Eugene – The No. 6 Oregon Ducks used two big mid-game scoring runs to thrash the No. 25 California Golden Bears, 91-54, Friday night.
The Ducks went on a 10-0 tear late in the second quarter to n build a 17-point halftime lead, and continued their onslaught in the third period with a Sabrina Ionescu-led 12-0 spurt.
The sophomore sensation was in the middle of all good things for Oregon, as she finished the night with 28 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. Ruthy Hebard had 18 points and 11 rebounds and freshman Satou Sabally added 10 points.
However, it was Anneli Maley off the bench who gave the team a nice spark to start those avalanche runs. She hit three three-pointers and hustled for two offensive rebounds to earn the Ducks extra possessions.
“I try to go in, hustle, play great defense and do what I can to help the team,” Maley said. “But I’m surrounded by good people, and everyone helps each other.”
On defense, Oregon was focused and locked in, and it showed. They held Cal to 38.2 percent shooting from the field, including 27.3 percent from beyond the arc.
“If we can play very good defense for 40 minutes, we’re going to be hard to beat,” Ionescu said. “But defensively, we have to continue to stay focused for 40 minutes and really dial in and know their personnel, know what we’re running and if we do, I think games are going to turn out like they did tonight.”
The Ducks also made life tough for Cal All-American forward Kristine Anigwe to get any rhythm going offensively. She struggled only scoring six points on 3-of-9 shooting, which are well below her season averages of 17.5 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game.
“Kristine Anigwe is one of the best players in our game, nationally,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “I just thought the combination of Mallory (McGwire) and Ruthy, and later Oti (Gildon), and they all took turns there.”
“I just thought we did a great job. We covered down and gave them help, so they didn’t have to do it one-on-one.”
Sophomore Jaelyn Brown led the Golden Bears with 14 points, and freshman Alasysia Styles had 12 points and four rebounds.
Oregon plays no. 24 Stanford at home on Sunday, which will be no easy task – especially considering they upset No. 16 Oregon State at the same time the Ducks were doing work.
“The thing about Stanford is that they’re similar to us,” Graves said. “They got a lot of different players that can score, they never beat themselves and you’re not going to out-coach them with a hall-of-fame coach and it’s just going to be a dog fight.”