The 20th ranked Oregon St. women's basketball team wrapped up a clean-sweep weekend for the major Beaver athletic teams, pulling away after an early challenge by upset minded Utah St. to an 85-62 win. It was the 11th win in a row in games in Gill Coliseum for the Beavers.
Sunday afternoon at Gill Coliseum was mascot day, and 4 large furry creatures, another large feathered one, something in a coon skin hat, a dancing mattress, a dog in fire fighter turnouts, some old guy using ski poles inside Gill Coliseum, a kid in a banana suit, a foam rubber middle-age soldier, and a dwarf were all on hand in addition to Benny the Beaver.
(BTW, team fuzzy beat team furry, on an 18 footer from the high flying Red Robin, in the halftime mascot challenge; BTD brings you coverage of it all! 7'1" Bill Buffalo (Wild Wings) really clogged up the paint defensively for team fuzzy, negating some hard work on the boards for team furry by Benny.)
All the fuzz was a harbinger of things to come in the game, as things started off a little fuzzy for the Beavers.
Utah St., which went 15-16 last season, and 8-10 in the Mountain West, and lost 100-77 at Oregon Friday on season-opening night, jumped to a quick 4-0 lead,
Even though Oregon St. responded with a 7-0 run, ties at 7, 9, 11, & 13 made it clear this one wasn't going to be easy.
The Beavers went on a 5-0 run, only to see the Aggies respond with a 9-0 run of their own to go up 22-18.
JC transfer Jen'Von'Ta Hill provided Oregon St. with a large spark off the bench, with 6 of her 10 total points (for her first double digit Division I total) coming in a row after entering the game around the 8 minute mark in the first half, but the Beavers didn't reopen more than a 1 possession lead until Devan Junter's putback made it 39-34 just over 2 minutes before the break.
Oregon St. took a little breathing room to the locker room, after a putback by Kolbie Orum at the buzzer opened a 45-36 lead.
An Ali Gibson 3 pointer opened the first double digit lead of the game, 48-38 early in the second half, but the Beavers couldn't shake the Aggies in an increasingly ugly affair that was at once whistle happy and plagued by overlooked calls.
Sydeny Wiese had enough of the non-sense about 5 minutes into the second half, and broke the game open, with back to back 2+1s, followed by one of her game high 8 assists, to Orum to open up a 60-42 lead.
Wiese nailed a 3 a little later to make it 68-51 before the under 8 minute media timeout, and Utah St. never threatened again, even though Oregon St. suffered a 2 minute scoring drought.
Hill a 3 for an 82-60 lead, and 85-60 was Oregon St.'s largest lead, before settling for the 85-62 final score.
Wiese finished with a team high 15 points, while Utah St.'s Makenlee Williams had a game high 20 points. But 5 other Beavers were also in double figures, while Williams only had 2 other Aggies in double digits to help. And the Beavers held a 15 rebound edge on the boards.
Ruth Hamblin had a doule double, with a game high 12 rebounds. But it took until there was only 4:20 left in the game before she reached 10 points, which also opened the first 20 point lead of the game, a result of a pair of phantom foul calls in the first half, followed by a classic flop job call to start the second half.
The foul trouble went both ways though, as Utah St. point guard Elsie Nelson fouled out with almost 14 minutes left in the game.
Devan Hunter added 14 points for the Beavers, on 6 of 10 shooting, and 7 rebounds, and Ali Gibson added 12.
But it was the Oregon St. bench that made the difference, as in addition to Hill, Orum, above, was also in double digits, with 14 points, on 7 of 10 shooting.
And unlike in the exhibition win over Western Oregon, and Friday night's 87-65 blowout of Portland, where the extensive play of the Oregon St. bench was an elective move by head coach Scott Rueck, after the game was out of hand early on, in this case Hill and Orum's contributions came primarily with the game still in doubt.
"At times this season, we are going to need options, and contributions from various places," Rueck said. "Kolbie is going to be something special for us."
Oregon St. improved to 2-0, and will return to the floor next Saturday at 2 PM, against NAIA Concordia University. (Who scheduled a basketball game against the Washington football game and trip anyway?)