The Oregon St. women's basketball team concluded the regular season with 2 games at elevation, and the tests turned out to be too tall. The Beavers fell Thursday in Salt Lake City to Utah 63-56 in overtime, and again Saturday in Boulder, where the Buffs took a 67-57 win.
In both cases, the Beavers seemed to run out of gas in the late stages.
Against Utah, Oregon St. took a lead just after the middle of the first half, and didn't relinquish it until in overtime. The lead twice reached 9 points before the break, both times on 3 pointers, by Mollee Schwegler and Alyssa Martin, and the Beavers led the Utes 29-22 at the half.
Oregon St. took the largest lead of the game, 11 points, 3 minutes into the second half, on a layin by Sage Indendi, but Utah then began to chip away at the deficit. The Utes pulled within 43-41 on a 3 pointer by Cheyenne Wilson with over 8 minutes still to go.
The Beavers rebuilt the lead to 7 points on a 3 pointer by Indendi with 5 minutes to go, going up 51-44. However the Utes closed regulation with a 9-2 run, as Oregon St. missed 6 of their last 7 shots. Half the misses were 3 pointers when a 3 pointer was not needed, and Ali Gibson missed a go-ahead layin with 14 seconds left.
Fortunately for Oregon St., Patricia bright blocked Taryn Wicijowski's potential game winner with 2 seconds left, forcing overtime.
Unfortunately for Oregon St., Utah continued to score, while the Beavers missed 7 of 8 shots in overtime, and the Utes won the extra period 10-3.
The Beavers were out-scored 19-5 over the last 10 minutes of the game, and shot just 13% during that stretch.
Michelle Plouffe led everyone, with 19 points for the Utes, while Wilson knocked down 3 3 pointers, and finished with 11 points. Wicijowski just missed a double double, with a game high 10 rebounds, and 9 points.
Gibson led Oregon St. with 13 points, and Indendi added 11. Both played over 40 minutes, and were the only Beavers in double figures.
Moving on to Boulder, Oregon St. only led twice, both times by 2 points, in the first 5 minutes of the game. After that, Colorado took control, opening a 10 point lead twice in the first half, before settling for a 6 point, 27-21 lead at the break.
The Beavers shot a disastrous 24% in the first half, making just 6 of 25 shots. They improved on their shooting in the second half, and pulled within 3 points on 3 occasions, and got within 2, on a 3 pointer by Indendi 6 1/2 minutes after the break.
But the Buffs responded, and used a 7-0 run to open a 10 point 44-34 lead with 8 minutes left.
The Beavers fought back within 47-43 on a Thais Pinto layin with less than 5 minutes to go, but the Buffs responded with a 12-3 run that put the game out of reach with a minute and a half left. Oregon St. never got any closer than 8 points the rest of the way.
Senior Earlysia Marchbanks, playing in her last regular season game, led Oregon St. with 16 points, and missed a double double by a single rebound. Indendi added 12 points, and Gibson 10.
The Buffs out-shot the Beavers 42% to 32%, and a big part of the reason was Lexy Kresl, who came off the Colorado bench to hit 7 of 10 shots, including 6 of 7 from 3 point range.
Chucky Jeffrey added 13 points for the Buffs, and Julie Seabrook added an 11 point, 10 rebound double double.
The lack of depth meant all 3 members of the Oregon St. 3 guard starting lineup, Gibson, Indendi, and Martin, all logged at least 35 minutes, and collectively shot 32% for the field.
Oregon St., originally picked to finish in last place in the conference race, had climbed as high as 3rd in the conference standings, before losing 4 of their last 5 games, and finished the regular season with an 18-11 record, and a 9-9 mark in the Pac-12, tied with UCLA for 5th place. However, the Beavers are effectively 6th, as the Bruins hold the tiebreaker, on a 69-60 win in the teams' only meeting.
Oregon St.'s women, like the men's team, will open the Pac-12 Tournament Wednesday night at the Galen Center against Washington St. (11-19, 5-13) at 7:15 PM. The Beavers split the regular season series with the Cougars, dropping a 61-54 double overtime game back on New Year's eve, but then winning 51-39 in Pullman.
The winner will face USC (18-11, 12-6), a team the Beavers beat 65-61 in overtime on the Galen Center floor, Thursday night, again at apprx. 7:15.