Ionescu scores 29, No. 3 Oregon beats No. 9 Oregon St 77-68
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Even on a night where she had 29 points in a rivalry game against Oregon State, Sabrina Ionescu picked apart her performance.
Ever the perfectionist, Ionescu added nine assists and five rebounds for No. 3 Oregon in a 77-68 victory over the ninth-ranked Beavers for the Ducks’ 17th straight win.
“I’m still kind of bummed I didn’t shoot the ball very well,” the Pac-12’s reigning Player of the Year said after a 12-for-24 night from the field. “I left a lot of points on the board and I think I should have been able to hit some of those shots.”
Ruthy Hebard added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Ducks (24-1, 13-0 Pac-12), who have the longest active winning streak in the nation. Oregon improved to 6-0 against ranked teams this season.
“Overall, regardless of how many points I scored, I think everyone contributed and won us that game,” Ionescu added.
Destiny Slocum had 19 points for Oregon State, which trailed 39-35 at the half. The Beavers (20-5, 10-3) pulled to 64-60 on Slocum’s jumper with 5:20 left but it was as close as they could get.
The in-state Civil War rivalry continues on Monday when the two teams meet in Corvallis.
“Oregon is such a good team, we’ve got to be better,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “They made us pay for every mistake. They had so many offensive rebounds, it seemed like every fricking one turned into something positive for them, every single one. That’s an area we’ve got to get better at.”
The Ducks were coming off a decisive 88-48 win at then-No. 11 Stanford. The win snapped a 29-game losing streak for the Ducks at Maples Pavilion, and also snapped the Cardinal’s 22-game home winning streak.
The Beavers were coming off an 82-74 victory over Cal, but fell to Stanford 61-44 on the Northern California swing to drop two places in this week’s rankings.
“We didn’t do anything differently, we didn’t prepare differently, we scouted them just like any other team,” Ionescu said about the Beavers. “But it’s definitely is a little bit sweeter to be able to get that win against a team that’s right down the road from us, and then be able to go down there Monday and hopefully have the same result.”
Hebard hit consecutive layups to pull the Ducks up 18-13 in the opening quarter. She added a rebound basket that extended the lead to 25-18.
But Oregon State answered with a 12-2 run to pull in front 30-27. Ionescu hit a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to regain the lead for the Ducks.
Oregon, which went into the game averaging a national-best 90.2 points a game, led 39-35 at the half, with Ionescu leading all scorers with 13 points, as well as seven assists. Aleah Goodman led the Beavers with 10 points at the break.
Ionescu’s 3-pointer gave Oregon a 49-40 lead in the third quarter. The Pac-12’s Player of the Week hit another 3 to put the Ducks up 56-46 going into the fourth quarter. The Ducks led by as many as 11 points in the final period.
The game was a sellout, just the second for the women at Matthew Knight Arena. The Ducks sold out the team’s first game at the arena, also against the Beavers, on Jan. 23, 2011.
“Yeah, that was probably even a better crowd than some of the tournament games,” Slocum said. “It’s fun, the rivalry’s amazing, and I think we did a good job and we’ll probably do a better job on Monday.”
Oregon State: The Beavers split last season’s two-game Civil War Series with the Ducks, with each team winning at home. … Oregon State is in the midst of a run with four Top 25 teams in five games: Then No 17 Utah, then No. 11 Stanford and the two games against the Ducks. … Pivec reached the 1,000 career points mark with a second-quarter layup.
Oregon: The Ducks, Baylor, Louisville, and Mississippi State were the No. 1 seeds in the first NCAA Top 16 reveal on Monday. If the seedings hold, Oregon would stay near home as the top team in Portland. Oregon State was a No. 3 seed. The NCAA will have one more reveal of the top 16 teams on March 4 before Selection Monday, which is on March 18. …. Oregon’s lone loss this season was at Michigan State back on Dec. 9.
After the game, Oregon coach Kelly Graves grabbed the arena microphone and thanked the fans for coming out. Asked why after the game, Graves said: “I want them to come back!”
“This doesn’t happen all the time. In women’s basketball unfortunately there are pockets that just don’t draw regardless of how good the teams are. Just because you have a good team doesn’t mean you’re going to have fans. And I think these fans have really bought into our program and our players, they love these guys. And I just wanted to thank them for that,” Graves said.
The two teams meet again on Monday at Oregon State.