In the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, Oregon’s star sophomore guard Sabrina Ionescu grabbed a rebound. The crowd began to chant “triple-double.”
“I don’t really try to look up too much at the stats,“ Ionescu said. “I knew I was somewhere close. I felt like I was impacting the game in every way possible. The fans are great, and I appreciate them for doing that.”
Ionescu picked up her fifth career triple-double and her first of the season with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists as Oregon advanced to the third round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament with a 110-77 win over Drake at Matthew Knight Arena. With one more triple-double, she’ll match the Pac-12 career mark, and two more she’ll tie the NCAA career record of seven.
The Ducks were led by the backcourt duo of Ionescu and junior Maite Cazorla, who finished with a double-double of 12 points and 11 assists.
“They’re just so unselfish,”head coach Kelly Graves said. “Sabrina, sometimes it gets her in trouble — she looks to pass. I thought tonight, at least in the second half, [Ionescu] was looking to score. She needs to continue to be aggressive and look to score first sometimes.”
Senior and Eugene native Lexi Bando shot 4-of-6 from 3-point land and added 16 points. Ruthy Hebard scored 10 points and added 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Off the bench, freshman Satou Sabally shot 8-of-11 for 20 points.
“I think we have so many great players that we’re going to be able to wear some teams down,” Graves said. “That could be part of our M.O. for the season.”
The Ducks were 6-of-10 from the 3-point line after the first quarter, a quarter they put 30 points. The Ducks hit 17 3-pointers in the game.
The Ducks offense stumbled a bit in the second quarter, but entered halftime with a 50-39 lead. The Ducks were tripped up with 10 turnovers at the half.
“We were shooting at a good clip in the first half but we were just kind of stubbing our own toe,” Graves said. “I just felt once we got rolling in the full cut, we got some offense off our defense and that got us going.”
The Ducks will hit the road for the third game of the WNIT to play Texas A&M on Thursday night at 5 p.m. in College Station, Texas. Should the Ducks advance, they’d play in the WNIT championship game, played Nov. 19 on the road.
“I think it’ll definitely test us and we’ll see where we are,” Ionescu said. “I’m excited to be able play on the road. I know we haven’t really had a tough game on the road yet, so I think it will test how we battle that fight, and school and everything we’ll be missing here.”
Follow Zak Laster on Twitter @zlast3445