Oregon women’s basketball fans have shifted their attention from the rivalry to Ruthy Hebard’s right knee.
The star forward was injured in the first half of the second-ranked Ducks’ 67-62 loss to No. 12 Oregon State on Monday night in Corvallis.
There was cautious optimism inside the program Tuesday about Hebard’s situation, but until an official diagnosis is confirmed, coach Kelly Graves will be holding his breath.
Oregon will try to bounce back from its first Pac-12 loss of the season when it hosts UCLA on Friday at Matthew Knight Arena (8 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
“We have a short week, so it’s a quick turnaround,” Graves said after the Ducks’ 17-game winning streak was snapped by the Beavers. “In three days we have UCLA coming in. They’ve won six of the last seven, so that’s not going to be a picnic.
“So hopefully (Hebard) will be better by then. The honest truth is I don’t know.”
Hebard was scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday afternoon. The 6-foot-4 junior forward is averaging 16.4 points and a team-high 8.9 rebounds this season.
"We haven't heard definitely yet," Graves said of the test results during his weekly radio show Tuesday night on KUJZ-FM (95.3). "We're hoping for the best obviously."
Even if the MRI shows no structural damage to Hebard's knee, she is unlikely to play Friday. Senior Oti Gildon will be in the starting lineup for the final two regular-season home games of her career this weekend, if Hebard is unable to play Sunday against USC.
“I have full confidence in our bench,” Graves said. “Oti Gildon is one of the best players we have in February and March. She’s really played well down the stretch and in the NCAA Tournament.
“We won’t obviously have that anchor in the middle, but we’ll see. I trust all these guys. They can play.”
Oregon’s bench only contributed four points and two rebounds in 35 collective minutes after Hebard hobbled off the court after scoring eight points and grabbing four rebounds in 13 minutes.
The Ducks (24-2, 13-1) had their worst offensive performance of the season, shooting just 35.8 percent from the field, including 5-for-22 behind the 3-point arc, against the Beavers (21-5, 11-3).
Sabrina Ionescu scored 21 points on 9-for-25 shooting. Satou Sabally and Erin Boley added 12 points each as Oregon was held 27.7 points under its average.
“They’re one of the best defensive teams in the country for a reason,” Graves said of Oregon State. “The struggle we’ve had with them is once we get to one side of the floor, we stay on that side of the floor. We move the ball usually much, much better. For whatever reason when we play these guys we don’t get side, top side action like we want to.”
The Ducks, who are 14-0 at home, still have a two-game lead on No. 7 Stanford and No. 12 Oregon State with four games remaining in the regular season.
“The level these two teams compete at is special,” Beavers coach Scott Rueck said after earning a split against the Ducks in the back-to-back to sellouts that drew a total of 21,665 fans. “It’s magnificent.”