The Oregon Ducks are a team not used to seeing much of the Gulf of Mexico. They prevail from the great northwest and arrive to Tampa as the underdogs. However, this team is no pushover.
The Ducks are first timers in the Women’s Final Four, but they aren’t here by accident. They come to town with a 33 – 4 record.
Their four losses all came to teams who played in the tournament – Michigan State, UCLA, Oregon State – and just like Baylor, the Ducks also have a loss at the hands of Stanford.
Oregon got to this point by taking down Portland State, Indiana, South Dakota State and top-seeded Mississippi State – who they beat twice this season.
Oregon is also a young team, with just two seniors on their roster.
They are led by Junior Guard Sabrina Ionescu, who is the Westbrook or Harden of women’s basketball. She has racked up 18 triple-doubles during her nearly three years at Oregon, and this is currently five more than any man or woman has ever done at the NCAA level.
This is a big reason why the two-time PAC-12 Player of the Year was named a First Team All-American earlier this week.
While Ionescu is the “head of the snake” for the Ducks, they do have others who play a massive role in the offense.
Junior Post Ruthy Hebard will likely draw the assignment on Lauren Cox. Satou Sabally is just a sophomore, and she can take it inside or out for the Ducks. These two combined to score 36 against the Lady Bulldogs last Sunday.
The Ducks are a team who plays with poise, and they are a scrappy bunch. They are not suspected to go quietly.
Oregon Head Coach Kelly Graves says his team is thrilled to be representing Oregon at the Final Four. He says the Ducks didn’t want to be known simply just as an “Elite 8” program – where they have been the last couple of years. They want to be a Final Four program.
Graves says going up against some Hall of Fame coaches will be a bit daunting – yet very exciting.