With two minutes left in the third quarter, No. 4 Oregon women’s basketball’s Sabrina Ionescu turned the ball over, resulting in a layup by Utah’s Megan Huff and giving the Utes their second tie of the game. With a minute left, the Utes took their only lead at 56-54.
“We just needed to defend," Oregon senior guard Maite Cazorla said. "I mean, they were making 3s. We had to do a really good job defensively.”
An 11-point shooting spree from Satou Sabally reclaimed the lead for Oregon and held it to secure the 20-point win at 87-65.
Despite the late third-quarter scare, Oregon led most of the game, maintaining its spot at the top of the Pac-12. Sabally led the Ducks with 20 points, 13 in the second half. For the Utes, Huff earned a game and career-high 38 points.
“Everyone can score and everyone can drive in the paint,” Sabally said “We just played our game, got everyone the ball. We’re really not selfish players.”
Off 8-of-10 shooting, junior Ruthy Hebard scored 16, remaining perfect through halftime. Cazorla matched Hebard with 16 of her own, 14 of those coming in the second half.
“Maite attacked the basket, a little bit, gave us some calmness offensively,” Graves said. “We were organized a lot better in that fourth quarter."
In front of a crowd of 7,773, the Ducks opened the game with a 9-2 run. Followed by another 11-3 run late in the quarter to end with an 11-point lead. Hebard and Sabally both shot 100 percent in the quarter with eight and seven points, respectively.
In the second, Utah responded with a 10-4 run to get within seven points of the Ducks, but behind Oti Gildon’s 5-of-6, 10-point half, the best of any Duck, Oregon led by ten into halftime at 37-27.
The Utes outscored Oregon in the second and third quarters, putting up a combined 45 points to Oregon’s 38. Two made free throws off a technical foul on the Oregon bench midway through the third, followed by a Utah 3-pointer put the Utes within three of the Ducks.
The Utes grabbed their first lead with just under a minute left in the third quarter, but Sabally hit a 3-pointer off an assist from Cazorla to quickly take it back for the Ducks.
Early in the fourth, the Ducks went on an 11-0 run to put a 12-point berth between them and the Utes. Ionescu, who had just two points at half, scored 9 of her 11 points in the fourth quarter.
“Sabrina, let’s face it, she had a rough night for three quarters, but she played pretty well in the fourth,” Graves said. “That helped when she hit a couple. It’s like the whole team took a breath.”
The Ducks will host Colorado Sunday at 12 p.m.
Follow Sierra Webster on Twitter @WebsterSierraE.