LIMA, Peru — Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard are the Ducks' golden girls.
The two Oregon women’s basketball stars led USA Basketball’s 3x3 team to a 21-17 victory over Argentina in the gold medal game at the Pan-American Games on Monday at Coliseo Eduardo Dibos.
Fittingly, Ionescu set up Hebard for the game-winning basket. The dynamic Duck duo combined for the team’s final nine points.
UConn’s Christyn Williams and Oivia Nelson-Ododa joined Ionescu and Hebard on the U.S. team, which went 7-0. Oregon, coming off the program’s first Final Four appearance, will play the Huskies in Storrs, Conn., during the 2019-20 season.
The Americans went undefeated during the preliminary rounds with wins over Argentina (21-15), Uruguay (21-5), Brazil (21-7), Venezuela (18-14) and the Dominican Republic (21-7).
Up 13-12 in the gold medal game with 1:55 remaining, Ionescu hit a two-pointer and Hebard scored and was fouled and made both free throws for an 18-12 advantage. Argentina rallied once more and cut the deficit to 19-17 with 39 seconds to play.
A free throw by Ionescu made 20-17, and sealed the victory when Ionescu found Hebard inside for the game-winning point. Ionescu and Hebard were credited with seven points each in the game, Williams added five points and Nelson-Ododa tossed in two points.
"We were all really determined," Hebard told USA Basketball. "We didn’t come out as strong as we wanted to but I think we were ready and we knew they were going to give us a few punches and I think we punched back really well."
In Monday's semifinal win against Brazil, Ionescu ended the game with three straight 2-pointers to earn the Team USA the 21-5 win with 3:09 remaining.
Ionescu finished with nine points, Nelson added five, Hebard scored four and Williams had three points.
Ionescu averaged 19.9 points, 8.2 assists and 7.4 rebounds during her junior campaign. The NCAA's career triple-double record holder 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 to finish her collegiate eligibility.
Hebard, one of the nation’s most dominant post players, averaged 16.1 points and shot 67% from the field as a junior.
With the return of four starters and the addition of USC graduate transfer Minyon Moore, the two-tine defending Pac-12 champion Ducks could be ranked No. 1 in the preseason Associated Press poll.