Graves and Payne's relationship was discussed heavily throughout the game. Graves gave Payne her first coaching job when he became the head coach at Gonzaga. He also coached her to unprecedented success at St. Mary's College for three seasons when she was a student athlete. They have both referred to each other as family. This backdrop provided an uplifting touch to an ugly game.
Ruthy Hebard, Sabrina Ionescu and Satou Sabally lead the Ducks offense with a combined 46 points. Hebard continued her excellent run-of-play with 20 PTS, 9 REB, 4 STL. Although her field goal percentage would fall under her typically stellar average (9-14 FG), Hebard's strong presence in the paint gave the Buffs' defense fits all night.
The top two Freshman scorers in the PAC-12 played in this game: Oregon's Sabally came into the game averaging 11.2 points per game and was top of the PAC, just ahead of Annika Jank on the Buffs with 10.8 points per game. Sabally ended the game with 12 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 BLK. Jank fought hard to get 4PTS, 7 REB, and 2 STL.
Sabrina Ionescu once again showed why she is the most versatile player in Women's College Basketball- posting an impressive stat line of 14 PTS, 8 AST, and 9 REB. Ionescu hit 4 of her 9 3-pointer attempts and distributed the ball masterfully to starters and bench players alike.
A scary moment happened in the third quarter; Maite Cazorla left the third quarter with an undisclosed hand injury. After Cazorla's departure an uncommon amount of bench players saw meaningful playing time (Oti Gildon, Justine Hall and Anneli Maley all played over 13 minutes, and 6 bench players played in total) and helped contribute to the win with 19 points. Justine Hall had an especially noteworthy performance, scoring 6 PTS, 2 STL, and 1 REB in her glorious return to her hometown of Denver.
The Buffs only had two scorers above ten points: Juniors Kennedy Leonard (16 PTS) and Alexis Robinson (11 PTS). Colorado was held to 34% shooting on field goals and committed 14 turnovers. The Buffs kept the game manageable by keeping the game close at half, trailing 39-32, but ultimately the Ducks' sound defense would result in a 35-23 second half in the Ducks' favor.
Up next, the No.7 Oregon Ducks will go to the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City at 11AM on Sunday to be aired on the dreaded PAC-12 Network.
Utah (14-6, 5-4) will be coming off a 69-58 loss to the Beavers. Hopefully we'll learn more about the extent of Cazorla's injury soon.