Oregon 89, Washington State 56
How Oregon won: Defense. Defense. Defense. Oregon shot poorly from behind the ar but got the job done at the other end of the court. The Ducks defense forced 18 turnovers and scored 25 points off of those turnovers. They also recorded 14 steals vs. the Washington State Cougars (7-6, 0-1 Pac-12). The UO offense finally got into rhythm behind sophomores Ruthy Hebard, who finished 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Sabrina Ionescu, who also scored 25 points. No. 10 Oregon (12-2, 1-0) started conference play on the right foot with an 89-56 win over the Cougars.
What it means: The Ducks opened up PAC-12 play with a win. Despite a slow start in the first half, Oregon built a lead off of its strong defensive effort, grabbing rebounds, and pushing the tempo.
"I thought it was a great way for us to start league," Oregon coach coach Kelly Graves said. "I told the kids at half 'I was really proud of them'. We built a nice lead, primarily off our defense. We didn't shoot the three that well, and it's nice to know you're going to have games like that. So we were able to rely on our defense and on Ruthy (Hebard) inside... I told the team 'I think that's a sign of a maturing group. Even on those nights when we're not shooting it like we normally do, we found other ways to get it done."
High flying Ducks: Freshman Satou Sabally contributed to the team's 42 points in the paint with14 points. Senior guard Lexi Bando got hot once again from three-point land finishing 4-of-10 from behind the arc while scoring 18 points.
"We had to buckle down and get some stops," said Ionescu following the game. "I think we kind of let up our intensity a little bit knowing that we were up by a lot and you can't do that in the PAC-12. Teams are coming out regardless if you're down by 20 or up by 20, they are going to play their hardest every time. We definitely buckled down and got some stops and ended the game the way we should have."
Foul play: A clean game all around for the Ducks. Only Bando and Sabally finished with two fouls a piece.
Up next: The Ducks (12-2) stay home to host the Washington Huskies (6-5) at 1 PM this Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena.