It was a match up of two programs at opposite sides of the 2015-16 season. The 11th ranked Oregon State Beavers (15-3, 6-1) team was coming into this game in Boulder on a five game conference win streak including impressive wins against Oregon, California, Stanford, and Utah. Indeed the Beavers were most recently energized by the return of star guard Sydney Wiese, who contributed 12 points in her return from a hand injury in the Oregon State 62 to 53 win over Utah Friday night. In contrast, Colorado (5-13, 0-7) was coming in last place in the conference, and off a 59 to 46 loss to Oregon Friday evening.
The mismatch did not show itself early on as Oregon State struggled shooting and Colorado was able to take a 6 to 2 lead at the 8:05 mark. The Beavs were able to keep pace, all by getting Ruth Hamblin established in the paint as Hamblin scored the first ten OSU points. The Buffaloes though had a more of an early full team effort to keep the first quarter close. A couple of Samantha Siegner free throws and Jamie Weisner basket gave OSU a 14 to 12 lead. Then at the 2:34 mark of the quarter Sydney Wiese's "dish" to Marie Gülich put the Oregon State lead up to 16 to 12; and at the buzzer Gabriella Hanson had a strong offensive put back to end the quarter in the Beavers' favor, 20 to 16.
In the second quarter the Beavs continued to go to Ruth Hamblin early on, but Oregon State struggled to find an early offensive rhythm. At the same time Oregon State brought over their exceptional defense play from the Utah game, and Colorado struggled to convert baskets. But Oregon State's offensive issues in the quarter did allow Colorado to pull within two points, 22 to 20 at the 5:40 mark. It was the OSU defense though that allowed the Beavs to reestablish a little more control of the game, and with the help of a Jamie Weisner 3-point basket Oregon State was able to take a 27 to 20 lead. Still the Beavs just looked off, trying to make one too many passes and not converting open looks, but were able to sneak a 32 to 27 lead into the halftime break.
For the first half Oregon State shot 11 for 26 (42.3%). The Beavs though hit only one of their six 3-point attempts, but made 9 of their 12 free throws. The Beavers also had 27 rebounds, and turned it over 9 times. Ruth Hamblin was the first half leading scorer with 11 points, and was followed by Jamie Weisner with 6 points. Colorado made 12 of their 36 shots from the field (33.3%), which included just one for four of their 3-point attempts. Additionally the Buffaloes converted 2 of their 5 free throws, had 14 rebounds, and turned it over only 2 times. Colorado's leading scorers were Jamee Swan with 8 points and Haley Smith with 6 points.
The third quarter was not exceptionally strong again on offense as Oregon State had issues hitting their shots and continued to make poor decisions passing, but OSU's defense continued to hold firm. A Gabriella Hanson 3-point basket combined with two Hanson free throws on the next possession gave Oregon State a 37 to 31 lead at the 7:02 mark. Even with being off in much of her shooting Jamie Weisner hit a big 3-pointer to put the Beavs up 42 to 35 at the 5:04 mark, and then a strong post up play by Ruth Hamblin increased the OSU lead to nine points. In the end it was not the strongest of quarters for Oregon State, but the Beavs still were able to take a 49 to 41 lead into the final quarter of play.
Oregon State's depth, especially with the inside game allowed the Beavers to extend out their lead and finally pull away from the hard fighting Colorado team. For a good amount of the fourth quarter Oregon State's Scott Rueck made the decision to have both Ruth Hamblin and Marie Gülich in at the same time, and the decision paid off as the two scored OSU's first four points to get the lead finally up to double digits 53 to 43. On the other side of the ball Colorado could not solve the Oregon State defensive puzzle, and all in all the Beavers' depth allowed the lead to go to a comfortable 61 to 45 advantage at the 2:44 mark. As the game wound down the Oregon State defense combined with Ruth Hamblin's scoring made it just too much for the Buffaloes to overcome, and the Beavs were able to leave Boulder with a 61 to 47 win.
In the end Oregon State hit 20 for 54 (37%) of their shots, which included 3 of their 15 three-point attempts. The Beavs also converted 18 for 26 free throws, had 47 rebounds, and turned it over 12 times. Ruth Hamblin led all scorers with her season high of 20 points, Jamie Weisner followed with 14 points, Gabriella Hanson had 9 points, and Marie Gülich contributed 8 points. The Buffaloes shot 21 for 61 (34.4%) from the field, hit just 1 of their 7 three-point attempts, made 4 of their 7 free throws, had 32 rebounds, and turned it over 11 times. Colorado was led by Haley Smith with 16 points and Jamee Swan with 8 points (Swan was not able to score in the second half).
It was a tougher game than Oregon State may have been anticipated coming in against a struggling Colorado team, but in the end the Beavs were able to establish a lead and hold onto to it. But the Beavers looked a bit more tired in this higher elevation game than they did against Utah Friday night. Sydney Wiese saw very limited time and did not score. Although Oregon State did not need Wiese's spark this time around as Ruth Hamblin overcame her recent scoring woes to lead Oregon State to their sixth straight conference win. But the Beavers, as a team, will need to find more offensive consistency and play much smarter when they host two big conference opponents next week against Arizona and Arizona State.
Oregon State will have a week off until they have to jump right back into the fire of conference play. The Beavers will first match up against Arizona (11-8, 2-5) in Corvallis Friday evening for a 6:00 PT tip, and then a week from tomorrow will host the current first place and #8 ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (16-3, 7-0) in a battle for the top spot in the Pac-12.