Oregon’s scheduled road trip to UConn might be the most anticipated matchup of the 2019-20 women’s basketball regular season.

The Ducks, coming off the program’s first Final Four appearance, are a strong candidate to be No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason poll with the return of four acclaimed starters and the addition of USC graduate transfer Minyon Moore.

Geno Auriemma’s Huskies, coming off their 12th consecutive Final Four, are always a factor in the national championship race.

Before the marquee nonconference showdown in Storrs, Conn., which is expected to be televised by ESPN on a date still to be announced, stars from the two teams will be joining forces.

Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard will play with UConn’s Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Christyn Williams on the USA Basketball’s 3x3 women’s team at the U.S. Pan-American Games on July 27-29 in Lima, Peru.

“I think it’s great,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “Knowing their two players, they’re a good match with our players. It should be a really difficult team to beat, even though they are college kids going against pros. That will be fun.”

 

Ionescu averaged 19.9 points, 8.2 assists and 7.4 rebounds during her junior campaign. She won the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award recognizing the national player of the year.

Shortly after Oregon’s loss to eventual national champion Baylor in the national semifinal, Ionescu decided to put the WNBA on hold and return to fly with the Ducks one more time.

Hebard, one of the nation’s most dominant post players, averaged 16.1 points and shot 67% from the field as a junior.

Williams averaged 11.7 points and shot 49.9% from the field on UConn’s star-studded team that featured current WNBA rookies Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson. Nelson-Ododa averaged 4.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 14.0 minutes off the bench.

“Two similar styles,” Graves said of the Ducks and Huskies. “(Auriemma) recruits versatile players, and so do we.”

Ionescu was the most valuable player of the USA Basketball 3x3 national championships earlier this year in Las Vegas. The all-Oregon team also included Hebard, Oti Gildon and Lydia Giomi.

Last summer Ionescu and Hebard were also on the USA Basketball team that finished fifth at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup in the Philippines.

The sport of 3x3 basketball will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Games Tokyo.

“It’s picking up steam worldwide,” Graves said. “Playing in these tournaments recently is important for both Ruthy and Sabrina because they’re going to be on the list to make that Olympic team.”