Oregon (13-17, 6-13) came within .5 a second of beating the Washington State Cougars (17-13, 8-11) in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament on Thursday. As Katelyn Loper took a three-point shot, and hit it, after the buzzer sounded marking the end of the game.
The Ducks had the ball at the end of the game after Lia Galdeira missed the front end of a one-one free throw with 2.5 seconds left. Oregon pulled down the rebound and quickly lobbed the ball down the court to Loper in front of the Oregon bench; instead of catching and chucking up the shot, she took a fraction of a second to get set, which made the difference as time expired before she could get the shot off.
The fraction of second Loper took was the difference between the bucket counting, and it not…man, basketball is weird.
Washington State took control of the game with 12 minutes left when Galdeira hit a three-point shot to give the Cougars a 51-48 lead. The Cougars would outscore Oregon at a little over two-to-one clip over the next four minutes as they built a 61-53 lead with 6:17 left in regulation.
Then Loper hit a three pointer and forward Jillian Alleyne hit a lay-in to close within five of WSU. Another lay-in by Lexi Petersen made it a 63-60 game with 2:55 left.
On the Cougars next possession, Galdeira would hit a clutch three pointer to give Washington State its final score.
Oregon had been in control for the majority of the game, as the Ducks used superior three-point shooting in the first half to keep Washington State in the rear-view mirror. Loper and Lexi Bando played a major role in the Ducks building a five point halftime lead, 38-33.
The Ducks dominance continued out of the gate in the second half as they built up a 44-38 lead early in the second half. Fortunately for WSU, that lead didn’t last long as Galdeira hit several three pointers to give the Cougar offense control of the game.
Galdiera was the story of the game, despite the missed free throw, as the junior guard was deadly from beyond the arc — where she hit six shots. The junior scored 34 points while shooting 14-24 from the field, and 6-10 from three-point land.
Washington State will play the No. 2 seed Arizona State Sun Devils tomorrow at 11:30 am in the quarterfinal.
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