The Oregon Ducks are one win away from a trip to the Final Four.
Paced by double-doubles by Ruthy Hebard and Sabrina Ionescu, the 2-seed Ducks defeated 6-seed South Dakota State 63-53 in the semifinal of the Porltand Regional, and secure a date with top-seed Mississippi State Sunday in the Elite Eight.
Hebard (24 points, 14 rebounds), had her double-double midway through the 3rd quarter, capitalizing on great post looks and strong footwork around the basket, while Ionescu flirted with a tripe-double in the second half while settling for the still-impressive totals of 17 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds.
A Ducks-dominant crowd of 11, 324 filled Moda Center, and were treated to a solid Oregon victory, brining them one step closer to a trip to Tampa, Fla. and the Final Four.
The Ducks and Bulldogs will tip at 11am on Sunday at Moda Center. The two teams met earlier this season in Eugene, an 82-74 Ducks victory on Dec. 18th.
The Ducks held a 18-12 lead after the opening quarter, highlighted by 8 straight points from Sabrina Ionescu. The Jackrabbits scored the first five points of the second period to make it a one-point game at 18-17, but Satou Sabally came alive on both ends of the floor to help the Ducks restore the lead to 31-22 at the halftime break.
Sabally led the way in the first half with 11 points and 6 rebounds, while Ionescu’s 8 first half points all came in the opening quarter, though she did have 5 assists and 5 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, as well. Ruthy Hebard had 9 points and 8 boards for Oregon in the first half. South Dakota State shot a mere 20.5% from teh floor in the opening half, but took nine more shots than Oregon thanks in part to 10 offensive rebounds.
Ionescu exploited SDSU’s zone defense in the third quarter by sliding to the elbow, collecting entry feeds and hitting mid-range jumpers to help Oregon extend its lead to as many as 19 points in the 3rd period.
Oregon has reached the Elite Eight for a third straight year.