Four UO players, two OSU players named to the all-conference team
Sabrina Ionescu’s reign will also continue.
The junior guard, who set an NCAA single-season record with seven triple doubles while leading No. 6 Oregon to its second consecutive outright Pac-12 championship, was voted the conference’s player of the year by the coaches Tuesday.
The architect of the program’s rise, Kelly Graves, is the Pac-12 coach of the year. He joins Jody Runge (Pac-10 coach of the year 1994, 1999) as the only Oregon coaches to win the award.
“I wouldn’t trade anybody for her,” Graves said of Ionescu, who is the first player in program history to win two conference player of the year awards. “That’s for sure.”
The marriage between Ionescu’s dynamic play and Graves’ leadership has put the Ducks on the national map over the last two seasons with back-to-back Elite Eight appearances.
Oregon’s road to the Final Four is expected to wind through Eugene and Portland.
Ionescu leads the team in scoring (19.5 ppg) and is third nationally in assists (8.1 per game). She is already Oregon’s all-time leader in career assists (723) and was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy awarded to the national player of the year.
"I think what also makes her special is her leadership," former Ducks' star guard Nia Jackson, who is now a member of Graves' support staff, said earlier this season of Ionescu. "She doesn’t let people take reps off. She’s going to hold you accountable and make sure the team is thriving and moving forward.
"It’s phenomenal to have a leader who’s that good but then also has relationships with the girls and can get them moving towards the same common goal."
Both sides of the Civil War are well represented on the all-Pac-12 women’s basketball team announced.
Joining Ionescu on the 15-player team are junior forward Ruthy Hebard, senior guard Maite Cazorla and sophomore forward Satou Sabally.
“I think it’s incredible and so well deserved,” Graves said. “Especially Maite. She sometimes flies under the radar with talents like Ruthy and Sabrina and Satou. To see her honored by the league coaches is a tremendous tribute to her.”
No. 11 Oregon State’s Destiny Slocum and Mikayla Pivec are also on the all-conference team, and Aleah Goodman was named the Pac-12’s sixth man of the year.
The Ducks (27-3, 16-2) and Beavers (24-6, 14-4), who split their regular-season series, could meet in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game Sunday in Las Vegas to break the tie.
Oregon is the top seed and will play either No. 8 Arizona or No. 9 USC in the quarterfinals Friday at MGM Grand Garden Arena (2 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
Oregon State is the No. 3 seed and will play either No. 6 Utah or No. 11 Washington in the final quarterfinal game Friday (8:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
“I think it’s going to be an amazing experience for the entire Pac-12,” Graves, who coached Gonzaga to five West Coast Conference Tournament titles at Orleans Arena, said of the conference moving the tournament to Las Vegas.
Ionescu and Hebard join Jillian Alleyne, Shaquala Williams and Stefanie Kasperski as the only players in program history to earn all-conference honors three times. Cazorla was honored for the second time. Sabally was the conference’s freshman of the year in 2018. The Ducks’ other starter, Erin Boley, received honorable mention.
Hebard, who missed the second half of Oregon’s loss at Oregon State and the home loss to UCLA with a knee injury, is averaging 15.9 points and a team-high 8.9 rebounds per game. She is also second in the NCAA in field-goal percentage (68.5 percent)
Cazorla is averaging 10.2 points and 4.8 assists per game. She and fellow senior Oti Gildon have won more games than any players in program history.
Sabally is averaging 17.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. She’s tied with Ionescu for the team lead with 43 steals and leads the team with 24 blocks.
Boley, who redshirted last season after transferring from Notre Dame, is averaging 13.1 points and leads the Pac-12 in 3-point field-goal percentage (45.5 percent).
No. 7 Stanford (25-4, 15-3), which is the No. 2 seed in Las Vegas, has three players on the all-Pac-12 team — DiJonai Carrington, Alanna Smith and Kiana Williams.
The other players are California’s Kristine Anigwe, Washington State’s Borislava Hristova, Utah’s Megan Huff, Arizona State’s Kianna Ibis, Arizona’s Aari McDonald and UCLA’s Michaela Onyenwere.
Anigwe was voted the defensive player of the year. The other players on the all-defensive team are McDonald, Smith, UCLA’s Kennedy Burke, and USC’s Aliyah Mazyck and Minyon Moore.
Utah’s Dre’Una Edwards is the Pac-12 freshman of the year. The all-freshman team also includes UCLA’s Lindsey Corsaro, Utah’s Dru Gylten, Stanford’s Lacie Hull and Arizona’s Cate Reese. Oregon’s Taylor Chavez received honorable mention.