The No. 3 Oregon Ducks defeated the No. 18 Syracuse Orange, 75-73, thanks to a clutch performance by Oregon’s starters in the final minutes.
With 3:28 left in the game, Syracuse took their first lead of the night on a Gabrielle Cooper three-pointer, 62-61. The Ducks had led by as much as 15 points in this game, but the Orange’s ferocious full-court press helped them fight their way back into the game.
Things looked most dire with 2:06 left in the fourth, the Ducks down 67-61 at home. That’s when Sabrina Ionescu took control.
Ionescu drained a triple to cut the lead to three. Then, after a block and rebound from Ruthy Hebard, Ionescu raced down the floor and hit another.
Erin Boley took back the lead by hitting a three, then it was just a matter of winning the free throw game which Maite Cazorla and Ionescu handled effectively.
*Sabrina Ionescu (38 min) 26 pts - 10 reb - 6 ast
*Maite Cazorla (29 min) 14 pts - 2 reb - 5 ast - 1 stl
*Erin Boley (33 min) 13 pts - 2 reb - 4 ast - 1 stl
*Ruthy Hebard (35 min) 11 pts - 14 reb - 2 ast - 1 stl
*Satou Sabally (27 min) 3 pts - 1 reb - 1 ast - 1 stl
Oti Gildon (17 min) 7 pts -4 reb
Taylor Chavez (13 min) 1 pt - 1 reb - 1 ast - 1 stl
Morgan Yaeger (8 min) - 1 ast - 1 stl
*Tiana Mangakahia (37 min) 15 pts - 4 reb - 8 ast
*Gabrielle Cooper (22 min) 11 pts - 3 reb
*Amaya Finklea—Guilty (16 min) 11 pts - 6 reb
*Digna Strautmane (30 min) 4 pts - 2 reb - 2 ast
*Miranda Drummond (29 min) 3 pts - 5 reb
Ionescu was four assists away from yet another triple-double. Her importance to the team should be obvious by the amount of playing time she receives in close contests. The Junior was 5-of-8 from three-point range and played nearly every minute of the game.
Cazorla was the team’s second best scorer with 14 points in 29 minutes played. Hebard was held to 11 points mainly due to Syracuse’s double teams and overall tenacious defense. Still, her 14 rebounds led all players and were crucial considering the Ducks were out rebounded by the Orange, 45 to 36.
Boley was 3-of-12 from three, including her late three-pointer that gave the Ducks the final lead. Satou Sabally had only three points and was held in check offensively. She had the least amount of minutes out of all the starters, but again, credit to Syracuse for forcing Sabally into some difficult shots.
The most striking stat is Oregon’s .365% field goal shooting, a stat that they usually excel at with the accurate shooting of Hebard and Ionescu. The Ducks were also spotty at the free throw line and their rebound disparity was troubling; it was one of their few flaws last year as well.
Boley was responsible for the majority of Oregon’s missed field goals (5-of-19), and Hebard was not the automatic scorer that she usually is in the paint (3-of-7).
Oti Gildon, Taylor Chavez and Morgan Yaeger played a combined 38 minutes of valuable time off the bench. If this team is successful, this unit will need to play meaningful minutes even in the Ducks’ biggest games.
Overall, it was a thrilling win that was a good test, especially this early in the season.
NEXT UP: UTAH STATE
Wednesday, 11/14, 6 PM, Logan, Utah - Oregon Live Stream