Ruthy Hebard

Ruthy is ruthless in Ducks' Sweet 16 victory

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Ruthy is ruthless in Ducks' Sweet 16 victory

How Oregon won: A bit of nerves perhaps in the opening minutes, for the Oregon Ducks settled in nicely in this NCAA Sweet 16 matchup against the Central Michigan Chippewas. Lead by sophomore forward Ruthy Hebard down low, on both sides of the court, the No. 2 Ducks cruised to an 83-69 win over No. 11 Central Michigan and punch their ticket into the Elite 8.

It took awhile for both team to get settled in. Two hot-shooting three-point teams, and neither hit a three-pointer until halfway through the first quarter. Hebard established her game early. Her teammates found her down low, one or two dribbles to get to her right side, and then a high-percentage layup, the shot she has mastered so much this season. 33 times in a row, in fact. Hebard records her second double-double of the post-season tournament with 23 points and 14 rebounds. She needed four more blocks for a triple-double.

The Ducks defense came to play as well. Central Michigan comes in ranked No. 13 in 3-pt field goals attempted. Oregon coach Kelly Graves said during pregame that the Ducks must be mindful and defend the three-point line, and make sure the Ducks get on the boards because the Chippewas like to pass the ball out if they get an offensive rebound. Oregon’s defense held Central Michigan to 7-of-27 (26%) from behind the arc. Along with making sure there was a hand in the air on the Chippewas shooters, Oregon also recorded 11 total blocks, six alone coming from Hebard. Oregon will need that same defensive pressure down low against Notre Dame on Monday with their height down low.

What it means: The No. 2 Ducks are headed to the NCAA Elite 8 for back-to-back consecutive seasons and will face No. 1 Notre Dame on Monday evening in Spokane, WA. The Irish are coming off a 90-84 battle against No. 4 Texas A&M lead by starters Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale’s 25 points each.

High-flying Ducks: Sophomore guard Sabrina Ionescu continues to shine when the spotlight keeps getting brighter. Ionescu was one rebound shy of her 11th career triple-double. She finished with 16 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds. Senior Lexi Bando finished with 14 points hitting 4-of-11 from three-point range. Junior Oti Gildon, playing in front of her home town fans of Spokane, came up again huge with 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench. She continues to be a stable presence off the bench for Graves.

Foul play: Gildon finished with three fouls. 

Welcome to the 1,000 career points club, Hebard & Ionescu!

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Welcome to the 1,000 career points club, Hebard & Ionescu!

How Oregon won: Sweep complete. Unselfishness, poise, and a pair of new 1,000 career-point members. This was an all-around complete game from the No. 9 Oregon Ducks against the Washington State Cougars. The Sophomore studs of Ruthy Hebard and Sabrina Ionescu combined for 46 points, Ionescu added nine assists, and Hebard nine rebounds that powered the Ducks (23-4, 12-2 Pac-12) past the Washington State Cougars (10-16, 3-11 Pac-12) 90-79 in Pullman, WA.

A perfect 12-for-12 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free throw line for Ruthy Hebard. Coming off a career high 30-point performance in Seattle vs. the Huskies carried over the five hour drive east to Pullman. Her consistency is part of Oregon’s foundation for success.

Her partner in crime, Ionescu was on triple-double watch once again, but fell short by five rebounds and one assist. She finished with 17 points, nine assists, and five rebounds, and hitting clutch free throws down the stretch.

What it means: Welcome back Lexi Bando. The senior leader for the Ducks made her return this afternoon after suffering a stress fracture in her foot before the first Civil War back in January. At the 1:37 mark in the first quarter, the senior subbed in. And at the 1:12 mark, she immediately does what Bando does best: hit three-pointers. Bando played just 12 minutes, but made the most of it finishing with nine points on 3-for-6 from three-point range. Her hot shooting causes the defense to keep one eye on her on the perimeter allowing for opportunities for high-to-low movement down low for Hebard and Mallory McGwire. 

Oregon got it done on the interior once again. 40 points in the paint, created nine WSU turnovers and capitalizing on those turnover turning them into 12 points. 

An area of improvement for the Ducks today was perimeter defense. WSU shot 55% (11-for-20) from three-point range, five Cougars scored in double digits, and let off the gas in the final minutes of the game. Oregon will have to stay consistent throughout the full 40 minutes against any opponent in the Pac-12.  

High flying Ducks: Four Ducks scored in double digits. Alongside Ionescu and Hebard, freshman Satou Sabally was locked in early on. Sabally was a perfect 3-for-3 to start this one off and finished with 17 points on 5-of-7 from the field. Junior Odi Gildon, coming off a nine-point game vs. Washington, had another nice game finishing with 10 points and five rebounds off the bench.

Foul play: Hebard finished with four fouls.

Up next: The Ducks head home to host the USC Trojans (16-8, 6-7 Pac-12) at 6 PM (PT) this Friday at Matthew Knight Arena.  

No. 10 Oregon pours in 89 in PAC-12 opener; routs WSU 89-56

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No. 10 Oregon pours in 89 in PAC-12 opener; routs WSU 89-56

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.

Oregon basketball teams to hold double-header charity games Saturday

Oregon basketball teams to hold double-header charity games Saturday

The Oregon men's and women's basketball teams will play a pair of charity exhibition games on Saturday morning at Matthew Knight Arena to raise money for those affected by the wildfires that ravaged the state last summer.

Admission is $10 for the double-header event that will not be televised. Money raised will go to the American Red Cross Oregon Wildfire Fund. Payment must be in the form of cash or check. Credit cards will not be accepted. The games are being held early in order to be done in time for fans to attend the Oregon football team's 2:45 p.m. game against Utah at Autzen Stadium. 

The women’s team will host Portland State at 9:30 a.m. 

“This is a great opportunity for our fans to get a look at two exciting teams,” UO women's coach Kelly Graves said in a prepared statement. “While at the same time, we are joining forces with Portland State to help with the recovery efforts in fire-damaged areas of our great state.”

The men’s team will play at 11 a.m. against Idaho.

“The NCAA has given us a unique opportunity to give back to our state, and we are honored to be able to do that,” Oregon men's coach Dana Altman said. “We want to encourage those fans who are coming to Eugene for the football game to come early and watch basketball for a good cause.”

The men’s team reached the Final Four last season. The women's team made it to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.

Doors will open at 9:00 a.m., and all seating is general admission.