EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s Pac-12 opener was a milestone night for Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard.
Ionescu had 21 points and seven assists to become the 12th woman in NCAA history to reach 900 career assists, and No. 2 Oregon handed Colorado its first loss of the season with a 104-46 rout on Friday.
Hebard scored 21 points to go over 2,000 for her career.
“It’s special,” Hebard said of the on-court relationship she has developed with fellow senior Ionescu. “I’m happy to have her as a teammate, and us accomplishing things side-by-side, together, is always something I’ll remember. Hopefully we can do a few more things this year.”
Ducks coach Kelly Graves took it a step further.
“I don’t mean to be hyperbolic here. They’re as good as any duo that’s ever done it in this game, in college basketball. Enough said,” Graves said. “I mean, nobody has run it better than them that I can remember. We scored more on the pick and roll than any team in the country last year, men or women, and it’s usually Sabrina to Ruthy. So I can honestly say they’re two of the best that have ever done it together. They’ll always be linked.”
The Ducks (11-1, 1-0) led by as many as 61 points in their fifth straight win. Oregon’s lone loss this season was to No. 8 Louisville at the Paradise Jam on Nov. 30.
The Buffaloes (12-1, 1-1) opened their Pac-12 slate with an 80-70 victory at Utah on Sunday. Colorado was one of just nine undefeated Div. I teams going into the game.
The Buffaloes were led by Jaylyn Sherrod and Aubrey Knight with nine points apiece.
“I’m surprised that we were timid. Oregon’s the best team in the country but we showed timidity,” Colorado coach JR Payne said. “It was everything: reputation, first time we’ve played in front of 10,000 people. They’re the No. 2 team in the country. They started three seniors and two juniors and we’re one of the youngest teams in the country. It was a lot of things.”
Hebard went into the game needing 15 points to reach 2,000 for her career — joining Ionescu and three other Ducks in reaching the milestone. She became the 12th player in league history with at least 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Ionescu, who also had six rebounds, headed to the bench for the night late in the third quarter. The senior guard has three triple-doubles this season to increase her NCAA record — women and men — to 21. She had triple-doubles in each of the Ducks’ last two games, an 84-41 victory over UC Riverside and an 89-51 win over Kansas State.
Graves had called his players out for lacking intensity in the nonconference half of the season, and they responded from the start against Colorado.
“I think our kids got a little bored in December,” he said, “and we were just kind of up and down, and there wasn’t a ton of intensity from some individuals but I think tonight, collectively, those kids were ready and I think this was an important win for us.”
Hebard’s layup gave the Ducks a 66-26 lead in the third quarter. Satou Sabally converted a slick fast-break layup and a free throw to push the lead to 43 points.
Colorado: The 12-0 start was Colorado’s best since also going 12-0 to open the 2011-12 season. … Payne played under Graves at St. Mary’s and was on his staff at Gonzaga.
Oregon: Ionescu is the only current NCAA player to reach 2,000 career points. … The Ducks are 7-0 at home this season.
SABALLY’S HIGHLIGHT CLIP
Sabally, who plays for the French national team, joked that her behind-the back spin move on her layup was in her “repertoire.”
“At first I didn’t really know that I made it,” she said. “But it went in and I was happy about that.”
Colorado: The Buffaloes travel north to play No. 3 Oregon State on Sunday. The Beavers defeated Utah 77-48 on Friday night.
Oregon: The Ducks host the Utes on Sunday.
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