Defending a Pac-12 championship begins with defending the home court.
No. 5 Oregon followed up Friday’s intense rivalry win over Washington with a relatively stress-free 98-58 women's basketball romp over Washington State on Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Ducks (13-1, 2-0 Pac-12) join No. 6 Stanford (12-1, 2-0) and No. 11 Oregon State (12-2, 2-0) as the only remaining unbeaten teams in conference play.
The crowd crowd of 5,946 witnessed more history from the program’s superstars.
Sabrina Ionescu tied Lauri Landerholm (1982-87) for the program’s career assists record (607) while finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to extend her NCAA career triple-double record to 15.
Maite Cazorla had five assists and only one turnover in 30 minutes, giving the senior from Spain 598 assists in 122 games.
“It’s an honor,” said Ionescu, who reached the milestone in 85 games compared to 120 for Landerholm. “Maite is right there with me and she’ll break it this year as well. I think it’s more cool that we’re going to be able to do that together in the same season as well."
Ruthy Hebard scored a career-high 34 points on 16-for-21 (76.2 percent) shooting, and Satou Sabally added 25 points as the nation’s best offense dismantled the Pac-12’s most generous defense.
Oregon had a 45-26 rebounding advantage and outscored Washington State 62-30 in the paint.
Hebard, who missed her first seven shots and finished 4-for-12 from the field with 11 points against Washington, dominated the Cougars (6-8, 1-2).
“I definitely wanted to forget about that game and come in here and show how I can really play,” Hebard said. “I’m happy with this game.”
Hebard could have challenged Oregon’s single-game scoring record — Chrishae Rowe’s 41-point performance on Dec. 4, 2013 — if not for a 2-for-10 effort at the free-throw line.
“In other words, I told her that the ball needs to go through the basket,” Ionescu said when asked what she whispered to Hebard after one of the misses. “It was a mental thing. It’s fine, she’ll work on that, she’s an 80 percent free-throw shooter. …
“Kelly (Graves) pointed out where the practice gym was, just in case she didn’t know.”
Hebard scored 10 points in the first 5 minutes, 17 seconds of the third quarter to extend the Ducks’ advantage to 65-39.
A three-pointer by Ionescu at the horn made the score 77-51 entering the fourth quarter.
The reigning Pac-12 player of the year completed her triple-double with eight minutes left and checked out of the game with 4:26 remaining.
“I give props to my teammates because they’re the ones that have to make the baskets in order for us to get those assists,” Ionescu said. “And our coaching staff puts us in good positions to be able to make plays down the stretch of a game.”
Borislava Hristova, who was averaging 23.2 points and scored 38 points in a win over Washington last week, was held to 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting.
Washington State was coming off a competitive 76-69 loss at No. 11 Oregon State on Friday.
“We played a lot more like ourselves,” Graves said after the Ducks shot 56.9 percent from the field with 21 assists on 45 made baskets. “We were crisper, we were more aggressive.”
Hebard missed two layups to open the game but responded by making her next five shots to help the Ducks build a 25-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Celena Molina had eight of her team’s first 11 points, including two deep three-pointers, to keep the Cougars within one possession before at the first media timeout.
A bank shot by Ionescu made the score 25-15 before Cherilyn Molina ended a Washington State scoring drought of 2:19.
Erin Boley, coming off a career-high 28 points in the conference opener against Washington, didn’t take a shot until hitting two three-pointers during an explosive second quarter by Oregon. The sophomore forward finished with 12 points.
Sabally’s second steal and layup extended the lead to 16 points and field goal by Hebard with 2.6 seconds left gave the Ducks a 49-29 lead at the intermission.
“She just had a matchup advantage and she took advantage if it,” Graves said of Hebard. “It was great to see her get back in stride. Satou continues to mature right before our eyes. It’s incredible. When she’s aggressive like that she just becomes so difficult.”
Perhaps frustrated by Sabally’s relentless play, Washington State reserve Michaela Jones was called for an unsportsmanlike foul. As Oregon’s 6-foot-4 sophomore forward attempted to get up off the deck to seek retaliation, Ionescu’s instinct was to break up the potential fracas.
After signing autographs after the game for adoring fans, Ionescu wasn’t concerned about the Pac-12 possibly handing out any discipline for her leaving the bench.
“Oh, I ran out there. I was ready. Nothing was going to happen,” Ionescu said. “The poor girl was scared. I think Satou just got a little bit emotional throughout the game. They knew I have their back. I knew that wasn’t anything serious.”