- Associated Press - Sunday, February 26, 2017

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Eighth-ranked Stanford got a morale boost heading into the Pac-12 tournament.

Erica McCall had 16 points and 14 rebounds and the Cardinal rebounded from a loss at No. 10 Oregon State with a 65-59 victory over Oregon on Sunday.

Stanford (25-5, 15-3 Pac-12) wrapped up the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the conference tournament that starts Thursday in Seattle. Karlie Samuelson added 18 points for the Cardinal, who led by as many as 13 points.

“I’m really proud of how my team came out,” McCall said about the bounce-back victory. “We executed well, hit some really big shots and rebounded well, so it was a good game for us going into the tournament.”

Sabrina Ionescu had 18 points and seven rebounds for Oregon (18-11, 8-9) which lost its third straight. Lexi Bando’s 3-pointer pulled the Ducks to 56-51 with 2:35 left but they couldn’t get closer until Ionescu made free throws to close the gap to 58-54.

Free throws from Marta Sniezek put Stanford up 61-54 before Ruthy Hebard made a layup and a free throw for Oregon with 52 seconds left, but the Ducks couldn’t catch up.

“When you are playing the best, it’s big-kid basketball, and you’ve got to make all of those plays down the stretch,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “Especially against a top-10 team. And we didn’t.”

The Cardinal were coming off a 50-47 loss at Oregon State on Friday night. The Beavers (27-3, 16-2) clinched a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title with the victory, and won it outright earlier Sunday with a 71-56 victory over California. Oregon State was picked to finish fifth in the conference.

The Beavers also clinched the top seed in the Pac-12 tournament, followed by No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Washington and No. 4 UCLA. The top seeds get a bye to open the tournament.

“We had our chances to be (No.) 1 and both our games against Oregon State came down to the last play of each game, so we know that we’re right there,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “There’s not a lot of difference between one, two, three and four. Everyone’s packed in and anything can happen in the tournament.”

Oregon will be the No. 6 seed and face 11th seeded Arizona on Thursday night. If the Ducks win, they’ll play Washington in the quarterfinals on Friday night.

“We don’t want the journey to end,” said Bando, who is a junior. The Ducks haven’t won a conference tournament game since she’s been with the team.

Ionescu hit a 3-pointer that pulled Oregon to 12-11 and Maite Cazorla hit free throws to give the Ducks a brief lead before Briana Roberson’s 3 -pointer for Stanford.

The Cardinal stretched the lead to 25-19 on Erica McCall’s tip in with 2:33 left in the first half. Stanford led 27-21 at the break.

Ionescu, who has four triple-doubles this season, led the Ducks with eight points and three rebounds at the half, while McCall had eight points and seven rebounds for the Cardinal.

McCall’s jumper gave the Cardinal a 26-25 lead. Samuelson’s 3-pointer pushed Stanford’s lead to 47-34 late in the quarter.

The Ducks closed to within 49-44 late after Gildon’s tip in and Ionescu’s short jumper with 7:19 left. But Stanford extended it again with Roberson’s jumper and Nadia Smith’s layup. The Ducks again narrowed it to 53-48 on Oti Gildon’s layup with just over five minutes to go.

It was McCall’s 12th double-double of the season, and 32nd of her career.

BIG PICTURE:

Stanford: It was coach Tara VanDerveer’s 1,005th victory. … Stanford is 42-4 following a loss.

Oregon: The Ducks played the Australian national anthem before the game in honor of senior Jacinta Vandenberg, who is from Melbourne. Oregon also honored junior Megan Trinder on senior day. Trinder, who is also Australian, has had two ACL injuries in as many years. Her availability for her senior season is uncertain.

POLL IMPLICATIONS: While Stanford’s loss to Oregon State should drop them slightly in the polls, teams are back to 0-0 for the postseason and Stanford would like to avoid last season’s disappointing loss in the quarterfinals at the conference tourney.

“We’re just going to take one game at a time. Last year we didn’t make it from the first game, so we want to win our first game and that’s all we’re going to focus on,” VanDerveer said.

PRAISE FOR PLUM: VanDerveer took note of Washington’s Kelsey Plum, who on Saturday scored 57 points against Utah to set the NCAA women’s record for most career points.

“It’s awesome. She’s a terrific player, she’s incredibly talented, a scorer obviously, and the work that she puts in, her work ethic is exceptional. Her skill set is off the charts. To be the (all-time) leading scorer brings great attention to the game and she really works hard at the game, too,” Stanford’s coach said.

UP NEXT

Stanford: The Cardinal have a first-round bye for the Pac-12 tournament in Seattle.

Oregon: The Ducks’ opponent to open the tournament had not been determined.

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