TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Oregon had a rare loss of composure late in a loss to Arizona State.
Faced with a similar challenge against Arizona two days later, the Ducks survived with a simple plan: Get the ball into Sabrina Ionescu’s hands.
Ionescu had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for her NCAA record-extending 22nd triple-double, helping the second-ranked Ducks bounce back from their second loss of the season with a 71-64 win over No. 18 Arizona on Sunday.
“When it counted late in the game, she was the one who made the plays at both ends of the floor,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “When you’re an All-American, player of the year candidate, in these kind of games you’ve got to step up.”
The Ducks (14-2, 3-1 Pac-12) looked like the inexperienced team Friday night, allowing the Sun Devils charge back from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter and win 72-66.
Against Arizona, Oregon built a 13-point lead midway through the third quarter before the Wildcats made a run.
Mostly a distributor early, Ionescu took over late. She had a three-point play after Arizona pulled within three, scored another late basket and hit two free throws with 20.7 seconds left. Ionescu has more triple-doubles than any player in NCAA history, man or woman.
Ruthy Hebard had 19 points and 14 rebounds, Satou Sabally added 18 points and Oregon had a 36-18 advantage in the paint.
“It’s nice to know we can win a grind-it-out game,” Graves said. “We haven’t yet this year on the road.”
Arizona (12-3, 2-3) overcame a long scoring drought to end the second quarter, pulling within 65-52 on Aari McDonald’s 3-pointer with 1:23 left. The Wildcats couldn’t finish it off, losing to their third straight to top-10 opponents after opening the season with 14 straight wins.
“We’ve definitely been competing, but there are times in games where we have stretches where we don’t score and let teams go on runs,” said McDonald, who finished with 25 points. “We’re just not experienced enough in that area.”