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Eugene, Ore. • Utah women's basketball coach Lynne Roberts thought she dodged a bullet when Lexi Bando chose to play for Oregon instead of Gonzaga.
Roberts thought wrong.
Bando, who signed a letter of intent with Gonzaga when Roberts coached at West Coast Conference rival Pacific, poured in 34 points Wednesday night to lead Oregon to a 73-63 triumph over Utah in the Women's NIT.
The third-round loss left the Utes with an 18-15 record in Roberts' first season at Utah. Oregon (23-10) advances to the quarterfinals against the winner of Thursday's game between Texas Christian and Texas-El Paso.
Bando signed with Gonzaga when Kelly Graves coached the Bulldogs. Graves left Gonzaga to take the Oregon job after the 2013-14 season, and Bando received a release from Gonzaga so she could play for Graves in her hometown of Eugene.
"She had one of those nights," Roberts said. "We didn't really follow the game plan on her."
The Utes wanted to keep Bando from going to her left and pressure her on 3-pointers. Instead, the lanky sophomore found herself open enough to set career highs of 22 field-goal attempts and 11 3-point attempts. She made 11 shots, tied her career best of six made 3s and came up one short of her career high in points.
"I just came out really loose," Bando said after signing autographs for a pack of young fans. "We've been playing really well as a team and everyone's been playing really well, and I think that just makes us feed off each other. That's just gotten me really motivated lately."
The Utes sank 24 of 53 shots from 3-point range (45.3 percent) in their first two WNIT games. They hit a feeble 3 of 23 treys (13 percent) at Matthew Knight Arena.
"To me, that's the ball game," Roberts said.
The Ducks, the national leaders in 3-point shooting percentage, nailed 9 of 19 treys (47.4 percent) to improve their season percentage to 41.9. The Ducks have buried more than half their 3-pointers in the WNIT after hitting just 28 percent of their 3s in the preceding three games (all losses) after star forward Jillian Alleyne went down with a season-ending knee injury.
"They've done a good job working with what they've got," Roberts said.
"All three of their guards have stepped up," Utah point guard Danielle Rodriguez said.
Oregon guards Lexi Petersen (14 points), Maite Cazorla (13 points and nine assists) and Bando played all 40 minutes. With most students on spring break, a quiet crowd of 1,165 turned out.
Emily Potter, Utah's 6-foot-6 sophomore forward, led the Utes with 21 points and game highs of 13 rebounds and five blocked shots.
R Lexi Bando scores 34 points and Oregon defeats Utah for the third time this season to advance to the WNIT quarterfinals.
• Paige Crozon scores 21 points for the Utes, who finish 18-15 in coach Lynne Roberts' first season at Utah.