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Arizona women escape Oregon in first round of Pac-10 tournament

Arizona forward Soana Lucet (right) embraces guard Brooke Jackson at the end of the game.
Photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

The Arizona women’s basketball team advanced to Thursday’s second round of the Pac-10 tournament with a 90-89 victory over Oregon on Wednesday.

The Wildcats, seeded fourth, move on to play USC, which defeated Washington State on Wednesday.

Arizona and USC, which split two games this season, will play at 6:15 p.m. Tucson Time at the Trojans’ Galen Center in Los Angeles.

With the victory over the Ducks, Arizona reached 20 wins for the first time since the 2004-05 season.

The Wildcats scored a tournament-record 51 points in the first half, built an 18-point second-half lead … and then had to rally after falling behind by three points with 1:55 to go.

“It’s March and that clearly showed today,” Arizona coach Niya Butts said in a press release.

β€œIt was a tale of two halves for us. We had a solid first half for us even though we didn’t do a great job on the boards. My anticipation for us is that we would come out in the second half by tightening up, rebound the basketball and I think it got worse.

“We didn’t guard the three-point line well in the second half and I think we gave up eight three-pointers. I’m very happy with the win because in March it is about surviving games.”

Soana Lucet and Davellyn Whyte each scored 23 points for Arizona. Lucet scored the game’s final four points, including a layup with 14 seconds left.

Ify Ibekwe had 19 points and 15 rebounds. Ibekwe was selected the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday. She and White were chosen to the 15-player All-Pac-10 team.

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