Ionescu notches her 14th triple-double, Hebard and Cazorla add double-doubles in nonconference finale
Kelly Graves missed quite a bit.
But despite two lopsided wins, the Oregon women’s basketball coach was missed by his assistants and players during his two-game NCAA suspension.
Sabrina Ionescu, who is essentially a coach on the floor, extended her NCAA career triple-double record, and acting head coach Mark Campbell pushed all the right buttons on the offensive machine as the seventh-ranked Ducks trampled UC Irvine 115-69 on Friday at Matthew Knight Arena.
“I know he’ll come back when we come back from Christmas break and he’ll have a few things to say about the good things we did and about some of the bad things we did that he wants to work on,” Ionescu said of Graves. “But I know he was proud of me and proud of the team for what we accomplished these two games.”
Ionescu followed her record-setting triple-double during Thursday’s 82-36 win over Air Force with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists against the Anteaters (9-2).
Oregon is 14-0 when the All-American guard notches a triple-double.
“Some of my family doesn’t even know what a triple-double is,” Ionescu said. “So we go through our conversations normally, just how our day has been. They just say congrats and that’s about it. There’s nothing more to it, and I think that’s what helps me stay grounded.”
Ruthy Hebard (23 points, 15 rebounds) and Maite Cazorla (13 points, 10 assists) posted double-doubles.
All five of Oregon’s starters scored in double figures, led by Satou Sabally (27 points). Erin Boley had 17 points and made three of her six three-point attempts. Lydia Giomi added 11 rebounds off the bench.
“Unique week having an 11 a.m. tipoff and a 12 o’clock tipoff back-to-back days, limited prep time and coach Kelly being away,” Campbell said. “I’m just really proud of the team and the coaching staff.”
The Ducks (11-1) were 14-for-19 (73.7 percent) from the field in the third quarter while outscoring UC Irvine 33-14 and building a 30-point lead.
Ionescu hit back-to-back three-pointers to start Oregon’s 18-0 run to open the fourth quarter.
After a steal and layup by Sabally, the lead was 102-54 with 7:09 remaining.
Oregon outscored the Anteaters 87-43 over the final three quarters after the two teams exchanged haymakers during a wildly entertaining first 10 minutes.
“With this team we want to push the ball, regardless of our opponent,” Campbell said after the Ducks finished with a 27-4 edge in fast-break points. “We believe we’re the best transition team in the country. We weren’t quite getting the stops we wanted, and credit them and their players for hitting some tough shots.
“But the tempo was what we wanted, and we didn’t think they could maintain it over the course of 40 minutes.”
Oregon led 51-40 at the intermission after shooting 50 percent from the field and getting 13 second-chance points on seven offensive rebounds.
Ionescu had five points, five rebounds and five assists at the break.
Hebard, who set the NCAA record for consecutive made field goals (33) last season, had 13 points on 6-for-6 shooting at halftime to give her 19 straight made baskets dating back to Tuesday’s win over No. 4 Mississippi State.
The junior forward missed her first shot of the second half.
“I know when I go up strong and on balance, I definitely can finish strong,” said Hebard, who finished the game 11-for-12 from the field. “I have my teammates, especially Sab, holding me accountable and pushing me to see what I can do.”
Right on cue, Ionescu, who was sitting next to Hebard at the postgame news conference, chimed in: “You shouldn’t have missed that one.”
The Ducks made their first seven shots as all five starters scored in the first 4:55 while surging to a 14-5 lead.
UC Irvine standout Jordan Sanders scored 11 of her team-high 15 points in the first quarter, and Haleigh Talbert and Andee Ritter hit three-pointers in the final minute to get the visitors within 28-26.
Another deep three-pointer by Ritter gave the Anteaters the lead (29-28) early in the second quarter.
Oregon closed the half on a 17-6 run that included a brilliant no-look pass from Ionescu to Hebard for a layup on the pick-and-roll.
Graves will be back on the bench when the Ducks tune up for the Pac-12 season with an exhibition game against Concordia on Dec. 30.
“There’s a few differences for sure with everything from subbing to timeouts to some of the pregame talks,” Campbell said of handling the head coaching responsibilities. “There’s just a lot of different things. We’re excited for coach Kelly to be back. It was a great opportunity, but when you have the leadership of these upperclassmen it helps a lot.
“As you could tell today, they know how to turn it on and they put their foot on the gas pedal in the second half.”