The #1-ranked Oregon Ducks rolled past the Utah State Aggies 109-52 behind a career high 25 points from sophomore guard Taylor Chavez.
After scuffling with their shooting touch in their previous outing, the Ducks accuracy from the floor improved markedly in game number two.
With four players scoring in double figures, Oregon connected on 39 of 69 shots from the field for a 56.5% shooting average, including much better results from behind the three point line, sinking 17 of 32 attempts from long distance.
None were more deadly than Chavez. The Surprise, Arizona native knocked down 9 of 13 overall and 6 of 9 from three,
Oregon opened a 25-10 lead after one quarter and never took their foot off the gas while improving their season record to 2-0.
Along with Chavez, headlines were in order for Sabrina Ionescu who just missed a 19th-career triple double with 16 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds and for Ruthy Hebard who led the Ducks with 15 rebounds and 19 points for the 41st double-double of her career.
Ionescu became the only the fourth woman to score 2,000 points in a career and Hebard is now the fourth Ducks to be credited with 1000 rebounds.
Game firmly in hand from start to finish, the night’s only moment of apprehension came when Ionescu took a defender’s knee to the thigh while driving to the hoop. After several minutes of hushed concern, Ionescu walked off the court under her own power and later returned to the lineup.
But the spotlight belonged to Chavez. In the starting lineup for the second time as Satou Sabally is seeing duty with the German national team, Chavez took only three shots against Northeastern and missed both her three point attempts. After an air ball on her first shot against Utah State, Chavez hit six of her next eight attempts.
“You’ve just got to know that it’s going in,” said Chavez of her mindset after missing the first shot. “Even the ones that I missed, I think they’re going in … when you have Sabrina yelling at you to shoot the ball, that’s all the confidence you need really.”
Freshman Jaz Shelley was the fourth Ducks to reach double digits, making five of her seven shot attempts, including three of four from behind the arc to finish with 15 points in her second collegiate outing.
“I think the first couple games I was very nervous,” said the Australia native. ” … tonight I just came out and I think I was a bit more confident … I wasn’t as nervous or shaky. I think I handled it better tonight.”
Steph Gorman led the scoring for the Aggies with 13 points as the Ducks held Utah State to 19 of 63 (30.2 %) from the floor.
Next up the Ducks host Texas Southern on Saturday, November 16th. Tip-off is set for 2:00 pm.
~ Rick Morgan