Sabrina Ionescu Is The Engine, But Oregon Ducks Women’s Basketball Has Become A Machine

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There are only two weeks left of the women’s college basketball season, and right now there are a whopping six teams from the Pac-12 who are ranked in the top 25 nationally—Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona, Oregon State, and Arizona State. All have the potential to make deep postseason runs.

But one team sure looks like they could go all the way this year.

Hint: their mascot QUACKS. 

Yes, it’s the Oregon Ducks.

The Ducks are led by none other than 5-11 senior guard, Sabrina Ionescu. Sabrina considered entering the WNBA draft last year. Much to the chagrin of opposing teams, she chose to return for one more season. It almost feels like this is her tenth year, not her fourth, since she has been so good for so long.

Sabrina is keeping up with her career pace of averaging about 18 points a game. She also knows how to dish and is good for almost nine assists per game. Likewise, she is good for about 8 rebounds per game. Throw in a 92% success rate from the line and there’s not much she can’t do.

But she’s not the only reason the Ducks are doing so well. She works alongside Ruthy Hebard, a 6-4 senior forward out of Fairbanks, Alaska, who on average is good for 16.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. To say that she also has a bright future at the professional level would be an understatement.

The Ducks roster is deep beyond belief, with at least five scoreboard contributors as well as dependable relief from the bench. And if you don’t follow women’s basketball closely, you may not know that the Ducks have two sisters on their team, Nyara and Satou Sabally. The Sabally sisters came to Eugene by way of their home city of Berlin, Germany. It should be noted, however, that Nyara injured her knee for the second straight year, so it will be at least another season before the two can see the floor together.

There may be no bigger game on the Ducks’ schedule than their Valentine’s Day matchup against number seven UCLA, which is the only time the two teams will meet during the regular season. The winner will be in the catbird seat for the conference title.

From there, the postseason kicks off with the conference tournament in Las Vegas, March 5th to 8th. The 2020 NCAA women’s tournament begins with Selection Sunday on March 16th, followed by the first round of the tournament on March 20th. The tournament is spread around the country at different sites, including a regional round to be played in Portland on March 28th and 30th. The Final Four takes place in New Orleans on April 3rd and 5th.

The Oregon women’s program has a very solid foundation that should make them competitive for years to come. But this is the last go-round with Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard on the court, so you might want to get in on the action while you can.

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Paul Redman

Paul Redman is a writer and chef in Seattle who grew up in the Midwest. His work has appeared in print and online, including San Francisco magazine, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Contrary. He eats too many chicken wings and cracks way too many dad jokes and food puns. Follow him on Twitter @predman.

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