EUGENE, Oregon — Oregon showed why it’s the No. 1-ranked women’s basketball team and favored to win the NCAA championship Saturday, when it rolled to a rare victory over the U.S. national team.
The Ducks prevailed 93-86, becoming just the second college squad to beat the Americans. The other was Tennessee on Nov. 7, 1999.
In front of a crowd of 11,530 at Matthew Knight Arena, the Ducks thrilled their crowd with the win, led by seniors Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard. Ionescu, a guard expected to be the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft in April, had 30 points and seven assists for the Ducks. Hebard had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
The Ducks advanced to the Women’s Final Four for the first time last season, losing in the semifinals to Baylor. Ionescu was eligible, age-wise, to declare for the draft then, but she opted to return for her senior season at Oregon.
Ionescu had five points in the first half Saturday, but then took over in the third quarter, when she scored 20 of her points.
The U.S. squad was led by Nneka Ogwumike with 19 points and 14 rebounds.