The Oregon St. womens' basketball team dropped both of the weeks' games in the Arizona desert by nine points, 62-53 Thursday in Tucson against Arizona, and 56-47 Saturday night in Tempe to the Sun Devils, in a game on the Fox Sports network. Both games got away from the Beavers in the late going.
Wildcats Wear Down Beavers
Against Arizona, the game was tied at 29 apiece, after five lead changes. The second half featured a half dozen more lead changes, and Oregon St. took a one point 50-49 lead with 3:49 left. But Talisa Rhea missed three jumpers down the stretch, as the Beavers ran out of gas, and the Wildcats used a 13-3 run to pull away.
Haiden Palmer led the Beavers with 15 points, and hit seven of her eight shots. Almost all of her production was early in the second half, after setting over 17 minutes of the first half. Palmer picked up her second foul in less than a minute less than three minutes into the game.
But the freshman was held scoreless for the last 12:47 of the game except for a single free throw shortly before she fouled out with a minute and a half left.
Rhea had ten of her 13 points in the first half, and Anita Burdick came off the Beavers' bench for ten points.
Soana Lucet led all scorers, with 18 points for Arizona, while Davellyn White added 14, and Reiko Thomas came of the Arizona bench for a strong game, with twelve points and four assists in 29 minutes.
Oregon St. out-rebounded Arizona 38-27, due to a strong 14 board effort by El Sara Greer, ten of which were offensive. The Beavers didn't get enough out of it though, with only eight points in the paint, especially coupled with getting nothing from three point range.
Arizona wasn't exactly hot from the outside either, making only two of twelve, but OSU missed all nine, including six by Rhea. Two her final three misses were three point attempts.
Scoring Support Dries Up Against Sun Devils
But for two first half ties, Arizona St. went wire-to-wire for Saturday's win, but Oregon St. stayed close most of the way, behind a 20 point outing by Rhea. The Sun Devils held only a 24-21 lead at halftime, after Kristen Tilleman hit a pair of free throws with ten seconds left before the break.
Southridge product Alex Earl wrapped a pair of three pointers around a Rhea basket less than five minutes into the second half to open a seven point 34-27 lead, and Arizona St. opened the lead to ten points on Danielle Orsillo's free throw after the TV timeout inside the 12 minute mark that made it 39-29.
Oregon St. rallied behind seven straight points by Rhea to pull within 39-36, but that was as close as the Beavers got. The Sun Devils blew the game open with a 17-5 run, as Tenaya Watson had eight points and an assist, and ASU opened their largest lead of 56-41 with less than three minutes left.
Scoring support for Rhea dried up and blew away in the desert, as no one else had more than seven points for Oregon St. And outside shooting was again non-existent. The Beavers missed all four of their three pointers, three by Rhea.
Part of that was by design, as the Beavers out-boarded the Sun Devils 31-29, and had 14 points in the paint to 10 by Arizona St.
Turnovers turned the game, as Oregon St. lost the ball 21 times, giving up 12 points as a result. This after losing the turnover battle in Tucson as well, giving up 17.
Orsillo matched Rhea's 20 points, Watson added 12, and Earl was also in double digits, with 11 points.
Arizona and Arizona St. both improved to 3-3 in the Pac-10, coupling the wins over Oregon St. with wins over the Oregon Ducks as well.
Oregon St. fell to ninth in the Pac-10, with a 1-4 mark, and is now 9-6 overall, on a four game losing skid, and until the Beavers find a way to get consistent scoring from someone other than Rhea, and do a better job of taking care of the ball by the backcourt, the trend isn't likely to turn around.
Tough Mid-Term Coming Thursday
The Beavers have a tough mid-term test coming up next, as Stanford coach Tara Vandiver's Cardinal squad, second ranked nationally with a 15-1 mark, and atop the Pac-10 with a 5-0 record, visit Corvallis Thursday night at 7 PM. The Cardinal swept the Washington schools this week, and have only lost to unbeaten and top ranked Connecticut on the road this season.
The California Golden Bears (8-8, 2-3), currently just ahead of OSU in the conference standings, follow the Cardinal into Gill Coliseum Saturday at 7 PM, for $1 admission "Fill Gill" night.
Upsetting Stanford will be a very tall task to accomplish, so Saturday's game with Cal could well be the bigger game of the week, one where both the Bears and Beavs will be battling to keep the middle of the Pac-10 pack in sight.