in Spokane, Washington, on Saturday night to watch his son start for No. 1 Gonzaga. Unable to get a flight that would get him back to Eugene for pregame, he made the seven-hour drive.

He joked on Twitter: “If you have my number, feel free to call me w/jokes, interesting anecdotes, etc any time throughout the night. Gotta stay awake!”

Graves broke down after the game, praising his staff for preparing the team and allowing him “to be a dad.”

UP NEXT

Stanford: Hosts Washington State on Thursday.

Oregon: Visits Colorado on Wednesday.

No. 8 Arizona shuts down No. 19 Oregon for 63-48 win

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TUCSON, Ariz. – Arizona coach Adia Barnes celebrated with her team, looked down to the Oregon bench and waved.

It was a different kind of salute than she had for Oregon coach Kelly Graves in the teams’ first meeting last month. A different result, too.

Cate Reese scored 13 points and No. 8 Arizona shut down No. 19 Oregon for an emotional 63-48 victory in front of a raucous crowd on Friday night.

“We definitely had something to prove because we lost to them in the last one,” said Arizona guard Shaina Pellington, who had seven points and four assists.

The Wildcats (16-3, 6-3 Pac-12) and their fans were hyped up for the rematch of a trash-talking, middle-finger-waving game that Oregon won in overtime three weeks earlier.

Arizona hounded Oregon (14-6, 7-2) defensively all night, scoring 22 points off the Ducks’ 21 turnovers while holding them to 36% shooting, including 2 of 15 from 3.

The Wildcats also came to life offensively in the second half, pulling away for a resounding win that had 10,413 fans roaring in approval.

“It was going to be a tough win anyway coming down here and you just hope that you compete a little bit better than we did,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said.

Endyia Rogers led the Ducks with 17 points, and Nyara Sabally added 15 despite twice going to the locker room holding her stomach in the second half.

Oregon rallied from 17 down in the teams’ first game on Jan. 15, when the Ducks beat Arizona 68-66 on Rogers’ jumper with 0.4 seconds left.

Graves had some heated words during that game for Barnes and she responded by giving him the middle finger when it was over, for which she later apologized. Barnes also was reprimanded by the Pac-12 for saying her team got “homered” by the officials during her postgame news conference.

Graves and Barnes patched things up just before tipoff Friday night with a long discussion and a hug. Then, their teams went toe to toe.

Oregon harassed the Wildcats into 3-of-12 shooting from 3 and blocked six of their shots in the first half.

Arizona hounded the Ducks into 12 first-half turnovers, leading to 14 points. The Wildcats caused a few by blitzing the ballhandler on high pick-and-rolls, but Oregon was careless with the ball, too, causing Graves to bury his head into his hands.

Arizona had a pair of 8-0 runs to lead 30-24 at halftime.

“Last time we played them, we handled it (the pressure) pretty well after that initial wave and I thought we learned from it,” Graves said. “I thought we handled pressure well against Arizona State as well. We just didn’t tonight.”

The Wildcats found some gaps in Oregon’s defense in the third quarter, hitting 9 of 17 shots and using a 13-4 run to go up 51-35. The Ducks continued to struggle against Arizona’s pressure, turning it over six more times.

Madison Conner opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and Arizona continued to make shots, hitting 14 of 28 in the second half to put the game out of reach.

“It was a great crowd, great energy, the white-out game – it was the perfect situation to protect home court,” Barnes said.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon struggled with Arizona’s pressure and had nothing left to mount a comeback like it did in the first game.

Arizona had been anticipating this rematch since the first game ended and played with the intensity of a revenge game.

STOPPING PAOPAO

Te-Hina Paopao had a big night in the first go-round against Arizona, scoring 24 points. The Wildcats put a point of emphasis on stopping her in the rematch and the sophomore guard struggled.

Led by Pellington, Arizona held Paopao to five points on 2-of-5 shooting with four turnovers.

“We had a good game plan for her and I think we executed it well,” Pellington said. “We had a defensive plan for her specifically because of the last game and we were successful.”

GOOD TALK

Barnes and Graves went at each other in the first meeting, but didn’t let it linger into the second game. They spoke for more than a minute before tipoff, seemingly smiling (they had masks on) the whole time.

“We’re competitive,” Barnes said. “It’s something where I don’t take it personally, he doesn’t take it personally, we don’t care. We wished each other luck and talked about the crowd and stuff.”

UP NEXT

Oregon: Plays at Arizona State on Sunday.

Arizona: Hosts Oregon State Sunday.

No. 10 Oregon dominates Idaho State 91-34 to open season

Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK
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EUGENE, Ore. — Sedona Prince had 18 points before sitting out the fourth quarter of No. 10 Oregon’s season-opening 91-34 rout of Idaho State on Tuesday night.

Ducks forward Nyara Sabally scored 14 points and had four rebounds before an apparent foot or ankle injury in the third quarter. She was helped off the court by coach Kelly Graves and initially went to the locker room, but returned to the bench to watch the fourth quarter.

The injury is a potential blow to the Ducks, as Sabally averaged 12.9 points and 7.3 rebounds last season. Graves said afterward the game he believes Sabally will be OK.

Callie Bourne had seven points for the Bengals, who trailed by as many as 57 points. Idaho State was 2-of-25 from 3-point range and shot 22.6% overall.

Oregon shot 61% overall and at one point went on a 21-0 run.

“We wanted to come out, and not come out slow and not have a rough start to the season. I think this team could go very, very far,” Prince said. “And I hope that we proved that to everyone in the country tonight.”

The victory extended Oregon’s winning streak over nonconference teams at home to 43. It was the first time in 19 months that the Ducks had played in front of fans at Matthew Knight Arena because of coronavirus restrictions.

“Right from the get-go, I thought defensively we were on point. Offensively we wanted to get the ball inside early and often. We did that early in the game and then it just started to snowball a little bit,” Graves said. “But I thought this was a complete game. We played both ends of the floor well tonight.”

Idaho State finished last season 22-4 and were the Big Sky regular season and tournament champions before losing to Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Oregon finished last season 15-9 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, falling to Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen.

Oregon jumped out to a 13-0 lead on Tuesday, including eight points from Sabally. The Bengals were clearly outmatched as the Ducks pushed the lead to 39-7.

Oregon led 50-20 at the break and the rout was on.

“We just knew what we wanted to do. We had patience on offense, and just were scrappy on defense. It was pretty it was really fun to play, honestly. I had a blast,” Prince said.

The two teams had met seven previous times, with the Ducks winning all seven.

The Bengals have played five other ranked teams since 2009-10, and the only win – and first victory over an AP Top 25 team – was against No. 25 Washington in 2017.

BIG PICTURE

Idaho State: The Bengals finished 11-0 at home last season, only the second time in school history with a perfect home record. … It was the 125th career game for Estefie Ors, setting a new program record. … None of the Bengals scored in double figures. … It was the third-largest margin of defeat in team history.

Oregon: The Ducks have been ranked in the AP Top 25 in each of the last 77 rankings dating back to 2017-18. … Oregon outscored the Bengals 27-6 in the opening quarter alone. … Maddie Scherr finished with 14 points and five assists.

UP NEXT

Idaho State: Hosts Park University on Saturday.

Oregon: Hosts Dixie State on Sunday.

Gonzaga is No. 1 in preseason AP Top 25; UCLA, Kansas next

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Gonzaga carried a No. 1 ranking all last season before falling a win short of becoming college basketball’s first unbeaten national champion in 45 years.

Mark Few’s Bulldogs start this season in the same position, hoping to complete that final step this time around.

The Zags were the runaway top choice in The Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball preseason poll released Monday. They earned 55 of 63 first-place votes to easily outdistance No. 2 UCLA, which earned the other eight. Kansas, Villanova and Texas rounded out the top five, while reigning national champion Baylor checked in at No. 8.

The Zags have accomplished just about every milestone possible in 23 years under Few other than cutting down the nets on the final Monday night of the season. They came close to completing the first unbeaten run since 1976 last year with a wire-to-wire No. 1 team, only to fall to the Bears in a one-sided final in Indianapolis.

Now they’ll try again.

“It is quite an honor to be selected preseason No. 1 for the second consecutive year,” Few said in a statement to the AP. “Our returning players realize the challenge of playing up to that level all year and look forward to it.”

Gonzaga lost AP All-Americans Corey Kispert and Jalen Suggs to the NBA, but second-team selection Drew Timme (19.0 points, 7.0 rebounds) and starting guard Andrew Nembhard return. The Zags also bring in a top recruiting class featuring the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in 7-footer Chet Holmgren and a five-star guard in Hunter Sallis.

Going back to the 2019-20 season, the Zags have now been ranked in the top three for 32 straight polls, with 22 of those at No. 1.

THE TOP TIER

Third-year coach Mick Cronin has UCLA on a fast climb.

Leading scorer Johnny Juzang (16.0 ppg) headlines a Bruins roster that returns nearly intact after last year’s run from the First Four to the Final Four, where they lost to Gonzaga on a half-court shot in an overtime classic.

They are starting with their first top-10 preseason ranking since 2009 and their first top-10 ranking in any AP poll since spending 13 weeks there during the 2016-17 season.

“If we taught anybody anything last year,” Cronin said this month, “your seed or your ranking does not matter come tournament time.”

Kansas has the program’s 10th straight preseason top-10 ranking, followed by the Wildcats and Longhorns, who open their first season under Chris Beard with the program’s highest preseason ranking since 2010.

THE CHAMPS

Baylor has a second straight top-10 preseason ranking despite losing four starters from last year’s title winner, including AP All-Americans Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell. The Bears will try to join Duke (1991-92) and Florida (2006-07) as the only schools to win consecutive titles since UCLA’s run of seven straight from 1967-73.

“As we’ve talked with our team,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said, “we have a unique opportunity.”

BLUEBLOODS BACK?

Duke and Kentucky are starting with their typically high rankings after seasons unlike many in their tradition-rich histories.

The ninth-ranked Blue Devils are playing the final season under retiring Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski. They’re coming off a 13-11 season that included missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995.

The 10th-ranked Wildcats are right behind them after a 9-16 season, the program’s first losing record since 1988-89.

Then there’s North Carolina, which made the NCAA Tournament but was inconsistent all season and out of the Top 25 before Christmas. The Tar Heels open at No. 19 in their first season under Hubert Davis, promoted after the retirement of Hall of Famer Roy Williams in April.

WELCOME BACK

St. Bonaventure is ranked for the first time in more than five decades. The Bonnies from the Atlantic 10 are No. 23, marking the first time they have been ranked since January 1971. That season was also the last time the program was ranked in the preseason (No. 20).

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Big Ten and Southeastern conferences have a national-best five ranked teams each.

The Big Ten has No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 Purdue, No. 11 Illinois, No. 17 Ohio State and No. 21 Maryland. The SEC has No. 14 Alabama, No. 16 Arkansas, No. 18 Tennessee and No. 22 Auburn joining Kentucky.

The ACC is next up with four, with No. 20 Florida State and No. 25 Virginia joining Duke and UNC. The Big 12 has its Kansas-Texas-Baylor trio, while the Pac-12 (UCLA and No. 13 Oregon), Big East (Villanova and No. 24 Connecticut) and American Athletic Conference (No. 12 Memphis and No. 15 Houston) are the others with multiple Top 25 teams.

WATCH LIST

The top unranked teams are all from power conferences, headlined by Michigan State as the leading vote-getter. Next up is Indiana under first-year coach Mike Woodson, Southern California and Arizona under new coach Tommy Lloyd.