Beavers defeat Trojans en-route to Pac-12 semifinals

Courtesy: Russell Houghtaling Oregon State Athletics
Jamie Weisner

Jonathan Parrish Sports Reporter

Behind big games from OSU’s big three, Beavers head to semifinals

The Oregon State women’s basketball team was determined to not repeat history.

In last year’s Pac-12 tournament, the first-seeded Beavers were upset by Colorado in the second round, a disappointing loss after winning their first regular season Pac-12 championship.

Senior guard Jamie Weisner said that loss was in the back of the team’s minds.

Coming off their second-straight conference crown, the situation was the same, but the outcome was different as OSU (26-4, 16-2 Pac-12) defeated eighth-seeded USC (18-13, 6-13), 63-53 at Key Arena in Seattle.

“Just that feeling we had last year was enough to drive us to never let that happen again,” Weisner said.

“It’s nice to sit here with a win,” head coach Scott Rueck said. “I’m really proud of this team. I thought tonight we saw progress from a year ago and the experiences from last year really paid off.”

The big-three for OSU showed up in big ways in the Friday night contest. Senior center Ruth Hamblin got her eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Junior guard Sydney Wiese finished with 17 points and nine assists and Weisner scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Beavers started the game with the focus of a team refusing to be upset again, breaking out to an 18-6 lead in the first quarter on their way to a 22-12 opening period. USC had no answer for the dynamic OSU offense, who shot 9-for-13 from the field and 3-for-4 from the three-point line in the first quarter.

The Trojans would not give up however, and showed up in the second quarter playing with stingy pressure, forcing the Beavers into bad offensive sets. After OSU took a 34-22 lead with 4:54 to go in the first half, USC went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to just three at 0:51.

“You have to give USC a lot of credit,” Rueck said. “I thought they played an excellent basketball game tonight. They really scrapped and found ways to disrupt us defensively, keeping us out of an overall rhythm.”

At half the Beavers led 36-31, but the Trojans were able to force 11 turnovers and take the second period with a 19-14 advantage. Senior center Ruth Hamblin scored 13 points and had eight rebound at the break.

In the second half, USC came out with a similar effort, as Trojan guard Sadie Edwards hit a layup to bring the game with in three.

After that, it was all Weisner, who went on an 8-0 run herself to give the Beavers a 44-33 lead with 7:01 to play in the third period. Weisner had 10 points in the quarter.

“We needed to get stops,” Weisner said on the run. “I think that’s what really drove our offense.”

The Trojans hung in the game with the Beavers and only trailed 51-44 heading into the final period, thanks to a three-pointer from USC guard Aliyah Mazyck.

In the fourth, USC continued to make things interesting because of a Edwards and-one situation that cut the deficit to just five points with 3:20 remaining in the game. Wiese responded moments later however, making a three-pointer to seal the game.

“This year we’ve really just been focusing toward this point,” Hamblin said. “We haven’t relaxed, and we’re just continuing to get better every day and that’s really showing.”

OSU now advances to the semifinal round Saturday and will play Washington at 8:30 p.m.

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