Sometimes, all it takes are a couple adjustments.
The Oregon State women's basketball team rode a huge second half performance to secure a 59-45 victory over Oregon on Sunday afternoon. It was the Beavers 11th straight Civil War win.
The game also marked a sweep of the Civil War on the season for the No. 11 Beavers (12-3, 3-1), as they defeated the Ducks (11-3, 0-4) in a 60-33 rout on Friday.
The Beavers overcame a hot UO second quarter and a 25-24 first half deficit to secure the win. Once the Beavers made their halftime adjustments, they were able to seal the victory with ease. They clamped down on defense and heated up on offense (generally a successful combination) after the break, holding UO to 27 percent shooting in the second half and outscoring the Ducks 35-20.
The Beavers were led by solid showings from Ruth Hamblin, Gabby Hanson and Jamie Weisner, who were all in double figures.
The Beavers started the first quarter charging out of the gates, with Ruth Hamblin essentially taking residence in the paint with some easy buckets and a couple blocks on defense. UO was forced to call a timeout as OSU took a quick 13-4 lead.
The fun quickly faded for the Beavers, however, and the Ducks made a fervent attempt to grab ahold of the game.
UO implemented a much more aggressive man defense from the last two times the team played, and the Beavers were caught by surprise. Their new defensive philosophy paid off the most for UO in the second quarter, where they tallied nine steals and took a one-point lead into halftime. Guard Maite Cazorla led the way for the Ducks in the first half, scoring 10 of her 12 points. Center Liz Brenner also played well for Oregon, scoring 13 points off the bench and sizing up well against Hamblin despite a five-inch height disadvantage.
It was during the second quarter that OSU looked completely befuddled on offense, at one point going on a four-minute scoreless streak as UO harassed anyone who touched the ball on offense. Suddenly, with a double-team on Ruth Hamblin every time she received the ball in the post, the Beavers were not able to dominate the paint like they did against the Ducks on Friday.
The Beavers made the adequate adjustments in the second half, and they were able to poke holes at will in Oregon's defense. The Beavers looked more comfortable, passing the ball around and finding the openings rather than forcing up contested shots.
In one early third quarter instance, the Ducks were a little too aggressive on their help defense. They made the mistake of leaving Gabby Hanson wide open in the corner, where she easily nailed a three-pointer. The Ducks' defense was a little more conservative after that, which opened up the floor for the Beavers.
Scott Rueck deserves a good chunk of credit for preparing his team at halftime and taking the game back. It was nice to see that the more polished Beavers did not give into the early pressure from their gritty adversary.
The Beavers will now be off until Friday, Jan. 15 when they play Cal at home.