Comeback completed

Jonathan Parrish

Fourth quarter rally gives Beavers first victory over Stanford since 2001.

In the Pac-12 game of the week, the Oregon State women’s basketball team mounted a thrilling comeback, overcoming a 15-point deficit to defeat Stanford 58-50, Sunday at Gill Coliseum.

Head coach Scott Rueck defeated the Cardinal (14-4, 4-2 Pac-12) for the first time in his tenure with OSU (14-3, 5-1), and the Beavers got their first win over Stanford since 2001.

“You want special moments, that’s what doing this is about,” Rueck said. “This is about doing something so unique, that’s what team sports is, and you wait for special moments.”

Every OSU player beat Stanford for the first time as well – the seniors, with the win, will complete their careers having a victory against every Pac-12 team, something the Cardinal prevented them from doing last year.

“You come here on a vision, and that vision became a reality,” Rueck said. “You want to raise a banner, of course. Everybody wants to raise a banner, that’s why we play, and you want to be the best team. But a year ago (beating Stanford) was the one thing that was left undone.”

Rueck’s vision didn’t look like it would be a reality at first, as Stanford broke through a relatively even first period to jump to a 30-16 lead in the second quarter. The Beavers, who struggled to make a basket, managed only nine points in that quarter.

Despite the double-digit deficit, OSU finished strong to end the first half. Senior forward Devin Hunter found the net with a three-pointer at the wing, and senior guard Jamie Weisner hit a free-throw line jumper with two seconds left to trim the deficit to 30-21, giving the Beavers a little momentum heading into the locker room.

However, OSU’s shooting woes continued to start the second half, who found themselves down 38-23, only mustering two points five minutes into the third quarter. They went on a 7-2 run after, and went into the fourth quarter only down 40-30.

In the final period, the Beavers would refuse to give up. With 7:07 remaining in the game down 11 points, OSU began a comeback that this team will never forget.

“Everybody gave up their heart, we knew it was all or nothing in that second half,” Hunter said. “I think that everybody that was on the floor and on the bench gave everything they had for that comeback.”

It was Hunter who sparked the Beavers’ offense in that deciding fourth quarter, who had a layup to bring the game back to single digits. She followed that up with a three-pointer, cutting the deficit to just six points. Hunter finished the game with 5 baskets from beyond the arc, helping her to 19 points along with 12 rebounds.

“I remember, it was in a timeout and we were trying to calm Devin down, and she was like, ‘no, I’m not getting blown out to this team four years in a row,’” Weisner said on Hunter igniting OSU’s comeback. “I think we just rallied around around stuff like that, that energy and we just came together as one.”

Weisner also came in through in crunch time for the Beavers, leading the team with 12 points in the quarter, ending the night with 18 points and six assists. OSU went 7-7 from the field in the final 6:45 of the game, boosting the crowd of 4,318 to a thunderous applause as the Beavers completed the 28-10 fourth quarter.

“The joy of the win was so refreshing and rewarding for us,” Rueck said. “I couldn’t be prouder of this senior group that came here to turn this program around, it’s a significant win for that reason, and so really proud of the effort today.”