Hebard plays hero for Oregon in NCAA tourney win over Temple
The 6-foot-4 freshman and former Alaska player of the year scored the go-ahead bucket with 5.5 seconds left and then blocked a shot attempt at the buzzer to secure No. 10 Oregon’s 71-70 win over No. 7 Temple in the first round in Durham, North Carolina.
“I was kidding Ruthy, this might be the best five seconds of her life,” Ducks coach Kelly Graves said in a postgame press conference.
Oregon will face No. 2 Duke on its home court at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday.
Hebard, of West Valley High fame, finished with 23 points – one shy of Oregon’s single-game NCAA Tournament record set by Alison Lang in 1982 against Missouri.
The winning basket was designed for Hebard after a timeout. Graves wanted the ball in her hands.
The play the Ducks dialed up had Hebard involved in a pick-and-roll, where she peeled off a screen wide open and caught the ball near the lane for a runner from about eight feet.
Temple inbounded the ball to speedy guard Feyonda Fitzgerald, who raced coast-to-coast and nearly converted the winning layup if Hebard hadn’t been there to block her layup attempt.
The All-Pac-12 forward said she “just swung my arm and hoped I didn’t foul.”