SEATTLE – If there was any doubt about Oregon women’s basketball’s top seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, the Ducks smashed it with an 84-47 rout of Colorado in the quarterfinal round on Friday.
The win extends the Ducks’ win streak to seven games, and marks the team’s largest margin of victory over a conference opponent this season. The team has now reached the semifinal round of the tournament for the second year in a row. Oregon will play the winner of Cal and UCLA.
“We certainly anticipated a tough game today,” Oregon head coach Kelly Graves said. “I think that motivated us to come out really strong. Sometimes in the first game, there might be some tournament jitters – but I don’t think we had it.”
It was stellar shooting that powered the Ducks to victory, with 55 percent shooting from the field and 48 percent from downtown. By the end of the night, the team had tied the tournament’s single game 3-point record with 13 buckets from beyond the arc. Leading the charge were Satou Sabally (21 points on 72 percent shooting) and Lexi Bando (19 points, 66 percent shooting). The two were nearly unstoppable, and Colorado certainly didn’t have any answers.
Clearly, her first collegiate tournament appearance didn’t trouble Sabally.
“I was dialed in,” Sabally said. “My teammates were just all dialed in, so that made it easier.”
Defensively, the Ducks were equally impressive, holding the Buffs to just 31 percent shooting from the field. They also dominated the boards, out-rebounding Colorado 40-24.
The team’s normal scoring duo of Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard didn’t add many points to the effort, finishing the night with just 10 and 11 points, respectively. They lifted the Ducks in other areas, with Ionescu adding 13 assists and Hebard grabbing 11 boards. Ionescu noted that having such a deep team give the Ducks numerous avenues to scoring, rather than forcing a couple of players to carry the team.
From the second the won the tip-off to the end of the game, the Ducks looked like a team on a mission. They opened things up with an 8-0 run in the first quarter before Colorado began pushing them.
The Buffs made a quick trio of 3-pointers, bringing them within five points of the Ducks. It was as close as they’d come to forcing a tight game. After a timeout from Graves, the Ducks stepped on the gas and never let up. Oregon closed out the first quarter on a 10-3 run, and entered the second period of play with a 24-12 lead.
They were just getting started.
The Ducks absolutely smothered the Buffs defensively, holding them to just six points. At the same time, Oregon unleashed an offensive barrage of 21 points to build a 45-18 lead by the end of the quarter.
While this wasn’t the first time the Ducks would enter the second half with a sizable lead, the team had allowed their opponents to claw their way back on several occasions.
“It’s been one of our weaknesses,” Graves said.
It wasn’t a problem on Friday. The Ducks hung 39 more points on the struggling Buffs to close out strong.
Follow Aaron Alter on Twitter @aaronalter95
— Emerald Sports (@ODEsports) March 2, 2018