NO. 3 OREGON USES THE LONG BALL TO DEMOLISH NO. 19 ARIZONA STATE 79-48 – Ducks Exact Revenge Over the Sun Devils and Continue to Control Their Destiny for Another Conference Title
Matthew Knight Arena
The No. 3 Ducks were after revenge on Sunday afternoon and they certainly got it. Using the long ball, Oregon destroyed No. 19 Arizona State 79-48 at Matthew Knight Arena in front of a sold out crowd of 12,364. After a slow, and admitted lackluster start, the Oregon offense caught fire drilling a total of 13 of 25 shots from distance to get the win. It wasn’t easy though, Arizona State did their best to rough up the Ducks at every opportunity to try and disrupt their offensive flow, and it worked. The high octane offense of the Ducks scored just 27 points at the break.
In the second half, Oregon outscored ASU 52-33 to completely take the wind out of the Sun Devils sails and seal their tenth consecutive win and maintain a hold on first place in the Pac-12 conference.
HOW IT HAPPENED
This one began much like a ball rolling up hill – or even slower.
In the first quarter alone, Oregon scored just 10 points while the Sun Devils had 2. In the second quarter, the lid began to come off the basket but nowhere near what this No. 3 team in the country is used to. Coming into Sunday’s marquee match-up with No. 19 Arizona State the Ducks were averaging just over 86 points per game.
At the half, the Ducks went to the locker room scoring just 27 points and leading the Devils by twelve points at 27-15, not exactly ripping the ball through the twine.
In the first ten minutes the Sun Devils converted just 1 of 10 shots while the Ducks were 4 of 13. For the first half the Ducks ended up converting just 10 of 27 from the field and 5 of 11 from three point range.
The Ducks appeared completely out of sync in the first 20 minutes, especially with center Ruthy Hebard taking an early seat on the bench with two fouls.
In the second half, the lid more than came off for the Oregon offense, especially from beyond the arc.
In the first five minutes of the third quarter the Ducks went on a 15-4 run to extend their lead to 42-19. During the run the Ducks dropped five consecutive field goals including two short jumpers by Ionescu and two turnaround shots by Ruthy Hebard.
From that point the flood gates opened offensively and the Ducks defense once again clamped down.
Offensively, the Ducks ended the game shooting 49% ( 27 of 55 ) and did much of their damage using the long ball.
The Ducks shot 52% from distance ( 13 of 25 ) led by Jaz Shelley who hit each of her four attempts, including two consecutive three balls early in the fourth quarter.
“We knew going into the game, as part of our game plan, that a lot of the attention was going to be focused on Ruthy ( Hebard ) rolling on the ball screens” said Oregon forward Erin Boley.
“A big part of it is we have shooters coming in looking for that shot,…confident and ready. We knew it was coming so we were prepared and I think that helps all of us get into a good rhythm.”
With 9:18 remaining in the game, Shelley drilled a deep three to push the Ducks score to 60-32. Then sixty three seconds later she hit another bomb giving the Ducks a 65-37 lead.
On the defensive end, Oregon held ASU spark plug guard Robbi Ryan to just 3 points who came into Matthew Knight Arena averaging double digits for the season ( 11 ppg ).
In fact, no one on the Sun Devil roster was able to score in double digits.
“It was really gritty” explained Boley.
“We had to play really tough so it’s a good feeling to keep a lead that big when there’s a lot of fouling and a very physical game.”
ASU Center Ja’Tavia Tapley had 8, while forward Eboni Walker also contributed 8.
It was evident the Sun Devils game plan was to pound Hebard in the paint and also play extremely physical on Ionescu on the perimeter.
And it showed in the box score. The Sun Devils drew a total of 20 fouls including a technical late in the third when Robbi Ryan and Ionescu exchanged words near mid court.
“It’s an important game for us,…for me and my staff” explained Oregon head coach Kelly Graves after the game regarding the high level of emotions for he and his players.
“Sometimes that happens,…I was into it. And I thought actually tonight we fed off of that. I thought we really played with an edge tonight and really hard.”
The Ducks would go on to outscore the Sun Devils 52-33 in the second half to get the 79-48 win and push their conference record to 10-1.
The lone loss came at the hands of this same Arizona State team back on January 10th when the Ducks blew a double digit lead to take the loss 72-66.
“I think it was definitely a revenge game for us” said Duck guard Jaz Shelley.
“We knew we were the better team and that we shouldn’t have lost that game so we had a fire in our belly to come out here and just show them how we can really play and the better team that we are.”
The Ducks now hit the road for the next two weekends to face the Los Angeles schools next weekend and then the bay area schools in two weeks.
Oregon travels to Los Angeles to face UCLA next Friday night at 8:00 pm. ( Pac-12 Network ) Then on Sunday the Ducks face USC at 1:00 pm, also on the Pac-12 Network
KELLY GRAVES POST GAME BRIEFING