Ionescu, No. 6 Ducks beat Bruins in semifinals
SEATTLE — Sabrina Ionescu had 17 points and No. 6 Oregon scored the final 10 points to rally for a 65-62 victory over No. 9 UCLA on Saturday night in the Pac-12 semifinals.
UCLA opened a 62-55 lead on Kennedy Burke's jumper with 5:28 remaining, but the Bruins failed to score again.
Lexi Bando hit a 3-pointer from the right corner to pull Oregon to 62-61 with 3:05 left. The Ducks turned it over on their next two possessions before Maite Cazorla scored on a drive to put Oregon up 63-62 with a minute to go.
After a UCLA turnover, Ionescu found Oti Gildon wide open under the basket for an easy layup and a 65-62 lead with 31 seconds left.
Jordin Canada missed on UCLA's next possession, but the Bruins grabbed the offensive rebound. Canada was hounded on the final possession, with Japreece Dean finally missing a long 3-pointer from the left side with one second left.
Oregon (29-4) advanced the title game against the winner of the late game between No. 16 Stanford and Arizona State.
Canada had 19 points, and Billings 18 for the Bruins (24-7), who had lost twice to Oregon in conference play.
Ruthy Hebard added 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Cazorla had 14 points for the Ducks.
Oregon closed the first half with a 15-4 run and then scored the first five points after the break, taking a 37-34 lead on a 3-pointer by Cazorla. The Ducks suffered through a 1-for-8 shooting stretch that allowed UCLA to regain the lead.
Billings scored six consecutive points to put the Bruins up 51-45, Ionescu hit a 3-pointer to pull Oregon within 51-48 entering the final period.
UCLA led 19-14 after one quarter and extended it to 32-19 on a jumper by Michaela Onyenwere with 4:22 left in the half.
But, the Bruins were limited to just a pair of free throws the rest of the way. Ionescu's 3-pointer from the top right capped an 8-0 run that trimmed the lead to 32-27.
Bando hit from the top of the key with 3 seconds left to pull the Ducks to 34-32 at the break.
Oregon was 9 of 19 beyond the arc, while UCLA was 4 of 17. Ionescu had four, Bando three and Cazorla two.
Oregon: The Ducks advance to the tournament title game for the first time.
UCLA: The Bruins await an NCAA Tournament bid.