Beavers go Elite after Sweet 16 win

The Beaver’s bench celebrates a play against the University of Arizona at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis on Jan. 12.
The Beaver’s bench celebrates a play against the University of Arizona at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis on Jan. 12.
Jason May

Oregon State Women’s Basketball continues to dance in March Madness.

The Beavers advanced to their third elite eight in school history in a 70-65 win over the University of Notre Dame in Albany, New York on Friday.

“That was a fantastic basketball game. I thought it was a great representation of who we are, it showed every bit of us,” Head Coach Scott Rueck said in a Zoom press conference. “This is a special team and they’ve demonstrated every bit of that today. I couldn’t be happier for them or more proud of them for the way they operate every minute of every day.”

The Beavers have now got their first school win against Notre Dame in the 2023-24 athletic year.

“You have to give Notre Dame a ton of credit…the way this team has butt into the other end of the floor like Timea (Gardner) was mentioning, the defense has carried us,” Rueck said.

The Beavers’ defensive front kept Irish freshman Hannah Hidalgo to a low of 10 points compared to her average of 22.57 per game.

“Hidalgo, she’s their floor leader, she’s got the ball in her hand more than anybody else…We’ve done a really good job this year with being disciplined in position defense and so the goal is to make them miss,” Rueck said.

“We kind of knew in order for us to get where we wanted to go we needed to key in our defense and all of us over the spring, over the summer, and into this year came in with the mindset of understanding what we needed to accomplish defensively in order to win those close games,” sophomore Timea Gardner said.

A highlight of the game for the Beavers was a big-time block by sophomore Raegan Beers over Hidalgo that cemented a feeling of dominance for the Beavers.

Through the defense, the Beavers offensive depth showed flawless execution as they regained the lead and scoring gap over the Irish consistently. There were eight ties and 11 lead changes throughout the game.

“We got the steal when it mattered, we hit the big three when it mattered, we executed late, and made the free throws to separate,” Rueck said.

The Beavers had 26 turnovers which resulted in the Irish taking advantage of that and scoring 26 points. The Beavers countered that by putting up 42 rebounds on the board and keeping the Irish to 24 rebounds.

“We’ve always believed in ourselves and what we could do, and a lot of people didn’t know what we could do and we had nothing to lose so we come in and play Oregon State basketball and we demonstrated that tonight and we’re not done yet,” Gardiner said.

Up next, the Beavers face No. 1 South Carolina in Albany, New York on Sunday.

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