Beavers advance to first Sweet 16 since 2019

Talia Von Oelhoffen celebrates with Adlee Blacklock after clinching victory against the University of Arizona Wildcats at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis on Jan. 12.
Talia Von Oelhoffen celebrates with Adlee Blacklock after clinching victory against the University of Arizona Wildcats at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis on Jan. 12.
Jason May

The Oregon State Women’s basketball team dispatched the Nebraska Cornhuskers 61-51 in Gill Coliseum, Sunday, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 2019 tournament.

The Beavers entered the game having dominated Eastern Washington in the first round of the NCAA tournament while Nebraska defeated Texas A&M in a two-point game.

Playing on their home court in Corvallis, the Beaver largely dominated the game. After Cornhusker Alexis Markowski scored the first points of the game to put Nebraska up 2-0, they never led again.

The Cornhuskers held the lead for a total of eight seconds in the game, while the Beavers led for 38 minutes and five seconds. While the lead fluctuated between 15 and five points at various points in the game, the Cornhuskers were never able to put together a stretch that put Oregon State in jeopardy.

After Markowski scored 52 seconds into the game, the Beavers’ Reagan Beers ran down the floor and netted a layup off of an assist from Talia von Oelhoffen.

The crowd made itself known throughout the entirety of the game, raucously rooting for the Beavers from start to finish. They booed the refs at several points during the contest, especially when fouls were called on Beers.

Beers, who injured her ankle in Oregon State’s first round game against Eastern Washington, did not appear to be limited and played 25 minutes while logging 10 points, six rebounds, two steals and a block off of 5-7 shooting from the field.

In the first quarter, the Beavers shut down the Huskers offense, holding Nebraska to only four points with 3:52 remaining in the first quarter. While the Huskers managed to put more points on the board by the end of the quarter, they found themselves trailing the home team 19-11.

Both teams experienced shooting woes in the second quarter, with OSU scoring only nine points while the Huskers managed 10.

At the half, Oregon State led 28-21 after expanding the lead to as much as 13 in the first quarter.

The Cornhuskers’ shooting woes buoyed the Beavers and masked their own difficulties in shooting from the field,  Nebraska was 1-17 shooting from the three-point line.

The third quarter saw both struggle to get any offense going much as the second quarter did; the Beavers tallied only seven points and the Cornhuskers scored eight.

Entering the fourth, Oregon State 35-29 and both teams picked up their offensive performance. The Cornhuskers tried to trim away at the Beavers’ lead, but Oregon State began the fourth with Lily Hansford nailing a three-pointer to increase their edge to nine.

After a miss from Nebraska’s Natalie Potts, von Oelhoffen put down another three for the Beavers, and after both teams exchanged misses for the next two minutes, Oregon State’s Timea Gardiner drove home the dagger for Oregon State.

With 7:22 remaining in the game, Oregon State’s 15 point advantage was too much for the Cornhuskers to overcome.

The Beavers would trade baskets with the Cornhuskers for the remainder of the contest, and as the clock began to wind down, the Huskers managed to reverse their three-point woes; Nebraska made its last trio of three-point shots. All were in the closing two minutes of the contest and only managed to decrease the Beavers’ margin of victory.

For the game, von Oelhoffen led the Beavers with 19 points, five rebounds, eight assists, one steal and two blocks while shooting 6-15 from the field and making 5-11 three-point attempts. Gardiner had 16 points, seven rebounds, four blocks off of 5-11 shooting, including going 3-9 from deep.

The Beavers shot 22-54, 40.7%, while Nebraska struggled mightily for nearly all of the contest, going 21-67, or 31.3%. The teams were tied at 36 rebounds, but Oregon State racked up 10 blocks while the Huskers only put two onto the final stat sheet.

“Going to Italy this summer kind of cemented our team chemistry…and so it’s really easy to have fun with each other. We really truly are playing with our best friends every single day and so to be able to have the opportunity to play basketball in front of Beaver Nation with your best friends…what can be better than that?” Gardiner said postgame.

If the Beavers are to continue their run, then the team wants to emulate their defensive performances in the first two rounds of the tournament, where they held Eastern Washington to a combined 10-47 shooting from the three-point line on Friday.

“They had a lot of great shooters out there tonight so running them off the three-point line was part of the scouting. They put us in such a great position and the scouts are so detailed, and we hold each other to those details, so it’s easy to be successful when they do that work for us,” von Oelhoffen said.

As they wait to learn who their next opponent will be, either Notre Dame or Ole Miss, the Beavers will head to Albany, New York where they will be playing their next game.

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