It was a rematch of the January 23rd Oregon State 73 to 55 victory over Arizona. At that time Oregon State was rolling with their 6 and 0 quick start to Pac-12 play, and were about to face Arizona State for the first of two huge match ups against the other conference front runner. The Beavers though did not overlook Arizona and were able to take care of business behind a well rounded offensive showing and solid defense.
This time around Oregon State was coming off of big conference victory over Arizona State to hold onto their late in the season first place Pac-12 spot. Arizona was coming off their own huge win over Stanford and then a disappointing loss to Oregon. Oregon State got Jamie Weisner going early with Weisner putting the Beavers up first with two free throws. Then it was Ruth Hamblin scoring easily in the paint to put Oregon State up 4 to 0, which set the tone for the game overall in the paint as the Beavs control the inside game and never gave up their lead for the game.
Arizona was able to respond on a LaBrittney Jones jumper, but it was all Oregon State early with solid defense and Deven Hunter second opportunity score and a Hamblin in-the-paint hook. The Wildcats' Alli Gloyd was able to hit a couple open looks to keep Arizona semi-close, but Weisner nailed a 3-point shot, below, and along with a strong Sydney Wiese drive to the hoop helped the Beavers go into the 15:51 timeout up 13 to 6.
After the timeout Rueck went to his bench with Jen'Von'Ta Hill and Gabriella Hanson coming in early to the game, and Hill was able to hit a couple free throws to up the Beavs lead to 15 to 8; and Hanson was also able make here own impact on the offensive side hitting a key shot with the clock winding down.
Arizona though went into a bit of a run to close the gap to 17 to 12, but again Rueck was able to go his bench with Samantha Siegner coming into the game to add some more defense in-the-paint and giving Deven Hunter a rest. With Hill playing a solid game on offense and Hamblin blocking shots left and right, the Beavs continued to keep their distance from the WIldcats. Indeed in the first eight minutes the Beavers were able to outscore the Wildcats 12 to 2 in the paint, which allowed Marie Gülich to come in to give Hamblin a well deserved break.
The game was a different match up as opposed to Rueck's focus on his five starters getting most of the playing time against Arizona State, the match up against Arizona allowed players like Kolbie Orum to see some playing time early. It did lead to, at times not as sharp play with the reserve players looking for that main on-the-floor scorer and team chemistry was not as crisp, but scrappy play on both sides of the ball for OSU did keep the Wildcats in constant catch-up mode.
Arizona though were able to chip the OSU lead down to three points and it was up to Wiese to hit a 3-point shot to double up the lead, which was then followed by two strong Gülich scores, one of which was a power rebound second opportunity score that was then followed by a solid jumper, below.
All of the sudden Oregon State was up to a double digit lead, 30 to 20 at the 6:38 mark. Both were precursors of decisive things to come in the second half.
Hamblin came back in after the timeout to score and contributed to the Beavs' 9-0 scoring run, but Arizona was able to score a couple quick baskets to cut the lead back down until Ali Gibson's first score of the game put the Beavs back up up 34 to 24.
8th ranked Oregon State was then able to score just enough against the Arizona adjusted zone defense to go into the half up 39 to 30.
The first half stats broke down to the Beavers shooting 47% (16-34) from the field with 3 of 10 three-pointers, OSU hit all 4 of their free throws, had 20 rebounds, and turned it over 5 times. The leader scorers were Ruth Hamblin and Sydney Wiese both with 8 points, and nine OSU players all scored in the first half. On the Arizona side of things the Wildcats also shot 47% (14-30), did not hit a 3-pointer (on one attempt), made 2 of their 4 free throws, grabbed 15 rebounds, and had 5 turnovers. The Wildcats were led by Alli Gloydwith 10 points.
Out of the halftime break Arizona's Malena Washington was able to hit a quick jumper and then the Wildcats forced a questionable offensive charge call against Ali Gibson, who picked up her third foul, to grab a bit momentum. This momentum though was killed with yet another Hamblin block and then a Weisner basket, below, put the Beavs up 41 to 32 at the 19:02 mark.
The Beavers then broke it open to a 15 point lead behind strong defense, poor Arizona shooting, and a combo of Gabriella Hanson and Sydney Wiese 3-pointers. Of which then saw Oregon State, after a pair of made Weisner free throws, up 51 to 34 at the 15:49 mark.
Arizona continued to try and take down the lead, but during the middle section of the second half it just was too much a game of exchanging baskets and free throws for the Wildcats to make up any ground on the Beavers. Arizona could not find any fast pace rhythm to really make a run, nor were they able to open up their perimeter shooting to take any advantage of some sloppy play by OSU near the basket (which was such a strong point for the Beavs in the first half).
After the 11:49 timeout though, Oregon State came out more focused and behind solid rebounding and a pair of wide open Sydney Wiese 3-pointers put the Beavs up by 23 at the halfway mark of the second half.
This then was followed by yet another Wiese 3-pointer, which put the Beavs up 64 to 38 to blow the game wide open (all of this with Hamblin taking a rest on the bench), eliciting an "OK, we get it." response from the Arizona bench.
The stretched out lead allowed Rueck to go again to his deep bench. The last part of the game saw Oregon State extend its lead to 31 points at the 5:29 mark with a strong Gülich turnaround over-the-top of the defender jumper, and then a Ali Gibson 3-pointer.
To their credit the Wildcats did not give up the fight though and forced some OSU clean-up time mistakes to close the gap back under 30 points, but in the end it was much too little too late as the Oregon State Beavers dominate the game to secure themselves a first round Pac-12 tournament bye.
Oregon State completed the game shooting 47% (28-59), making 9 of 21 of their 3-point shots (6 of which were hit by Sydney Wiese); and the Beavs were solid from the foul line hitting 8 of 10 free throws, dominated the boards with 48 rebounds, but turned it over 15 times. Sydney Wiese had her season high, to lead the Beavers in scoring with 20 points, followed by Jamie Weisner with 11 points. It was also the first season sweep over the Arizona schools since the '94-'95 season.
Arizona's final numbers saw the Wildcats shooting shooting 36% (19-53), 0-2 in 3-pointers, 10-16 made free throws, had 22 rebounds, and had 8 turnovers. The leading scorers for Arizona were LaBrittney Jones and Alli Gloydwith with 10 points.
The rebounding disparity was the dominant stat of the game, which 4,284 fans turned out for despite the morning start time.
"This was another great crowd today," Coach Rueck said. "This was another great win for us, and the number that really jumped out was the rebound disparity."
Oregon State will go on the road to take on Colorado this upcoming Friday evening in Boulder and then Utah next Sunday in Salt Lake City. It will be a key couple of games for the Beavers, who now are 13 and 1 in conference play and 23 and 2 overall, for though Oregon State clinched a first day bye in the Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle with today's win, the Beavers still need to take care of business in their last on the road series before the huge upcoming season finale match ups against Stanford and California.