Oregon Shuts Down USC 73-50

Oregon shut down USC with a 73-50 win Sunday at Matthew Knight.

This marks the first sweep of USC since the 2002-2003 season.

It was a defensively strong first quarter for the Ducks, holding USC to only six points.

Ja’Tavia Tapley of USC found the basket first to give the Trojans their only lead of the game, short lived as it was at just 21 seconds.

Oregon hit the floor running. Sabrina Ionescu went 3/3 for field goals in the quarter. Mallory McGwire fired off three jumpers as well, making two and adding an additional two points from free throws.

USC put up a strong full court defense but Oregon found their way around it.

Lexi Bando and Ruthy Hebard also grew the team’s lead in the first with a jumper from Bando and two baskets from the key for Hebard.

The Ducks held the Trojans from scoring for over six minutes forcing their presence and wrapping up the first quarter 18-6.

Oregon’s Head Coach, Kelly Graves, reflected on today’s defensive performance and how the team stays motivated throughout the season. “We’ve kept our eye on a prize in the future. Knowing that each game that we play well and win leads to that end. Our kids are focused and practicing hard.”

Sabrina Ionescu also commented on the team’s approach to the rest of conference schedule and the Pac-12 tournament: “We just take it one game, one practice at a time and continue to grow individually and collectively.”

 Oregon continued to shine into the second quarter, with a flurry of baskets from McGwire and Hebard. USC turnovers helped the Ducks’ cause and they headed into half time leading 27-16.

Entering the third quarter Ionescu drained her second of four baskets from behind the arc right off the bat. Ionescu continued the quarter with three assists and three rebounds, adding to her 22-point, 11-rebound and six-assists game.

USC fell back to a half court defense but kept the intensity ratcheted up.

Hebard did a great job drawing the fouls. Her four of six free throw shots along with 5/9 field goals gave her the second highest score of the game with 14 points. Inoescu took first with 22 points.

McGwire who added 12 points with 8 total rebounds, gave the Ducks a 1-2 punch in the paint that USC couldn’t contain.

Graves expanded on McGwire’s performance. “Mallory has great touch,” he said, “over the last few weeks she’s really shown what she’s capable of doing. She’s making that mid-range shot and they [defenders] can’t double down on Ruthy as much.”

Back to back threes from Cazorla and Bando, both assisted by Ionescu, heated things up drawing a technical foul from Simon Kristen on Sierra Campisano with 1:14 left in the third.

Campisano made both the free throws shortly followed by another three from Ionescu at the buzzer leading into the 4th.

The Ducks led 54-31.

The aggression and energy from both teams carried into the fourth with Oregon and the Lady Trojans exchanging baskets but the 23-point deficit going into the fourth was too much for USC to overcome.

The final score 73–50.

The Ducks led 37:36 minutes of the game. Though the Ducks dominated the boards in rebounds, 40-25, the Trojans forced 18 Oregon turnovers overs and matched the Ducks 9 steals.

Oregon will head to Utah and Colorado next weekend to take on the Utes and Buffaloes.

~ Jessie Price