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Wiese Shoots Oregon St. Into NCAA Second Round

Oregon St.'s Sydney Wiese knocked down 4 consecutive 3 pointers in the second half to blow open an ugly game, and blow out Middle Tennessee St. 55-36.

Sydney Wiese shot Middle Tennessee right out of the NCAA Tournament Sunday night.
Sydney Wiese shot Middle Tennessee right out of the NCAA Tournament Sunday night.

The Beavers made their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 18 years, and ran into foul trouble and shooting trouble. But freshman Sydney Wiese did what she so often does; solve Oregon St.'s problems by burying bomb after bomb from long range.

Combined with a stifling defensive effort, it earned a 19 point win, and a date Tuesday night at 6:30 PM PDT against top seed South Carolina (28-4), who beat Cal-St. Northridge 73-58 in the afternoon's earlier game.

ESPN had announced they would show the game on ESPN2, but made an unannounced last minute decision to show the Marist-Iowa game instead.

For those that had a computer, and the right ISP, ESPN did put up a stream at the first media timeout.

What Beaver fans missed was Alyssa Martin burying a 3 pointer right off the bat, and 4 minutes later Ally Gibson added another, as Oregon St. jumped out to an 8-0 lead, and foreshadowed things to come from long range.

But what they also missed was Ruth Hamblin picking up her first foul 2 minutes into the game, also a harbinger of trouble to come.

For those with satellite service, and a select few cable carriers, ESPN also brought up an alternate channel after the second media timeout.

By that time, 9th seed Oregon St. had opened a 10-4 lead, as their defense had a hand in Middle Tennessee St., the Conference USA Champions, and the 8 seed in the West, missing their first 7 shots, and 11 of their first 12, yet another indicator of future events.

But the Beavers were also already without Hamblin, who picked up her second foul at the 14:41 mark, and would set the rest of the first half.

Those waiting for the alternate channel to come on line also missed an inexcusably bad charging foul on Devon Hunter. But they did see Bri Brown get 2 additional fouls between the 14 and 12 minute marks, as the officiating style of the day essentially precluded any inside game by Oregon St.

The Beavers couldn't initially capitalize on the Blue Raiders inability to generate any offense though, and were only shooting at a 28% clip themselves, making just 5 of their first 18 shots, until Wiese finally made her first and only 3 pointer of the first half, after having missed her first 3.

It sparked a 10-0 Oregon St. run though, as the Beavers opened a 23-10 lead, the largest of the first half, 3:24 before the break, when Martin knocked down another 3 pointer, and while Middle Tennessee St. was suffering through a 6 minute scoring drought.

Wiese missed another 3 at the buzzer, but the Beavers did take a 26-15 lead to the locker room, despite shooting just 27% in the first half, including 12 of 16 3s being missed.

The Blue Raiders were even worse though, shooting 19% in the first half, making just 6 of 31 shots, and only 2 of 10 3 pointers, their worst offensive half of the season.

Wiese, despite having to that point one of her worst shooting nights of the season, still led the way, having scratched out 9 points, with Martin adding 6. Both Ebony Rowe, the Conference USA player of the Year, who averaged 21.7 points per game, and Olivia Jones were held to 6 points apiece for the Blue Raiders.

Ali Gibson got the first points of the second half, though not until nearly 2 minutes in, as both teams continued to struggle on an epic level offensively, but also crashed into the basket support, and the Beavers had to play without her for several minutes, while trainers took her into the tunnel to the locker rooms at Alaska Airlines aka Hec Edmundson Pavillion, the home of the Washington Huskies, to work on her knee.

And less than 4 minutes into the second half, Hamblin picked up her 3rd foul, and a 4-0 Blue Raider run made it a 3 possession game, with Oregon St. up only 28-19 at the first media time out of the second half.

Jamie Weisner reopened a double digit lead with her only basket of the game, and Gibson returned to the floor, and the lead grew to 12 on a Wiese 3, and then 14 on Gabriella Hanson's basket that made it 35-21 Oregon St., the largest lead to that point.

Though the Beavers led wire to wire, their shooting woes and foul trouble had prevented them from putting the Blue Raiders away, and Rowe was beginning to find her stride.

Wiese began her game altering run a 3 at the 10:44 mark, but Hamblin, having been back on the floor for only a minute, got saddled with her 4th foul seconds after tieing Kim McBrew's Oregon St. tournament record of 4 blocks from 1995.

Wiese took over at that point though, draining 3 more 3 pointers, giving her 18 points, and the Beavers a 15 point lead with 9:37 to go, an 18 point lead with her next one with under 8 minutes left, and finally a 19 point lead, the first of several such sized largest leads of the game, with 7 1/2 minutes left.

Hamblin returned to give South Carolina something to think about, with 3 quick points and her 5th blocked shot of the evening. In total, the Beavers would bat away 10 Blue Raider shots.

Gibson added Oregon St.'s 10th 3 point basket of the night to make it 53-34 with less than 3 minutes left, and Wiese capped off a career high 26 point night with the 2 free throws that made the final 55-36.

It was Oregon St.'s first tournament win in 19 years, since an 88-75 overtime win over Tennessee St. in 1995.

It was also a record shattering defensive effort, eclipsing by 20 points the fewest Oregon St. has ever allowed in an NCAA Tournament game. The Beavers held Montana to 56 in 1984.

It was the lowest offensive total that Oregon St. has allowed this season as well.

Wiese finished having made 6 of 13 3 pointers, including 5 of 7 in the second half.

No one else was in double digits for Oregon St. offensively, with Gibson coming closest, with 9. Martin finished with the same 6 points she had from the first half.

Hunter was held to just 4, though she did grab a co-game high 11 rebounds, as Oregon St. out-rebounded Middle Tennessee St. 49-42 despite being without most of their inside presence, and having to bomb away from outside much of the night.

Hanson had a big hand in that. Usually thought of as the extra guard, needed whenever Wiese, Weisner, and Gibson need help of some sort, Hanson came up with 7 key rebounds to help fill in for the extended absences of the much larger Hamblin, Brown, and at times Hunter.

Rowe bounced back with 11 second half points, to lead Middle Tennessee with 17, and had 11 rebounds to give her a double double. Jones also had 10 boards, but just 8 points.

Wiese's second half heroics improved Oregon St. shooting to 33% for the game, on 18 of 55 from the floor, and 36% from 3 point range, as the Beavers made 10 of 28.

Oregon St. improved to 24-10 for the season, while Middle Tennessee St. ended their season with a 29-5 record. The Blue Raiders had rolled through C-USA with a 15-1 record to claim the regular season title, then took their conference tournament as well. The Blue Raiders had won 11 in a row, since a Feb. 5 loss at Southern Mississippi, in a rescheduled game, and had gone 28-1 since back in November.

It's a rare day when 33% shooting will win a game, much less a post season game by 19 points, but it can happen when the opponent is held to 23% shooting, which is all Middle Tennessee was able to recover to, including a disastrous 2 of 17, 12%, from 3 point range.

And it never hurts to have a cold-blooded shooter like Wiese, the Pac-12's leading 3 point artist, on your side.