ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — Ruthy Hebard had 30 points and 18 rebounds and No. 1 Oregon survived a second-half challenge from Oklahoma State in an 89-72 victory Thursday in the Paradise Jam.
Sabrina Ionescu added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Minyon Moore had 14 points and six assists, and Erin Boley finished with 12 points. The Ducks (5-0) led by as many as 29 points in the second half.
“We never really worried about not winning the game, but I wish we had played it cleaner,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “We’re just not shooting the ball that well; we had a lot of good looks, but for whatever reason this year, we’re just not shooting that well. Also, defensively, we kind of lost intensity.
“In the end, I told the kids, ‘We’ve got to get better from this.’ It was still a 17-point win against a pretty good basketball team.”
Ahead 47-27 at the half, the Ducks increased their lead to 60-31 on Ionescu’s 3-pointer with 6:28 left in the third quarter. But the Cowgirls (5-1) closed the quarter with a 19-8 run to pull to 69-50.
Oklahoma State cut it to 86-72 on Bryn Gerlich’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but Moore capped off Oregon’s scoring with a three-point play with 2 seconds left.
Natasha Mack had 26 points and 13 rebounds for Oklahoma State. Vivian Gray added 17.
“There’s a reason they’re No. 1 in the country — they’re the most efficient offensive teams I’ve ever seen,” Cowgirls coach Jim Littell said. “We were pretty shell-shocked in the first quarter, but I was proud of our kids as we hung on. We pretty much won every quarter after that. It could have got ugly, but the kids hung on. This will be big for us down the road.”
Oregon: Another double-digit victory for the Ducks, who have won their first five games by an average of 33.8 points per game. But Thursday’s game was their closest this season.
Oklahoma State: The loss was the Cowgirls’ third straight against an AP Top 25 opponent. Their last win against a ranked team came Feb. 3, 2018, when they beat then-No. 23 Kansas 92-63.
BIG NIGHT FOR HEBARD
The 6-foot-4 senior forward was nearly perfect shooting for Oregon, making 13 of 15 from the field and 4 of 6 free throws. And of Hebard’s 18 rebounds (which tied her career high), her eight offensive boards equaled what the Cowgirls managed as a team.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
A big factor in Thursday’s win was Oregon’s 3-point shooting. The Ducks — who led the nation last season in 3-pointer percentage at 41.5% — made 11 of 35, opening things up inside for Hebard. Oklahoma State managed just 4 of 18 on 3s.
Oregon: Faces Texas-Arlington on Friday at the Paradise Jam.
Oklahoma State: Faces No. 8 Louisville on Friday at the Paradise Jam.