Coach Kelly Graves made sure the Ducks’ non-conference schedule would be as tough as possible in order to prepare for the Pac-12 season and the NCAA tournament in March.
But there are some games that should be easier than others and tonight was one of those supposed easy games.
No. 3 Oregon traveled to Logan, Utah and defeated Utah State 88-58.
Ruthy Hebard led the Ducks with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Sabrina Ionescu had a relatively quiet night of 15 points and 10 points.
Erin Boley added 14 points and Satou Sabally chipped in 12 points. Freshman Taylor Chavez, the Arizona Player of the Year last season, scored a career-high 13 points off of the bench.
Shannon Dufficy led the Aggies with 14 points with Rachel Brewster pouring in 12 for the host team from the Mountain West.
Oregon (3-0) started off hot from the field with Ionescu hitting a trey of three-pointers in the first quarter to quickly break away. Oregon outscored Utah State 30-16 in that opening 10 minutes of play and eventually took a 49-29 halftime lead.
To the Aggies credit, they could have wilted away in the second half in a game that was pretty much decided. But Utah State managed to stay within shouting distance. However, they could never get the deficit under 20.
The Ducks shot 55.6 percent from the field on 30-of-54 shooting and 7-of-21 from beyond the arc (33.3 percent). Oregon never had a scoring draught in order for Utah State to seriously cut into the lead.
The Aggies shot just 38.3 percent from the field (23-of-60) and 7-of-19 from three-point range. Oregon outrebounded Utah State 36-26, but committed just three less turnovers (13-10).
There was a huge difference at the charity stripe where the Ducks managed to dominate. Oregon made 21 of 24 shots from the free throw line, while the Aggies made all five of their attempts. Hebard was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line.
Oregon now comes back to the friendly confines of Matthew Knight Arena on Sunday when it will face Buffalo from the MAC for a 2 pm tip.
The Bulls are 2-0 this year and they finished 29-6 last season where they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tourney before losing to South Carolina 79-63. Buffalo defeated South Florida 102-79 in the first round and Florida State in the second round 86-65.
~ Don Smalley
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