Look out on the Palouse, Ruthy Hebard is coming.
No. 5 Oregon will try to remain unbeaten in Pac-12 play at Washington State on Friday in Pullman (7 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
Hebard scored a career-high 34 points on 16-for-21 shooting with nine rebounds during the Ducks’ dominant 98-58 win over the Cougars on Jan. 6 at Matthew Knight Arena.
During last year’s season sweep of Washington State, Hebard averaged 27.0 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 23-for-26 from the field. That included a 12-for-12 performance in Pullman during the junior forward’s NCAA record streak of 33 consecutive made field goals.
“I’m not sure (why), but I am glad I’m having it,” Hebard said of her recent success against the Cougars. “I’ve got great teammates that get me the ball inside.”
Sabrina Ionescu notched one of her NCAA-record 16 triple-doubles in the first meeting with Washington State this season, finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
Satou Sabally, who has also emerged as one of the most productive players in the Pac-12, added 25 points and seven rebounds. The sophomore forward is averaging 20.3 points in conference play.
“I guess I was just more excited for Pac-12,” Sabally said. “The games before I was kind of finding my rhythm and getting in the game. For the Pac-12, I was just ready.”
Oregon’s nonconference schedule — which included trips to Alaska, Utah, California, Michigan and South Dakota — prepared the team well for the challenges of playing on the road in the Pac-12.
The Ducks swept the Los Angeles trip with lopsided wins over USC (93-53) and UCLA (72-52) earlier this month.
“First of all, you have to get used to it,” Sabally said of winning outside the comforts of Matthew Knight Arena. “No one feels sorry for you, so you have to get out there and be ready. Get some sleep, do your homework before you go on the road so you really just have the game on your mind.”
Oregon is tied with No. 6 Stanford atop the Pac-12 standings. The Ducks (17-1, 6-0) and Cardinal (16-1, 6-0) are both on 10-game winning streaks.
Ionescu leads the nation in assists (8.4 per game), and the Ducks are also No. 1 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.79) as a team.
During last Sunday’s 93-60 win over Arizona, which began with a 20-0 run by the Ducks, Sabally scored 18 of her 25 points in the first quarter. Erin Boley scored 19 points, and Ionescu posted another triple-double.
“That I think is what makes us tough. On any given night, any given quarter, any given half it can be another player that goes off,” coach Kelly Graves said. “Satou is punishing you early, Erin had her time, and Sabrina went off. That’s what makes this team difficult.”
Hebard quietly added a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds against Arizona.
Oregon has the nation’s No. 2 scoring offense (90.4 ppg). Washington State is last in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (71.5 ppg).
Borislava Hristova is third in the conference in scoring, averaging 21.3 points to lead the Cougars (7-11, 2-5), but she was held to 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting in Eugene.
Washington State is the only team in the Pac-12 with a negative rebounding margin (minus-3.7 rpg).
“They have a little smaller girls, not as fast, so we have to go inside to the bigger, faster post players and hopefully dominant in there,” Hebard said.