Oregon St.'s lone senior, Earlysia Marchbanks, led the Beavers to a 68-53 win over Oregon, and a season sweep of this year's Civil War series. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
Final Score: Oregon St. 68 Oregon 53
Oregon St.'s Earlysia Marchbanks led a late push that allowed the Beavers to pull away from the Ducks, and beat Oregon by 15 points Saturday afternoon. Marchbanks made her last 5 free throws, and 9 of 10 in the last minute and a half, to seal the win. In all, the Beavers got their last 11 points at the free throw line, and overall, connected on 26 of 28, 93% for the game. It was the whole difference, as Oregon only got to the line 17 times, making 12, still a solid 71%, but not nearly enough to keep up with Oregon St.
Oregon led most of the game, taking a 10 point lead, their largest of the contest, with just under 3 minutes to go in the first half, to go up 27-12, on Deanna Weaver's only basket, a 3 pointer. The Ducks maintained a 29-22 lead at halftime, and the Beavers didn't catch up until they took a 41-40 lead with 8:43 left in the second half on a pair of free throws (what else) by Patricia Bright.
It was the first time Oregon St. hadn't trailed since a 3 pointer by Oregon's Jasmine Holliday just over 4 minutes into the game, and the Beavers' first lead since being up 5-4 on an Ali GIbson 3 pointer just over 2 minutes into the contest in front of 3,600 fans at Matt Court in Eugene.
Holliday's free throw tied the game at 41 apiece with 8 minutes left, but another pair of Bright free throws put the Beavers ahead for good.
Oregon was by no means done, though, and a 3 pointer by Ariel Thomas and a free throw by Amanda Johnson pulled the Ducks within 5, down just 52-47 with 3:30 left.
Marchbanks' 2+1 started a 7-0 Oregon St. run in response, though, and Oregon never got within single digits down the stretch, as the Beavers ran off a 16-6 stretch to the finish.
"This is a very resilient team, one that continues to find a way to stay in games, and give themselves a chance to win," Oregon St. coach Scott Rueck said. "What I thought we did as well as we have yet, today, was close the game."
Marchbanks finished with a game high 19 points, all in the second half, mostly due to 13 of 15 shooting at the free throw line, and just missed a double double, but still led the Beavers in rebounding, with 9.
"During the second half, coach just told me to look for my shot a lot more, or drive it," Marchbanks said. "That's what I did. I just wanted to help my team out."
Oregon St. post Patricia Bright, who had struggled in last weekend's pair of home losses to Stanford and California, bounced back with a big day at the Ducks' expense, with 14 points, mostly due to 8 for 8 free throw shooting, and a game high 5 blocks, which gives her 95 for the season, and makes her the single season all-time record holder at Oregon St., surpassing El Sara Greer's old record of 92, set last season.
Alyssa Martin was only 3 of 11 from 3 point range for Oregon St., which is where all of her shots came from, but she was 4 of 4 from the line, and finished with 13 points.
Johnson posted a double double for the Ducks, with 13 points and a game high 10 rebounds, and Thomas also posted 13 points for Oregon.
Besides the free throw shooting, it was Oregon St.'s defense's ability to hold Oregon to 25% shooting from the field that keyed the win that gave the Beavers a season sweep of the Civil War, having also posted a come from behind 67-60 win back on Jan. 30 at Gill Coliseum.
"It's very hard to maintain your ability to win games when you shoot 18 percent in the second half, and 12 percent from the 3 point range," Oregon coach Paul Westhead said. "We just have to shoot better. I would say defensively we were pretty good. But we reached a point when we couldn't score points, and we had to get out of our defense to scramble a little. If you don't make baskets, you can't win. We should be able to make more shots."
It was also Oregon St.'s third win in a row over the Ducks going back to last year. It was the first time the Beavers have swept the season series, or won 3 straight in the rivalry, in 19 years.
"We were frustrated (in the first half)," Rueck added. "We just needed to relax. I'm so happy this group is experiencing success, because nobody probably expected it."
The victory moved Oregon St. (18-9, 9-7) into a fourth place tie in the Pac-12 standings with UCLA (14-13 9-7). However, the Bruins, who beat Arizona 72-58 today, hold the tie-breaker over the Beavers, on the strength of their 69-60 win over Oregon St. earlier in the season in Los Angeles, and would get the first day bye in the conference tournament that the top 4 finishers in the regular season receive if the tie holds up through the final weekend of the season.
Oregon St. travels to Salt Lake City to take on Utah (13-14, 6-10) Thursday night, and will wrap up their regular season in Boulder on Saturday, against Colorado (16-11, 5-11). UCLA also finishes the regular season on the road, at Washington St. (10-17, 4-11) Thursday, and then at Washington (14-11, 6-9) on Saturday.
Oregon (14-14, 6-10) is tied for 8th with the Utes, and has the same road trip as Oregon St. next week, except for starting at Colorado, and finishing against Utah.
(Updated with additional quotes.)