No. 8 North Carolina rallies past No. 18 Oregon 85-79

PORTLAND, Oregon – Eva Hodgson scored 14 of her 21 points on a wave of fourth-quarter shotmaking, and No. 8 North Carolina rallied multiple times in the second half, beating No. 18 Oregon 85-79 in the half finals of the Phil Ridder Invitational on Thursday.

Hodgson scored 10 points in a 90-second period of the fourth quarter after it appeared the Ducks were about to pull away. Hodgson’s four-point play with 5:12 left gave North Carolina a 72–68 lead. Oregon drew in 74-73, but Hodgson hit four free throws down the stretch, wedged around Destiny Adams’ basket, and the Tar Heels were able to hold on.

Alyssa Ustby added 19 points for North Carolina (5-0) as the Tar Heels put five players into double digits. Deja Kelly had 17 points, Anya Poole added 11 and Kennedy Todd-Williams added 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 the chances they had to put the game away, leading 11 in the opening moments of the second half and leading 66-58 with 7:34 left after starting the fourth quarter with a run of 11-2.

Then Hodgson got hot from the perimeter. Her consecutive three-pointers stopped Oregon’s run and her four-point play put the Tar Heels ahead for good.

FIRST GUESTS

Knight, the founder of Nike, sat next to former Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu for the matchup. Also in the stands was Roy Williams, the former North Carolina men’s coach, who was across town earlier Thursday for the Tar Heels game against Portland in the men’s tournament.

BIG PHOTO

North Carolina: The Tar Heels started the week with their highest ranking since the 2014-2015 season, when they even reached No. 6 in the AP Top 25. The win over Oregon was North Carolina’s 20th straight non-conference win.

Oregon: The Ducks will lament their battle at the free throw line. Oregon was 6 of 14 from the line and entered the game with 72% from the free throw line for the season.

NEXT ONE

North Carolina: The Tar Heels will face No. 5 Iowa State or Michigan State in the championship on Sunday.

Oregon: The Ducks will face No. 5 Iowa State or Michigan State in the game for third place on Sunday.

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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

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