UO seeking first win at Maples Pavilion since March 5, 1987
STANFORD, Calif. — The last time an Oregon women’s basketball team celebrated a victory here, Ronald Reagan was the president.
Kelly Graves believes his team can tear down this wall.
No. 3 Oregon will try to end the program’s 29-game road losing streak at Maples Pavilion and take complete control of the Pac-12 race against No. 11 Stanford on Sunday (1 p.m., ESPN2).
“This team has never lost at Stanford. That’s all I care about,” Graves said. “You can’t worry about anything that has happened in the past. This team has never lost (at) Stanford.
“We know it’s going to be a challenge, we know how good they are. It’s going to be a tough one.”
The Ducks (22-1, 11-0), coming off Friday’s 105-82 evisceration of California, have been scoring with ease during their 15-game winning streak.
Oregon shot a blistering 73.3 percent (22-for-30) from the field in the second half against the Bears, including 86.7 percent in the fourth quarter, while piling up 61 points over the final 20 minutes.
After Cal took the lead with 4:16 remaining in the second quarter, the Ducks closed the game on a 72-48 run.
“We had a terrific team come in here,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “They are a legitimate national title contender.”
With Stanford’s 61-44 smothering of No. 7 Oregon State on Friday, the defending Pac-12 champions enter Sunday’s showdown with a two-game lead over the Cardinal (19-3, 9-2) and the Beavers (19-4, 9-2) in the standings.
Oregon is in position to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Stanford already dealt No. 1 Baylor its only loss this season.
“We’re super excited to be able to go in there and play them,” Sabrina Ionescu said after finishing with 27 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals against Cal. “They obviously played well and got a big win against Oregon State. Now we have to come out with a whole new game plan and figure out what we’re going to do in order to beat them.”
Graves and his staff only had one day to prepare for Tara VanDerveer’s team, but Stanford will also have its hands full trying to figure out a way to slow down the Ducks.
“That’s always tough. But guess what? They only have one day to prepare for us because you have to prepare for Oregon State, you have to give them due diligence,” Graves said. “That’s the nice thing about having the Beavers as a travel partner, you’re going to get it both games when you play the Oregon schools.”
Kianna Williams scored 16 of her 18 points during a dominant first half against the Beavers to lead the Cardinal to their 22nd consecutive home win.
Oregon blew Cal out despite star forward Kristine Anigwe’s 23 points and 18 rebounds.
This time Ruthy Hebard, who was limited to 23 minutes due to foul trouble, will battle Stanford forward Alanna Smith, who finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocks against Oregon State.
“We stepped up to the challenge of really playing defense,” VanDerveer said of holding the Beavers to 28.6 percent (16-for-56) from the field, including 4-for-21 (19 percent) on 3-pointers. “We had to focus on getting out on their shooters. The defense was outstanding.”
Oregon, which is averaging 90.3 points per game, will counter with the nation’s most explosive offense.
Satou Sabally, a 6-foot-4 forward, is shooting 50.7 percent (34-for-67) from 3-point distance in Pac-12 play. The skillful sophomore scored 31 points against Cal.
“They made us pay every single time we did something wrong,” Gottlieb said of the Ducks’ dominant performance at Haas Pavilion. “They make you pay sometimes when you do it right.”
Maite Cazorla, playing in her school record 131st game, complemented Ionescu in the backcourt almost flawlessly with 17 points, nine assists and one turnover.
Stanford’s starting guards, Williams and DiJonai Carrington, should present more defensive resistance but were a combined 8-for-29 shooting against Oregon State.
“Maite just brings a calmness,” Sabally said. “She’s a really good point guard and sets up the game, barely has mistakes.”
Thirty different Oregon teams have lost at Maples Pavilion since the Ducks’ 63-54 win on March 5, 1987.