How Oregon won: A beautifully designed and executed game plan by Oregon coach Kelly Graves and his team. The Ducks showed that they learned their lesson from Friday night’s Civil War round one 85-79 loss in Corvallis, OR. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to that game. Beavers’ guard Kat Tudor goes off from three-point range and finishes with 34 points. Oregon State shot a perfect 7-for-7 from three-point land before finally missing one. And Beavers’ center Marie Gulich was just a force down low getting second-chance points and finishing with 28 points that night.
But tonight, in front of 7,249 screaming fans at Matthew Knight Arena, was a different story.
The Ducks shut down the Beavers by trapping their guards in the corners as the ball crossed mid court doing anything to make their offense uncomfortable. As Gulich got the ball down low, she was immediately met by a double team of Ducks forcing the ball out of her hands. And Tudor, who still finished with 17 points, definitely had a more hands in her face and less open looks thanks to glue defense from freshman Anneli Maley.
The No. 7 Oregon Ducks (18-3, 7-1 Pac-12) took round two of the Civil War series 75-63 over in-state rival the No. 18 Oregon State Beavers (14-5, 5-3 Pac-12).
“We were just so focused and I think that’s what it just comes down to,” said Oregon sophomore guard Sabrina Ionescu. “Physically I know we are able to defend them, and any team, but I think mentally we have lapses here and there. We are still young but it’s not an excuse. I think mentally we came in focused, we were ready, we were dialed in, and we came out and competed. I think it showed. We really stopped what they are really good at: we didn’t give them any three’s and we didn’t let them get inside…”
What it means: Freshman forward Satou Sabally was tonight’s player of the game. Sabally finished with 21 points and five rebounds, but overall it was her confidence that took a giant step forward. In the second period alone, Sabally hit 3-of-5 from three-point range that sparked the Ducks into a 40-18 lead at halftime.
Sabally said, “After the game on Friday, I was a little upset, actually very upset. They [Oregon State] also recruited me very highly, so it meant a little more to me to beat them to show ‘ok I made the right decision’. But it means a lot, I just care a lot about the team too because Lexi Bando is out, that’s her last game against Oregon State probably, and Justine [Justine Hall, senior guard]. So this is just a great win for them too.”
With Bando out indefinitely with a foot injury, it is still unclear what her timetable for return is. As on Friday, the Ducks went with sophomore forward Mallory McGwire once again and she did not disappoint. McGwire finished with 14 points and six rebounds, and the task of guarding Gulich down low.
“I thought Mallory set the tone, not just on the offensive end, but she was on-point on her mid-range game, but I thought defensively did a great job with Gulich,” said Graves. “I think Gulich is the best post in the conference, and we just kind of had her off her game a little bit and I really credit Mallory.”
High flying Ducks: Along with McWire and Sabally’s performance, sophomore guard Sabrina Ionescu was just four rebounds shy of her ninth triple-double. She finished with 15 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds. Junior guard Maite Cazorla finished with 16 points going 6-for-11 from the field. Both Ionescu and Cazorla played the entire game.
Foul play: McWire fouled out of the game. Freshman Anneli Maley finished with three fouls and received a technical.
Up next: Oregon hits the road to face the Colorado Buffaloes (11-8, 2-6 Pac-12) at 7 PM this Friday.