EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — About everything that could go wrong did for Texas Southern.
The Tigers had their game uniforms stolen before the game Saturday and any hope of an upset over No. 1 Oregon vanished early as Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard were their usual dominant selves in leading No. 1 Oregon to a 99-63 rout of the Tigers.
Texas Southern coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said the loss of the game uniforms “kind of messed with (the Tigers) a little bit.
“Playing the No. 1 team in the nation and this goes wrong, it takes away from your focus.”
Cooper-Dyke said the jerseys were left in a conference room while the Tigers watched video in the morning.
“We came back to the holding room, they were gone,” she said. “We looked everywhere for them” with the assistance of hotel staff and the Eugene police but the search came up futile and the Tigers played in their practice gear.
The Tigers were down 10-0 before they scored four minutes into the game, and the Oregon lead kept growing, to 24-10 at the end of the first quarter and 52-21 at halftime.
“Oregon is such a phenomenal team you’ve got to be at the top of your game to even be in the game,” Cooper-Dyke said. “We were a little intimidated.
“I was hoping we would be able to step up to the challenge but we got in a hole early (because) we let some off-court things affect our focus.”
Ionescu raised her NCAA record for triple-doubles to 19 with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists, reaching the standard on a pair of free throws with 5:19 remaining in the third quarter as the crowd of 9,159 in Matthew Knight Arena stood and cheered in acknowledgment of her feat.
Fellow senior Hebard, meanwhile, recorded the 42nd double-double of her career with 31 points and 13 rebounds and like Ionescu didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
Ciani Cryor, a graduate transfer from Rutgers, led Texas Southern (1-1) with 22 points.
Taylor Chavez added 11 points and Lydia Giomi had 10 points and seven rebounds for Oregon (3-0), which shot 53.3 percent from the field.
“When we play good basketball we’re pretty good,” Oregoncoach Kelly Graves said. “I thought at times our core unit played really well.
“I don’t like the way we kind of limped home at the end, which it always makes it seem not quite as good,”
Oregon: The Ducks, who started with an exhibition victory over the U.S. women’s national team, have hardly been tested in winning their first three counting games by an average of 45 points. Oregon has yet to trail in a game, though the schedule gets considerably more difficult with top 20 teams Syracuse and Louisville among the next four opponents.
Texas Southern: The Tigers have all but one of their 11 non-league games away from their home arena, but at least there are no more opponents ranked in the current top 25.
While this was the first meeting between Oregon and Texas Southern, TSU coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke has gone against the Ducks 10 times, winning four, with the previous meetings when she was at Prairie View A&M and USC.
Oregon play its first road game of the season when the Ducks go to No. 20 Syracuse on Nov 24. The Orange took the Ducks to the wire a year ago in Eugene before Oregon prevailed 75-73.
Texas Southern is at Iowa State on Tuesday, and a new set of uniforms will be shipped there, Cooper-Dyke said.
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