The #7 Oregon State women's team headed into Boulder for a key match up against the Colorado Buffaloes (4-10/11-14). It was a key match for the Beavers in terms of carrying forward their Pac-12 conference two game first place lead, and keeping their momentum going as the regular season winds down with post-season placements up for grabs. It was the only meeting this season between the two teams, with Colorado coming into the game off a split with the Washington schools and Oregon State fresh off a sweep of the Arizona schools.
Colorado struck first, after both teams turned it over on their opening possessions, with a Lexy Kresl 3-point basket, which was then answered by a Jamie Weisner 2-point basket. But the Colorado defense and overall aggressive play kept Oregon State on their heels for the first three minutes. Sydney Weise then opened it for OSU with a 3-point basket followed by a fast break Ali Gibson layup to put the Beavs up for the first time 7 to 5 at the 16:16 mark.
The scoring run continued for Oregon State with a couple of Weise free throws. Colorado finally broke their scoring drought with a pair of Brecca Thomas free throws. Ali Gibson then hit a big 3-point shot to extend the lead to five points again, and Gabriella Hanson put the Beavs up by eight with her own 3-pointer.
From there solid defense and rebounding by Samantha Siegner helped keep the pace in Oregon State's favor, which allowed the OSU bench get some early playing time, including Marie Gülich giving Ruth Hamblin a breather.
In the middle section of the first half though settled down into a more defensive battle as both teams had issues hitting their shots and handling the ball, highlighted by the Oregon State defense forcing multiple Colorado turnovers.
The Beavers scoring drought though is finally broken at the 10:39 mark with a couple of Weisner free throws that put Oregon State up 17 to 9. More defensive pressure by Oregon State then led to a Weisner 3-pointer to up the lead to 20 to 9. Additionally Coach Rueck was able to go farther into his bench, bringing in Kolbie Orum and Jen'Von'Ta Hill.
Colorado put up some key defensive stops, which brought Hamblin back into the game only to pick up two quick fouls, which led to Samantha Siegner coming back into the game for the Beavs. The Buffs though could not fully capitalize on some disorganized OSU play and Siegner was able to hit an important turnaround jumper to up the lead back to 9 points.
Oregon State though saw their lead cut back down to three points at the 4:07 mark before Deven Hunter is able to hit a a free throw to semi-quiet a bit of the Colorado run, but the Buffs came back to score and cut the lead to two points. Solid defense on the Colorado side led to yet another OSU turnover, which went up to 10 for the half, all of which led to a Jen Reese 3-pointer to give Colorado a one-point lead, 24 to 23. Then Jamee Swan shot dropped in shot to put the Buffs up by three points. Sydney Weise then finally answered with a huge game tying 3-point shot.
As the half winded down both teams exchanged chances to regain the lead but the half ended all even at 26 to 26.
Oregon State went into the locker room shooting 8 for 24 (33.3%) from the field, made 5 of 11 (45.5%) of their three-point shots, hit only 50% (5 for 10) of their free throws, had 20 rebounds, and made 10 turnovers. Oregon State was led by Sydney Weise with 8 points, closely followed by Jamie Weisner with 7 points. On the other side of the ball Colorado shot 10 for 26 (38.5%) from the field, made 2 of 4 of their three-point shots, hit all four of their free throws, had 16 rebounds, and 7 turnovers. The first half Buffs leading scorer was Jen Reese with 13 points.
Colorado was able to regain the lead coming out of the half with a quick basket, but Weisner was able to answer with OSU to tie it up again. The game for the next few minutes went back-and-forth in scoring, but the Beavers were able to get their first lead with an aggressive driving basket by Ali Gibson.
A key play came for Colorado as Ruth Hamblin picked up her 3rd foul at the 17:42 mark, and had to leave the game again. Oregon State's free throw and turnover woes continued as Colorado was able to keep the game close until a Deven Hunter inbound play basket put OSU up by four points.
The Beavers were finally able to create some breathing room at the 15:02 mark behind a Jamie Weisner 3-pointer, which was then quickly followed by another Ali Gibson fast break basket to up the lead 40 to 33. Colorado chipped away a bit at the lead until a couple of strong Deven Hunter baskets, including another strong inbound play, gave the Beavs a nine point lead.
The lead though was cut to six points with a Jamee Swan three point play, but the senior Ali Gibson drove the hoop again to put the Beavs up by eight. Oregon State was able to get their lead back up to double digits at the 9:36 mark of the second half with a Ali Gibson 3-point basket.
A great Wiese assist to Samantha Siegner then opened up the OSU lead back up to ten points, and this was followed by a pair of Weisner free throws put the lead at a more comfortable 53 to 41. This was important as Colorado for most of the game kept things honest and challenging for the Beavers, but at this later point of the game when the Beavs were able to get double digits separation it did seem to put the Buffs on their heels. As such the Beavs got into a better rhythm, and behind their solid rebounding as well as hitting shots at a better percentage were able to take full control of the game. All of this was without a strong Hamblin offensive performance because of her foul trouble, but OSU kept going to Hamblin in the paint and she was able to hit a key bucket to up the lead to 14 points. Hamblin though had to quickly go out of the game after her first points when she picked up her 4th foul.
A key Gabriella Hanson 3-point shot then followed by a strong Deven Hunter basket, along with Colorado not being able to hit their free throws, put the game completely away at the 3:59 mark. And then Marie Gülich got the Beavs a very comfortable 20 point lead 62 to 42 at the 3:15 mark, and from there it was all OSU. But that all said even if the final scoreboard showed a 66 to 44 win it was not the easiest of wins. The Beavs showed their depth and athleticism to pull out a 'W' in a game that did not see their best overall performance (especially in the first half), but the team was able to find a spark in the second half outscoring the Buffs 40 to 18.
Oregon State finished the game shooting 25 for 41 (49%) from the field (vastly improving in the second half), in typical OSU fashion hit 8 of 18 of their three-point shots (44.4%), made 8 of their 15 free throw attempts, had 41 rebounds, and turned it over 14 times (again improving on their 10 first half TOs). The Beavs’ leading scorers were Jamie Weisner with 17 points and she also had 10 rebounds, Ali Gibson with 14 points, and Sydney Weise with 10 points.
Colorado ended up shooting 14 for 49 (only 28.6%) from the field, made only 2 of their 7 of their 3-point shots, made 14 of 21 free throws, grabbed 28 rebounds, and had 11 turnovers. The Buffaloes were led by Jen Reese with 17 points and Jamee Swan with 13 points.
With the win the Beavers matched their school record win record with 24 (with only 2 losses overall) and also go to 14 and 1 in Pac-12 play. Oregon State hits the court again Sunday morning (yes another early 11am tip off) in Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Utes. All of which will be leading into the huge at home end of the season showdown against the Bay Area schools for the regular season conference championship at stake.