Beavers defeat Long Beach State, move onto second round of WNIT

Oregon+State+freshman+guard+AJ+Marotte+getting+past+a+Long+Beach+State+defender+inside+Gill+Coliseum+on+March+17%2C+2022.+Marotte+finished+the+game+with+2+points%2C+2+rebounds%2C+and+1+assist%2C+and+the+Beavers+defeated+the+Beach+by+a+score+of+70-59.+

Jason May, OMN Photographer

Oregon State freshman guard AJ Marotte getting past a Long Beach State defender inside Gill Coliseum on March 17, 2022. Marotte finished the game with 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist, and the Beavers defeated the Beach by a score of 70-59.

Sam Nicklous , Sports Contributor

Tonight in Corvallis, Oregon State’s Women’s basketball team hosted the Long Beach State Beach for the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).

The Beavers entered selection Sunday as the 53rd best team in net rankings, yet missed the cut for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013. While disappointed about missing the tournament, the team is optimistic about their chances in the NIT.

“We have the opportunity now to end [the season] on a win,” said Oregon State sophomore forward Kennedy Brown

After an early barrage of threes, and an aggressive full court zone from Beach, the Beavers found themselves down 26-16, with 7 turnovers at the end of the first. However, the Beavers had some success late in the first going to Brown.

The Beavers were able to halt Beach’s momentum in the second quarter, but turnover problems plagued them throughout the half. As an answer, Coach Scott Rueck subbed Oregon State redshirt-sophomore guard Noelle Mannen into the game, replacing Oregon State freshman guard Talia Von Oelhoffen. Mannen and Brown gave the Beavers a much needed boost, and helped cut the lead to just 5 heading into the break.

The Beavers started the second half with a new group, including Mannen, as the teams went back and forth throughout. They took their first lead of the game with just under 7 minutes to go in the third. A few plays later, a free throw by Oregon State freshman guard Greta Kampshroeder tied the game at 45, and then back to back buckets from Oregon State redshirt-senior guard Tea Adams and Oregon State redshirt-senior forward Ellie Mack pushed the lead to four, from there the Beavers never looked back. The Beavers out scored Beach 21-10 in the third quarter alone.

Following the dominant third quarter, the Beavers continued to go inside and found scoring from Mack and Brown. The pair dominated the paint in the second half of the game, and out rebounded Beach by a resounding 18.

Despite the 20 turnovers, the Beavers managed to survive and advance. They came away with a hard fought 70-59 victory, led by Brown with 15 points and 12 boards. Ellie Mack added 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Long Beach’s Justina King led all scorers with 20 points, and Kianna Hamilton-Fisher also had 17 points on 5 made threes.

After the game, Rueck praised the Beavers on their ability to overcome “all the nerves and all the weirdness.” Rueck thought Beach came out, kept them a little off balance, and forced them into some turnovers. Yet he felt the team was able to rely on their defense, and just survive.

With the win tonight, the Beavers move onto the second round of the WNIT tournament, and will face the winner of the University of Portland Pirates and the Colorado State University Rams, who face off on March 18 at 7:00 p.m.