Beavers edge past the Rainbow Wahine in season opener

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Duane Knapp: OMN Photographer

Sophomore guard Talia von Oelhoffen shoots a free throw during the third quarter against the University of Hawaii in Gill Coliseum. The Beavers were able to squeak out a 60-61 point victory against the Wahine Warriors.

Ryan Harlan, Sports Contributor

A tie-ball game and with 0.4 seconds remaining in regulation, the stage was set for redshirt junior guard Noelle Mannen at the free throw line. 

With two free throws, Mannen missed the first free throw and hit the second free throw, propelling Oregon State to a win.  

The Oregon State Beavers earned a hard fought 61-60 victory over the University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine, Monday night at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.

Sophomore guard Talia Von Oelhoffen scored the first points of the season for the Beavers on a fast break layup, which gave the Beavers an early 2-0 lead. 

The Beavers started slow on both sides of the court early on and the Rainbow Wahine took advantage, jumping out to an early 20-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. 

The Rainbow Wahine used the three-point shooting to build their early lead, starting the game by hitting their first five three-pointers. Hawaii at one point led the Beavers by as much as 13 points in the first quarter. 

However, the Beavers roared back from the early deficit, cutting into the Rainbow Wahine lead and tying the game 20-20 on a three-pointer from freshman guard Lily Hansford with 6:36 in the second quarter. Hansford again extended the lead on another three-pointer making the score 23-2, after a layup by Hawaii.  

The Rainbow Wahine regained their offensive momentum and went on a scoring run of their own to take a 30-23 lead with 2:59 in the second quarter. The Beavers answered right before halftime with a quick scoring run, tied the game 30-30 with a layup from freshman forward Reagan Beers. 

At the start of the third quarter, the Beavers took back the lead on a three-pointer from sophomore guard AJ Marotte making the score 33-30 with 9:24 in the quarter. 

The Beavers led the Rainbow Wahine by as much as 10 points during the third quarter, but a few quick scoring possessions by Hawaii erased the double-digit deficit making the score 48-44 headed into the fourth quarter. 

The Beavers looking to put the game away extended their lead over the Rainbow Wahine 54-46 midway through the fourth quarter. Hawaii rallied with an 11-0 run to take back the lead on a three-pointer from freshman guard Jovi Lefotu making the score 57-54, with 4:37 remaining in the game.

Von Oelhoffen reclaimed the lead for Oregon State on a three-point play with 1:15 left in the game making the score 60-58. However, a second-chance jumper from Hawaii redshirt sophomore guard Olivia Davies tied the game at 60-60 with 0:25 seconds left in the game. 

The Beavers, looking to end the game in regulation with one more play, scrambled for a loose ball with the clock about to hit zero. Mannen hustled for the ball and was fouled on the play by Hawaii sophomore guard Daejah Phillips on the play. However, the foul was not called by the officials and was administered after the officials reviewed the play on the replay monitor, which allowed the Beavers to seal the game with two free throws. 

Head coach Scott Rueck was pleased with the outcome of the win but added that there is a lot that the team is working through with a nearly new roster this season. 

“There’s a lot to adapt to and I knew tonight would be survival,” Rueck said. “That’s what it was, survive that first quarter, figure it out, obviously we made a defensive adjustment and that slowed them down, that gave us some momentum going forward, so give them a ton of credit for sticking with it and fighting their way back into it.” 

On the final play of the game, Mannen talked about what was going through her head when she stepped to the free throw line to win the game. 

“Yeah, it was somewhat comforting, I mean the plan was to make the first one and miss the second one though,” said Mannen, “So when I missed the first one, I kind of ruined our plan, but yeah it was somewhat comforting.” 

After missing the first free throw, Mannen was frustrated that she missed the first one but mentioned that when she looked over in Rueck’s direction, he reassured her that everything was fine and just told her to make the second one.  

Rueck also spoke highly of Mannen’s effort on the final play of the game that set up the game-winning free throw. 

“Noelle wins this on a hustle play, I thought that was perfect and that describes who she is, what she has brought to this program for four years now,” Rueck said, “Noelle is going to be at the line, with the game on the line, bless her heart, stepping up and knocking down a big free throw.” 

The Beavers had three players finish in double-digit scoring with Marotte leading all scorers for Oregon State and finishing with 16 points. Von Oelhoffen finished with 14 points and Hansford finished with 11 points. Mannen finished the game with 7-points, including the game-winner. 

For Hawaii, Phillips and sophomore guard Lily Wahinekapu each finished with 12 points leading all scorers for the Rainbow Wahine. Graduate student forward spiller Kallin Spiller finished with 9 points sophomore guard Kelsie Imai finished with 7 points. 

The Beavers were without both Timea Gardiner and Bendu Yeaney for the opener, Rueck hopes that both players will be available to play with the rest of the team soon with the season already underway. 

Up next, the Beavers (1-0) have a home matchup against Seattle University, Thursday, Nov. 10, tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Gill Coliseum.