With Hamblin, Wiese and Weisner, who else do you need?
The No. 7 Beavers defeated the No. 12 Bruins 64-54 for their 14th straight victory, tieing the program record, on senior night, finishing the season 14-1 at home. The game also served as some nice revenge against UCLA, who served OSU their only Pac-12 loss earlier in the season on Jan. 4 in Los Angeles.
Senior center Ruth Hamblin and senior guard Jamie Weisner paced the Beavers with sensational play.
Weisner, above, scored 20 of her 25 total points in the first half, giving the Beavers a 34-29 lead going into halftime, while Hamblin exploded in the second half with 12 points and 10 rebounds (ending with 16 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks.) At the end of the day, both ended with terrific stat lines. Wiesner supplemented her scoring with a double double producing career high 14 rebounds.
Junior guard Sydney Wiese also joined in on the fun, scoring 21 points on 6-16 shooting and running the offense with her usual flair, above.
Fun fact: the trio of Hamblin, Wiese and Weisner scored 62 of the Beavers' 64 points on the evening. Senior forward Deven Hunter was the only other OSU member to score.
While all three had huge performances, it cannot be understated that Ruth Hamblin was a basketball-dominating machine in the second half. There were countless strings of plays, like above, when Hamblin would block or alter a shot and grab the rebound on the defensive end, and then immediately post up on offense and get a bucket. She was double-teamed, but still managed to score. It was an incredible showing, and a happy ending to Hamblin's reign of dominance in Gill Coliseum. It did come with UCLA operating without starting post Kacy Swain though. Swain suffered a right knee injury just before halftime, and was on crutches when she returned to the Bruin bench in the second half.
UCLA as a result had no counter, so they often resorted to fouling Hamblin before she could score. The tactic gave a UCLA a little bit of cushion, as Hamblin shot 2-7 from the free throw line, but ultimately did not help them out on the defensive end where Hamblin denied each and every attempt to score in the post. The Bruins ended with 23 fouls on the evening, unsuccessfully prolonging the game at the end by fouling in their fruitless efforts to catch up.
Weisner boosted the Beavers in the second quarter with 13 points and three three-pointers. Two of those came on back-to-back possesions, putting the crowd on their feet.
Sophomore guard Jordin Canada, who torched the Beavers for 24 points in her last meeting with OSU, struggled this time around. She scored 15 points on 5-16 shooting, often finding little room to operate against the Beavers' stifling defense. Senior guard Nirra Fields was UCLA's leading scorer with 20 points on 7-20 shooting. On the night, the Bruins shot only 29 percent from the field, a testament to OSU's defense.
There was one point in the fourth quarter when the Bruins pulled to within eight points of the Beavers, but a quick timeout and subsequent regrouping by head coach Scott Rueck promptly squashed any UCLA comeback hopes.
"That's as good as it gets," Rueck said. "I couldn't be more proud of this team. To face a team as talented and well coached as UCLA and to just lay it on the line was special. This game got everything we had, and that empitomized our senior class."
All seniors were able to check in, with senior guard Jen'Von'Ta Hill squeaking in for the last 30 seconds of the game.
It was a wonderful sight to see the seniors go off on such a high note. The class of Samantha Siegner, Hill, Hamblin, Weisner and Hunter gave Oregon State a spectacular run of success during their tenure, and it will be with fond eyes and warm hearts that fans of the OSU women's team will look at back at these days.
Their work is far from over, however, as the Beavers will now prepare for Friday's huge road matchup against Stanford, a game that OSU needs to win to secure the Pac-12 title.
The win did ensure Oregon State will have one of the top 2 seeds in Seattle for the conference tournament in 2 weeks. The Beavers already had a top 4 finish, and a first day bye, in their pocket, but UCLA still had a shot at winning the conference until tonight.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)