How Oregon won: It was a tale of two halves for the Ducks vs. the Arizona State Sun Devils. This one could have got out of hand quickly as Oregon quickly fell into a 26% from the field and 1-7 from three-point range slump in the first quarter. But the No. 8 Oregon Ducks caught heat and finally get a win in Tempe, AZ 57-44 over the Sun Devils.
Just eight points and gave up five ASU offensive rebounds in the first quarter for Oregon. If it weren’t for the Sun Devils also poor shooting percentage, zero second-chance points, and seven first-half turnovers, Oregon most likely would have been in a bigger hole heading into halftime, but down 25-24.
Oregon coach Kelly Graves must have gave one heck of a pep-talk to his team coming out of halftime. Sophomore guard Sabrina Ionescu started the third quarter off with a steal, layup, block, steal, and assist. Ionescu’s vision was insane in the second half as she was finding her counterpart sophomore forward Ruthy Hebard rolling to the basket and getting back to the high-low game the Ducks have so mastered this year.
Oregon went on an 13-2 run in the closing five minutes of the third quarter to take a 44-33 at the start of the fourth quarter.
The one point deficit turned into a double-digit victory for Oregon.
What it means: With this win, the Ducks have secured at least a share of the Pac-12 title crown heading into one final road game and then the Pac-12 tournament in Seattle, WA the following weekend. Depending on how the rest of the weekend plays out in the Pac-12, with a win on Saturday at the Arizona Wildcats, the Ducks would lock up the No. 1 spot in what is turning out to be a interesting and tough Pac-12 tournament.
Finishing strong is a necessity, especially with a lurking Stanford (13-3), UCLA (13-4) and Oregon State (12-4) right around the corner.
High flying Ducks: Ionescu lead the way for Oregon with 16 points, eight assists, and five rebounds. Hebard and junior guard Maite Cazorla finished with 14 points a piece. Hebard also added six rebounds.
Foul play: Hebard and Freshman Satou Sabally finished with three fouls each
Up next: No. 8 Oregon at the Arizona Wildcats at 11 AM (PT) this Saturday in Tuscon, AZ.