Five stats that mattered: Oregon ends Arizona's Pac-12 Tournament
After a slow start offensively, the Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball team pushed the Pac-12 No. 1 overall seed, the Oregon Ducks, to the limit in a fast-paced showdown inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Here are five stats that mattered:
Redshirt sophomore guard Aari McDonald did more than her fair share shouldering the scoring burden, finishing with 34 points and keeping Arizona in the game all night, also scoring the team’s first 10 points.
The 34 points was the fourth-best scoring performance in Pac-12 women's tournament history.
Against a lesser opponent, that might have been enough to jump start the rest of the ‘Cats' offense. Oregon had other ideas, holding nearly everyone else on the Arizona roster in check all afternoon.
If not for McDonald, things could have been ugly. Throughout the game, McDonald’s drives were often contested, with the passing lanes — so open against USC — cut off by the Ducks interior defense. Still, McDonald labored to get her teammates chances, ending the game with five assists.
The All-Pac-12 performer heads into the off-season with the chance to land on multiple end-of-season All-American lists, and as one of next season’s favorites to win the conference Player of the Year.
53.3 field goal percentage
Against USC, head coach Adia Barnes and her team could do no wrong offensively, shooting nearly 58 percent overall while connecting on 50 percent of their three-point attempts. Oregon completely flipped the script.
The Ducks, led by 2018-19 Pac-12 Player of the Year Sabrina Ionescu, jumped on the ‘Cats early, finishing the first half shooting 60 percent from the field overall and 50 percent (4-8) from three.
The second half was more of the same, with Ionescu and the rest of the Duck’s proving too much for the Cats. Forward Ruthy Hebard finished the game shooting 9 of 11, with all of her points coming inside the paint.
A day after dominating the boards against USC, Arizona found itself on the receiving end of an interior beat down against Oregon. The Ducks tripled Arizona’s rebound output in the first half 6 to 18. The final tally wasn't much better, with the Ducks dominating the boards 37-20.
The inability to establish an interior presence manifested itself on offense all game as well, where the ‘Cats allowed 10 offensive rebounds. The extra possessions led to the 'Cats being outscored soundly in the paint, 42-34.
28 points off layups
Perhaps the best illustration of just how efficient and effective Oregon was on offense, the Ducks managed to make their possessions look easy. Feeding off Ionescu’s 13 assists and constant probing of Arizona’s defense, the Ducks finished with 32 points off layups.
Time and again, the Ducks exploited the Wildcats overall lack of size and strength inside, in particular with 6-foot-4 Duck forward Hebard around the rim. On the other end, Arizona struggled to find consistency inside against Oregon's tall and strong front court, missing multiple layup opportunities.
2 scorers in double figures
Even though McDonald easily led all scorers, it was Oregon's balanced attack that ultimately proved superior. Along with Ionescu's 18, four other Duck players scored more than 10 points.
Forwards Hebard, Satou Sabally and Erin Boley contributed 21, 11 and 13 points, respectively. By contrast, only Arizona freshman forward Cate Reese joined McDonald in double figures, netting 12 points in the loss.
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