EUGENE, Oregon - It is known that Sabrina Ionescu is the first one to be in the gym putting up shots on game days. On Sunday morning, ahead of ranked opponent No. 19 Arizona, Ionescu was in an empty Matthew Knight Arena by 9 a.m., five hours before the scheduled 2 p.m. (PT) tip-off.
This morning, however, she wasn’t alone.
In the gym with her, and the Oregon assistant coaches, was freshman Jaz Shelley.
I think she was serious about this and it paid off out there. — Oregon head coach Kelly Graves
No. 3 Oregon defeated the No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils 79-48 in a sold out Matthew Knight Arena.
For a freshman who comes off the bench, getting to the gym early to put up shots isn’t a normal routine. But Shelley is a pure shooter and has to be ready.
She is currently shooting 40.7% from three-point range.
And on a day where the Sun Devils game planned to double Ruthy Hebard on the pick-and-roll down low, the shots were open on the perimeter. Shelley and the Ducks made the Sun Devils pay by hitting a combined 13-for-25 from three-point range; Shelley a perfect 4-for-4 and finishing with 14 points.
Their defense today was sort of collapsing in on Ruthy. They were all so focused on Sabrina… she did a great job of finding both me and Erin [Boley]. I think our team did a really good job to find the hot hands. — Jaz Shelley
But her efforts on the offensive end were just as present on the defensive end. When Shelley and sophomore Taylor Chavez are at the top of Oregon’s 2-3 zone look, their off-ball quickness and quick hands force a lot of tipped passes and create difficulty for the opponent to get the ball on the inside.
Yeah, I like playing with Taylor at the top. I think we read each other really well. If I’m at the top of the zone, she’s always talking to me behind me and it’s really good. We interchange really well and get nice steals so it’s a lot of fun playing with her. — Jaz Shelley
Shelley is a weapon for Graves to have in his arsenal. She comes off the bench, is quick on defense and can punish you on offense. When she finds her shot and her rhythm, it’s tough to slow down this Oregon offense and just how deep they can run. It will be interesting to see how Shelley develops throughout her time at Oregon as she is just a freshman and playing behind the best player in the country: Sabrina Ionescu.
Not a bad player and person to follow and it’s already taking shape with early reps in the gym.
UP NEXT: The Ducks will need that sharp shooting to travel as they head south to Los Angeles for a date with the No. 10 UCLA Bruins on Friday night, tip-off at 8 p.m. (PT).