No. 3 Oregon women erupt in 2nd half, rout No. 19 Arizona St
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Arizona State had hope at halftime.
With revenge as a motivating factor, Oregon extinguished any hope of an upset quickly in the third quarter.
Sabrina Ionescu led five Oregon players in double figures with 19 points, and the third-ranked Ducks cruised to a 79-48 victory over No. 19 Arizona State on Sunday.
Entering the game as the nation’s highest-scoring team with an average of 86.2 points per game, Oregon (22-2, 11-1 Pac-12) led only 27-15 at halftime before erupting for 30 points in the third quarter of its 10th consecutive victory, dating back to a 72-66 loss to the Sun Devils last month.
“We said, ‘We’re down 12. We were down 12 with seven minutes to go at home. We’re fine,’” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said of her halftime talk. “We felt really good but I knew it would be hard to sustain it with them at home.”
It certainly was. Oregon made five straight shots early in the third period, scored on seven consecutive possessions and the Ducks led 42-19 less than five minutes into the second half, and were ahead 57-30 entering the final period.
“I think it was definitely a revenge game for us,” Oregon’s Jaz Shelley said. “We knew that we are the better team and we knew that we shouldn’t have lost that game.
“We had a fire in our belly to come out and show them how we can really play and that we’re the better team.”
Turner Thorne said she tried to prepare her team for playing the motivated Ducks, and recalled telling Oregon coach Kelly Graves after the game last month that he should be thankful to the Sun Devils.
“Losing to us, I think, got his team to look a lot harder at what they weren’t doing,” Turner Thorne said. “They were already at a high level but it got them to another level.
“They’re a great team. I think they’re the front-runner to win the national championship.”
Neither team looked like a title contender early.
Oregon led 10-2 after the first quarter, and the score befitted the offensive play. Neither team scored in the first four minutes, and the Sun Devils missed nine of their 10 shots and had five turnovers in their lowest-scoring quarter of the season. The Ducks forged their lead on 4 of 13 shooting, with four turnovers.
Arizona State’s scoring drought extended into the second quarter, but after 10 minutes without a point, Jamie Ruden hit a short jumper and the Sun Devils were within 15-4.
Oregon’s 27-15 lead at halftime was primarily built on Ionescu’s 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including all three of her 3-point attempts, while her teammates were 6 of 22 overall. Arizona State was 5 of 21 from the field in its lowest-scoring half of the season and had nine turnovers.
Then the Ducks got going.
Graves said the Sun Devils concentrated their defense on stopping pick-and-roll plays with Ionescu and Hebard, adding, “sometimes that’s by pushing and holding and they do a good job of rotating help. But we were ready for it and we had our open shooters ready.”
The Ducks made 8 of 14 3-pointers in the second half, and 13 of 25 overall. Erin Boley and Shelley each made four 3-pointers on their way to each scoring 14 points, and Hebard and Satou Sabally each added 11 points, with Sabally pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds.
“I think our team did a really good job to find the hot hands,” Shelley said of the Ducks, who shot 61% in the second half.
Arizona State couldn’t keep pace with the Ducks, finishing with a season-low for points while shooting 40% from the field and committing 18 turnovers.
The Sun Devils were minus injured point guard Kiara Russell, and showed the effects of playing a down-to-the-wire game at Oregon State on Friday night in which several of the regulars played more than their usual minutes.
But even with the outcome decided early, it didn’t quell the emotions of the two teams as three technical fouls were assessed in the final three minutes of the third quarter. The first went to Graves before offsetting ones were called on Ionescu and ASU senior Robbi Ryan after they engaged in a verbal spat.
“Sometimes that happens. I was into it,” Graves said. “We played really with some edge and really hard.
“I think this meant a lot to our basketball team,” he added. “I think they were ready coming in. I didn’t have to fire them up. They were ready for this, they wanted this because we gave away one down there.”
Arizona State: The Sun Devils have lost four of their past five games, all to top-20 opponents. They play only one ranked opponent the rest of the regular season.
Oregon: In their 10-game winning streak, the Ducks have seven wins over top-20 foes. They lead the Pac-12, a game ahead of both UCLA and Stanford, teams Oregon plays on the road in the next two weekends.
ASU point guard Kiara Russell, who has started 15 games, missed her second consecutive game with a leg injury. She remains questionable for next weekend.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils are home on Friday to play Washington State.
Oregon: The Ducks play at UCLA on Friday, the first of four consecutive road games.