EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon was determined to finish the regular season strongly.
So with Washington within two points of the third-ranked Ducks in the second quarter, it was only motivation for Oregon, and the Ducks took over from there for a 92-56 thrashing of the Huskies.
“We were challenged and answered the challenge,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “We put it on ’em.”
The Huskies close out the regular season with a 13-16 overall record, finishing ninth in the Pac-12 with a 5-13 conference record. Washington faces No. 8 seed Utah in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The game is a rematch of last season’s first-round matchup won by the Huskies 64-54.
Ruthy Hebard led the Ducks (28-2, 17-1) with 24 points and Satou Sabally had 20. Three other Ducks finished in double figures: reserve Taylor Chavez with 14 points, Sabrina Ionescu with 13 points and 11 assists and Minyon Moore with 11 points and six assists.
Seniors Hebard, Ionescu and Moore left the game with 4:27 remaining to a loud ovation along with Sabally, who was also honored on Senior Day since she has declared for the WNBA draft.
Graves said it wasn’t as emotional as the typical Senior Day.
“It would be a little bit tougher if I knew this was truly their last game here,” Graves said, given the possibility of Oregon hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.
Still, he took time to reflect on the contributions of the four players leaving the Ducks after this season.
“This is a group that left quite a legacy,” Graves said. “It’ll be tough to recover. … We’ll miss them but I think the future is really, really bright.”
Alexis Griggsby and Mai-Loni Henson led the Huskies with 11 points each. Amber Melgoza, Washington’s leading scorer entering the game with an average of 17 points, was held to 10 points, shooting 3 of 13 from the field.
The Pac-12 champions outscored Washington 27-6 in the second quarter to break away from a one-point lead and all but put away Oregon’s 16th consecutive victory with half the game left to play. Oregon is unbeaten in 15 home games this season, with at least one more seemingly assured.
The Huskies were behind 24-22 when the Ducks turned the game into their latest lopsided victory, finishing the half on a 22-2 run over the final 7:37 to lead 46-24 at halftime. Washington didn’t score over the final 6:29 of the second quarter, the offense stymied by five turnovers and seven missed field-goal attempts.
“What I’ve seen from this team a lot when they’re challenged,” Graves said. “We’re definitely riding the crest of a big wave. We’re playing well, we’re healthy, we’re happy, we’re hungry still.”