With a collision of two high octane offenses, both ranked top-ten nationally in scoring, defense and stops would be the deciding factor. No. 10 seeded Minnesota simply could not stop Oregon. The Ducks ended the half on a 10-0 run ending with Sophomore phenom Sabrina Ionescu's dagger three at the buzzer. She finished the game with 29 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, flirting with another triple double. Ruthy Hebard added 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Sabrina Ionescu sends Oregon into halftime with a 3 at the buzzer. She scored 22 in the first half pic.twitter.com/nGH1tHFkCM
— Chris Hansen (@chansen_RG) March 19, 2018
Entering the third quarter, Oregon continued the run stretching it to 16-0 over a 4:26 stretch. The Gophers did not get within 23 points the rest of the way. Oregon's defense caused fits for Minnesota, especially in zone. They were able to come up with consecutive stops in the second quarter, fueling them offensively and ultimately putting the game away.
The Ducks limited any second-chance opportunites for the Gophers by holding them to just seven offensive rounds and eight second chance points. Minnesota has had their success on the glass averaging over 15 offensive rebounds a game, Oregon out-rebounded them 42-21.
The Ducks offensive output and efficiency is incredible to watch. They moved the ball well, they shot 50-percent from the three point line and 61-percent on the game. Every time Minnesota did score, Oregon responded with what felt like a dagger every time. They simply could not be stopped and it was fueled by Ionescu, who's presence on the court is the engine that makes them go.
Looking ahead to the Sweet Sixteen, Oregon will head to Spokane on an 11-game winning steak and will face Central Michigan. The Ducks look at this as yet another two-game tournament and each of their opponents so far believe that this is a Final Four team. If they continue to play like that, they certainly will be.