NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: No. 3 Oregon women rout No. 7 Stanford for Pac-12 title
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Sabrina Ionescu had 20 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds to lead No. 3 Oregon to an 89-56 victory over No. 7 Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament title game on Sunday.
Ruthy Hebard added 24 points, while Minyon Moore had 21 for the Ducks, who finished the game hitting 31 of 55 (56.4%) from the floor. Oregon finished 10 for 19 (52.6%) from 3-point range.
The Ducks (31-2) will assuredly receive a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and figure to move up in the AP Top 25 poll after No. 2 Baylor lost to Iowa State, 57-56, earlier Sunday.
The Ducks and Cardinal were playing for the tournament championship for a third consecutive year, and fourth time in five years. Stanford won last year’s championship and Oregon won in 2018.
“We were here last year, and we knew what it was like to lose,” said Ionescu, who was named the tournament’s MVP. “This is one of the nets we wanted to cut down this year.”
The Ducks shook off a sluggish first quarter and used a stifling defense to thwart most of Stanford’s efforts, while fueling their offense at the other end.
Kiana Williams scored 21 points to lead Stanford (27-6) and Ashten Prechtel had 14. Oregon held Stanford to 34.5% (19 of 55) from the floor.
The top 16 seeds in the NCAA Tournament host the first weekend, which means the Ducks will begin their title quest in Eugene, where they went 15-0 this season.
Mandalay Bay Events Center felt like home for Ducks’ three-game tournament run, which saw much of the announced 6,794 in attendance on Sunday clad in Oregon colors.
Stanford, in the Pac 12 championship for a 17th time, did its best to quiet the crowd early.
The Cardinal frustrated the high-powered Ducks while keeping Ionescu scoreless and took a 17-14 lead after the first quarter despite shooting 5 of 14 (35.7%) from the floor. Williams did most of the damage for Stanford, scoring 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting — all from 3-point range — plus a couple from the free-throw line.
Then the Ducks woke up.
The nation’s most efficient offense shot 8 of 12, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range, in the second quarter to outscore the Cardinal 29-9.