No. 5 Oregon raced to a 30-point lead 12 minutes into the game and cruised to a 93-60 Pac-12 women's basketball victory over the startled Wildcats on Sunday in front of a crowd of 7,062 at Matthew Knight Arena.
Satou Sabally matched the visitors with 23 points during the first-half blitzkrieg, and Sabrina Ionescu added to the NCAA record with her 16th career triple-double as the Ducks (17-1, 6-0 Pac-12) won their 10th consecutive game.
“I think you got a chance to see when we’re clicking offensively how good we are,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said after his team made a season-high 15 3-pointers. “We’ve just got a lot of weapons."
Ruthy Hebard, who finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, scored two baskets in the post to lead a 9-0 spurt to start the game.
Arizona coach Adia Barnes called her first timeout and searched for a Band-Aid.
After seven consecutive points by Sabally, the Ducks led 20-0.
Barnes called her second timeout and searched for a tourniquet.
“I mean, I don’t think any of us expected to get out to a 20-to-zero lead, but we came out with a lot of intensity,” Ionescu said. “The crowd helped us. I thought they were great today.”
The Wildcats, after missing their first 10 shots, finally ended the shutout with a basket by Semaj Smith 6 minutes, 38 seconds into the game.
The bleeding didn’t stop.
Sabally hit three more 3-pointers in the half, and Erin Boley added another as Oregon piled it on for a 31-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Arizona shot 11.1 percent from the field through 10 minutes. Sabally had 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting in that span.
“It felt good,” said Sabally, who was 9-for-14 from the field, including 5-for-7 behind the arc, with five rebounds in only 24 minutes. “I was just of kind of like making every shot and (Ionescu) found me on the way.
“We were just really playing fast, a lot of fast breaks, and my team helped me, too, just running the floor.”
A 3-pointer by freshman Taylor Chavez gave Oregon its largest lead of the first half, 39-9, with 8:20 remaining in the second quarter.
The wounded Wildcats (13-5, 3-4) managed to claw back a little bit, closing the half with a 14-5 run.
“Obviously the first quarter is almost as good as we can play. Second quarter was almost as bad as we can play,” Graves said. “One of the messages at halftime is this has been our issue. If we want to truly be an elite team and have a chance to play until the last weekend, we can’t have those lulls. “
Arizona entered the game leading the Pac-12 in scoring defense, allowing 56.2 points per game.
Sophomore Aari McDonald, the conference’s leading scorer (25.2 ppg), had 20 points to lead the Wildcats. Cate Reese added 16 points for the visitors.
“(McDonald) tests everything about your defense, puts a lot of pressure on the defense, but I thought in that first quarter we were all over her,” Graves said. “We did a good job on her, and then when she would spin dribble there was always someone there to help.
“So it was good at both ends of the floor.”
Erin Boley scored Oregon’s first eight points of the second half, and Ionescu completed her triple-double with a 3-pointer with 2:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Another 3-pointer by Boley, who finished with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting, made the score 73-44 entering the fourth quarter.
“Boley struggled in the first half and, guess what, second half you’re trying to take this player away and that frees her up,” Graves said. “If she gets on a roll, watch out.”
Sabally, who sat out most of the second half due to foul trouble, finished with 25 points, two shy of her career high.
“Obviously I’m annoyed by it. I don’t think the last foul was a foul, but whatever,” Sabally said of being forced to the bench with four fouls early in the third quarter. “I should have just paid more attention to my second and third foul. Those were dumb, and I shouldn’t have done that. I just have to keep getting better at it.”
Ionescu checked out in the fourth quarter after finishing with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. Oregon outscored Arizona by 33 points, the margin of victory, during the 35 minutes the junior guard was on the court.
“I just knew that I had to continue being aggressive,” Ionescu said after missing all five of her shots and scoring only two points in the first half. “Keep finding people, keep rebounding and everything else would take care of itself.”