The Beavers started atop the Pac-12 and as such would be expected to easily handle the Utes, who came into the game 11th in the conference. Utah came to play though and started by attacking the 4 position with Joeseta Fatuesi. She was able to bang inside and just pushed Deven Hunter under the basket for a couple easy shots. Utah moved to trying to attack through their other post though and she was stifled against Ruth Hamblin, and their offense stalled.
One of the other factors contributing to a strong defensive run for the Beavers was a shift to the full court press which sped up the game. there were not many turnovers being forced but the game had been at a crawl with Utah trying to slow the game down. This contributed to a 10 minute stretch where Utah could not score a basket.
Oregon State's offense didn't start much better either however, where they were forcing up tough layups early and missing the open shots they were getting. Hamblin actually had a nice opening half, but the Beaver guards were not scoring much. The perimeter defense by the Utes was a factor as they had trouble getting past and once they did the Utah bigs were lying in wait.
Towards the end of the half the shots started to fall, finishing some tough shots round the basket and hitting their open threes. Fatuesi came back in at the end to break that with 4 points right at the close and the teams went into the locker rooms with OSU leading 24-17.
When the teams came back out the game got even more competitive. Oregon State would pull away, but then the Utes would string together some good possessions on both ends. Fatuesi was still punishing in the post which was opening up the entire court. They managed to bring the Oregon State lead down to 4 points, but Sydney Wiese was there to answer. She was fouled on a three-point shot and scored on a nifty lay-up bring the lead back to 9, at 37-28.
It kept going back and forth, the lead hovering around 5-9 points before the defense tightened up for the Beavs. The defense started holding the Utes to no consecutive baskets and OSU could score several in a row. It came from everywhere with Hamblin, Siegner, and Weisner all scoring in a push to a 12 point lead with 5 minutes left in the game.
From there it stayed a defensive struggle, as the Utes just could not score on Hamblin. In fact most of their points came when they were going away from Hamblin. They were able to score when they pulled Hamblin away from the basket and open things up for drives and for the post-ups of their power forward. The game ended with the mandatory last gasp fouls; Utah had played the second half so clean they had to commit 4 fouls with under 1 1/2 minutes left to get into the penalty. Once there, Oregon State sunk the free throws (they were 12 of 13 at the line for the game, 92%) to close out the game and take their 25th win of the year, a school record, and a share of the Pac-12 title.
Utah's defense prevented Wiese from sinking a 3 pointer for only the 3rd time in her career, which also kept her out of double digits, finishing with 9. But Weisner had a game high 15, with Hamblin right behind, finishing with 14. Hamblin also flirted with a triple double, with a co-game high (with Utah's Taryn Wicijowski) 8 rebounds, and 7 blocked shots. Oregon St. combined for 10 total blocks.
Fatuesi had 12 points to lead Utah, and Wicijowski was also in double digits, with 10.
This sets up for a possible match-up next week with Stanford on Thursday for the outright Pac-12 championship (though a win by California over Stanford this afternoon will lock up the #1 seed in the Conference tournament for the Beavers).