Minyon Moore sets the tone with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals

Minyon Moore was viewed as the missing piece in Oregon's championship puzzle.

The senior graduate transfer, who replaced four-year starting point guard Maite Cazorla in the star-studded lineup, has been the perfect fit for the Ducks in Pac-12 play.

Moore continued to make life miserable for the opposition with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals during No. 2 Oregon’s 88-51 victory over Utah on Sunday in front of a crowd of 10,490 at Matthew Knight Arena.

“It’s definitely a different coaching style than what I’m used to, but this is what it takes to be on a championship level and it’s what I signed up for,” said Moore, who led USC in assists, rebounds and steals and was second in scoring last season. “I’m all in for it. It’s been cool. My coaches are awesome, my teammates are awesome, so it’s been nothing short of amazing.”

The Ducks (12-1, 2-0) improved to 8-0 at home while handing the Utes (7-7, 0-3) the program’s most lopsided defeat since an 83-41 loss at Western Kentucky on Nov. 26, 1993, as a member of the WAC.

Ruthy Hebard recorded the 46th double-double of her career and the seventh this season with 13 points shooting and 12 rebounds.

Sabrina Ionescu finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 28 minutes.

Moore was 7-for-11 from the field and did not turn the ball over during her 22 minutes of court time.

"I’ve seen great improvement," coach Kelly Graves said. "Maite was doing this for four years, and she has to cram all that time into a few months and it’s not easy, but she’s getting better."

Utah, which starts two freshmen and two sophomores along with a senior, appeared to be as overwhelmed by the Ducks and the large crowd as Colorado’s young team did during its 104-46 loss on Friday.

“Especially the young kids, being a freshman or sophomore and coming into an environment like this is not easy,” Ionescu said. “You can definitely tell that some people are a little bit more nervous, and teams know this is a really tough place to play.”

Oregon scored 29 points off 20 Utah turnovers and 17 points off 16 offensive rebounds.

Erin Boley scored 10 points, and Satou Sabally added seven points, seven rebounds and four assists.

“I just thought we were really dialed in,” Graves said. “Where we’ve made the biggest strides in the last few weeks is on the defensive end. We’re making it difficult for teams to get comfortable, we’re getting turnovers and we’re as good as any team in transition.”

Moore had the final nine points of a 13-2 run to open the second half as the Ducks’ cushion ballooned to 69-33 by the end of the third quarter.

Oregon led 45-24 at the intermission despite going 4 minutes, 4 seconds without a field goal in the second quarter.

Ionescu had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists at halftime. Hebard added nine points and seven rebounds.

Moore and Holly Winterburn each turned steals into layups to make the score 40-18 halfway through the second quarter.

“It feels good to be kind of back to my game in steals and helping my team on the offensive end by playing well on defense,” Moore said.

The Ducks led 18-5 after getting three easy baskets after cleaning the offensive glass and back-to-back 3s by Boley.

Oregon used an 11-0 run to extend the lead to 29-10 at the end of the first quarter. The Utes were 3-for-12 from the field through the first 10 minutes while Hebard was 4-for-5.

Lola Pendande, a 6-foot-3 freshman forward, paced the visitors with 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting. The rest of Utah’s team was 13-for-42 (31%) from the field.

Graves credited Moore with setting the tone defensively and the tempo offensively as Oregon opened Pac-12 play with two statement wins.

“She’s just got so much bulldog in her. She’s just tough as nails,” Graves said. “She’s a great talker and an awesome teammate. If you come to one of our practices, nobody talks more than her, nobody gets the team energized more than her. And we need that.”

Follow Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @RGDuckFootball and email questions to rthorburn@registerguard.com. For more Oregon sports coverage, visit DuckSports.com.