Technically, No. 3 Oregon has only played two home games this season.
But the Ducks (6-0) are 3-0 in homecoming games scheduled for stars Ruthy Hebard and Sabrina Ionescu.
The defending Pac-12 champions opened the season with a victory at Alaska-Fairbanks in front of Hebard’s admiring public and won two games last weekend at the Saint Mary’s Invitational, which was played about five minutes away from Ionescu’s childhood home.
“I got to see all of my family and I had a bunch of elementary school teachers and classmates there show up to the game,” Ionescu said. “I think it was awesome we were able to do that and do that for Ruthy as well.”
After dining on moose meat with the Hebard family in Alaska and Romanian food at the Ionescu residence over Thanksgiving, coach Kelly Graves is ready for a little home cooking.
Oregon hosts Long Beach State on Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena (2 p.m., no television) before a difficult two-game road trip to Michigan State and South Dakota State.
The Ducks’ next home game will be Dec. 18 against No. 6 Mississippi State.
“It gets real in a hurry,” Graves said. “We’re going to play two very tough teams on the road and then one of the best teams in the country at home. So it will be a tough stretch.
“And we better be on point defensively or we’re in trouble.”
Oregon leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.86), is fourth in scoring (92.2 ppg), fifth in field-goal percentage (53.1), second in free-throw percentage (84.1) and 12th in three-point percentage (41.7).
Ionescu is averaging 19.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.2 assists. The junior guard owns the women’s career triple-double record and needs one more to break the all-time NCAA mark held on the men’s side by BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth (12).
Graves would like to see his veteran team communicate better on defense before the schedule gets more challenging.
The Ducks are tied for 125th nationally in points allowed (62.4 ppg).
“We know what we can do offensively, we just need to focus on our defense,” Hebard said. “Be able to help and just talk more.”
The 49ers (1-6) are coming off an 85-62 loss at Montana State on Friday night after falling behind 25-5 in the first quarter. Freshman Justina King led the visitors with a career-high 29 points.
Long Beach State sophomore Shanaijah Davison leads the young team in scoring (14.7 ppg).
Oregon leads the all-time series 6-5 after winning the previous six meetings. The Ducks beat the 49ers 84-76 on March 17, 2016, at Matthew Knight Arena en route to the WNIT semifinals.