7th ranked Oregon St. overcame a 16 point deficit to Washington St. again, as they did in the teams' first meeting last month in Corvallis, and pulled away for a 61-56 win this afternoon in Pullman.
The Beavers arrived apparently entirely unprepared to play, and found themselves down 21-5 at the under 12 minute media timeout, after the Cougars had made a 15-0 run while the Beavs were going over 5 minutes without scoring.
Oregon St. answered with a 15-6 run, interrupted only by a pair of Lisa Galdeira 3 pointers, to pull back within 7 points, and force Washington St. into a timeout. The run was built around 8 points by Sydney Wiess, including a pair of 3 pointers, and another 3 by Jamie Weisner.
The Cougars worked their way back to a 10 point lead, on Caila Hailey's only basket, and shot, of the game, going up 31-21 with 6:21 left in the first half. But Galdeira, who was already in double digits, had also picked up her 2nd foul, and would set the rest of the half. Not coincidentally, Washington St. wouldn't score again before the break, and the Beavers made a 9-0 run to the locker room, capped by back to back baskets by Ruth Hamblin, that pulled Oregon St. within 31-30.
Washington St. opened the second half with back to back baskets by Mariah Cooks and Galdeira, but would then go cold against an Oregon St. defense that extended further than had been the case in the early going, scoring only 4 points, and just 1 basket from the field, a 3 by Cooks, in over 8 minutes.
Wiese put the Beavers ahead for the first time in the game, going up 40-39 with just under 12 minutes to go, and wrote Oregon St. history in the process, hitting her 4th 3 of the game, which was also the 178th of her collegiate career, tieing Felica Raglund for the all time record for made 3 pointers in school history. This by a sophomore with 1/3 of her second season still to go.
Galdeira broke the Cougar scoring drought at the 11:11 mark, and Taylor Edmondson tied the game back up at 42 apiece with 10:10 to go.
The lead changed hands 3 times on the next 3 scores, and Galdiera tied it up at 46 apiece with a pair of free throws with exactly 8 minutes left, but Hamblin answered to put Oregon St. ahead for good with 7:39 to go. It started a 9-2 run, as the Beavers opened a 55-48 lead with 3 minutes to go.
The Cougars had one more run in them though, and Cooks connected on a 3 pointer to keep it a contest.
Deven Hunter, held scoreless the first time against Washington St., hit a pair of free throws after Galdiera's 4th foul, but Galdiera had a pair of 3 pointers left, which pulled the Cougars within 59-56 with 8.9 seconds left.
But Samantha Siegner, inserted for Hamblin to give Oregon St. more mobility, drew a disqualifying foul on Cooks, and iced the game with a pair of free throws to make it a 5 point win instead of another 3 point margin as was the case in Corvallis.
Galdiera's last 2 3 pointers gave her a game high 23 points, and she was the best player on the floor, also grabbing 8 rebounds. But better balance carried the day for the Beavers, as Cooks was the only other Cougar in double digits scoring, with 10 points. Tia Presley, Washington St.'s other major scoring threat, was held to 9 points, and only 1 free throw in the second half, after being almost as much of a factor as Galdiera was in the first half. Shutting her down was as key to the win as anything else Oregon St. did.
Wiese wound up leading the Beavers, with 16 points, keyed by hitting 4 of 7 from 3 point range. Weisner, playing in front of a large home-town crowd from 40 miles down the road in Clarkston, was right behind, with 14.
Hunter had a vital double double, with 12 points and a game high 11 rebounds, 1 more than Washington St.'s Louise Brown was able to grab.
Hambiln was the 4th Beaver in double digits, with 10 points, and another 5 blocked shots.
Gabriella Hanson, who sat out the Washington loss, returned to action, logging 26 minutes. She didn't score, but did have 2 steals and an assist, and overcame a turned ankle right before halftime. She did get a questionable flagrant 1 foul, but she also got the game ending rebound. Her presence was as important to the outcome as her absence was Friday night.
Oregon St. out-rebounded Washington St. 42-37, but the stat of the game was a product of the expanded defensive effort by the Beavers, which held the Cougars to only 7 second half baskets, and just 32% shooting for the game, this after Washington St. had shot 45% from the field in the first half.
"We had to do something that worked," Oregon St. head coach Scott Rueck said. "We had to adjust defensively, and when we did that, we were able to take a little bit of control."
The other stat of note was free throwing, where the bigger Beavers went 13 of 20, while the Cougars, still playing without Shalie Dheenshaw, who injured her knee at the end of the first meeting in Corvallis, were only able to get to the line 6 times in the game, none in the first half, and made only 4.
The win was an essential response after Oregon St. had seen their 10 game winning streak snapped in Seattle Friday night, improving the Beavers to 21-2 for the season, and 11-1 in the Pac-12.
And it allowed Oregon St. to reclaim sole possession of first place in the conference, after California upset #10 Arizona St. 50-49 in Tempe, on Penina Davidson's buzzer beating putback. The Bears improved to 18-5, and more importantly, 10-2 in the Pac-12, pulling into a second place tie with the Sun Devils, who are now 21-3, and also 10-2 in conference. Oh by the way, Arizona St. will be in Gill Friday night at 6 PM, for a rematch with Oregon St. that has a little bit riding on it.
The tie for second place isn't the 3 way tie expected though, as Arizona, who entered the day tied for last place in the Pac-12, upset #12 Stanford 60-57 in Tucson, reminding anyone who hadn't already figured it out that there are no days off in the Pac.