Beavers fall to Utah in overtime thriller


Morgan Barnaby

Talia Von Oelhoffen shoots a basket against the Utah Utes on February 3rd at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, OR. OSU lost with a score of 73-75 after going into overtime against Utah.

Ben Pahl, Sports Contributor

The Oregon State women’s basketball team saw an incredible comeback effort fall just short in a 75-73 loss to the seventh-ranked Utah Utes on Friday night at Gill Coliseum.

Trailing by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter, the Beavers used a fierce run over the final seven minutes of regulation to tie the game at 66 and send it into overtime.

“We just all needed to turn it up to another level,” said freshman forward Raegan Beers. “We all knew that next level needed to hit, and it needed to hit fast. Those girls that were out there, credit to them because that’s what put us into overtime.”

Oregon State took a 68-66 lead at the start of the overtime period, but Utah was able to respond and the Utes led by three with just 19 seconds to play. When asked about the huddle leading up to it, Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck made it clear what the strategy was on the final possession.

“Go for a three,” Rueck said. “Because I didn’t have any timeouts left.”

After a trio of long-range shots wouldn’t fall for the Beavers on the final possession, freshman Timea Gardiner grabbed a rebound and was fouled on a three-point attempt, and headed to the line with an opportunity to tie the game with under a second left. Gardiner missed the first free throw, however, and the seventh-ranked Utes escaped Corvallis with a 75-73 victory.

Despite outscoring the Utes by 11 in the second half, a slow start haunted the Beavers on Friday night, as Utah jumped out to a 22-9 lead after the first ten minutes. Oregon State had some good looks that didn’t fall in the beginning, as they shot just 4-15 in the first quarter.

“Rough start, hangover from last weekend a little bit,” Rueck said. “I thought we were off our game offensively, allowing them to get very comfortable, and they made us pay for that. They got a big lead, and it was just a battle from there.”

While sophomore guard Talia Von Oelhoffen led the Beavers in the scoring department with 17, senior guard Bendu Yeaney arguably had the best all-around performance, putting up three steals and four assists to go along with 13 points.

“When Bendu has been in that mode, that overwhelming presence mode, we are very good,” Rueck said. “She wills this team to another level. Her defense can be disruptive, and it’s hard for anyone to be like that for forty minutes.”

For the Utes, junior guard Alissa Pili had a monster game with 23 points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Gianna Kneepkens and sophomore forward Jenna Johnson both also scored in double figures with 17 and 11 points, respectively.

With the overtime loss, the Beavers fall to 11-11 overall on the season and just 3-8 in conference play. When asked what needs to happen for this team to pull out more close games, coach Rueck emphasized consistency.

“Facts are facts, just look at the outcomes,” Rueck said. “I mean we’ve been very inconsistent. And because of that you’re going to allow teams that maybe shouldn’t play with you play with you, and you’re going to be able to rise against the very best. When this team has been focused and maintained that focus, in my opinion we can beat anybody. And that’s the hard part, for a coach, it’s hard to push the right buttons.”

Up next, the Beavers will look to rebound when they take on the Colorado Buffaloes at noon on Sunday at Gill Coliseum.

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