The No. 1 Ducks started off their season with a bang, beating Northeastern 89-47 in the first regular season game of the year.
The Ducks stormed onto the court on Monday, hot off of a historic exhibition win on Saturday against the USA Women’s National Team in which they handed them their first loss to a college team in 20 years.
Matthew Knight Arena was packed on Monday and the cheers echoed as Erin Boley hit a three to take the lead in the first few seconds of the game. After that, the Ducks never looked back.
“I’m excited that we got the win,” head coach Kelly Graves said. “I thought we played really, really well today.”
Despite Northeastern’s powerful defense, the Ducks widened their lead in the first quarter. Boley and Ruthy Hebard came through with some crucial points while the Huskies shut down Sabrina Ionescu.
“What we just did right there is not easy,” Graves said. “To come down so quickly from the high from the other night. I really credit these guys, there was a little bit of a hangover in the first quarter but they amped it up in the second quarter.”
Minyon Moore and Hebard fought down in the paint, pushing through the defense and solidifying the lead. The Ducks finished the first quarter 16-9.
Lydia Giomi turned it on in the second quarter working with Ionescu to get the ball down below for some seamless layups.
“I’m really proud of Lydia, I think this is one of the best games she’s ever played here.” Graves said.
Giomi tallied a career high 18 points and 9 rebounds.
“It’s just playing basketball,” Giomi said. “My team gave me the ball, my team set me up for it.”
Oregon outrebounded Northwestern 24-13 in the first half as Hebard led the Ducks with eight rebounds to go along with her 17 points. After Monday’s game, Ruthy Hebard is just six rebounds away from becoming the fourth Duck ever to eclipse 1,000 in a career.
Northeastern struggled against Oregon's defense, the Ducks holding the Huskies to only 22 points in the first half, heading into the third quarter 47-22.
Freshman Holly Winterburn brought the score to 64-28 in the third quarter with her first three pointer on the season.
“It’s a work in progress,” Graves said about the freshman players. “It’s tough to step in and play with elite players like they are. There’s a learning curve and they’ll get better. I thought they showed some good things, it was nice to see Jazz knock down a couple of threes and Holly continues to be aggressive. We’ll just keep getting better.”
Northeastern continued to double down on Ionescu, but she still managed to record eight rebounds and 12 points.
Despite her struggles, and a myriad of other minor issues, the Ducks were able to overcome, cruising to victory.
“We didn’t shoot the three well,” Graves said. “That’s just not who we are and then 15 turnovers. Those are two of the areas that we pride ourselves in and we just didn’t do that good of a job.”
The Ducks will be at Matt Knight again on Wednesday facing Utah State before hosting Texas Southern on Saturday.