Ionescu will return for senior season with Ducks

Tuesday, 09 Apr, 2019

Here's how Baylor won. She also set a NCAA single-season record with eight triple-doubles, boosting her career total to 18 - another NCAA mark.

Ionescu averaged 19.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game this season.

Baylor forward Lauren Cox (15) attempts to pass the ball over OR forward Ruthy Hebard (24) during the Final Four semifinal on Friday.

All-American Sabrina Ionescu led OR (33-5) with 18 points, but didn't score in the fourth quarter.

Satou Sabally pulled down an offensive rebound to reset the possession and actually hit the game-tying 3-pointer seconds later, but that was the only field goal OR converted in the final 6:12.

Ionescu made just 6 of 24 field goal attempts, and the 25 percent shooting was her third worst in a game this season. Its twin towers, Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox, had 22 and 21 points, respectively, with 7 and 11 rebounds. She managed 15 of her 18 points when Richards was defending her, but on just 5-of-14 shooting. With a full year under their belts, they've gotten a historic first-year glimpse of what this OR program is capable of doing, and with their whole careers ahead of them, they should know that this just the beginning. The Bears grabbed a 56-55 lead heading into the fourth quarter on the strength of a putback from Cox.

It's OR vs. Baylor, the No. 1-ranked team in the land, with tip-off at 4 p.m. PT. And it went exactly as expected.

After Jackson's layup, Cox made two free throws and Brown finished with a foul shot in the closing seconds. OR returns Ionescu, Sabally, Ruthy Hebard and Erin Boley in the starting lineup with Taylor Chavez, Lydia Giomi, Morgan Yaeger and Nyara Sabally also back and signees Jaz Shelly and Holly Winterburn in line to join them. But they still fell short. But that title - the first in school history - raised Baylor's recruiting profile, making the program a more attractive option to players with considerable size.

Ionescu was 0 for 2 from the field and without a point in the period, and Hebard didn't get off a shot or score while committing three turnovers.

"My freshman year I guarded her a lot so she definitely made me a better defender. Listen, I'm telling you: our practices are hard", said Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey.

OR actually got off 11 more shots than the Lady Bears, but shot just 37 percent for the game and 36 percent on 2-point field goals.

Graves said the Ducks don't take solace in playing the top overall seed down to the wire.

Locked in a close game for the first time in weeks, Baylor never flinched. Losses to Michigan State, Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford, with Hebard either injured in less than full strength for the latter three, tested a team that had few other obstacles.