11,530 fans at Matthew Knight Arena erupted several times in Saturday nights exhibition but none louder than the cheers at the final horn legitimizing the Ducks 93-86 win over Team USA. Oregon did something no college has done in two decades, taking down Team USA. In the first half Team USA often flirted with taking the game out of reach for the Ducks with their largest lead being 11, but Oregon’s late first-half push was enough to bring them within four at the half, only down 42-38.
Kelly Graves called the notion of beating Team USA “delusional” less than a week ago but the Ducks three stars made the improbable victory possible in the second-half. Star senior guard Sabrina Ionesco had just five points in the opening half but in the closing 20 minutes, she was white-hot, finishing with 30 points on 8-13 shooting, including a three-pointer from the logo as time was expiring on the shot clock. Satou Sabally hit a trio of impressive threes, two of which came deep into the fourth quarter, the German international finished with 25 on the night. Lastly, Ruthy Hebard, who at times put the team on her back and was the main reason the Ducks won the rebounding battle 34-29. Hebard didn’t have an easy task in facing the 2017 WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles but she came on top with 18 points, most of which came from a deadly pick-and-roll with Ionescu, and 11 boards. Oregon had a one-point lead going into the forth and proceeded that by going on a 9-0 run in the last quarter to eventually pull away with one of the most historic wins in women’s basketball history. While Kelly Graves and the company couldn’t have asked for a better way to open a campaign, the head coach stressed his team is simply 0-0 and the Ducks must move forward.
After the monumental win, the Ducks have a quick turnaround, facing off against Northeastern at Matthew Knight Arena, Monday at 3 pm.
Game Story (By: Mark Wang)
Game Story: Ruthy Hebard Excels in One of the Toughest Match-Ups of her Career (By: Adam Susman)
Head Coach Kelly Graves
Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard, and Satou Sabally
USA Head Coach Cheryl Reeve and Sue Bird