Sabrina Ionescu drops 30, leads Oregon past Team USA in exhibition upset

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor
Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu, right, goes up for a shot ahead of United States' <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/players/4059/" data-ylk="slk:Seimone Augustus">Seimone Augustus</a>, left, during the second quarter of an exhibition basketball game in Eugene on Saturday. (AP/Chris Pietsch)
Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu, right, goes up for a shot ahead of United States' Seimone Augustus, left, during the second quarter of an exhibition basketball game in Eugene on Saturday. (AP/Chris Pietsch)

Sabrina Ionescu and the Oregon Ducks lived up to their No. 1 ranking on Saturday night, pulling off an upset most didn’t think possible.

Ionescu led Oregon past Team USA 93-86 on Saturday night in an exhibition match in Eugene, marking just the second time in history that the U.S. national team has fallen to a collegiate squad — the first since Tennessee pulled it off in 1999.

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“We were just going to try to stay within 20,” Ionescu said, via The Oregonian. “As the game continued to go on, we kind of forget about who they were and the expectations of them beating us.”

Ionescu dropped 30 points and added seven rebounds in the upset win. After scoring just five points in the first half, she turned it on in the third quarter — where she put up 20 points to give the Ducks a one-point lead heading into the final quarter. 

She drilled a deep 3-pointer to kick off the fourth quarter, too.

“All of a sudden the momentum swung,” Team USA coach Cheryl Reeve said, via The Oregonian. “We couldn’t get it back from them. They played great. We were disappointed we got out-rebounded, but overall it was a great day for women’s basketball.”

Oregon forward Satou Sabally added 25 points in the win, too, scoring 16 of her points in the final quarter to seal the seven-point victory.

Nneka Ogwumike led Team USA with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Diana Taurasi added 17 points, and Sylvia Fowles finished with 11. 

Though Ionescu admitted she was going to be “starstruck” for the exhibition game, Oregon coach Kelly Graves thought her team fit right in — especially after they got moving in the second half.

“They started to believe,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said, via The Oregonian. “What I’m most proud of from this game is we got contributions from lots of people … This was an amazing opportunity. I think you have an opportunity like that, you go for it.”

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