Women’s basketball runs away from Highlanders

Brian Rathbone, Sports Editor

Four Beavers score in double digits as Oregon State outscore to UC Riverside 39-23 in the second half for third win of year

Holding a 47-42 lead heading into the locker room at halftime Oregon State women’s basketball head coach Scott Rueck challenged his team to overcome the adversity presented by upset-minded UC Riverside.

After the intermission, the No. 9 Beavers (3-0) rose to the challenge by clamping down on the defensive end, holding the Highlanders (2-2) to 23 second half points.

“In the second half it felt like ‘us,’” Rueck said. “We came out and held them to 31 percent from the field and we had big time performances from the defense who hit a different gear. That was great to see.”

In the early goings it looked like OSU would cruise to an easy victory when they jumped out to an early 9-0 lead over the Highlanders in the first three minutes of the game. But, as quickly as OSU built their early lead, UC Riverside’s veteran team offense took turned the nine-point deficit into a two-point lead.

“Riverside is a nice team that executes a unique offense, something you don’t see every day,” Rueck said. “(They run a) five-player motion where they are all energy and it’s not scripted. I give them credit for hitting their shots and making a game of it early on and can keep building from that.”

“We were in the right position initially, but we just weren’t challenging enough,”said senior center Ruth Hamblin, who finished with 19 points and six rebounds. “So then I think we adapted to that, especially in the third quarter, we really took control of the possessions and you could tell there was a difference.”

In the first quarter alone the Highlanders scored shot 64.7 percent from the field, including going 3-4 from behind the arc. 

“A challenge is only going to make us better,” Hamblin said. “We find out what we are made of early on.”

Midway through the second quarter after the Highlanders took a 36-34 lead, the Beavers responded with a 10-0 run to take an eight point lead. They would go intermission leading by five.

In the quarter the Beavers would begin to separate themselves. Using a 16-0 run to turn their lead from four points to 20 points in the span of four minutes.

Junior Guard Sydney Wiese spearheaded the run by taking advantage of an UC Riverside error on an inbounds pass.

“It was a big moment for us to continue to pull away,” sai Wiese, who finished with a game high 22 points and five assists. “What I saw was that the girl had her back turned when the girl passed the ball in, so it was an easy snatch, got the and-one so it was huge for momentum.”

Next the Beavers will spend the holiday break in Puerto Rico to play in the San Juan Tournament. They will play Hofstra and Arkansas – an NCAA tournament team a season ago.

“This was a great win for us today,” Rueck said. “I liked the fight and composure this team showed today when we were challenged.

On Twitter @brathbone3