In the immediate aftermath of the cancelled post season Oregon women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves took note of the history that would go unfulfilled if all had gone according to script. Upsets are part of the fabric of March Madness but from any perspective it is hard to imagine anyone other than Graves’ Ducks cutting down the nets last Monday in New Orleans.

Purpose, intelligence, experience and a generous dose of defense elevated the 2019-20 Ducks into the conversation of among the best teams ever assembled and the post season awards list lends credibility to the argument. Seldom has a collegiate team so dominated the post season landscape as did Oregon.

With knock out weapons at every position Oregon’s offense proved impossible to defend and with the exception of the two losses – Louisville in the Bahamas last December and at Arizona State in February – the Ducks rarely were seriously challenged during their 17-1 romp through the Pac-12 schedule, capped off with the tournament championship that eluded them a year ago.

Most bracket projections had the Ducks squaring off against UConn in the Portland Regional final for a Final Four berth and would likely have attracted a near sell-out in the Moda Center to watch a rematch between the perennial national contending Huskies and the more upstart Ducks.

After Oregon shellacked the Huskies 74-56 on their home court back in February, payback surely would have been sweet revenge for Geno Auriemma and UConn but it is hard to imagine the Ducks letting that opportunity slip through their hands.

As events have unfolded, the timing of the Final Four in New Orleans coincided with an explosion in the number of cases of Covid-19 reported in the Crescent City so the decision by the NCAA to cancel the event looks even better in hindsight… not something one can often say.

If the chalk held true a rematch with the Baylor Bears in Tampa Bay a year ago then a match up with top-ranked South Carolina for the championship would have been Oregon’s path to the trophy. Challenging for sure, but clearly within the reach of this group. The “what ifs” and “shouldas” will be eternal and the missing championship will be of historical note for decades to come.

As hard as it is to find a silver lining amongst the wreckage, Oregon’s post season recognition by its peers and by the media is validation that this group was – as Graves put it – unlike any other we’ve seen. The memory of them walking off the court together for the last time with their hands wrapped around a pair of trophies won’t fade anytime soon.

Here is a rundown of the awards received along with a retrospective gallery of Sabrina, Ruthy and Satou.

Sabrina Ionescu
Pac-12 Player of the Year, All-Pac-12
First Team Associated Press  All-American
Unanimous Selection Associated Press Player of the Year
USBWA First Team All-America
USBWA Player of the Year (Ann Meyer Drysdale Award)
Senior CLASS Award Winner – Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School
 First-team All-America (Women’s Basketball Coaches Association)
WBCA Wade Trophy Winner – 2nd straight
Naismith Trophy – Nancy Leiberman Trophy – Best point guard
Wooden Award – 2nd straight

 » First in the nation with eight triple-doubles, matching her own NCAA single-season record.
» No. 1 in the NCAA with a career-high 9.1 assists per game, and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.09).
» No. 2 in the nation in free-throw percentage (92.6); 54-of-56 (96.4%) in conference play.
» First in the Pac-12 and No. 6 nationally with a career-high 18 double-doubles.
» No. 3 in the Pac-12 with a career-high 8.5 rebounds per game, and first in defensive rebounding (6.6).
» Fifth in the Pac-12 with 16.9 points per game; 18.5 PPG during conference play.
» Shooting a career-best 50.8 percent from the floor; previous high is 46.8 percent (2017-18).   (Stats courtesy UO Media Services)

 

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Ruthy Hebard
First Team All-Pac-12
First Team Associated Press All-American
USBWA First Team All-America
Senior CLASS – Second Team All America
WBCA All-American
Naismith Starting Five – Katrina McClain Award – Best Power Forward

» No. 2 in the nation in both field-goal percentage (68.0) and field goals made (232).
» No. 1 in the Pac-12 with a career-high 9.7 rebounds per game.
» No. 2 in the Pac-12 and 14th nationally with a career-high 15 double-doubles.
» No. 4 in the Pac-12 with 17.5 points per game, just 0.1 shy of career-high (2017-18).
» One of only three Pac-12 players with 30-plus steals (36) and 30-plus blocks (32).
» First on the Ducks with 12 games of 20 points or more and three with 30 points or more.
(Stats courtesy UO Media Services)

 

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Satou Sabally
First Team All Pac-12
Second Team  Associated Press  All-American
USBWA Second Team All-America
WBCA All-American
Naismith Starting Five – Cheryl Miller Award – Best small forward.

» No. 6 in the Pac-12 with a career-high 16.8 points per game.
» No. 9 in the Pac-12 with a career-high 7.2 rebounds per game.
» Averaging a team-best 18.6 points per game during Oregon’s 16-game win streak.
» Third on the team with a career-high seven double-doubles, including six vs. top-25 teams.
» A team-high 104-of-130 (80.0%) from the free-throw line; 73-of-86 (84.9%) over the last 16 games. (Stats courtesy UO Media Services)

 

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Taylor Chavez –
Pac-12 Sixth Player of the Year

» No. 2 in the Pac-12 in three-point shooting percentage (43.7); 47.8 percent in Pac-12 play.
» Averaging 6.4 points per game with a career-high six double-figure scoring games.
» Fourth among Ducks with 29 steals. (Stats courtesy UO Media Services)

 

 

 

Minyon Moore
Pac-12 All-Defensive Team

» First on the Ducks and fifth in the Pac-12 with 51 steals, including a pair of six-steal games.
» Second in the Pac-12 with 34 steals in conference play.
» No. 2 in the NCAA with a 4.13 assist-to-turnover ratio.
» Averaging 7.7 points, 4.1 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game. (Stats courtesy UO Media Services)

 

 

Kelly Graves –
John R. Wooden Coach of the Year

First back-to-back recipient  and a two time winner along with Jody Runge (94, 99)

 

 

And it should also be noted that in addition to the on court accolades the Ducks were recognized for their excellence in the classroom as well. Erin Boley, Taylor Chavez, Lydia Giomi, Minyon Moore, Nyara Sabally, Satou Sabally, and Sabrina Ionescu were each named to the Pac-12 winter term academic honor roll.

  ~ Rick Morgan
www.DuckNews.com