Sabrina Ionescu was in a giving mood Sunday.
The reigning Pac-12 player of the year broke the school’s single-game assists record with 17 during No. 3 Oregon’s 110-48 basketball victory over Long Beach State in front of 5,118 witnesses at Matthew Knight Arena.
Ionescu had shared the previous single-game mark of 14 assists with Corrie Mizusawa (Nov. 25, 2003 vs. Gonzaga) and Vanessa Selden (Dec. 7, 1990 vs. New Mexico State).
The NCAA record for assists in a game is 23 by Kent State’s Michelle Burden on Feb. 6, 1991.
“After she had a string of assists there in the third quarter, I leaned over to my assistants and I said, ‘Does she just wake up sometimes and say, you know what, today I’m going to break the assist record?’” coach Kelly Graves said of Ionescu after notching his 100th win at Oregon. “I honestly think she does that kind of stuff. It was really impressive.
“She was hunting them, too. I thought that made the team better because they knew they had to be cutting and in the right position.”
Ionescu, who had 17 assists before the end of the third quarter, shot down Graves’ theory.
“That was not what I woke up thinking,” Ionescu said. “I honestly didn’t know I even broke it (until after the game).”
The Ducks (7-0) will likely move up to No. 2 in this week’s Associated Press poll after No. 2 UConn’s 89-71 win over No. 1 Notre Dame on Sunday in South Bend, Ind.
Ionescu also had 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting and six rebounds during an efficient 30 minutes of court time.
“She’s phenomenal. She truly is,” Graves said. “If we were struggling to score, she’d try to get 30 (points). That’s just who she is. Whatever we need.”
Erin Boley led Oregon in scoring with a career-high 24 points. The Notre Dame transfer was 9-for-16 from the field with four three-pointers.
Ruthy Hebard posted her second double-double of the season with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
The other two starters, Maite Cazorla (18 points) and Satou Sabally (18 points), also scored in double figures.
Oregon shot 60.9 percent from the field with 27 assists on 42 made baskets.
“I just knew that going forward we’re going to need people to shoot the ball well. The last few games we haven’t necessarily shot the ball the way we usually do,” Ionescu said. “So I figured, especially at home, if I could start getting Erin, Satou, even Taylor (Chavez) and Maite some shots, then they’ll have some more confidence going into this road trip.
“They shot the ball really well today.”
The 49ers (1-7) were led by dynamic sophomore guard Shanaijah Davison, who had 25 points on 11-for-19 shooting (57.9 percent).
Long Beach State’s other players combined for 23 points on 9-for-39 shooting (23.1 percent).
“I just thought defensively we played really well, and that led to some really good offense,” Graves said. “I can use that as a teaching point.”
The Ducks took a 40-point lead (64-24) on a three-point play by Sabally in the third quarter, a 50-point lead (85-35) on a free throw by Boley in the fourth quarter and a 60-point lead (99-39) on a jumper by Ionescu with 4:21 remaining.
Oregon led 50-20 after breaking the game open with a 16-0 spurt that began with an Oti Gildon bucket at the end of the first quarter and ended with a Boley three-pointer midway through the second quarter.
The Ducks outscored Long Beach State 26-4 in the second quarter while making 11 of 17 shots (64.7 percent), including four from behind the arc.
“I think tonight was a huge step for us defensively,” Ionescu said. “We got in the passing lanes, we got steals, a lot of tips, and we held them to four points in that second quarter.
“I think that just speaks volumes where we’re trying to go with this program defensively, not just offensively.”
Ionescu had two steals and two turnovers.
“I probably shouldn’t have even had two turnovers,” she said. “I remember both of them. That sucks.”
The Ducks raced out to a 22-7 lead after a smooth Euro-step layup and two free throws by Sabally capped an 11-0 run.
After finishing final exams this week, Oregon will play at Michigan State on Dec. 9 and South Dakota State on Dec. 12.
“Let’s face it, there’s nowhere you’d rather be in December than South Dakota and Michigan,” Graves quipped. “I mean, that’s smart scheduling. …
“I think our team is ready. Today showed me that.”