Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu runs away with the ball after a steal in the second quarter against Cal State Northridge during a preseason WNIT basketball game Friday in Eugene. [COLLIN ANDREW/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]

Ducks off to strong start

EUGENE — The coaching staff was screaming at Sabrina Ionescu.

Rebound! Rebound!

The Ducks’ star guard was confused, given the fact that she was leading the team to a dominant victory with another stellar individual effort.

“They didn’t tell me exactly why, and so I was just running to get every rebound,” Ionescu said. “Right when I got the rebound, (the crowd) was like, ‘Triple-double.’

“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s why they’re yelling at me to get every single rebound.’”

As instructed, Ionescu cleaned the glass to notch her fifth career triple-double with 29 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to pace No. 11 Oregon during an impressive 110-77 victory over Drake in the second round of the preseason WNIT on Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.

Three games into her sophomore season, Ionescu is only one triple-double shy of the Pac-12 record and two away from the career NCAA mark of seven.

“I don’t really try to look up at the stats, but I knew I was somewhere close,” said Ionescu, who left the game to a rousing ovation from the crowd of 2,311 midway through the fourth quarter. “I was trying to impact the game in every way possible. The fans were great. I appreciate them for doing that.”

Kelly Graves’ talented roster made two solid mid-major programs look bad in a 48-hour span to open the season.

Oregon followed up Friday’s 91-43 dismantling of Cal State Northridge by shooting 55.6 percent from the field, including 16-for-29 (55.2 percent) from 3-point distance, against Drake.

The Bulldogs (1-1) won the Missouri Valley Conference with an 18-0 record last season and received votes in the preseason Associated Press poll.

Now the Ducks (2-0) will face a road test at No. 20 Texas A&M in the preseason WNIT semifinals at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

“Drake was the same seed we were in last year’s NCAA Tournament, they’re more than likely going to win their conference, and that’s a team that’s going to win a lot of games this year,” Graves said. “We are excited to advance and move on and go to College Station.”

Satou Sabally added 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting. The 6-foot-4 true freshman from Germany had four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 19 minutes off the bench.

“It’s a way faster game and more physical than I’m used to, but it’s a lot of fun,” Sabally said of her quick adjustment to playing in the United States “We play more free than I’m used to, it’s not that structured and not like robots, I would say. It’s a lot of fun. It’s hard though.”

Oregon overwhelmed Drake in waves with Lexi Bando (16 points), Maite Cazorla (12 points, 11 assists) and Ruthy Hebard (10 points, 11 rebounds) also scoring in double figures.

The Ducks had 31 assists on 40 made baskets and scored 23 points off 16 turnovers. All 12 Oregon players who played scored.

“The first half I didn’t think we played great basketball, but we have so many good players that I think we’re going to be able to wear some teams down,” Graves said. “That could be part of our M.O. for the season.”

The Ducks led 50-39 at the intermission after shooting 57.6 percent from the field and making eight 3-pointers.

After taking a bow, Ionescu is looking forward to taking the show on the road. Texas A&M advanced to the semifinals by beating Houston (83-65) and Louisiana-Lafayette (83-62).

“I think it will test how we battle that flight and school and everything that we’ll be missing here,” Ionescu said. “The fans were great tonight and they’ve been great the whole season, so I’m definitely excited to get out on the road and play a top team in the country and see where we stand.”

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