Women's basketball: Oregon earns Team of the Week after beating USC, UCLA on the road
Fresh off of a program-first road sweep of USC and UCLA, the Oregon Ducks have extended its Pac-12 record to 4-0 for the first time since the 2000-01 season and earned NCAA.com Team of the Week honors.
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With the hard-fought wins over USC, 70-66 and UCLA, 70-61, the Ducks (15-2, 4-0) climbed to No. 8 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll.
In the win over USC on Jan. 5, Oregon was led by junior guard Maite Cazorla, who finished with a team-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-8 from three-point range. Sabrina Ionescu added 16 points, while Lexi Bando (12) and Ruthy Hebard (11) also finished in double figures. After shooting 2-of-14 from the field in the first period, the Ducks went 21-of-35 over the final three and pulled away from a late 62-all tie to score the win.
On Jan. 7 at UCLA, Oregon again closed the game strong, going on a 14-2 run in the final three minutes to defeat the Bruins. Hebard led the Ducks with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. She scored 14 points in the second half, including eight straight for the Ducks to open up the fourth period. Cazorla finished with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting with three assists and three rebounds, while Ionescu tallied 18 points and went 7-of-9 at the free throw line.
Pac-12 Freshman of the Year a year ago, Ionescu is the leader of the balanced Oregon attack this year. Earlier this season, Ionescu set an NCAA record with her eighth career triple-double in a victory over Washington Dec. 31, breaking the mark in only her 48th career game. Penn State's Suzie McConnell and Louella Tomlinson of Saint Mary's shared the mark with Ionescu until then. She has four triple-doubles in 17 games this season and leads the Ducks with an average of 18.6 points per game to go along with team highs of 127 assists, 33 steals and 52 made three-point field goals.
Oregon returns home to host Arizona on Jan. 12, followed by a visit by the Arizona State Sun Devils on Jan. 14. The Ducks and Sun Devils are currently tied atop the Pac-12 standings at 4-0.