Ionescu leads Oregon women to 40-point rout of Stanford
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Sabrina Ionescu’s club and high school teams were in the stands, some 100 fans at Friday’s game in Berkeley and again Sunday at Stanford to watch the Oregon star.
She produced an impressive 54-point weekend back home in the Bay Area.
Ionescu had 27 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and No. 3 Oregon used stellar defense to extend its NCAA-best winning streak to 16 games by running away from 11th-ranked Stanford 88-48 to snap a 29-game losing streak at Maples Pavilion.
The loss was the worst in Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer’s 33 seasons at Stanford. The Cardinal’s last 40-point defeat: 98-56 at Long Beach State on Feb. 2, 1985, the season before VanDerveer arrived on The Farm.
“We’re used to looking at the scoreboard with the numbers reversed,” VanDerveer said. “We’ve had a lot of great games in this building and this was one of our worst.”
Ionescu, who grew up in the East Bay suburb of Walnut Creek, scored 17 of her points in the first half and made 12 of 20 shots as the Ducks (23-1, 12-0 Pac-12) ended Stanford’s 22-game home winning streak. It was Oregon’s first victory on the Cardinal’s home floor since a 63-54 win in the initial meeting between the schools at the venue on March 5, 1987.
None of those streaks were on the Oregon players’ minds — neither was the lopsided margin of victory.
“No, I did not (expect it). I know that we’re capable of it and if we would be able to stop them defensively and get them out of their rhythm that we’d be able to score however we wanted offensively,” Ionescu said. “I think we have so many threats on the offensive end, inside and outside. But I never thought that we were going to win by 40.”
Oregon used a 15-0 run over the final 3:30 of the second quarter, making seven straight field goals as Stanford was 0 for 4, and Oregon built a 44-20 lead at the break in a rematch of last season’s Pac-12 tournament final won by the Ducks 77-57.
DiJonai Carrington led the Cardinal (19-4, 9-3) with 13 points, their lone player in double figures. Stanford shot 31.7 percent, going 5 of 22 on 3-pointers.
Stanford leading scorer Alanna Smith began 1 for 8 and missed all five of her 3s.
“Collectively it was our best defensive effort,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “It seems like when we defend well our offense seems to do better.”
Ruthy Hebard added 18 points and eight rebounds for the Ducks, who were coming off consecutive 100-point games for the first time since joining what is now the Pac-12.
Oregon won 105-82 at California on Friday night with its highest-scoring game in conference play this season, shooting 60 percent and going 14 for 23 on 3-pointers while committing only five turnovers.
The Ducks came into the game with the nation’s most efficient offense at 90.3 points and led the country by shooting 52.5 percent and 42.9 percent on 3s.
Oregon also had a 1.91 assist-to-turnover ratio, averaging 20.1 assists to 10.5 turnovers.
Smith, who was averaging nearly 21 points per game and had six double-doubles over her last 13, wound up with six points — going 3 of 14 — for the cold-shooting Cardinal.
In the previous two games, Stanford gave up an average of 47 points while holding opponents to 27.6-percent shooting, including 18.4 percent on 3-pointers.
Stanford took a 4-0 lead before Oregon responded with a 14-0 run as the Cardinal missed five straight shots.
“Our team is resilient. I think they will take it personally, which I hope they will,” VanDerveer said. “We need people to learn from it. This is tournament time.”
The showdown of the Pac-12’s top teams drew an announced crowd of 5,250.
Oregon: Ionescu’s mother, Liliana, sat on the baseline before the game with local sports agent Bill Duffy, a longtime friend of the family. Ionescu’s future at Oregon is unclear, as she may not return for her senior season. “I have absolutely no idea. I’m focusing on what we’re building here this year,” she said of her plans. … This marked the first visit of a ranked Oregon team to Stanford since the Cardinal beat the No. 23 Ducks, 78-62, on Jan. 15, 2000. The two split last season’s meetings, Stanford winning 78-65 in Eugene and the Ducks 77-57 in the Pac-12 Tournament championship.
Stanford: Stanford shot 25.9 percent in the first half, going 2 for 9 from deep. … The Cardinal had beaten two top-10 opponents at home, including 61-44 over No. 7 Oregon State on Friday night. Stanford topped No. 3 Baylor at home on Dec. 15. … Stanford had won 24 of the last 26 in the series overall. … Stanford’s winning streak at Maples was the sixth-longest active run in the country and the program’s longest since winning 28 in a row from Jan. 18, 2013, to Nov. 20, 2014, with an 87-81 overtime loss to No. 10 Texas. … The Cardinal were the lone unbeaten team at home in Pac-12 action last season.
Oregon: Host Oregon State on Friday.
Stanford: At UCLA on Friday.