The Spokane Region first round game had the #3 seed Oregon State Beavers (26-4) coming into the NCAA Tournament off a disappointing second round loss to Colorado in the Pac-12 Tournament, and the regular season Pac-12 champions were looking to re-establish their swagger. On the other side though the #4 seed South Dakota State Jackrabbits (24-8) were coming in with a fairly impressive resume, which included a second place regular season Summit Conference finish and also winning (72 - 57) the Summit Conference Tournament over their in-State rivals South Dakota. Indeed South Dakota State came into the 'Big Dance' with solid regular season wins over Arkansas and BYU.
Oregon State's second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance started with both teams needing to shake off some Tournament nerves and rust, but the Jackrabbits struck first with a Kerri Young basket that was followed by a Macy Miller layup to put South Dakota State up 4 to 0 early.
The Beavs kept attacking the basketball and after drawing some SDSU fouls, Jamie Weisner converted two free throws to get OSU on the board. Then a Ali Gibson driving layup tied the game up at 4 apiece. The first Oregon State lead then came on a crisp Deven Hunter pass to Ruth Hamblin posted up for a 6 to 4 lead at the 17:20 mark. South Dakota State though kept up the temp and was able to regain, and take the lead 8 to 6 into the first timeout of the game.
South Dakota State kept up their 7 to 0 scoring run to push the lead to five points, but a Sydney Wiese jumper helped cut into the lead. But the Jackrabbits continued their quick pace, that throughout the entire first half gave Oregon State problems on both sides of the ball. As the half wore on the Beavs were able to chip away at the lead, and with key Gibson and Wiese 3-point baskets OSU was able cut the lead to three points. Oregon State then weathered more of the South Dakota State aggressive defense and offense, which saw the Jackrabbits increase their lead to 7 points at 6:17 mark, to fully regain the lead at 30 to 28 at the 3:12 mark behind a Wiese 3-point basket. Senior Ali Gibson's three point play was key in the Beavs offensive run, which brought the home crowd to life and the Jackrabbits' lead down to only one point.
The Beavs then energized the crowd even more with a strong Ruth Hamblin basket that gave OSU what looked to be a game changing four point lead, but South Dakota State finally broke out of their five minute scoring drought and were able to tie the game up at 32 to 32. As the half came to a close the Beavs were not able to fully ride their shift of momentum and allowed South Dakota State to take a 34 to 32 halftime lead.
|Field goals||12-28, 42.9%||15-33, 45.5%|
|3-point FGs||4-13, 30.8%||3-9, 33.3%|
|Free Throws||4-5, 80.0%||1-2, 50.0%|
Sydney Wiese: 11 Points
Ali Gibson: 8 Points
|Macy Miller: 10 Points|
The second half started out with South Dakota State upping their lead 36 to 32, but Oregon State was able to get some calls and were able to find Ruth Hamblin down in the post for the first OSU basket of the second half. Hamblin was able to follow up that basket with a strong second chance basket to tie the game. A Sydney Wiese steal and fast break assist to Ali Gibson gave Oregon State their first lead of the second half at 38 to 36 at the 17:53 mark.
Oregon State continued to go back, and back and back, to Hamblin in the early part of the second half, and this combined with better defense allowed the Beavers to extend their lead to 44 to 36 before the Jackrabbits were able to answer the OSU run with a Mariah Clarin layup. But Sydney Wiese had a dagger type of answer on a 3-point basket to the take the OSU lead up to nine points. Indeed behind a Gabriella Hanson layup and a spectacular three point play by Wiese Oregon State was able to take more control of the game, and never let their lead get back under double-digits.
South Dakota State kept playing with energy and urgency needed in a Tournament game, but the Beavers were able to utilize their athletic depth and after a pair of Ali Gibson free throws Oregon State was able to get their lead up to a more comfortable twelve points difference at 54 to 42 at the 12:39 mark.
Sydney Wiese continued her blistering scoring pace and with a 3-point basket upped the OSU lead 57 to 44, and the Beavers were able to settle more into their half-court game. Oregon State also took advantage of South Dakota State foul trouble and overall tired play to get the loose balls and multiple 2nd and 3rd chance attempts. The Jackrabbits cut into the lead with a Megan Waytashek 3-point basket, but the Wiese show continued with layup to regain Oregon State control.
Indeed the only thing that slowed down Wiese was a bench rest as Jen'Von'Ta Hill subbed in, but Hill was able to take a page out of the Wiese scoring playbook with a 3-point basket of her own to counter a couple quick Jackrabbits baskets.
As the game wound down in the final five minutes South Dakota State played tough, but behind the Oregon State athletic depth (indeed OSU's leading scorer Jamie Weisner only had five points, all of them on free throws) and being able to take care of the ball and play solid defense the Beavs just were too much for the Jackrabbits. OSU was able to finish the game with a hard fought, but solid 74 to 62 first round win.
|Field goals||24-54, 44.4%||26-60, 43.3%|
|3-point FGs||7-19, 36.8%||4-18, 22.2%|
|Free Throws||19-26, 73.1%||6-11, 54.5%|
Sydney Wiese: 23 Points
Ruth Hamblin: 17 Points
Ali Gibson: 16 Points
Macy Miller: 14 Points
Megan Waytashek: 14 Points
To their credit South Dakota State played it at full speed right down to the final horn and proved why Oregon State needs to keep their 'A' game as their standard for all their remaining games. In the end though, it will be Oregon State moving on to host a second round game against the winner of the (6) George Washington versus (11) Gonzaga game. The second round game is schedule for a 4:00pm tip-off this Sunday afternoon in Corvallis.