Two of the best women’s basketball teams in the country will square off Monday, Feb. 3, in Storrs, Connecticut, in a rare late-season non-conference showdown.
When No. 3 Oregon meets No. 4 UConn, it won’t just be a battle of two powers in the sport. It’s a game featuring two teams that made the Final Four last year, which have realistic aspirations of getting back there this season.
There’s a real chance we could see the Ducks and Huskies face off in New Orleans in April.
But maybe that’s putting the cart before the horse. Let’s get into everything you need to know about their big match-up on Monday.
Oregon vs. UConn: The basics
When: 7 p.m. ET | Live stats
Where: Harry A. Gampel Pavillion in Storrs, Connecticut
Oregon and UConn's last meeting
The Huskies and Ducks have only met on a basketball court three times and UConn has won each match-up, most recently capturing a 90-52 victory on March 27, 2017, in the Elite Eight in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
In that game, the Huskies forced Sabrina Ionescu — then just a freshman — into six turnovers. Ionescu still tallied 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists, leading Oregon in scoring and on the boards. UConn was powered by two who are now in the WNBA, as Gabby Williams and Napheesa Collier combined for 53 points, 18 rebounds, six steals, five assists and four blocks.
Oregon and UConn had a chance of meeting last season at the Final Four in Tampa Bay, but were eliminated in the semifinals by Baylor and Notre Dame.
This time around, not only is Oregon armed with a more polished version of Ionescu, but they have pre-season All-Pac-12 selection Ruthy Hebard and Miller Award finalist Satou Sabally.
|3, 3||Rankings (AP, Coaches)||4, 5|
|18-2, 8-1||Record (Overall, Conference)||19-1, 9-0|
|90-63 win over Utah||Last Game||80-50 win over Cincinnati|
|Kelly Graves||Head Coach||Geno Auriemma|
|85.9||Points scored per game||78.6|
|56.9||Points allowed per game||53.8|
|Sabrina Ionescu (17.4)||Leading scorer (ppg)||Megan Walker (19.7)|
|Ruthy Hebard (9.7)||Leading rebounder (rpg)||Megan Walker (9.1)|
SABRINA IONESCU TRACKER: Where we left off with Oregon's triple-double record-breaker
Oregon and UConn players to watch
Oregon: Ruthy Hebard, Junior, Forward
One of the reasons why Oregon was so outmatched in its 2017 meeting with UConn is that it didn’t have a player skilled enough or strong enough to match-up with Collier and UConn’s other post players in the paint. The Huskies won the rebounding battle by 10 and had six blocks. But UConn won’t have that advantage this time. They’ll have to account for Ruthy Hebard, a force on the glass and the scoreboard.
A 6-foot-4 native of Fairbanks, Alaska, Hebard averages 16.6 points and 9.7 rebounds. She’s recorded a double-double in each of her last two games. She leads all of the Pac-12 in rebounding and field-goal percentage, shooting 66.5 percent from the field.
SABRINA MADNESS: 5 things that make Sabrina Ionescu a singular talent
UConn: Megan Walker, Junior, Forward
A well-rounded player who can score inside and out, Walker has stepped up for the Huskies in some big-time games. She scored 22 points against Notre Dame, 26 points against DePaul, had 15 rebounds against Oklahoma and had nine points, six boards, three assists and a steal in a win over Tennessee.
A 6-foot-1 native of Chesterfield, Virginia, Walker has been playing well recently. She’s knocked down at least two three-pointers in each of her last four games, and has had a double-double in her last two games. Walker is shooting 43.9 percent from three-point range and is averaging 19.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game this season.