Every time Sabrina Ionescu steps on the court, there’s a chance a new record will be set.
The NCAA triple-double record holder for both men’s and women’s basketball recorded her 15th career triple-double in No. 5 Oregon women’s basketball’s (13-1, 2-0 Pac-12) 98-58 win over Washington State (6-8, 1-2 Pac-12) on Sunday. Ionescu’s 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists also makes her tied with Lauri Landerholm’s 607 career assists for Oregon, which Landerholm set in 1987.
“It’s kind of funny when Sabrina can get a triple-double and it’s like ‘ho-hum’ somebody else gets player of the game,” head coach Kelly Graves said.
That player of the game was Ruthy Hebard, who went 4-of-12 against Washington on Friday in a poor performance by her standards. Against Washington State on Sunday, Hebard started slow again, missing her first two shots. But she scored her next six attempted field goals on the way to a career-high 34-point night on 16-of-21 shooting.
“Ruthy tonight had an advantage and she just took advantage of it and it’s great to see her get back on stride, Graves said.
Hebard struggled at the line, though, shooting 2-of-10, but in the flow of the game she and Ionescu were gelling as usual. Half of Ionescu’s 10 assists were to Hebard.
Ionescu is now one of only 10 players in Pac-12 history to tally more than 600 assists, but the junior is a long way away from former UCLA guard Jordin Canada’s record of 831.
The Matthew Knight Arena crowd is always in tune with Ionescu’s performances, looking for the next triple-double. Once again, the crowd let out gasps on any missed shots where Ionescu lurked nearby as she needed just one more rebound. When it came in the fourth quarter on an offensive board, the bulk of the crowd stood and applauded before breaking out in a “triple-double” chant just as the fans do every time she collects a triple-double.
“I hear it in the crowd, people yelling at me ‘two more rebounds, one more rebounds,” Ionescu said. “It’s nice that they’re so into it and care about a record like that.”
Oregon’s second-quarter struggles from two nights ago vanished as the Ducks controlled the tempo and the scoring for the entirety of the first half.
Much of that was thanks to Hebard’s nine second-quarter points but also Oregon’s defense keeping the Cougars to 12 points while the Ducks’ offense exploded for 24.
Satou Sabally continued her hot streak with a 25-point performance to follow her 19-point game against Washington.
“Satou continues to mature right before our eyes,” Graves said. “When she’s aggressive like that she becomes so difficult [for opposition].”
Late in the game, Sabally got in a tussle with Washington State’s Michaela Jones. Sabally was quickly tended to by teammates when the German international began to motion toward Jones.
“I ran out there. I was ready. Nothing was going to happen, the poor girl was scared,” Ionescu said. “I knew that wasn’t anything serious.”
The Ducks were able to laugh off the 40-point blowout win on Sunday but they’ll quickly shift focus to a road trip to Los Angeles, where they’ll face USC and UCLA next weekend.
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow