The No. 2 seed Oregon Ducks (31-4) defeated the No. 15 seed Seattle University Redhawks (18-15), 88-45. Oregon will advance to the second round and face Minnesota, while the Redhawks will return home victorious in their own right after their first ever NCAA tournament game.
Sabrina Ionescu recorded her 10th career triple-double and lived up to her PAC-12 Player of the Year title while putting on a fantastic show in front of a crowd of seven thousand screaming home fans in Eugene, Oregon. Her 19 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds were only the 16th triple-double in NCAA tournament history. With an eager fanbase that spread from the stands to the home bench cheering her on, it is possible that Coach Kelly Graves let his star player stay in the game a little longer than necessary to make sure she left her mark on women’s basketball history.
Ionescu played a team high 29 minutes in a game that saw 11 of the 14 player roster see playing time. Although Oregon’s starters earned their usual stellar numbers, the bench played early and often. The Ducks had 10 players with 13 minutes or more. Thirty one of the Ducks’ points came from off the bench and the majority of those were due to the excellent play of Oti Gildon (16 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast). Aina Ayuso once again showed a quick flash of brilliance by breaking some ankles and taking it to the basket on a reverse layup and-1.
Ruthy Hebard (12 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Stl), Lexi Bando (11 Pts, 1 Reb, 1 Ast), and Maite Cazorla (10 Pts, 2 Ast, 1 Stl) played hard, stayed injury-free and found plenty of time to rest up for the next round of the tournament. The Ducks nabbed 45 rebounds, hit 53% from the field and had 23 assists to their 9 turnovers. They only made 5 of their 17 three-pointers, but held the Redhawks to 1 of 19 shooting.
The Oregon Ducks will host the No. 10 seed Minnesota Gophers (23-8, 3rd in the Big Ten) at Matthew Knight Arena in the second round of the tournament, the very same Minnesota team that mere hours earlier rallied from a 10-point deficit at the half to beat the Green Bay Phoenix, 89-77. Duck fans should hope that Kenisha Bell’s hot streak has cooled off after 24 of her 26 second half points buried the competition.
In other PAC-12 news, No. 6 seed Oregon State extended the possibility of an all-Oregon National Championship by beating No. 11 seed Western Kentucky, 82-58. They will face the 3-seed Lady Volunteers at 11AM on Sunday. The No. 7 seed Cal Golden Bears on the other hand lost a 68-62 nail-biter against the 10-seed Virginia Cavaliers.
Three PAC-12 teams will play Tomorrow:
No. 3 UCLA faces No. 14 American Eagles at 12:45 PT.
No. 4 Stanford faces No. 13 Gonzaga at 3PM PT.
No. 7 Arizona State faces No. 10 Nebraska 12:45 PT.
The Oregon Ducks will face the Minnesota Gophers at 7:30 PM PT on ESPN 2.