Women’s basketball falls to UCLA in WNIT quarterfinals, concludes season

A+photo+gallery+from+this+weekend+in+Oregon+State+sports.+The+Oregon+State+womens+basketball+team+fought+hard%2C+but+lost+to+the+University+of+Arizona+Wildcats+by+a+score+of+53-55+on+Jan.+13%2C+2022+in+Corvallis%2C+Ore.+

Jason May, OMN Photographer

A photo gallery from this weekend in Oregon State sports. The Oregon State women’s basketball team fought hard, but lost to the University of Arizona Wildcats by a score of 53-55 on Jan. 13, 2022 in Corvallis, Ore.

Sam Nicklous , Sports Contributor

At noon on March 27, the Oregon State’s Women basketball team tipped off the quarterfinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). After beating University of New Mexico Lobos on Thursday, the Beavers look to advance to the Semifinals of the WNIT with a win over the visiting UCLA Bruins.

The Bruins entered Sunday coming off of a triple-overtime 1 point win over Wyoming, led by strong performances from UCLA junior guard Charisma Osborne and UCLA graduate forward Iimar’i Thomas.

Both the Bruins and Beavers lost in the second round of the PAC-12 tournament, and just missed out on the NCAA Championship tournament. Despite this, both teams have found form in the WNIT, winning the first three rounds. The Beavers have hosted every game in their run so far, and hope Beaver Nation can give them one more boost to advance past the Bruins.

Following the trend of the tournament, the Beavers once again struggled early in the game.  UCLA’s Osborne knocked down a pair of threes, leading to an early 11 point deficit just five minutes into the game. Osborne finished the first quarter with 10 points, while the Bruins held the Beavers to just 3/12 shooting. This meant the Bruins found themselves up 21-7 after one.

The Bruins switched up their defensive scheme in te second, dropping to a 1-2-2 zone. They were quickly out of it though, as Redshirt-freshman center Jelena Mitrovic found space in the post for an easy two. Osborne continued to score for the Bruins as she hit a deep contested three from the right wing, extending the lead to 16. Once again, the Beavers began to methodically claw back into the game. In response to UCLA’s aggressive defense, the Beavers managed to score three times on back cuts. After scoring only 7 in the first quarter, the Beavers put up 18 in the second, and entered the half down 35-25.

The Beavers came out aggressive in the third quarter, and right away Oregon State redshirt-senior Ellie Mack hit a fade-away jumper. And later in the quarter, following a three point play from Oregon State redshirt junior forward Taya Corosdale and a transition layup from Oregon State freshman guard Talia Von Oelhoffen, the Beavers trimmed the lead to just 5. With the last possession of the quarter, Von Oelhoffen drove right, and drew a foul. She knocked down both free throws, and the Beavers ended the quarter down just four, the smallest margin since the first quarter.

UCLA used the first possession of the fourth well, setting up a down screen for UCLA graduate guard Jaelynn Penn, who knocked down a jumper pushing the lead to six. Penn hit another mid-range jumper around the six minute mark, again extending the lead to eight. The quarter was back and forth, but each time the Beavers closed the gap, UCLA found a way to fend them off. With just two and half minutes left, the Bruins were once again up eight, and the Beavers were forced to speed up their offense. In the end, the Beavers were forced to foul, and Osborne knocked down 9 of her 10 free throws, helping UCLA close this one out. In the end, the Bruins were victorious, 74-66, and advance to the semifinals

Oregon State was led by a 19 point performance from Von Oelhoffen, while Mitrovic and Mack added 16 and 13 respectively.

UCLA’s Osborne was the star of the night, leading all scorers with 31 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds. Penn also scored 17, while Redshirt Freshman forward Angela Dugalich added 12 off the bench.

The Bruins will play the winner of the quarterfinal between Alabama and South Dakota State, time and place still TBA.

After the game, Oregon State Head Coach Scott Rueck credited the Bruins for their aggressive defense. He said “ They dictated tempo, they were very physical today… which was effective against us.”

With the loss, the Beavers 2021-22 season came to a close, and emotions were raw on the floor after the game. This was officially the last time Tea Adams, Emily Codding, and Ellie Mack will suit up for the Beavers. When asked what impact this group of seniors had on the program, Rueck said “They made everyday enjoyable, even through the hard things.”

The Beavers finished their season with an overall record of 17-14.