No. 3 Oregon women rout Washington State 88-57
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon had a big win in hand before it even hit the court Friday night.
The third-ranked Ducks celebrated their latest Pac-12 title with an 88-57 rout of Washington State as Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally dominated inside and Sabrina Ionescu dished out 12 assists in the team’s 15th consecutive victory.
“Three (titles) in a row in a Power Five conference is difficult to do because of the level of competition, especially this year in the Pac-12,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “I think we’ve been the best conference in the country.
“I’m glad we got to share that moment with the fans here at home.”
“This one’s pretty cool because it’s at home. The other ones were on the road where we don’t have much support. This one was really cool to do it here.”
Hebard had 28 points and 14 rebounds for her 15th double-double of the season. Sabally finished with 22 points and seven rebounds without playing in the fourth quarter as Oregon (27-2, 16-1 Pac-12) eliminated any doubt early against the Cougars (11-18, 4-13).
Ionescu added 12 points for her 130th game in double figures. Jovana Subasic led WSU with 17 points and Borislava Hristova had 14 in the sixth consecutive loss for the Cougars.
The Ducks clinched their third consecutive outright Pac-12 regular-season crown before the game when Arizona defeated Stanford 73-72 in overtime to drop the Cardinal to 13-4 in the conference with one game left. After the game, the Ducks marked the championship by cutting down the nets and held a short ceremony to honor Ionescu for becoming the first Division I player to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists Monday at Stanford. There also was a short tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, who had come to mentor Ionescu and the Ducks.
The only somber moment for Oregon during the game came when Hebard and Sabally, fighting for an offensive rebound, went down in a tangle of legs late in the third quarter, hushing the crowd. Sabally walked off the court gingerly and didn’t return, but Graves said she was “fine” and only stayed on the bench as a precaution.
Oregon scored the first 13 points and WSU called a timeout barely three minutes into the first quarter. It did little good.
“I think this team is on a mission,” Graves said. “We came out in the first quarter and played as well as you can play, which says to me we’re really locked in right now.”
The Ducks were up 30-11 after one quarter, shooting 77% (13 of 17) from the field. Ionescu had an assist on Oregon’s first five field goals and eight in the quarter.
“They’ve been great all year in first quarters,” WSU coach Kami Ethridge said. “They’ve really rolled right over a lot of teams.
“We didn’t do anything defensively. They got pretty much everything they wanted. They’re going to score, but giving up 53 points in a first half is not a good recipe for success against Oregon.”
Oregon’s lead at halftime was 53-26 as the Ducks shot 71% for the half, with 16 assists on their 22 field goals. Ionescu had 10 of those assists while Hebard had 20 points and Sabally scored 12.
Oregon led 77-42 after three quarters before the Cougars battled evenly with Oregon reserves in the final quarter.
“We’ve just got to learn to compete at a higher level,” Ethridge said. “They’re a great example of a team that knows how to compete and has competitors from start to finish and maybe one of the greatest competitors of all-time in Sabrina.”
Washington State: The Cougars have played 13 ranked teams this season, the most in school history, and have yet to beat a Top 25 opponent. They will play another one in 17th-ranked Oregon State on Sunday, and possibly more in the conference tournament with six Pac-12 teams currently ranked.
Oregon: In winning 15 consecutive games, the Ducks have outscored teams by an average of 25.2 points.
Hebard moved up to ninth on the conference scoring list with 2,298 points and to fifth on the career rebounds list with 1,265. Hristova ascended to 12th on the Pac-12 scoring list with 2,238 points.
Washington State: Plays at Oregon State on Sunday to conclude its regular season.
Oregon: Hosts Washington on Sunday in the final regular-season game.