Ionescu Surpasses 2,000 Points as No. 1 Oregon Routs Utah St
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon coach Kelly Graves had a bit of a scare when star Sabrina Ionescu went down holding the back of her right leg.
Fortunately his star senior All-American said it was just a dead leg.
Ionescu just missed her 19th career triple-double finishing with 16 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds in the No. 1 Ducks’ 109-52 win over Utah State on Wednesday night. She was driving to the basket when she was fouled with 3:10 left in the third quarter and fell to the court, putting a hand on the back of her right leg.
She was helped to her feet and appeared to be reluctant to go to the bench but did and sat out until returning to the lineup to open the fourth quarter.
“Obviously it’s a concern any time anyone, Sabrina or anyone else, is down there holding on to their knee. I’m glad it was nothing.”
Asked how to explain the “dead leg” Ionescu described to her teammates, Graves said “I don’t know what that is. We used to call it a Charley horse.”
Ionescu was taken out in the final two minutes of the game, a rebound short of what would have been the 19th triple-double of her career.
“Every time Sabrina comes out of the game she grumbles,” Graves joked of his star player’s reaction to being substituted.
While she did miss the triple-double, Ionescu did cross the 2,000-point career mark early in the first half. She also recorded her 800th career assist. Teammate Ruthy Hebard also had her own milestone, reaching 1,000 rebounds. She had 19 points and 15 boards against Utah State.
Taylor Chavez, a starter with Satou Sabally gone to play for the German national team, led the Ducks (2-0) with a career-high 25 points. The sophomore made six of her nine three-point attempts as the Ducks made 17 of 32, bouncing back from a poor shooting performance in their opener.
“The coaches just told me to keep shooting,” Chavez said. “I was a little off the last game (but) we all work on our shots and we have the green light.
“It’s the same thing for every shot, you’ve got to know it’s going in. We were getting good shots (so) just don’t hesitate, keep shooting. We were just on.”
Steph Gorman led the Aggies (1-2) with 13 points.
Oregon: After shooting only 25.7 percent (9 of 35) on three-pointers in the opener, the Ducks shot 53.1 percent on threes against Utah State and 56.5 percent (39 of 69) overall. The Ducks recorded 31 assists on those 39 field goals. “That’s the way we play the game,” Graves said. “We’re an efficient basketball team.”
Utah State: It was the first meeting ever for Utah State against a top-ranked team. Previously, the highest-ranked opponent for Utah State had been Oregon at No. 3 last season, when the Ducks prevailed 88-58. Utah State is 0-16 all-time against ranked foes.
Utah State coach Jerry Finkbeiner was absent due to an undisclosed health condition, with associate head coach Ben Finkbeiner filling in on an interim basis.
Oregon scored 25 points off Utah State’s 13 turnovers and the Ducks also scored 22 second-chance points with 14 offensive rebounds, in a rebound advantage of 45 to 28 over the Aggies.
Oregon finishes its opening three-game homestand with Texas Southern on Sunday, which will be the last home game for the Ducks until Dec. 8.
Utah State plays at Long Beach State on Monday, the second of four consecutive road games for the Aggies. Utah State plays two games in southern California, meeting Cal State Fullerton next Wednesday.