Make no mistake that this will sting, and sting for a long time. Led by superstar guard Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon had its way from the opening tip. What can be deemed a home game for the Ducks, Oregon fed off the crowd’s energy and was draining three after three after three after three. While Mississippi State did answer through the game’s multitude of lead changes, it was simply not enough.
Tearia McCowan, who had 19 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks commanded the paint early. She was on offensively and defensively, exploiting Oregon’s weaknesses. But there weren’t many, as the Ducks just had their way with her as the game wained.
All five Bulldog starters were in double figures. But their performance went beyond the numbers. That said, they could only do so much. The Ducks literally dared Jazzmun Holmes to shoot on every possession. But Holmes was able to find teammates, per her 13 assists.
Jordan Danberry and Andra Espinoza-Hunter added 12 apiece, Espinoza-Hunter with four threes. Anriel Howard posted 18. Bre’Amber Scott, who added a spark off the bench had eight.
But it was Oregon’s three-headed monster of Ionescu, Satou Sabally, and Ruthy Hebard that proved to be too much for the Bulldogs. The trio combined for 67 of the Ducks’ 88 points. McCowan, Howard, Danberry, and Holmes, one of the game’s best senior classes had their careers come to a bitter end, as did last year’s class.
There is no denying that Mississippi State’s effort was there. It was just a matter of who wanted it more. Being in Portland definitely sparked the Ducks and was the deciding factor. Their fans are some of the most loyal and hostel.
The fact of the matter is that Oregon’s offense showed up more than Mississippi State’s defense. They just couldn’t miss no matter what was thrown their way, and Mississippi State threw them the kitchen sink. While the Bulldogs will lose a ton of talent, Vic Schaefer, like last year, will bring in and has plenty of stars on the rise.