No. 3 Oregon routs Utah 90-63
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Once Oregon gets its offense in gear, the Ducks race away from their opponents in a hurry.
Utah became the latest opponent to learn that lesson the hard way.
No. 3 Oregon rolled to a 90-63 victory on Thursday night after the Utes struggled for the better part of 40 minutes slow Ducks on offense.
Oregon dominated inside and outside. The Ducks outscored Utah 44-28 in the paint and 26-6 in fastbreak points. They also shot 45% from the perimeter.
Satou Sabally led the way with 23 points. Ruthy Hebard added 21 points and 13 rebounds. Sabally credited Oregon’s aggressiveness on defense with leading to numerous easy baskets on offense.
I feel like every time we’re aggressive, we just get those simple plays and we get those defensive stops,” Sabally said. “It just clicks as long as we’re aggressive and smart.”
Sabrina Ionescu had 10 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds and Erin Boley added 11 points and six rebounds for the Ducks (18-2, 8-1 Pac-12). Oregon earned its sixth straight win and swept the season series.
Kemery Martin scored 15 points to lead the Utes (10-10, 3-6). Utah dropped its second straight game against a Top 10 opponent after struggling to slow down Oregon’s early shooting. The Ducks outscored the Utes 44-28 in the paint and 26-6 in fastbreak points.
The Ducks wasted no time putting pressure on Utah’s defense with their potent offense. Oregon made 12 straight shots over a seven-plus minute stretch after starting 1-of-4 from the field. The Ducks shot 80% from the field overall in the first quarter alone and made 70% of their shots in the first half.
It opened the door for Oregon to quickly build a comfortable lead.
“We’ve had those kind of runs this year,” Ducks coach Kelly Graves said. “When we’re clicking offensively, we’re the best offensive team in the country. The numbers bear that out.”
Boley and Sabally made 3-pointers as part of a 10-0 run that put the Ducks up 15-7. Utah briefly closed the gap and pulled within 17-14 on a jumper from Brynn Maxwell. Oregon did not let the Utes get any closer.
The Ducks went on an 18-2 run that extended into the second quarter and took a 35-16 lead. Sabally and Hebard combined to score five baskets for Oregon during this decisive stretch.
“When they shoot like that, they are without question the best team in the country,” Utah coach Lynne Roberts said.
Utah struggled to answer the Ducks. The Utes missed their final eight shots of the first half and shot just 4-of-17 from the field in the second quarter. Oregon ended the half on a 9-0 run. Hebard and Erin Boley capped the run with back-to-back layups off Utah turnovers to give the Ducks a 52-26 halftime lead.
Ionescu had a quiet night on offense in terms of scoring. She attempted just seven shots and scored three baskets. The senior guard averaged 21.5 points in her first eight Pac-12 games.
With Utah focusing the bulk of its defensive attention on keeping her from shooting, Ionescu was only too happy to find open teammates. She notched double-digit assists for the third time in Pac-12 play this season.
“That’s the beauty of Sabrina,” Graves said. “She can do everything. She’s a smart enough player that whatever we need on a given night, that’s what she’s going to do.”
Both Oregon and Utah finished with 16 turnovers. They combined for 48 points off of those turnovers. The Utes earned a slight edge, outscoring the Ducks 25-23 in that department.
Oregon: The Ducks showed again why they boast one of the nation’s top scoring offenses. For most of the game, Oregon was opportunistic in turning Utah defensive and offensive mistakes into baskets.
Utah: After a promising start, the Utes were overwhelmed by the Ducks for a second time this season. Facing a highly efficient offense, Utah could do little to stop Oregon in transition or contain the Ducks around the basket.
Oregon: Plays at Colorado on Saturday.
Utah: Hosts No. 10 Oregon State on Saturday.