Photo by Allan Johnstone
Oregon Basketball

Ionescu Leads Oregon to Victory

January 6, 2019

Oregon 98, Washington State 58

The Ducks took on Washington State at home on Sunday in their second conference match-up of the season. Facing their second Washington team in three days didn't matter to the Ducks, as they handled business, winning by 40.

Washington State isn't a bad team either -- the Cougars beat Washington last weekend and gave Oregon State all it could handle on Friday -- but it simply didn’t matter to the Ducks. Oregon dominated from the very beginning, leading Ruthy Hebard to set a career high in points, another Sabrina Ionescu triple double, and four Ducks scoring in double digits.

Let’s dive right in on the recap.

The Good:

I thought today’s game was one of the best efforts Oregon has had all season. We’re still less than halfway through the season, but this and the Mississippi State game were two of the best games I’ve seen the Ducks play. For all 40 minutes, the Ducks played hard. We’ll get to some individual accolades soon, but Oregon as a team really won this game. Any loose ball was theirs, rebounds were tracked down, each defensive possession was intense, and Oregon was clicking all day offensively as well. The Ducks stuck to their game plans and orchestrated it to perfection.

There are a couple of players we could spotlight right now, but I’ll start with Ionescu, who recorded her 15th career triple-double. She is really in a class of her own now. The record was 12, and she has smashed it, with more than a half season left, and a potential senior year left as well. Sabrina was, obviously, really good today as she let her teammates dominate all game long. Ionescu went into halftime with 6 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, and then in the second half she exploded for another 11 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Sabrina has this knack for understanding exactly what she needs to do at all times. She also knows when to score, when to pass, and when to let the ball flow through someone else. And today, the ball mostly flowed through…

Ruthy Hebard. Hebard had herself a ball game today. Hebard finished with 34 points, 9 rebounds, and went 16-21 (76 percent) from the floor. The game plan, very early on, was to establish Ruthy as a low post presence, and the entire time she was on the court, the ball went through her. Hebard's low-post dominance helped get the offense flowing, and with each shot being right around the rim, Oregon continued to put up points. Oregon loves to shoot the three-pointer, but today, thanks to Ruthy, it finished finished with just 16 attempts from downtown. Oregon finished today shooting 57 percent, and Hebard was a big part of that.

Overshadowed in this game was Satou Sabally, who put her considerable skills on full display, finishing with 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. Sabally was really aggressive all night long, with 14 of her 19 shots coming inside the arc. She drove to the rim, tried to draw fouls, and if she didn’t it was sure inspiring to see her use her skill set properly. Sabally, who stands 6-4, has a unique skill set for someone that size, being able to put the ball on the floor and drive to the rack or step outside and shoot threes. People tend to forget she’s just a sophomore, but I really think she’s extremely important for this team going forward. Sabally played really well defensively today as well, finishing with 3 steals and 1 block, including 2 steal-and-scores, finishing the fast break with an easy layup.

I thought freshman Taylor Chavez played really well. She only finished with 2 points, but she’s not really on the floor to score. She plays defense as hard as she can, on every single possession, and really great teams need someone like that. She may not be the most talented defender on Oregon, but she works the hardest when she's out there.

Here are a couple of other things worth mentioning: Oregon won the rebounding battle 45-26, which is huge. But it doesn't stop there! Oregon won the offensive rebounding battle 18-9, including 11 offensive boards in the second quarter. Oregon had 62 points in the paint, which is more points than Washington State had in total. Lastly, the Ducks finished with 21 assists, another great showing on the offensive side of the ball.


The Bad:

I’m nitpicking here, but Oregon’s third-quarter defense was really bad. A lot of those shots were just a case of offense being better than defense, but allowing 71.4 percent shooting in a quarter isn’t the best method of winning. Oregon held the Cougs under 50 percent in every other quarter, including 13 percent in the fourth.

The Ugly:

Oregon shot just 48 percent from the free throw line today. This from a team that leads the NCAA in free throw shooting percentage at 82.8 percent. It was ugly to watch, but thankfully it never meant anything in the grand scheme of things. Hebard was the biggest culprit, missing 8. Had Hebard made all 8, she would’ve finished with 42 points! I can guess what the next practice is finishing with.

Up Next:

Oregon travels south for its SoCal tour, taking on USC on Jan. 11 (8 p.m.) and UCLA on Jan. 13 (2 p.m.). For now, the team can transition into the new school term and rest up for its upcoming big games.

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