No. 9 Ducks shoot past Cougars
PULLMAN, Wash. — Ninth-ranked Oregon shot very well against Washington State and that's why the Ducks were able to escape with a victory.
Ruthy Hebard scored 29 points, hitting all 12 of her field goal attempts, as the Ducks beat Washington State 90-79 on Sunday to remain in a tie for first place in the Pac-12.
Satou Sabally and Sabrina Ionescu each added 17 points for Oregon (23-4, 12-2 Pac-12), which shot 80 percent in the first half and 62 percent for the game.
"That was a heck of a weekend for Ruthy," Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. "I mean, 12 for 12, a perfect night, and she went perfect (5 of 5) from the line too, It's incredible."
"If you like offensive basketball, that was the game for you tonight," Graves said. "Two teams that didn't miss a whole lot."
Borislava Hristova scored 22 points for Washington State (10-16, 3-11), which was coming off an overtime loss to No. 16 Oregon State on Friday. The Cougars shot 48 percent in a losing cause, but made 11 of 20 from 3-point range.
The Ducks welcomed back Lexi Bando, the nation's active career leader in 3-point shooting at 45.5 percent, from injury. She scored nine points.
Oregon made 12 of 13 shots in the first quarter to take a 26-20 lead. Alexys Swedlund had 11 first quarter points for WSU. The Ducks went on a 10-2 run to open the second quarter, behind a pair of 3-pointers by Bando, to take control.
Oregon shot 80 percent in the first half (20 of 25) for a 48-34 lead at halftime. Hebard had 16 points in the first half for Oregon to reach exactly 1,000 for her career.
"Our first half defense left a lot to be desired," Washington State interim head coach Mike Daugherty said.
The Ducks opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run to push their lead to 57-34. But Washington State closed on a 22-9 run to pull within 66-56 at the end of the third.
The teams traded baskets in the fourth but the Cougars could not overcome their deficit. The Cougars got within nine points, but were forced to foul and Oregon made 18 of 19 free throws.
"We could have gone in the tank and we didn't," Daugherty said. "We were down 23 and got it back under 10."
Graves was critical of his team's defensive letdown in the second half, when Washington State outscored them 45-42.
"I was a little disappointed kind of in our lack of intensity over 40 minutes," Graves said. "We can't allow them to make over 50 percent of their 3's."
Washington State lost 63-61 in overtime to Oregon State on Saturday.
"We played two Top 20 teams this week," Daugherty said. "Really I thought we played great this weekend."
Hebard added nine rebounds and four blocks to her 29 points and perfect shooting. Ionescu, meanwhile, had nine assists in the game.
Oregon: The Ducks are looking for their first league title since the 2000 season. The Ducks are 12th in the nation in scoring with an average of 83 points per game. Ionescu is averaging a Pac-12 leading 19.5 points, plus seven rebounds and seven assists per game and is a finalist for numerous national awards.
Washington State: The Cougars were playing without Louise Brown, Nike McClure and Caila Hailey, who were suspended for a violation of team rules. Coming in, they had lost five of six games. They are led in scoring by Hristova, who is averaging 18.7 points per game, the only Cougar in double figures.
Oregon hosts Southern California on Friday.
Washington State plays at Utah on Friday.