EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Arizona dared to do what Oregon coach Kelly Graves thought any team would be crazy to try against his Ducks. When it worked for one half, the Wildcats’ zone defense appeared to be a stroke of genius.
It wasn’t enough to overcome their own shooting woes.
Sabrina Ionescu had 22 points and 11 rebounds as No. 8 Oregon pulled away in the second half to a 62-44 victory over Arizona on Friday night.
“I used to kid the kids that people aren’t very bright if they’re going to zone us,” Graves said. “Well, we got zoned tonight and they looked pretty smart for doing it.
“Plus, they junked it up a little bit, but I don’t think it bothered us. We still had open shots and we just didn’t make them. Credit them. They played their butts off.”
Ruthy Hebard added 14 points for the Ducks (16-2, 5-0 Pac-12), who won their eighth consecutive game. Ionescu’s double-double was her eighth of the season.
Sam Thomas had 14 points to lead the Wildcats (4-12, 0-5). Kat Wright added 12 points, and Jalea Bennett had 10.
Arizona lost any hope for an upset by missing its first 12 shots of the third quarter to see a one-point halftime deficit balloon to 14. Hebard was the difference inside against the Wildcats’ tight zone in the second half with 10 points.
Arizona finished 17 of 58 for 29.3 percent and was just 3 of 18 from 3-point range.
“That third quarter, when the kids were challenged, they went out and did a heck of a job,” Graves said. “Even though we still weren’t making shots, we were building a lead because we were defending so well.
“That’s two or three games in a row that we’ve defended quite well, so I think we’re getting better in that area.”