Ionsecu’s 15th triple-double leads Oregon past Washington St
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The “hustle boards” hanging in each corner of Oregon’s arena held the only suspense remaining in another blowout win for the Ducks.
So when Sabrina Ionescu snagged her 10th rebound in the fourth quarter, the crowd let her know what it meant.
The junior All-American extended her NCAA record to 15 triple-doubles and Ruthy Hebard scored a career-high 34 points to help No. 5 Oregon race past Washington State 98-58 on Sunday.
“It’s a nice feeling knowing that the crowd is even paying attention to that and behind me every step of the way,” Ionsecu said. “It’s nice that they’re so much into it and care about a record like that.”
Ionescu had 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the Ducks (13-1, 2-0 Pac-12), who won their sixth straight game. She became the 11th player in conference history to surpass 600 assists, and her 607th tied Oregon’s 32-year-old career record.
“That’s pretty cool that Sabrina only halfway through her junior year has already set the (school) record,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said.
Hebard dominated inside, making 16 of 21 shots and grabbing nine rebounds, as the Ducks enjoyed a 62-30 edge in points in the paint and 45-26 in rebounds. Hebard was coming off a 4-for-12 performance in a win over Washington that still left her as the nation’s fourth-best shooter at 70.0 percent.
“After my game on Friday, I definitely wanted to come out and be a little bit more of a force on the court,” Hebard said, “so I’m really glad I had get teammates to pick me up.”
Satou Sabally added 25 points, mostly on driving layups, and seven rebounds. The 6-foot-4 sophomore from Germany has averaged 22.5 points and 8.8 rebounds over her last four games.
“She’s really become a matchup headache with her ability to take people off the dribble,” Graves said. “She’s a unicorn at 6-4 who can shoot it like that, is getting more comfortable in the post and can drive.”
Hebard had 19 points and Sabally 14 in the first half as Oregon rode a 10-0 run to open a 49-29 lead at the break. The Ducks then shot 21 of 34 in the second half for 72.2 percent to put the game away.
“We were crisper and we were more aggressive,” Graves said. “Ruthy just had a matchup advantage and she took advantage of it, and it’s great to see her get back on stride.”
The only glitch in Hebard’s game was her 2-for-10 effort on free throws after coming in shooting 75.9 percent from the foul line. The Ducks, who lead the nation at 82.8 percent, were just 10 of 21.
“We’ll work on that,” Hebard said. “Thanks.”
As usual, Ionescu was everywhere, sliding on her knees for one rebound, snapping a sharp pass to Hebard for a layup to end the first half and stepping back for a 3 to close the third quarter.
She even sidled up to Hebard to whisper something after she missed her seventh free throw.
“I told her the ball needs to go through the basket,” Ionsecu said. “It was a mental thing and it’s fine. She’ll work on that. . Kelly pointed out in the middle of the game where the practice gym was, just in case she didn’t know.”
Chanelle Molina led the Cougars (6-8, 1-2) with 14 points and Borislava Hristova had 13, 10 below her average. WSU finished 22 of 57 for 38.6 percent, its second-worst shooting performance of the season.
Washington State couldn’t stop the Ducks inside and saw their 17 turnovers result in 21 points. The Cougars, who opened Pac-12 play with three road games, head home for two games before closing the month against four ranked teams, including rematches with the Ducks and Beavers.
Oregon takes care of business at home before heading to Los Angeles to try to duplicate last season’s road sweep of USC and UCLA, the first in program history. The Ducks have won five straight from the Trojans and four in a row against the Bruins.
Oregon’s weekend sweep coupled with losses by No. 1 UConn and No. 4 Maryland should juggle the top five and move the Ducks up at least one spot. They were No. 3 in the first five polls this season, their highest ranking ever.
STAT OF THE GAME
Senior Maite Cazorla’s five assists gave her 598 for her Oregon career, right behind Ionescu, who is the NCAA leader at 9.0 assists per game. “They’re both equally great players, they’ll end up 1-2 on the all-time list and deservedly so,” Graves said. “They both just make great plays.”
Washington State: Hosts Utah on Friday night.
Oregon: At USC on Friday night.