Oregon’s ascent in women’s college basketball continues.
But the Ducks remain at No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press poll, the highest ranking in program history.
After notching his 100th win at Oregon, coach Kelly Graves didn’t anticipate moving up a spot just because No. 2 UConn defeated No. 1 Notre Dame 89-71 on Sunday in South Bend, Ind.
The Huskies (7-0) were the unanimous No. 1 this week, receiving all 31 first-place votes, and the defending national champion Irish (7-1) only slipped to No. 2.
“What’s the difference? We don’t even really worry about it or focus on it,” Graves said when asked about possibly rising to No. 2 after the Ducks’ 110-48 win over Long Beach State on Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena. “But I wouldn’t think the winner-loser there … they might just switch spots would be my guess.”
All five of Oregon’s starters scored in double figures, and Sabrina Ionescu set the school’s single-game assists record during the romp of the 49ers.
The schedule gets tougher for Graves’ team with a marquee nonconference road game at Michigan State this Sunday, followed by a tricky stop at South Dakota State next Wednesday.
“Those are two good teams we’re playing on the road. I think it’s going to be a great trip,” Graves said. “We want some momentum going into that road trip, and I think they took it to heart and competed and executed.”
Ionescu finished with 17 assists, 12 points and six assists against Long Beach State. The reigning Pac-12 player of the year owns the women’s career triple-double record (12) and needs one more to break the all-time NCAA mark she shares with BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth.
Erin Boley, who split the national high school player of the year awards wth Ionescu three years ago, scored a career-high 24 points on Sunday.
The Notre Dame transfer is finding her niche on a loaded team that also features junior forward Ruthy Hebard (19 points, 14 rebounds), senior guard Maite Cazorla (18 points) and sophomore forward Satou Sabally (18 points).
“Huge,” Graves said of adding Boley to a veteran team that has led the program to back-to-back Elite Eight runs in the NCAA Tournament. “It was great to see her score in different ways. She scored around the block, she scored on cuts at the rim, she scored off putbacks and then she hit the threes.”
Oregon will host No. 6 Mississippi State on Dec. 18 at Matthew Knight Arena.
Other Pac-12 teams in this week’s AP poll are No. 8 Oregon State, No. 11 Stanford, No. 13 California and No. 17 Arizona State.