PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Eva Hodgson scored 14 of her 21 points during a fourth quarter flurry of shotmaking, and No. 8 North Carolina rallied on multiple occasions in the second half and topped No. 18 Oregon 85-79 in the semifinals of the Phil Knight Invitational on Thursday.
Hodgson scored 10 points in a 90-second span of the fourth quarter after it looked as if the Ducks were about to pull away. Hodgson’s four-point play with 5:12 remaining gave North Carolina a 72-68 lead. Oregon pulled within 74-73, but Hodgson hit four free throws down the stretch, sandwiched around Destiny Adams’ basket, and the Tar Heels were able to hold on.
Alyssa Ustby added 19 points for North Carolina (5-0) and the Tar Heels put five players in double figures. Deja Kelly had 17 points, Anya Poole added 11 and Kennedy Todd-Williams 10.
Te-Hina Paopao led Oregon (4-1) with 18 points, Grace VanSlooten added 17 points and 11 rebounds and Jennah Isai scored 15 points. But the Ducks will lament chances they had to put the game away, leading by 11 in the opening moments of the second half and holding a 66-58 lead with 7:34 left after starting the fourth quarter on an 11-2 run.
That’s when Hodgson got hot from the perimeter. Her consecutive 3-pointers stopped Oregon’s run and her four-point play put the Tar Heels in front for good.
GUESTS OF HONOR
Knight, the founder of Nike, was courtside, sitting next to former Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu for the matchup. Also in the stands was former North Carolina men’s coach Roy Williams, who was across town for the Tar Heels’ matchup against Portland in the men’s tournament earlier Thursday.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels started the week with their highest ranking since the 2014-15 season, when the they reached as high as No. 6 in the AP Top 25. The win over Oregon was North Carolina’s 20th straight non-conference victory.
Oregon: The Ducks will lament their struggles at the free-throw line. Oregon was 6 of 14 from the line and entered the game hitting 72% from the free-throw line for the season.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels will face either No. 5 Iowa State or Michigan State in the championship on Sunday.
Oregon: The Ducks will face either No. 5 Iowa State or Michigan State in the third-place game on Sunday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25