Spartans welcome No. 3 Oregon for weekend showdown


Joe Dandron, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING, Mich. – A different kind of duck is coming to the Capital Area Sunday. No not a lame duck session, the Oregon Ducks. The No. 3 Oregon women’s basketball team to be exact.

Although the rankings of these two squads are polarizing, they are more alike than you think.

Michigan State comes into this weekend’s matchup 7-1, while Oregon is 7-0. Both have played close games with ACC opponents. MSU lost by four to No. 13 N.C. State and Oregon defeated No. 18 Syracuse 75-73.

Both are led by star junior guards, All-American Sabrina Ionescu leads the ducks in points at 18.8 per game and assists with just under nine per game. Taryn McCutcheon is averaging a team-high 6.3 assists per game.

Ionescu is also the NCAA’s all-time leader in career triple doubles with 12. Two of those have come this season.

The lead guards of these two squads power offenses that have been able to consistently score the basketball at a high rate, with both averaging over 85 points per game.

Each squad also has five players averaging 10+ points per contest, which sets expectations of a high-scoring matchup for this weekend.

The Spartans are 7-1 despite playing without leading scorer Shay Colley, who suffered a lower leg injury in the Kennesaw State game that has sidelined her for two weeks now.

Colley is expected back in the next 1-2 weeks.

MSU is coming off another big win, defeating Oakland 102-58. The contest marked its sixth win by more than 20 or more points.

Oregon is undefeated and six of those victories are by 20 or more points as well, with their most recent game coming against Long Beach State. The Ducks defeated the 49ers 110-48, as Oregon’s star Ionescu broke the single game assist record with 17.

The Ducks have never played in East Lansing, and lead the all-time series between these two squads 2-0. Their last win came in Eugene during November of 2016, when the then No. 24 Spartans were defeated 88-55 by Oregon.

The first meeting between the two squads was in the 2002 WNIT postseason tournament, also in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks won that contest 65-54 in what was a tighter matchup than the most recent.

The Spartans hope to get in the way of Oregon’s undefeated start to the season, the game will tip-off at 3:00 p.m. at the Breslin Center and can be found live on ESPN2.