TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Sabrina Ionescu scored 22 points and No. 6 Oregon held Arizona scoreless in the fourth quarter to clinch at least a share of its second straight Pac-12 title with an 83-54 victory Friday night.
The Ducks (26-3, 15-2 Pac-12) blew out Arizona in the first meeting, but had to build their lead gradually after an early push by the Wildcats.
Oregon led by eight at halftime and stretched the lead to 17 before outscoring Arizona 19-0 in the fourth.
The Ducks shot 64 percent and had a 50-16 advantage in the paint to put themselves in position to win the conference title outright Sunday against No. 21 Arizona State.
Ionescu also had eight assists and five rebounds. Satou Sabally finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for Oregon.
Arizona (17-11, 7-10) was much better early than the first game, but had a hard time stopping Oregon to lose its sixth straight to the Ducks.
Aari McDonald led the Wildcats with 26 points.
A year ago at McKale Center, Oregon closed out its first Pac-12 championship in 18 years with a 74-61 victory that left coach Kelly Graves choked up.
The Ducks returned to the desert with a chance to clinch at least a share of a second straight title against a team they dominated the first go-round.
Oregon scored the first 20 points and was up 31-4 after the first quarter in the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 20, rolling to a 93-60 victory in Eugene.
Arizona got off to a much better start in the rematch, eclipsing its earlier first-quarter total in the first 2:15 and kept Oregon within reach after one quarter.
The Wildcats had a hard time slowing the nation’s third-best shooting team, but were still within 20-16 after Ionescu hit a long 3 at the buzzer.
Oregon kept hitting shots — 17 for 31 — and used a 9-0 run to lead 40-32 at halftime. Ionescu had 16 points by halftime and McDonald 15 for Arizona despite hitting her face on the floor after blocking a shot.
The Ducks continued to fly in the third quarter, using a 9-0 run to push the lead to 17 midway through.
Arizona got no closer than 10 the rest of the way.
Oregon bounced back from consecutive losses with two outstanding offensive performances against USC and Arizona.
Arizona got off to a much better start against the Ducks, but still couldn’t match their offensive firepower nor get a shot to fall in the fourth quarter.
Oregon plays at No. 21 Arizona State on Sunday.
Arizona hosts No. 9 Oregon State Sunday.
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