Beavers win Pac-12 Tournament Championship

Courtesy: Karl Maasdam OSU Athletics
OSU Championship 1

Jonathan Parrish Sports Reporter

After regular season conference championship, Beavers take home tournament crown.

The night ended with confetti streaming down and the nets being cut down from the floor of Key Arena after two teams battled it out moments before.

One team came out the victor and that was the Oregon State Beavers.

The women’s basketball team came out on top over UCLA by a score of 69-57, and were crowned as the 2016 Pac-12 tournament champions.

It was a night to remember for the Lady Beavers.

Head coach Scott Rueck was almost at a loss for words.

“Where do you start,” he said in the post-game conference. “What a great tournament this was, and what a special experience for all of us.”

Not to be outdone by their previous performances the nights before, the big-three for OSU showed up again, scoring 63 of the team’s total points.

Senior guard Jamie Weisner was steady, with 19 points on seven field goals.

Junior guard Sydney Wiese was lights out, finishing with 21 points and five three-pointers.

Senior center Ruth Hamblin was perhaps the most impressive, scoring 23 points and ripping down 20 rebounds. She blocked 5 shots as well, the most for a Pac-12 Tournament final, and earned the top spot on the Pac-12 career blocks list with her third swat of the night.

“Basketball in many ways is their identity not as a person but in what they do and they’re committed to it at a level that’s uncommon,” Rueck said on the big-three for OSU.

“You’ve got a big stage and a big audience and you perform in an elite way,” he continued. “So they’re superstars.”

Hamblin, Weisner and Wiese showed up in big ways not only in the final game, but in the entire tournament. All three earned All-Tournament Team honors, and Weisner was awarded Most Outstanding Player.

Weisner averaged nearly 20 points in the tournament and totaled 10 three-pointers, and was an instrumental part in the team’s path to the title. She was lifted by her teammates following the game.

“I just love being a part of this team and I wouldn’t want to go to work with anybody other than these girls every day,” Weisner said. “I’m incredibly blessed.”

“Jamie embodies what this team is,” Hamblin said. “It’s fun to celebrate her success along with the team’s success.

The Beavers came into the contest determined to finish the weekend successfully and it showed in the game’s first 20 minutes.

In the first half, OSU put on a dominant performance, and headed into the locker room leading 44-17.

At the break, the Beavers were controlling all facets of the game. They outrebounded UCLA 31-22 and held the Bruins to just 8-for-34 shooting, a measly 23.5 percent. OSU shot almost 47 percent, and already had seven made three-pointers.

“The first half might have been the best first half we’ve maybe ever played,” Rueck said. “I mean, we were executing and firing on all cylinders on both ends of the floor.”

UCLA didn’t go away however, despite trailing by as much as 31 points. They put on a spirited second half, outscoring the Beavers by 15 points and making the fourth quarter interesting.

The Bruins went on a 10-0 run late in the final period, cutting the deficit to 63-54 with just over two minutes to play. The Beavers had trouble dealing with the tight backcourt pressure that instigated UCLA’s attempted comeback, but OSU was able to do just enough to pull out the victory.

The Beavers earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with the win Sunday, and will host the first two rounds as a projected No. 2 seed.

“We’re not satisfied,” Wiese said. “Even with this victory we’re obviously going to enjoy it today, but then come tomorrow and the next day we’re going to start preparing for whoever we’re going to face in the tournament.”