Ionescu, No. 5 Oregon women race past Arizona 93-60
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — It took Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu until the third quarter to make her first field goal against Arizona.
Not that it mattered, with Satou Sabally and the rest of the Ducks on the attack.
Ionescu posted her NCAA-record 16th career triple-double, and Sabally scored 18 of her 25 points in a dominant first quarter as No. 5 Oregon raced past Arizona 93-60 on Sunday for its 10th consecutive win.
The Ducks scored the game’s first 20 points, and Sabally had 12 of them.
“That was a good win for us today,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “I thought we played really well. Obviously, the first quarter was almost as good as we can play.”
Ionescu had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for her sixth triple-double in a Pac-12 game. After missing her first six shots, she made six of her last nine, including three 3-pointers.
“I just knew I needed to keep being aggressive, keep fighting, keep rebounding and everything else would take care of itself,” Ionescu said of her shooting. “I’m not too worried about it, but it was nice to see some of them go in.”
Erin Boley hit five of Oregon’s season-high 15 3-pointers and had 19 points for the Ducks (17-1, 6-0 Pac-12). Ruthy Hebard added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Oregon led 31-4 after one quarter, with Sabally making four 3-pointers and three layups. Ionescu had eight rebounds and six assists in the quarter, with five going to Sabally.
“She was phenomenal, and her and Sabrina had some great synergy in that first quarter,” Graves said. “I think that’s what makes us tough, that on any given night, any given quarter, any given half, it can be another player that just goes off.”
“We were playing fast with a lot of fast breaks and my team helped me, too, just running the floor,” Sabally said. “It felt good.”
Sabally has averaged 20.3 points and 8.2 rebounds over the first third of the conference season. Only foul trouble in the second half denied her a shot at her career scoring high of 27 points.
“I guess I was just more excited for Pac-12. I was ready,” the German sophomore said. “Obviously, I’m annoyed by (the fouls). I just have to keep getting better.”
After scoring two points in the first half, Ionescu had 13 in the third quarter and Boley had 14. The Ducks led by as many as 35 twice in the final period and had a 41-24 edge in rebounds.
Aari McDonald, the Pac-12’s leading scorer at 25.2 points per game, had 20 for the Wildcats (13-5, 3-4), and Cate Reese added 16. Arizona, which last won in Eugene in 2011, came in with the Pac-12’s top scoring defense at 56.2 points per game.
The Wildcats fought back in the second quarter, outscoring the Ducks 19-13, forcing eight turnovers and shooting 61.5 percent to trail 44-23 at the half.
“The second quarter was almost as bad as we can play,” Graves said, “and one of the messages at halftime was, this has been our issue.
“If we want to truly be elite and have a chance to play until the last weekend (of the postseason), we can’t have those lulls.”
Arizona’s calling card, its defense, got turned into confetti by Sabally and her teammates in the first quarter. The Wildcats will need to regroup after going 1-3 against four ranked teams the past two weeks, including three in the top 10.
Oregon showed it can be formidable offensively even without Ionescu’s scoring as the 6-foot-4 Sabally continues to develop as a sophomore. She also had three of the Ducks’ six blocks.
There’s no room to move for Oregon with the top four teams taking care of business during the week. The Ducks figure to stay at No. 5 for the fifth consecutive poll after spending the first five weeks at their all-time high of No. 3.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Boley scored Oregon’s first eight points in the third quarter and also hit four 3s to finish 7 of 12 overall and 5 of 10 from the arc. The sophomore transfer from Notre Dame had just 21 points in her previous four games after scoring a career-high 28 against Washington in the Ducks’ Pac-12 opener.
SETTING THE TONE
One of the keys to Oregon’s fast start was holding McDonald, who’s scored 30 or more points five times this season, to two in the first quarter.
“I thought we did a great job on Aari,” Graves said. “She’s a phenomenal player and tests everything about your defense, but I thought that first quarter we were all over her. When she would spin-dribble, there was always someone there to help.”
Arizona: Hosts USC on Friday night.
Oregon: At Washington State on Friday night.