Eugene – No. 8 Oregon shook off a slow start in the first half Friday to rout Arizona, 62-44, and go 5-0 in Pac-12 play – the best start in program history.
The Ducks shot a season-low 38 percent, but used tough defense to limit the Wildcats to 29 percent shooting. Sabrina Ionescu led the hosts with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Ruthy Hebard added 14 points.
Oregon’s shooters were missing wide-open looks that they usually make – most notably, senior Lexi Bando. The three-point,hometown specialist had an off-night from beyond the arc going 3-of-10.
Bando was not the only player struggling to shoot the ball, as junior guard Maite Cazorla was 3-of-11 from the field. Five Duck players attempted at least one shot and didn’t make any.
Lexi Bando practicing her shot after an off shooting performance. pic.twitter.com/Rk4JSM4A6t
— Derek Tahara (@DerekTahara) January 13, 2018
“We couldn’t possibly shoot worse,” coach Kelly Graves said. “I don’t think we took a bad three all night; those are shots we typically make.”
“I used to kid the kids all the time that people are not very bright when they play zone against us. Well, they looked pretty bright tonight.”
Oregon led 27-26 at halftime, and clamped down on defense in the third quarter to inflate their lead. They coasted in the fourth period.
There were no halftime adjustments, according to Graves. There were just shooting issues.
“Really I wasn’t displeased with the shots that we were getting,” he said. “Normally, Lexi Bando, you leave her open, that’s a layup.”
Arizona’s zone defense made it tough for Oregon to get the looks they wanted in the first two quarters. The Ducks did the same thing in return.
“I think the first thing was the zone,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. “It’s really hard to play against a team that plays a lot of zone, so I thought that was really effective in the first half.
“We were trying to slow the game down because they average a lot of points and have a lot of scoring threats.”
Sam Thomas led three Wildcats in double figures with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Kat Wright scored 12 points.
Arizona State lost to Oregon State prior to the Oregon-Arizona tipoff, making the Ducks the only Pac-12 team undefeated in conference play. They face the No. 18 Sun Devils Sunday.