EUGENE, Ore. — No. 6 Oregon's bid for a school-record 15th straight home victory this season ended thanks to a brilliant scoring barrage from Stanford senior Brittany McPhee, who scored the No. 24 Cardinal's last 19 points of the game in a 78-65 victory before 5,126 fans in Matthew Knight Arena on Sunday.
McPhee scored 31 of her career-high 33 points in the second half, handing the Ducks their first home loss of the season and creating a three-way tie atop the Pac-12 between Oregon, Stanford and UCLA. "The second half, we were on our heels," UO coach Kelly Graves said. "We weren't aggressive, didn't have that same energy or fire. And I always give credit to the other team; they're the ones that caused that."
How It Happened: At halftime, Oregon led 41-32, was shooting 50 percent, had a 23-13 edge on the boards and had held Stanford to .375 shooting — including just two points from McPhee. In the UO locker room, Graves offered his team a warning: McPhee was going to try and take over.
"She did," UO sophomore Sabrina Ionescu said. "And we didn't punch back. That's something we're going to continue to grow and learn from."
The Ducks (21-4, 10-2 Pac-12) established their biggest lead of the game at 43-32 when Ionescu hit a three-pointer to open the second half. That's when McPhee took over, scoring 11 of Stanford's next 13 points to spark a 20-5 run that ended in a Kaina Williams three-pointer for a 52-48 lead. Two trips later, the Cardinal used three offensive rebounds — one by Alanna Smith — to set up a three-pointer by Smith, part of Stanford's 21-13 rebounding edge in the second half.
Satou Sabally answered that three with one of her own, the only one she made in eight attempts. Other than Ionescu, the Ducks were 2-13 from deep, and players passed up a number of good looks late in the game as Stanford extended its lead.
"I think they kind of got us out of our flow, got us on our heels, and we got out of what we do," Ionescu said. "We got cold shooting the ball. … They gave us their best game; they know their scout. We had to be able to come out and take that and ride the roller coaster, and we didn't."
Ionescu provided the Ducks their last gasp early in the fourth quarter, making a three to keep Oregon within 59-57. From there, McPhee put on a show, scoring Stanford's last 19 points of the game by attacking the rim, hitting midrange jumpers off screens and adding her third three-pointer of the afternoon.
"We had everybody on her at different times," Graves said. "We just didn't give enough support. We were late on hedges, just a little slow. … She's a senior. That kid wanted to win the game, and she did."
The first half portended little of what was to come. The Ducks scored the first nine points, and led 11-4 when Stanford made a push to lead 16-14 after the first quarter. Oregon took control in the second quarter, going on a 20-10 run that began and ended with Maite Cazorla layups to lead 41-32 at halftime.
Who Stood Out: Ionescu led the Ducks with 22 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, and Ruthy Hebard added 16 points with eight rebounds. Sabally added 14 points despite going 1-of-8 from three-point range, and Mallory McGwire added seven rebounds.
Hebard went scoreless in the second half, missing her only attempt of the final two quarters. "We ran every special we had to get her open inside, and they double- and sometimes triple-teamed her," Graves said. "Unfortunately we weren't keeping them honest on the perimeter, so they could continue to do that."
What It Means: The Ducks dropped their sixth straight to the Cardinal, who remain the standard bearer for excellence in the Pac-12 Conference. Oregon will need to find vengeance in the conference tournament come March, as Sunday's game was the two teams' only meeting in the regular season.
Up Next: The Ducks play at Washington on Friday (8 p.m., Pac-12 Network).