Gildon helps No. 10 Oregon roll to 87-45 win over Hampton
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Ruthy Hebard offered some simple advice to the teammate who was replacing her in Oregon’s starting lineup.
“Ruthy told me not to mess up,” Oti Gildon said, “so that was the goal tonight.”
Gildon had career highs of 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Satou Sabally added 18 points to help the 10th-ranked Ducks roll to an 87-45 victory over Hampton on Tuesday night.
“Oti stepped up and had a huge game,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “She’s our Draymond Green and played like that today, and Satou was just phenomenal, so good defensively.”
Gildon, a junior making her first start in 74 games, started for Hebard, Oregon’s second-leading scorer, who sat out the game with a protective boot on her right ankle, which she injured during Saturday’s win over Oklahoma.
“She just got tweaked a little bit last game, that’s all,” Graves said. “It was more precautionary. She’s going to be fine.”
Into the breach stepped Gildon after Graves told her during Monday’s practice that she’d get the nod.
“I was a little nervous because I haven’t started in a college game yet,” Gildon said, “but I stepped up to the plate and played pretty well. I was glad for the team to fill some big shoes that Ruthy has.”
Sabrina Ionescu also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Ducks (6-1), and Lexi Bandon had 11 points.
Allina Starr led the Pirates (2-4) with 12 points and Mikayla Sayle had 10.
“I was really impressed with the intensity we came out with defensively,” Graves said. “We mixed our defenses up and we were solid and consistent all night long.”
The Ducks finished the second quarter on a 15-1 run to lead 43-18 at the break as the Pirates missed their last 10 shots before the half. Hampton was 1 of 16 from 3-point range at halftime and 3 of 26 for the game.
“I liked that they were never comfortable,” Graves said. “I don’t think they ever got into any kind of rhythm. I just liked our activity. We challenged every shot.”
Oregon has two games left in a five-game homestand before heading to No. 6 Mississippi State on Dec. 13, the third ranked team the Ducks will face in their first 10 games this season.
Hampton, which won at North Carolina to open its season, is now 11-30 against teams from the Pac-12, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC in coach David Six’s ninth year.
The Ducks stayed at No. 10 for the third straight week, with their only loss coming at No. 4 Louisville in the preseason WNIT title game. Oregon’s all-time best ranking was ninth in 1982.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Ducks have held their last two opponents, Oklahoma and Hampton, to a combined 4 of 47 (8.5 percent) from 3-point range.
HE SAID IT
Graves believes Oregon’s key to success this season will be how well it plays defense. “We are a really good offensive team. We can beat you inside, we can beat you outside, we can beat you with the 3 ball and we can beat you with the dribble in our pick-and-roll stuff,” he said. “For us to be an elite team, you have to guard, you have to defend, and we’re just getting better each and every game, and today I thought we got better.”
Graves pointed out that Gildon, averaging 10.2 minutes and 3.8 points off the bench for two-plus seasons, was a two-time state champion at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane and the Washington player of the year. “She’s a heckuva player and when we really needed her, she steps up,” Graves said. “She’s a great team player and usually just does what’s best for the team. I love that.”
Hampton: After three games in five days on the West Coast, the Pirates host Quinnipiac on Sunday in their home opener.
Oregon: Hosts Weber State on Saturday.