LAS VEGAS — The Ducks, like many visitors here, were dehydrated and in some staggering pain after a spirited Friday session on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Top-seeded Oregon also walked away from the training room table a winner after holding off No. 8 Arizona 77-63 in the women’s Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals in front of predominantly green-clad crowd of 4,531 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The Ducks (28-3) advance to the semifinals to play No. 4 UCLA on Saturday (6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). The Bruins (20-11) outlasted No. 5 Arizona State, 73-69, in the first quarterfinal.
“I don’t think we did that great, but we grinded through the game,” sophomore forward Satou Sabally said after finishing with 11 points, seven rebounds and several new bumps and bruises. “I feel like that’s what counts. But we definitely need to play better against UCLA because, if not, we’re going to lose.”
UCLA overcame a 22-point deficit to stun the eventual regular-season Pac-12 champions 74-69 on Feb. 22 at Matthew Knight Arena as Ruthy Hebard watched from the bench.
Oregon is 4-0 since the all-Pac-12 forward returned from her knee injury. Hebard had 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting and 10 rebounds to begin postseason play.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Hebard said. “I’m just happy that coach still relies on me and my teammates still get me the ball. It’s just fun.”
Maite Cazorla battled through her flu-like symptoms to add nine points and three assists in 30 minutes. Taylor Chavez is out of the rotation indefinitely with a foot injury. Sabally took a scary fall late in the game and had her shooting arm wrapped up in the locker room.
“It’s not bad. I just fell. It’s fine,” Sabally said. “It’s going to be bruised and probably swollen.”
Sabrina Ionescu flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 18 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds while playing all 40 minutes.
Bill Laimbeer, the Las Vegas Aces president and coach, watched the game from the front row.
“All that outside stuff, whoever is watching, I’m not paying attention to that,” said Ionescu, a junior, who has been projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft to Las Vegas should she leave school early. “I probably would have played the exact way if Obama was here.”
Graves jokingly asked his superstar if the former president would have given up 34 points to Aari McDonald. The Pac-12’s leading scorer kept Arizona within striking distance by turning in the fourth-highest single-game point total in the tournament’s history.
“She’s really fast, she doesn’t give up. She’s like a one-on-one player, she takes the ball every time to the rim,” Sabally said of McDonald, who was 12-for-21 from the field but only 1-for-6 on 3-pointers. “In the end, it’s a team sport, so I feel like one-on-one will not win a game. But she’s phenomenal, she’s really good.”
Erin Boley (13 points) also scored in double figures for Oregon. Oti Gildon had five points and four rebounds off the bench, and Morgan Yaeger played 19 minutes to help Cazorla spend some time on the bench guzzling Gatorade.
“We gave them a fight,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. “We didn’t lay down and die. We took some punches, we tried to punch back, and that’s all I can ask of our kids is that we play hard and they never give up. And they never gave up.”
The Ducks, who outscored the Wildcats 19-0 in the fourth quarter of their 83-54 victory in Tucson a week earlier, outscored Arizona 17-10 over the final 10 minutes to salt away the win.
Hebard scored Oregon’s first three baskets in the second half, but Arizona cut a 14-point deficit in half.
The Wildcats (18-13) were 0-for-10 on 3-pointers until McDonald broke the spell with 4:03 remaining in the third quarter. Her old-fashioned three-point play got Arizona within 54-47.
“It’s a little difficult because Oregon is a tall team,” the 5-foot-7 McDonald said. “They have length, they have long arms, so it was difficult. I was used to it. This was the third time we’ve played against them.”
Sabally hit a 3-pointer with one second left in the second quarter to give Oregon a 40-28 lead at the intermission.
Arizona was within 21-20 before Sabally and Cazorla hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Hebard added a layup to cap an 8-0 run.
The Ducks had eight turnovers in the first half but shot 60 percent from the field and had a 18-6 rebounding advantage.
McDonald had 18 points at halftime on 8-for-13 shooting but her teammates were a combined 5-for-16 from the field.
Oregon led 19-14 after the first quarter despite committing six turnovers and allowing McDonald to score 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting.
“We didn’t do so well against (Arizona’s) pressure and we’re going to see it again (Saturday), plus another level,” Grave said. “When you turn it over against UCLA, they’re quicker, they’re more athletic than we are, and we can’t catch them.
"But if we take care of the ball and spread the floor and do the things we normally do, then I think we’ll be OK.”