Final Score: USC 53 Oregon St. 50
Oregon St. tried to send their three seniors out on a positive note in their last game at Gill Colisuem, but came up just short when both Talisa Rhea and Brittany Kennedy had three pointers not fall in the last six seconds, and USC escaped with a 53-50 win.
"The first thing I would like to do is I would like to thank our seniors; Stacy Nichols (who did not play against USC), Julie Futch, Anita Burdick," Oregon State women's basketball head coach LaVonda Wagner said. "I felt like tonight, particularly in the second half, we came out and played a very good 20 minutes of basketball."
In that 20 minutes, the Beavers fought back from a nine point, 28-19 halftime deficit with a 9-2 run to pull within one point five minutes into the half. But Oregon St. never took the lead.
Rhea tied the game at 35-35 with ten and a half minutes left, and the Beavers pulled within two points five other times, including within 49-47 with 1:18 when Kennedy stole the ball and scored.
Christina Marinacci hit a jumper for USC with a minute left, but Rhea cut the deficit down to one point with a three pointer with half a minute to go.
Rhea fouled Ashley Corral, from Prairie High School in Vancouver, WA, with 15 seconds, left, and Corral connected on both free throws for what would be the winning margin when the Beavers' last two three pointers missed.Had Oregon St. shot just a little better, the win would have been in the bag. But the Beavers shot only 16% in the first half, and only 24% for the game. The two three point misses with the game on the line were typical of the day as well, as Oregon St. made only four of 13 three pointers.
Haiden Palmer hit the first shot of the game, a three pointer, and Rhea, who co-lead Oregon St. in scoring with Palmer with 11 points, put the Beavers up 5-2 two minutes into the game. But USC responded with an 8-1 run, and OSU missed 26 of 29 shots the rest of the first half.
The Oregon St. defense played well enough to win, holding all of USC's starters in single digits. Only Heather Oliver, who came off the bench with a game high 18 points, on six of nine shooting, including four of five from three point distance, was able to shoot accurately on a consistent basis.
Palmer pumped up 21 shots, but connected on only four of them.
Burdick just missed a double double on her senior day, with nine points and nine rebounds. Burdick matched Corral, as both were five of six at the line, best in the game in that category.
"I wanted to do it for my teammates and my fellow seniors," Burdick said. "I just knew we could win this game. I knew that if we all came out and played as hard as we could, including myself, then we could get it done. We're ready to push on next week, and ready to get some winnable games. For us tonight, it was special and that's why we all put our hearts out there, not just me."
It will take another pair of big efforts, and especially some better shooting, for Oregon St. (9-18, 1-15) to break their 16 game losing streak, which has them in last place in the Pac-10, when they visit Washington (10-16, 5-11) Friday, and Washington St. (7-20, 2-14) Sunday, even though they are the eighth and ninth place teams. Washington defeated WSU 70-54 today. The Beavers did defeat the Cougars 63-49 in the conference season opener on New Year's Day, though.