In a Thursday evening match up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the #7 Oregon State (5-0) women’s basketball team went up against the Marquette Golden Eagles (2-4).
The teams were both coming off two wins in Thanksgiving tournaments, Oregon State defeated Hofstra (73-50) and Arkansas (63-47) in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the very young Marquette team defeated Florida International (95-83) and Richmond (98-80) in Miami.
Both teams opened the game by trading 3-point baskets then Oregon State opened up a 7 to 3 lead, but Marquette was able to chip away and tie the game back up at 7 to 7 at the 6:18 mark of the first quarter. The Golden Eagles behind an 8 to 0 run were able to take a 11 to 7 lead before Jamie Weisner scored on an offensive put-back to cut the Marquette lead to two points at 11 to 9.
Gabriella Hanson was able to regain the Beavs' lead with a 3-point basket at the 1:17 mark, but poor overall first quarter shooting by Oregon State allowed the Golden Eagles to take a 15 to 14 lead into the start of the second quarter.
The second quarter initially went back and forth between the two teams, but neither team could make a solid offensive run and both teams' defenses came up with solid plays. Additionally the Beavers were not able to take advantage of their size mismatches. Marquette on the other side was able to take advantage of some sloppy Oregon State ball-control and were able to push the tempo to keep Oregon State off-balance, and the Golden Eagles extended their lead to 28 to 22 at the 1:37 mark of the second quarter.
Coach Rueck went to an even bigger line up with both Ruth Hamblin and Marie Gülich on the court, which did start to pay off with multiple Hamblin blocked shots that helped Oregon State keep the Golden Eagles' lead at 35 to 30 at the half.
The first half stats saw Oregon State shooting 11 for 27 (40.7%) from the field, including only 2 for 10 three-pointers, 1 for 2 from the free throw line. The Beavs also had 22 rebounds, and a whooping 14 first half turnovers that led to ten points off turnovers for Marquette. Jamie Weisner led the Oregon State scorers with 10 points, followed by Ruth Hamblin with 6 points and Sydney Wiese had 5 points. Marquette hit 12 of their 39 attempts (30.8%), including 1 for 4 three-pointers, went 5 for 9 from the free throw line, had 22 rebounds, and turned it over 6 times. The Golden Eagles were led by Allazia Blockton with 11 points.
The Golden Eagles kept the tempo quick to start the second half and Oregon State kept up its poor shooting, all of which added up to a 40 to 30 Marquette lead at the 7:43 mark of the third quarter.
Jamie Weisner though did all she could do to help the Beavs cut down the Marquette lead. Along with strong rebounding, and more shot blocking by Ruth Hamblin, the Beavs went on a 13 to 2 run to regain the lead, 45 to 44 behind two Hamblin free throws at the 1:40 mark of the third quarter. More Hamblin defense and a timely Katie McWilliams 3-point basket helped push the Oregon State lead to 48 to 45 at the end of the third quarter.
Marquette kept it close in the early stages of the final quarter, but Oregon State's size advantage and depth allowed the Beavs to pull away in the final minutes of the game. Another McWilliams' 3-point basket allowed the Beavs to take a five point lead at 57 to 52 at the 4:38 mark. Down the final stretch Weisner kept the pedal to the floor with her play to help Oregon State to their sixth win of the young season.
Oregon State ended the game hitting 23 of 65 (35.4%) field goals, made only 5 of 26 three-pointer attempts, and hit 14 for 19 of their free throws. The Beavs out-rebounded Marquette 57 to 40, and OSU had 19 turnovers to the Golden Eagles 9. The Oregon State scoring was led by Jamie Weisner with a game high 26 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Ruth Hamblin with 17 points (and Hamblin had 17 rebounds, which was a career high, and 7 blocks). It was the first time in over a year that the Beavers have had 2 players with double doubles, since the last time Weisner and Hamblin did it. Weisner also had 2 blocks, and in one of the key stats for the game, the team combined for 14, while Marquette didn't get a single block.
Marquette shot 23 for 76 (30.3%), including 2 for 8 three-pointers, and made 10 of 17 free throws. The Golden Eagles were led by Allazia Blockton with 21 points, Danielle King with 12 points, and Amani Wilborn had 10 points.
In the end Oregon State's depth of their starters, and with help from freshman Katie McWilliams allowed the Beavs to sneak out a rough win on the road. Indeed the Beavers' offense looked to have a lot of travel rust with their shooting, and combined with very poor ball handling all made the game much closer than it should have been. But also top ranked teams make wins happen when even their game is not clicking on all cylinders, which was just what Oregon State was able to do in Milwaukee against a feisty Marquette team.
Oregon State has the next week off to regroup and returns to Corvallis to begin a four game home stand on Saturday the 12th for a 2:00pm match up against a solid Idaho Vandals team.