Ionescu has triple-double, No. 3 Oregon women beat Kansas StOregon head women basketball coach Kelly Graves gestures toward his team during the second quarter of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Sabrina Ionescu was at her best again, and there wasn’t much Kansas State could do to stop her and Oregon.
Ionescu had 21 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for her 21st career triple-double, and the third-ranked Ducks shot 50 percent from the field in a 89-51 win over the Wildcats on Saturday.
“I just thought we played well in a lot of different phases,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said, terming it “the best win” of the season for the Ducks. “Really just across the board we had a lot of players play well.”
Ionescu extended her NCAA record for triple-doubles before being pulled late in the third quarter. Erin Boley added 18 points for the Ducks (10-1) and Satou Sabally, back after missing the previous game due to a mild injury, scored 14 points.
Most of what the Ducks do revolves around their all-American point guard, and Ionescu added three steals defensively and shot eight of 13 from the field in recording her second triple-double of the week and third of the season.
“I think you’re seeing her, she is feeling better,” Graves said, alluding to a couple of minor injuries impacting her play earlier in the season. “I just think she’s playing better. The fact that she’s got some depth (to limit her minutes) is really helping.”
Peyton Williams had 20 points to lead the Wildcats (5-5), and Ayoka Lee added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Kansas State shot only 31% from the field in losing its third game of the season to a ranked opponent.
“They’re the best offensive team in the country and they’ve got the best player running it so that’s a pretty good combination,” Kansas State coach Jeff Mittie said. “When you have Ionescu reading the plays and reading how you’re defending, over time she picks you apart. As the game progresed, she kept getting better and better. They’re tough to defend.”
After an opening quarter in which both teams struggled offensively, Williams scored Kansas State’s first eight points of the second quarter to give the Wildcats their first lead at 18-16.
Oregon immediately regained the lead on Boley’s 3-pointer and a KSU turnover set up Minyon Moore’s 3-point play and a 22-18 advantage. That also started an 18-2 run by the Ducks, including another pair of 3-pointers from Boley, who had 16 points with four 3s as Oregon led 38-27 at halftime.
“That stretch where Boley got loose opened things up,” Mittie said. “We had done a nice job of getting to her (defensively) and all of sudden she goes for 8 in about a minute and half.
Williams fought to keep the Wildcats in it, scoring 13 points in that second quarter and 15 by halftime but the Wildcats shot only 32% overall including one of five on 3s in the opening half.
KSU was still within nine when the Ducks scored 11 consecutive points, including six by Ionescu, who assisted on another basket during the third-quarter run.
The Oregon lead was 69-41 after three quarters before the Ducks went with reserves in the fourth quarter.
“When we’ve had leads, that third quarter has been kind of weak quarter for us,” Graves said. “We came out and made a statement” in outscoring the Wildcats 31-14 in the third quarter.
Kansas State: The previous four losses for the Wildcats had been by single digits, who hadn’t played a team ranked in the top 5 on the road since 2015.
Oregon: The Ducks won their six non-conference home games by an average of 42.5 points, the closest of them by 36 points.
Ruthy Hebard, Oregon’s leading scorer with an average of 18.0 points entering the game, was held to 7 points by the Wildcats. Hebard entered the game second in the nation with a shooting percentage of 70.7 but made only two of five field goals.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS
The Wildcats had averaged 47.6 rebounds per game, but the Ducks outrebounded Kansas State by a 44-36 margin. Both coaches listed that as a key to the outcome.
“We’ve rebounded well but I thought they were excellent at checking us off the glass,” Mittie said.
Kansas State completes is nonconference schedule next Saturday with a home game against Texas-Rio Grande Valley. The Wildcats then begin their Big 12 schedule with a home game against West Virginia on Jan. 5.
Oregon has only an exhibition game next Saturday against Corban, an NAIA school, before Pac-12 play begins at home against Colorado on Jan. 3.