DUCKS 93 - TEAM USA 86
The Oregon Women’s Basketball team pulled off an incredible upset that will be remembered as a historic event for the University of Oregon by beating Team USA at Matt Knight Arena in front of 11,530 fans.
The US Women’s team are looking to earn their seventh consecutive gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics and have been sharpening their skills against some of the best teams in college basketball. After beating fellow PAC-12 schools Oregon State (81-58) and Stanford (95-80), Team USA wrapped up their tour against the #1 Oregon Ducks in what would become a shocking home stand.
Oregon started off strong by defending the paint with a fully-healed Ruthy Hebard and then scoring the first five points of the contest. Despite Team USA’s clear size advantage, Oregon was able to very much play their brand of basketball, including the Ionescu-Hebard Pick-and-Roll that kept so many PAC-12 teams awake at night last season, but a Diana Taurasi triple tied the game at 9-9 and brought the Ducks back down to earth after a hot start.
USA’s presence in the paint was too much for the Ducks early on, but some off three-point shooting by the pro team allowed Oregon to stay within seven entering the second quarter despite the fact that superstar Sabrina Ionescu was held scoreless in the first.
The second quarter featured some good playing time for newcomers Jaz Shelley and Holly Winterburn, as well as frequent bench contributors Taylor Chavez and Lydia Giomi. Team USA began to pull away, building a 37-26 lead before a commercial timeout with 4:26 left in the second quarter, but a strong finish by Oregon kept the Ducks competitive.
A Winterburn triple got things going for the Ducks coming out of the commercial break and the crowd began to feed off the energy as fouls began to stack up against USA. Ionescu got the Ducks within six with her first bucket of the game and after Team USA responded with two points, Oregon raced down the floor where Sabally was able to feed Hebard to take back the momentum.
With the clock winding down, Ionescu hit a very challenging jumper-and-one against Washington legend Kelsey Plum to cut the lead to three with less than a minute remaining in the second. USA scored four more but some aggressive play by Minyon Moore earned her two free throws, resulting in a 42-38 lead for the pros.
*Sabrina Ionescu: 30 PTS - 7 AST - 4 REB - 1 BLK - 1 TO - 10/20 FG - 3/10 3PT - 7/7 FT
*Satou Sabally: 25 PTS - 1 AST - 6 REB - 2 TO - 10/18 FG - 3/7 3PT - 2/2 FT
*Ruthy Hebard: 18 PTS - 1 AST - 11 REB - 1 STL - 9/14 FG
*Minyon Moore: 10 PTS - 3 AST - 2 REB - 2 STL - 1 TO - 2/5 FG - 1/2 3PT - 5/5 FT
*Erin Boley: 3 PTS - 1 AST - 1/2 FG - 1/2 3PT
Holly Winterburn: 3 PT - 1/2 FG - 1/1 3PT
Lydia Giomi: 2 PTS - 4 REB - 1 STL - 1/2 FG
Morgan Yaeger: 2 PTS - 1 REB - 1 TO - 1/2 FG - 0/1 3PT
Taylor Chavez: 2 AST - 1 REB - 1 TO - 0/3 FG - 0/1 3PT
Jaz Shelley: 1 AST - 3 REB - 1 TO - 0/2 FG - 0/2 3PT
*Nnemkadi Ogwumike: 19 PTS - 2 AST - 14 REB - 1 BLK - 1 STL - 3 TO - 8/9 FG - 3/3 FT
*Diana Taurasi: 17 PTS - 5 AST - 1 REB - 2 TO - 4/10 FG - 4/9 3PT - 5/5 FT
*Sylvia Fowles: 11 PTS - 3 REB - 1 BLK - 2 TO - 5/9 FG - 1/4 FT
*Sue Bird: 8 PTS - 8 AST - 1 TO - 3/5 FG - 2/4 3PT
*Seimone Augustus: 8 PTS - 4 AST - 2 REB - 1 STL - 4/6 FG - 0/1 3PT
Sabrina Ionescu and Satou Sabally made this astonishing victory possible by combining for 41 points in the second half and finishing with 30 and 25 points respectively. Minyon Moore hit a corner triple after some tenacious defense by Hebard to cut the lead to one in the third. Ionescu came alive after the half, scoring 20 of the Ducks 30 points in the third, including a layup in the final seconds that tied the game at 68 going into the fourth.
In the final quarter, the Queen of Triple Doubles drained a three-pointer near the half court O that brought the Duck faithful to their feet. Sabally’s strong finish was a big part of the upset, scoring 16 of Oregon’s final 25 points. With a 76-69 lead, Sabally hit a three-pointer that caused Team USA to take a timeout, and after the commercial break she made a layup to give the Ducks a 12-point lead.
Around the five minute mark, Coach Kelly Graves sent back in Hebard and Moore, meaning he wasn’t satisfied with Oregon being competitive against the World’s best women’s basketball team, he wanted the Ducks to take their spot.
Napheesa Collier scored and made it a three-point game with 1:02 left, but once again Sabally responded, this time with a layup and pair of free throws with 17.1 seconds left.
Only once has a college team beat the US Women’s National team, Tennessee back in 1999. The Ducks were already favored to win the National Championship as the preseason No. 1 ranked team, but after doing the unthinkable in beating the World’s best team, the hype-train is off the rails.
It all comes down to some advice given to the Ducks by Team USA’s Diana Taurasi before the game, “stay mad.”
WOW!! What an amazing night! A big thank you to the 11,500 fans who came out for an exhibition. It was such an honor to play @usabasketball and I was proud of our team’s heart & fight. As special as this was, it’s on to the next! See you Monday, Go Ducks! pic.twitter.com/T2VAXqEt7X— Kelly Graves (@GoDucksKG) November 10, 2019
NEXT UP: Northeastern
11/11, Monday, 3 PM, Eugene