Busy week for Ducks as Graves sits and Ionescu sets record
NEW YORK (AP) — It was a busy week for coach Kelly Graves and the Oregon Ducks.
A win over previously unbeaten Mississippi State started off the fourth-ranked Ducks’ week on Tuesday. Graves then sat out Oregon’s next two games to serve a suspension for NCAA violations .
Graves said by phone Monday that he watched the Air Force contest at home while his family was at the game. He watched the UC Irvine game at a Starbucks.
“It wasn’t easy, but I have so much confidence in my staff as they’ve been with me since we got to Oregon,” Graves said. “They’d run a set and I’d say, yeah that looks right.”
While Graves sat out the wins over Air Force and UC Irvine, his team had no problem continuing to win, thanks in no small part to Sabrina Ionescu. The junior guard had back-to-back triple-doubles — setting the NCAA record for men and women in the process. She broke a tie with former BYU men’s player Kyle Collinsworth when she got her 13th triple-double in the win over Air Force on Thursday. In the next game against UC Irvine, she had another triple-double.
She’s done it while playing in only 83 games so far, and the Ducks haven’t lost any of those contests.
SITTING DOWN WITH GREATNESS: Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb organized a fundraising event for her program on Friday with Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and UConn coach Geno Auriemma. Gottlieb moderated the one-hour conversation which had the two coaches discussing topics that included their coaching philosophy, to the role of women in professional basketball, to athletes speaking out on politics. Auriemma’s top-ranked Huskies beat 14th-ranked Cal the next day in a tight game.
Kerr also talked the next day about the conversation, praising what Auriemma has done over the past few decades .
2K CLUB: In the past few weeks All-Americans Arike Ogunbowale of Notre Dame and Asia Durr of Louisville passed the 2,000-point mark for their careers. Ogunbowale became the fifth Irish player to reach that milestone — made even more impressive because she came off the bench her freshman year — in a win over Binghamton on Dec. 16.
“I think it’s just an honor, especially to do it at this school,” Ogunbowale said. “There are so many players that have come through and so it’s cool to be able to be in that group and category. We have a lot more players who can get it soon, so hopefully this year. It’s just a blessing.”
She also had a successful homecoming game at Marquette on Saturday, scoring 32 points in a win.
“I think it worked out really well,” Ogunbowale said. “Especially senior year, my last year playing, and being able to play in front of friends and family. So it was a really good environment.”
Durr broke the 2,000-point barrier against Central Michigan on Thursday, when she had 31 points. She’s the fourth player in Louisville history to score over 2,000 points.
“I really wasn’t too focused on scoring,” she said. “One thing I’ve learned over the past three or four years is whenever you are patient, it’s still going to come back to you. That’s all I was trying to do.”
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