Eugene – The No. 11 Oregon Ducks used a second half offensive surge to blowout the Drake Bulldogs, 110-77, in the second round of the preseason WNIT Sunday.
But the big game of the day belonged to sophomore guard Sabrina Ionescu, who scored 29 points, dished 11 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Ducks. It was her fifth career triple-double, and she is now one shy of the Pac-12 record and two triple-doubles short of the NCAA record.
Four other Oregon players were in double-figures, including freshman Satou Sabally, with 20 points in an efficient 8-of-11 from the field and senior Lexi Bando, who caught fire early in the third quarter and finished with 16 points, including 4-of-6 from three-point territory. Junior Maite Cazorla had a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists, as did sophomore Ruthy Hebard, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
After playing a sluggish first half, the Duck’s offense picked up in the second half, led by Ionescu and Sabally. Ionescu had 14 points, six assists and six rebounds after intermission, while Sabally exploded for 15 points in the second half. Ionescu wasn’t even thinking about getting the triple-double until coaches told her to go after the rebound.
“The coaches were telling me to rebound, but I didn’t know why,” Ionescu said. “Right when I got the rebound, it was like ‘tri-ple dou-ble’ and it was like ‘Oh that’s why they’re yelling at me to get every single rebound.'”
It was only Sabally’s second collegiate game, but the native of Germany is learning about how the game is played in the U.S.
“It’s a way faster game and more physical than I’m used to, but it’s a lot of fun,” she said.
She added that she gets to “play more free, and it’s not as structured,” as basketball is in her home country.
The improvement in Oregon’s offense from the first two quarters to the last two was noticeable.
“I thought we really put it together on both ends of the floor, especially in the second half,” coach Kelly Graves said. “Our rebounding, which we focused on this time, was much better this game.”
“It was just a good team effort. Everybody contributed. Offensively, we were in flow the whole game. We got great shots the entire night, shared the ball well: 31 assists on 40 field goals. That’s playing good team basketball.”
The Ducks will play at Texas A&M Thursday.