EUGENE, OR - It was a night showing off the world’s best vs. the nation’s best. Team USA vs. No. 1 Oregon women’s basketball and it did not disappoint.
In front of an 11,000+ crowd in Matthew Knight Arena, the best of the best was on full display in Team USA’s final stop of their training camp tour.
In what many, including the Oregon players themselves, thought would be a competitive game but with USA eventually pulling away in the end quickly turned into a “what did we all just witness?” type of feel.
“I mean, we came into the game thinking we have a shot at this… yeah, we’re good but we’re staying humble about it and we know we’re not just going to come out there and beat them by 20,” said junior Satou Sabally following the game. “But I think every team has to go into every game very confident.”
“I think before the game and the week leading up to it, watching the other games, we knew they were the best team in the world, the best players in the world, so we were just going to try and stay within 20,” said senior Sabrina Ionescu, who recorded 30 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
Confidence plus talent would do just that and more.
The Ducks went onto victory over Team USA, 93-86.
“As the game continued to go on, we kind of forgot who they were and what the expectations were of them beating us and we were just trying to play our game and play it to perfection,” Ionescu added.
This win wasn’t just like any other, even though it was over the best in the game. No, it all started with a mindset courtesy of Diana Taurasi, the 37-year-old basketball phenom with a killer bun. Before the game, the two teams had the opportunity to meet one another. During this time, Taurasi gave a little piece of advice to the No. 1 team in the nation: Stay mad.
Without knowing the exact context to what experience Taurasi was referencing, one can assume that the Ducks haven’t stopped thinking about last season. A first ever Final Four appearance that ended in a heartbreaking 72-67 loss to Baylor (who would go on to win the National Championship). The Ducks now enter the 2019-2020 season with a chip on their shoulder and a target on their back.
With a mindset of staying mad, drowning out the accolades or the rankings and the talent on the roster, this team is dangerous and it all started tonight.