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Ionescu Scores 29 in Win Over No. 4 Mississippi State, Ducks 82 - Bulldogs 74

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-Oregon vs Stanford Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

EUGENE, OREGON

DUCKS 82 - BULLDOGS 74

The No. 7 Oregon Women’s Basketball team (9-1) has earned their most impressive victory of the season thus far by defeating the No. 4 Mississippi State Bulldogs (10-1).

The lead changed 20 times in this incredibly competitive game as the Ducks finally beat the Bulldogs for the first time in school history. Last year, the Ducks lost to Mississippi State 90 to 79, but Oregon was able to flip the script by playing much tighter defense and hitting nearly all of their free throws (27 of 28), all in front of a raucous home crowd of nearly 9,000.

Sabrina Ionescu led the Ducks in scoring with 29 points. Mississippi State made sure that she didn’t find any easy shots, especially in the first half when she played off the ball, which lead to a very un-Ionescu 5-of-18 from the floor. But the sophomore hit all 17 of her free throws, many of which were drawn through crafty play.

Maite Cazorla did an excellent job once again of distributing the ball and taking her shots when they came to her, scoring 20 points and hitting all six of her free throws. Cazorla, Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard played nearly every minute of this game, a trend that we will likely see continue when it comes to crucial games.

Hebard’s heroic defensive play should be praised as she shut down the Bulldog’s Teaira McCowan; last year, the 6’7 center scored 35 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, this year she was held to 5 points and 11 rebounds.

OREGON DUCKS

*Sabrina Ionescu (38 min) 29 pts - 6 reb - 5 ast - 5/18 FG - 2/4 3PT - 17/17 FT

*Maite Cazorla (37 min) 20 pts - 1 reb - 5 ast - 7/10 FG - 0/2 3PT - 6/6 FT

*Ruthy Hebard (38 min) 14 pts - 6 reb - 2 ast - 7/10 FG - 0/1 3PT - 0/1 FT

*Erin Boley (19 min) 8 pts - 1 reb - 3/3 FG - 2/2 3PT

*Satou Sabally (18 min) 4 pts - 1 reb - 1 ast - 1/3 FG - 2/2 FT

Taylor Chavez (29 min) 7 pts - 2 reb - 1 ast - 1 stl - 2/5 FG - 1/3 3PT - 2/2 FT

Oti Gildon (20 min) - 5 reb

Lydia Giomi (1 min)

MISSISSIPPI STATE STARTERS

*Anriel Howard (39 min) 30 pts - 6 reb - 1 ast - 12/17 FG - 1/4 3PT - 5/7 FT

*Chloe Bibby (40 min) 12 pts - 1 stl - 5/11 FG - 2/5 3PT

*Jazzmun Holmes (39 min) 12 pts - 1 reb - 7 ast - 3/8 FG - 0/2 3PT - 6/6 FT

*Jordan Danberry (28 min) 11 pts - 5 reb - 3 ast - 3 stl - 4/8 FG - 3/4 FT

*Teaira McCowan (34 min) 5 pts - 11 reb - 2 ast - 4 blk - 2/5 FG - 1/1 FT

The refs played a huge part in this game, which would eventually end up in Oregon’s favor. The Ducks had 16 personal fouls and the Bulldogs had 19, and each team’s head coach earned a technical after two separate instances of making their case a little too enthusiastically.

Satou Sabally, Hebard and Cazorla lead the Ducks in fouls with three a piece, which resulted in limited minutes from Sabally and an increased role for freshman Taylor Chavez. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, had two players foul out in the second half: Anriel Howard and Jordan Danberry.

For much of the game, Mississippi State’s aggressive play gave the Ducks fits (stealing multiple inbound passes, blocking shots, and forcing turnovers), but in the end, their inaccuracy on the charity stripe and losing two of their starters proved to be their downfall.

The loss to Michigan State took some momentum from the Duck hype train, but with a top 5 win and PAC-12 play just around the corner it’s once again full steam ahead!


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