The No. 3 Oregon Ducks (7-1) got back to their dominant ways with a 95-56 win over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits (6-4) on Sunday in Eugene, Ore.
In the Ducks’ previous contest, they lost to then-No. 8 Louisville and dropped from No. 1 in the AP Poll to No. 3. The Ducks’ “big three” of Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally wasn’t about to let the team drop a second game in a row, not when Oregon came into this season with the unfinished business of not winning a national title last year.
That trio stepped up, Hebard scoring a game-high 22 points, Sabally contributing 16 points (including 2-for-2 shooting from distance) and seven rebounds and Ionescu adding 12 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. Fellow starter Erin Boley added 12 points as well and freshman Holly Winterburn broke out with a career-high 17 points, as the Ducks cruised to a blowout victory. Winterburn was 5-of-7 from beyond the arc and Boley was 4-of-7 from 3-point range.
After taking 35 threes against Louisville and making just six of them, Oregon made getting the ball to Hebard down low an emphasis in the first quarter. The senior scored four points in the first minute and 25 seconds of the game. Boley led all Ducks scorers at halftime with 12 points, while Sabally and Winterburn combined for 24 points in the second half. Those three gave the Ducks a much improved 14-of-24 effort from long range.
Ionescu, meanwhile, was a steady, positive influence throughout the game; she scored seven points in the first half and five in the second. As has been the theme for her this season, she put distributing the ball first, above getting her own shot off. But Ionescu’s last two seasons of averaging 19-plus points per game were with her in spirit as she recorded her 109th career double-digit scoring performance and made her 284th and 285th 3-pointers as a Duck. She now holds the Oregon program record in those two categories.
Give @sabrina_i20 10 points now for her 109th career double-figure scoring game, breaking the Oregon all-time record!— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) December 8, 2019
She has also broken the UO all-time three-pointer record with two so far today, giving her 285 for her career
Ducks lead 61-30. #GoDucks @Pac12Network pic.twitter.com/QvnGCxRx2A
The Jackrabbits were led by Tylee Irwin, who scored 10 points in defeat. South Dakota State lost to Oregon in the Sweet Sixteen last year. With a lot of talent lost from a season ago, the Jackrabbits failed to avenge that loss or even come close. Rylie Cascio Jensen and Paiton Burckhard, the team’s leading scorer entering the game, each had eight points.