Oregon State Women’s Basketball falls in Elite 8

Talia Von Oelhoffen shoots a free throw from a technical foul against the University of Arizona at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis on Jan. 12.
Talia Von Oelhoffen shoots a free throw from a technical foul against the University of Arizona at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis on Jan. 12.
Jason May

No. 3 Oregon State University faced No. 1 University of South Carolina in the Elite 8 in Albany, New York on March 31, falling 70-58 after a tough battle.

In the first half, South Carolina showed their number one ranking in their defense and solid offense through the quarter. The Beavers saw seven turnovers in the half to South Carolina’s three. South Carolina tallied 26 rebounds to the Beavers’ 19.

The Beavers’ three-pointers kept them in the game, though, with sophomore Lily Hansford making two threes in a row to bring the Beavers’ score to a contestable range. The half ended with South Carolina up by four, 37-33.

Hansford and sophomore Reagan Beers lead the team in points with nine each going into the second half, but Beers and junior Timea Gardiner both started the half with three fouls a piece.

On the other side of the game, Gamecocks Ashlyn Watkins had six points, three blocks and six rebounds off the bench in the first half.

In the third quarter, the Gamecocks went on a 12-0 scoring run leaving the score at 58-46 to end the quarter.

“Just keeping our mindsets and our heads clear, Talia (Von Oelhoffen) has just been harping on that all year for us. And that leadership, it was a reason that we were able to make it this far,” Beers said in a Zoom press conference.

That focus allowed the Beavers to make a quick comeback to start the next quarter. They outscored the Gamecocks 12-4 in the first six minutes putting fans on their feet and holding their breath in the crowd.

“We’ve just put our heads down and controlled what we can control and got to work and stay together and stay connected and it’s gotten us really far,” said Talia Von Oelhoffen.

But the Gamecocks showed their strength in the final minutes, contesting the Beavers’ succinct with their strong defensive moves. The Beavers had looks to keep them in the game but in the end their shots didn’t fall.

“This team rivals any team I’ve ever been a part of. What they did this year is not common. It’s not normal” Head Coach Scott Rueck said. “Everybody needs to get to know this team. Everybody needs to watch this team. And everybody needs to be like this team. The world would be better if everyone focused on this instead of a lot of the other things.”

The Beavers end their postseason run here, with South Carolina looking to face the winner of University of Texas v. North Carolina State who face off today.

“Today we had to be near flawless, and we just weren’t able, we just weren’t quite flawless enough,” Rueck said. “I thought we looked fearless today and I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win, which I had hoped. That’s all anybody can hope.”

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