The Oregon Ducks (28-4) defeated the Colorado Buffaloes (15-16) and won their PAC-12 Tournament Quarterfinal with ease.
The Ducks played very well the entire game, but had streaks of perfection throughout. They started the game by going on an 8-0 run, then followed that up with a 14-0 run in the middle of the second quarter and a 22-0 run with 4 minutes left in the third. By that point the Ducks had built a 71-20 lead (that’s right, a freaking 71-20 lead!) and Coach Kelly Graves began to send in the bench.
Oregon’s starting five put up a performance that begged the question “is this the best team in the country?” Lexi Bando, Ruthy Hebard, Satou Sabally, Sabrina Ionescu and Maite Cazorla scored a combined 70 points while averaging less than 23 minutes each.
Senior Lexi Bando and PAC-12 Freshman of the Year Satou Sabally had an amazing night behind the arc. Sabally was 5-7 from three-point range and ended the night with 21 points. Bando broke a PAC-12 Tournament record (a record set by herself at last year’s tournament) by hitting 6 triples.
Maite Cazorla (9 Pts, 3 Ast, 2 Reb) and Sabrina Ionescu (10 Pts, 13 Ast, 8 Reb) distributed the ball with clock-like efficiency. Ionescu in particular had a spectacular night and would most likely have earned yet another triple-double had she played a full game. Ruthy Hebard was a frequent target for the two guards and ended her night with 11 points, 11 rebounds and an assist.
The Ducks dominant first three quarters earned their starters some well deserved bench time. Mallory McGwire continued to impress off the bench, showing off her defense in the paint and consistent mid-range jumper.
However, the most memorable moment came from Freshman Aina Ayuso, who could very well be a starter next year. With only a few minutes left in the game, Ayuso crossed over a Colorado defender that ended up falling to the floor, and then juked her way past another defender for a layup.
The move not only earned Ayuso the ecstatic admiration of her teammates on the bench, but also made the number one spot in SportsCenter’s Top 10 (thanks Neil Everett!)
Next up for the Ducks is a semifinal against the UCLA Bruins (24-6) who are coming off a 77-74 win against the Cal Golden Bears. The Game will be on the PAC-12 Network at 6pm.