Written By: Sam Greenvillle Audio Story By: Cole Rothman
It was business as usual for #3 ranked Oregon Ducks as the #12 University of Arizona Wildcats came to Matthew Knight on a Friday evening, in what started as a sloppy tightly contested game, that finished in a Ducks blowout. Matthew Knight once again showed out as the arena was packed for this game that showcased two of the top teams not only in the Pac-12, but the entire country. However the Ducks have been on a warpath recently as winners of eight straight, now nine, in a contest that once again emphasized how good this Oregon team can be even against top talented teams in the nation. The Wildcats themselves had been playing very well, not losing a game in over a month to, you guessed it, Oregon last month in Tucson. Cate Reese was the leading scorer for Arizona with 17 points. On the other side, Sabrina poured in another triple double (15-10-11) for the unprecedented twenty fourth time throughout her historic career, and one she said felt a little more meaningful based on the recent passing of her mentor and friend Kobe Bryant saying, “Definitely a little more emotional for this one, I’d probably be getting a text right about now congratulating me and my team, I hope I can stay at 24 for for the rest of the year but that probably won’t happen.” Sabrina wasn’t the only one putting on a show, as Satoua Sabally added a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Taylor Chavez contributing another 17 from the bench. Ruthy Hebard lead all scorers with 22, as her presence in the post was quite impressive.
When asked about the overarching theme in this contest Kelly Graves really mentioned how important the defense was in this gritty match, “Defensively we were on point, we had a couple of turnover early but defensively we were on it…The last couple of ball games we really amped it up and few teams score out of the fifties on us, and with our offense that keeps us in pretty good shape.” Also remarking how their defense helps lead the way for their transition offense. Oregon will face off against another opponent from the Grand Canyon State in Arizona State later this weekend. The Sun Devils being the last team that has beaten the Ducks has added extra incentive for the whole team, “My pregame speech is not gunna have to be all that great. They are going to be hungry, Sabrina will get the team ready.” said Graves, also mentioning how difficult it is to play both schools from Arizona in one weekend. “I’ve been ready since we’ve lost to them, and I know we’ve been ready since we lost to them… gonna go watch their game right now but I could play the game at any moment, I could play right now.” said Sabrina Ionescu. No matter the outcome it should be a great game against two of the top teams in the Pac-12 with Arizona State coming in at #19 in the country. The game will be at Matthew Knight Arena on Sunday with tip-off at 2 p.m.