Photo by Allan Johnstone
Oregon Basketball

Ionescu Notches History in Win over Air Force

December 20, 2018
1,084

Oregon - 82  Air Force 36

Before I start, I’d like to take a moment to congratulate Sabrina Ionescu on recording her 13th career triple double today, the most all time in NCAA history, men’s or women’s. This is an unbelievable accomplishment for Sabrina, further cementing herself as the best basketball player in the Oregon Women’s Program (Maybe all time at Oregon?) and continuing to build her case to go down among the all time greats at the NCAA level. Ionescu, since her freshman year, has really put this Oregon basketball program on the national radar and has continued to have an unparalleled amount of success. Let us not forget this is only her junior season. Here’s to more success for not only the women’s program, but also Sabrina.


Good:

Even though I just finished up talking about Ionescu’s performance, she was once again the most dominant player on the court. Ionescu followed up her 29 point performance on Tuesday by finishing with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. Ionescu had a significantly better shooting afternoon than Tuesday, going 7-11 from the floor including 2-4 from downtown. The game looked really easy today for Ionescu, as she routinely was able to find the open teammate, make the pass, and lead her teammate into an open shot. Sabrina’s passing was on full display, as she made every pass in the book. A personal favorite was the two handed bullet pass she made to Oti Gildon that traveled almost the length of the court. Sabrina was brilliant today, and deserves some celebration after breaking the record.

Oregon’s offense was also a huge plus today, even though they finished below their scoring average of 82 points. Oregon’s starters were pulled with a little over five minutes to go in the 4th quarter, and their bench was given an insurmountable lead to work with. Ruthy Hebard played extremely well today, finishing with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists on a perfect 9-9 shooting. There was no stopping the pick and roll combination today of Hebard and Ionescu, as Hebard was often left wide open underneath the basket for an easy lay in.

Along with Hebard, Satou Sabally finished with a nice 19 points and 8 rebounds, to go along with 2 steals and 2 blocks. After a lackluster performance against Mississippi State due to foul trouble, Sabally played hard all game long, and really exploded for a strong second half. Sabally was great from all over the court on the offensive end, collecting her 19 points by shooting 7-12 from the floor and 1-2 from behind the arc. Sabally is a truly impressive player for being a sophomore, as she has no hesitation to put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim. When Satou is aggressive, this Oregon team is tough to beat.

I’m going to group this last one as a collective, but, I thought the bench today showed a lot on the court. Everyone was aggressive and was reliable. The bench didn’t have too much continuity when it was only them on the floor, but, when paired with a starter or two, I thought they played great. Liz Giomi got a chance to play for 19 minutes today, and responded by putting up 8 points and 6 rebounds. I think Giomi is a really important part of this team because of her size and ability. If/When Hebard is in foul trouble or is tired, Oregon has a severe lack of front court depth not named Oti Gildon.

If Giomi can step up and prove that she’s ready by rebounding and defending without fouling, than Coach Graves just gets another piece to work with. I mentioned Oti Gildon, and although she is Oregon’s only frontcourt depth, she played quite well today. Gildon finished with only 2 points, but also finished with 7 boards, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Gildon’s job isn’t to score, she can if called upon, but Gildon needs to rebound consistently and again, defend without fouling. She’s done a great job so far this year, and had another great performance today.

Taylor Chavez might be the best perimeter defender Oregon has. She will run baseline to baseline and sideline to sideline in order to defend for this team, and I love it. It’s old school, but I still believe defense wins. The Ducks saw Chavez shut down Bibby for Mississippi State by flying through screens and battling traffic, and that kind of effort is extremely hard to find. She won’t put up major points, but she’s an intricate part of this team. Her defense and ability to knock down open threes, is extremely valuable for Oregon, and I can only see her improving over the year.

Lastly, Oregon had a Morgan Yaeger sighting! The Australian redshirt sophomore had been out the last couple of games due to a flare up in her back, an injury that caused her to miss all of last season. Hopefully she can remain healthy and again be an important part of this team.

Some couple team positive notes: Oregon finished with 50 (!!!) rebounds as a team, out rebounding Air Force by 20. Oregon also finished with 22 assists, and ended the game with only 10 turnovers.

Bad:

I’m probably nitpicking here, as there was so much good to come from this game, but, I think I would have liked to see Erin Boley have a better game. She finished with a respectable 11 points and 4 rebounds, but to me, this game could have been a major confidence booster. Air Force was not that prolific, and it would have been nice after only playing for 20 minutes against Mississippi State. She wasn’t bad by any means, I just needed something to put here.

Ugly:

 

The one ugly thing today was the slow start exhibited in the first quarter. Air Force kept it close until about two minutes left in the first quarter, and I think a lot of that was overthinking the game. They had just come off an extremely dramatic win over Mississippi State and now they had to play a lowly Air Force team, who does not matchup to State at all. Once Oregon slowed the game down just a little, it was over.


Oregon now moves to 10-1 on the year, and plays Friday at 12 P.M. PST, against the University of California - Irvine. The Anteaters are 9-1 on the year, and are riding a two game winning streak over both Portland State and University of Portland. Oregon should be able to handle this one but, that’s why we play the games. 

 
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