Entering its toughest stretch of the season, No. 4 Oregon found itself taking on No. 14 Utah with first place in the Pac-12 on the line.
Through three quarters, the top-15 matchup lived up to the billing with the Ducks leading 60-56 heading into the final frame. A three-point play by Utah’s Megan Huff cut the deficit to one — but that was as close as the Utes would get.
Satou Sabally and Sabrina Ionescu combined to score the next 12 points as Oregon outscored Utah 27-6 the rest of the way, leading to an 87-65 victory.
"Those were big-time moves and got them in a little bit of foul trouble, too," Oregon head coach Kelly Graves said of Sabally. “It just started to roll from there."
Sabally continued her recent tear through conference play, finishing with a team-high 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting, 2-of-3 from deep. She added six rebounds and finished 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
Ionescu really struggled through three quarters but found her shooting stroke when the Ducks needed her most, scoring nine of her 11 points in the fourth quarter, including knocking two three-pointers. She also added a team-high nine assists and five rebounds.
"Let's face it, she had a rough night for three quarters," Graves said of Ionescu. "But she clicked pretty well in the fourth… that helped when she hit a couple, like the whole team took a deep breath."
With the win, the Ducks remain perfect in the Pac-12 at 9-0 and 20-1 overall. Utah drops to 7-2 in conference play and 18-2 overall.
If it wasn’t for the play of Huff, Oregon would’ve run away with the game in the first half. She finished with game-highs of 38 points and 11 rebounds. She was 13-of-25 from the floor, 6-of-9 from deep and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Her 17 points in the first half kept the Utes in the game, despite Oregon leading 37-27 at the break.
"She's an awesome player," Sabally said of Huff. "She can shoot from the outside, she can post up, she gets rebounds, so her versatility makes her hard to guard."
The Ducks came out firing in the first quarter, building a 22-11 lead following eight points from Ruthy Hebard. Huff largely kept Utah in the game in the second quarter, finishing with 11 points and three three-pointers in the frame.
Usually a great third quarter team, the Ducks struggled in the frame, allowing the Utes to score 29 points and take an 56-54 lead with a minute left. But Sabally answered the call, scoring the final six points, including an and-one with two seconds left, to give Oregon the lead entering the last 10 minutes.
It was a balanced scoring night for the Ducks as six players scored in double-figures. Maite Cazorla and Hebard each finished with 16 points while Erin Boley (4-of-7 from deep) added 14 points and Oti Gildon chipped in 10 off the bench.
The Ducks now face Colorado, the Pac-12’s last place team, on Sunday with tipoff set for noon.