No. 3 Oregon is gearing up for a three-peat.
The Ducks (9-1) certainly have the 3-point shooting and overall offensive firepower to win a third consecutive Pac-12 women’s basketball championship.
Jaz Shelly set a program single-game record with 10 made 3s during Monday’s 84-41 win over UC Riverside.
Sabrina Ionescu, who added a couple 3s during the blowout, leads the NCAA in assists.
Oregon is averaging 88.0 points and 22.3 assists per game, which rank fourth nationally entering the weekend.
However, coach Kelly Graves is still looking for more ball movement and a defensive identity entering the final official tuneup for conference play against Kansas State on Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Graves said after experimenting with a variety of presses and traps during the romp over UC Riverside. “Maybe we’re trying to put lipstick on a pig defensively.”
After looking at the box score, Graves was pleased with his team’s 14 steals and limiting the overwhelmed visitors to 23.1% shooting behind the arc.
The Ducks also had a 51-35 rebounding edge with injured 6-foot-4 wing Satou Sabally resting and defensive stopper Minyon Moore playing only 20 minutes due to the lopsided score.
“Minyon is going to be a terror on the Pac-12,” Graves said. “I really think she’s going to have a great season for us in the Pac-12 and continue to lead the defense.”
Graves hopes to have Sabally, who is averaging 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds this season, back in the lineup against the Wildcats (5-4) from the Big 12.
Shelley still figures to get her share of playing time after scoring 32 points in her first career start.
“She reminds me a lot of Maite (Cazorla),” Graves said of Shelley, a talented freshman guard from Australia. “She’s got great feet, great understanding, great at team defensive concepts, I.Q., and to see her do what she did from the 3-point line was incredible. Good on her.”
Ionescu recorded the 20th triple-double of her legendary career with 16 points, 18 rebounds and 12 assists. The reigning national player of the year is averaging 14.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 9.0 assists this season.
“We’re probably going to watch a lot of film and not do anything that we normally don’t do,” Ionescu said when asked how the team would respond after a sluggish start and an overall subpar shooting performance. “We’re going to work on what we didn’t do well, take care of the ball and get back into kind of the rhythm of things.”
Shelley was 10-for-14 on 3s. Her teammates were a combined 4-for-16 from distance.
“She puts in a lot of work that and with that comes rewards,” Ionescu said. “Super happy for her.”
The interior of Oregon’s defense will be tested by Kansas State’s Peyton Williams (6-4) and Ayoka Lee (6-5), who are averaging a combined 30.2 points and 24.2 rebounds.
Ruthy Hebard (6-4) leads the Ducks in scoring (18.8 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg).
“We’re getting ready for Pac-12 play. It’s not going to be that easy,” Graves said. “These 40-point games we can put in the back of our heads because they are not going to happen again.”
Oregon will host Corban University in an exhibition on Dec. 28 before opening up the Pac-12 slate against Colorado on Jan. 3.