Courtesy: OSU Sports Information
CORVALLIS, Ore. – In the midst of a winter storm which has handcuffed much of the region, it was the Oregon State women’s basketball team who put the shackles on Colorado in Gill Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, defeating the visiting Buffaloes 75-63.
The win, the Beavers’ ninth in 10 home games, moves OSU’s record to 14-9 overall and 6-5 in the Pac-12, its first time over .500 in league play this season.
“Our decision-making continues to improve,” Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck said. “We’ve had some really tough lessons this year, but I think this team continues to improve in its efficiency. We know where we want to go, our shot selection is better and we’re becoming what I think is a very good basketball team.”
Oregon State was led by freshman point guard Sydney Wiese, who scored 20 points for the third time this season, and added four assists and four rebounds in 37 minutes. Deven Hunter nearly notched another double-double, scoring a career-high 18, grabbing nine rebounds and handing out a game-high five assists for the second consecutive outing.
Neither squad could pull away in the first half. In the opening 18 minutes there were 10 lead changes and nine ties and the game’s largest lead was just three points. Colorado (13-9, 3-8) had its last advantage, 29-28, with 1:41 to go before halftime when Wiese knocked down her first 3-pointer to put OSU up 31-28. After the Buffs tied things at 31, Oregon State closed by scoring the stanza’s final five points to take a 36-31 lead into the locker room.
Hunter and Alyssa Martin, who started her second straight game in place of the injured Jamie Weisner, put in back-to-back layups in the first minute of the second half to extend OSU’s run to 9-0 and put the Beavers on top, 40-31.
Not long after, Martin picked CU’s Brittany Wilson and ignited the fast break, which she finished with a layup off a nice feed from Wiese. The senior would swat Arielle Roberson on the defensive end and then OSU would hit the glass to grab its first double-digit lead. On the same possession, offensive rebounds from Ali Gibson and Breanna Brown gave the Beavers multiple opportunities, which Brown eventually cashed in on a finish in the paint. Her bucket put Oregon State 46-36 with 15:58 to play.
Colorado would get back to within three on a couple of occasions, the last time coming with 6:50 on the clock, 57-54. With the game in the balance, Hunter snagged another offensive board and put it back for two and on the next trip freshman Gabriella Hanson sank a 3-pointer to give momentum back to the Beavers.
“That’s one play that stands out to me,” Rueck said. “I felt like momentum was in the balance and then Gabby just hit a cold-blooded three when she was guarded out on the left wing. We had a lot of good performances today that made it a great win for us.”
Hanson later freed herself up on a nifty behind-the-back move with 2:40 left. Her layup put OSU up 67-56 and the Beavers would eventually hold on to that double-digit edge for the 75-63 victory.
Wiese, who normally does much of her damage from behind the arc, set career-highs by going 8-of-10 from the free throw line on Saturday – both also season-highs for any Beaver player. Ruth Hamblin had 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, including a couple pivotal rejections late in the game when she was playing with four fouls.
“I loved our aggressiveness,” Rueck added. “We didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half and I thought we countered that by attacking them. Making 14 first-half free throws shows competiveness and a confidence that great for us. In the second half we worked on finishing, when decision-making is at its pinnacle moment. We stayed composed; we handled their press and went to the line. I liked our execution down the stretch.”
Hunter’s stat-sheet filling performance continued a great stretch for the sophomore forward. In Oregon State’s last four games, she is averaging 14.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.
Ali Gibson contributed 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting, highlighted by some old-fashioned 3-point plays and a number of tough finishes on drives at the rim.
Today’s game was rescheduled as a result of Friday’s campus closure. Oregon State concludes its dates with the mountain schools on Monday night at 6 p.m. when Utah comes to town for a game televised on Pac-12 Oregon.
Because of the weekend weather, Monday night’s game against Utah will also be treated as a Pink Out contest. The Beavers will wear their pink uniforms and fans that have purchased the “Dam Cancer” t-shirt as part of the promotion will be admitted free.