The No. 3 Oregon Ducks defeated the Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks in Harlem Globetrotter fashion.
The final score of 115-36 is only slightly more lopsided than expected given that AK Fairbanks is a Division-II school and Oregon is a national title contender, but the sellout crowd of 1,603 at Alaska Airlines Court celebrated despite the home team being blown out because Fairbanks’ own Ruthy Hebard was putting on a show with the Ducks.
The natives of Fairbanks, who waited in 5-degree weather to watch Oregon’s debut, almost missed out on seeing their hometown hero in action.
”I woke up, I didn’t feel good, but I was like, ‘OK, everyone’s coming, I’m getting texts all day. So I’m gonna try and battle through it.”
Despite being under the weather, Hebard played 23 minutes for 17 points and scored the game’s first points.
“It was crazy to pull up and see everybody waiting outside already.” Hebard said, “I was glad to see old teachers, old coaches, everybody. It was nice.”
For the Nanooks, this game was an exhibition and served mostly as an opportunity to test their strengths and find their weaknesses, but the Ducks will officially count the win and the impressive stat lines.
Sabrina Ionescu capitalized on the opportunity by scoring her 11th triple-double leaving the talented junior one shy of the men’s record held by Kyle Collingsworth. Ionescu’s 18 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds came to her as if it was an open practice. Kelly Graves clearly wanted his star player to shake off the cobwebs by keeping her in for 31 minutes, and her four three pointers seems to suggest she did just that.
Satou Sabally was the game’s leading scorer with 21 points in 21 minutes played, and Erin Boley hit four three pointers and scored 14. Maite Cazorla was the other starter and played the second most minutes.
*Satou Sabally (21 min) 21 pts - 6 reb - 1 ast - 1 stl
*Sabrina Ionescu (21 min) 18 pts - 11 reb - 12 ast - 3 stl - 1 blk
*Ruthy Hebard (23 min) 17 pts - 2 reb - 1 ast - 2 stl - 2 blk
*Maire Cazorla (27 min) 16 pts - 2 reb - 2 ast -3
*Erin Boley (23 min) 14 pts - 3 reb
Taylor Chavez (21 min) 13 pts - 3 reb - 4 ast - 2
Oti Gildon (21 min) 8 pts - 8 reb
Morgan Yaeger (22 min) 6 pts - 3 ast - 2
Lydia Giomi (11 min) 2 pts - 3 reb
Something became clear in this victory: Oregon’s nine player roster (not including Nyara Sabally who is redshirting) doesn’t allow for all the starters to rest at the same time, which could prove to be a problem if they keep blowing out less talented teams.
Still, it’s not the worst problem in the world, and it also allowed us to see every player in action. The bench played significant time throughout the game and freshman Taylor Chavez was the sixth Duck to score in double digits- a pretty good outing for the Ionescu protege.
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