The Friday night annual DAM Cancer pink game match up saw two teams on opposite ends of the conference standings. The Colorado Buffaloes (6-17, 1-11) have continued to struggle this season, but even though they have only one win in Pac-12 play it was against a solid USC team. All of which demonstrated that co-conference leading Oregon State (20-3, 11-1) had to take this game as a serious "take care of business" match up.
Taking care of business though took a little bit of time as the early on red hot shooting Colorado team held even with Beavs through the first first quarter. The all pink uniformed starting five for Oregon State Deven Hunter, Sydney Wiese, Ruth Hamblin, Gabriella Hanson, and Pac-12 player of the week Jamie Weisner all scored in the first quarter. This balanced scoring helped Oregon State take slight 12 to 10 lead at the 4:53 mark, and behind a blistering 60% shooting quarter allowed OSU to open up a 20 to 16 lead at the buzzer.
Deven Hunter opened the scoring for the Beavs in the second quarter by hitting a 3-point basket to increase the lead 23 to 18 at the 8:22 mark. The a wonderful up-and-under move by Weisner helped Oregon State keep the momentum going, but the Colorado counterpunch came with a Lauren Huggins' 3-point basket that cut the OSU lead back down to two points. After some experimenting with the bench, Scott Rueck then went back to his starters, and Rueck also decided to go with a taller line-up with Marie Gülich and Ruth Hamblin on the court at the same time, all of which contributed to the Beavs being able to take a more comfortable 33 to 23 lead at the 3:10 mark.
Sydney Wiese contests Colorado's Haley Smith for a loose ball (AP photo).
The Oregon State defense in second quarter was able to keep Colorado in check and along with a last second Gülich basket the Beavers took a 37 to 28 lead into the halftime break.
Oregon State did not at times fully take advantage of their mismatches, and Coach Rueck also rotated players off the bench more often than normal. In spite of the unevenness of some of the play, OSU at the halftime break did have decent shooting percentage of 47%, hitting 16 for 34 of their shots from the field. For 3-pointers though the team only hit 1 for 8 of their shots from behind the arc, but Oregon State did convert 4 of their 5 free throws. The Beavs slightly out rebounded Colorado 20 to 18, and had 7 turnovers. Colorado overall shot the ball well against the Oregon State defense hitting 13-32 (41%) from the field, including 2 for 6 in 3-point baskets. But Colorado did not shoot a free throw and turned it over 10 times.
Jamie Weisner led all scorers in the first half with 10 points, followed by Sydney Wiese and Marie Gülich who both had 6 points. Colorado's leading scorers were Kennedy Leonard with 7 points and Zoe Correal with 6 points.
The teams came out in the second half and exchanged baskets, and behind a Sydney Wiese conversion of a three point play the Beavers were able to get the lead back up to double digits, 44 to 34. Scott Rueck then again went to the bench, this time bringing in Kolbie Orum for some substantial minutes in the third quarter. As the quarter wound down the Beavs were not able to put the hard playing Colorado team totally away but at the same time were able to take a solid 56 to 42 lead into the fourth, and final quarter.
The depth of the Beavers though was just too much for Colorado, and Oregon State at the 6:59 mark of the fourth quarter saw the lead go to 62 to 42. The final minutes of the game were all Oregon State as the Beavs were able to close out the deal easily 73 to 50.
The final stats told the story of the lopsided end result as Oregon State finished the game hitting 29 of 64 field goals (45%), which included 5 of their 15 three-point attempts; and the Beavs converted 10 for 15 of their free throws. Additionally OSU continued to uphold their rebounding standard grabbing 46 rebounds to Colorado's 37. And for once Oregon State was able to win the turnover battle, 12 to 14. The Beavers' defense held the Buffaloes to 33% from the field (22 for 66), which included locking down Colorado's 3-pointers to only 3 of 13. Colorado hit 3 of their only 6 free throws.
Hamblin, above, AP photo, who donated a foot of hair for wigs for cancer survivors after the game, led a strong defensive effort, with 4 of the 8 blocked shots the Beavers recorded.
Oregon State scoring was led by Jamie Weisner, above, with a game high 16 points, Sydney Wiese scored 15 points, Deven Hunter had 11 points, and Marie Gülich contributed 10 points off the bench. Kennedy Leonard led the way for Colorado with 11 points and Haley Smith and Jamee Swan both had 10 points each.
In the end Oregon State did take care of business. Maybe it was not a full shutdown performance all game long, but Colorado, to their credit, played hard and Coach Rueck did rotate in more players than usual for the Beavs (12 of 13 players on the OSU roster got playing time, only redshirted freshman Tarea Green did not play). All of which translated into Oregon State's 11th in a row victory, and a 12 and 1 conference record to keep even on top of the Pac-12 with #9 Arizona State who defeated California earlier in the evening.
"They want to recreate that upset (the win that eliminated Oregon State in their first game in last year's Pac-12 tournament)," Rueck said. "We needed to come out and play better than we did that last time."
The Beavs next match up this coming Sunday at 1:00 against Utah (14-10, 6-7), who are coming off a 69 to 58 loss against Oregon. The important conference game will not be televised, but will have live stats and audio.