6th ranked Oregon State, a 2 seed in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, and the Pac-12 Champions, hammered 14 seed Troy, the winners of the Sun Belt Tournament in today's first round game. Literally.
Ruth "The Canadian Hammer" Hamlin had a double double by early in the second quarter, and when she called it a day almost 3 minutes before the end of the third quarter, had 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots.
It set the tone for Oregon State's 73-31 blowout win.
The Trojans actually took the first lead of the game, going up 2-0.
The Beavers answered with an 11-0 run.
Troy's Ashley Beverly-Kelly finally got another basket, but Oregon State answered that with another 12-0 run, going up 23-4 by the end of the first period.
Oregon State proceeded to open a 28 point lead in the second quarter, before settling for a 40-14 halftime lead.
And it happened without any points from Jamie Weisner, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, who was held scoreless in the first half.
It could have been even more lopsided though, as Oregon State coach Scott Rueck played everyone on the bench by the end of the second quarter.
The differences were size and defense. In addition to Hamblin, above collecting one of her 5 blocked shots, Troy was unable to deal with Marie Gulich either, and Oregon State was more than willing to pound the paint.
Meanwhile, Gabby Hanson was leading a defensive effort that held Troy, a team that averaged 82 points per game, to their lowest total of the season at the end of each of the 4 quarters.
"Gabby and crew kept them out of transition," Rueck said. "That's their game, and preventing it was our key to the game."
Besides Weisner's not scoring (and she was more than happy to draw Troy's attention and allow others to run wild), about the only thing of concern for the afternoon was a slow offensive start to the second half, where Oregon State didn't score for the first 3 minutes.
The Trojans only cut into the deficit by a single made 3, their first of the game, by Kristen Emmerson though, and Rueck decided on a timeout to jump start the offense.
Hanson and Hamblin then took turns scoring, and the Beavers pushed out to a 27 point, 48-21 lead by the mid third quarter media timeout. That started an 8-0 Oregon State run to the end of the 3rd quarter, and a 54-21 lead.
The run extended to 12-0 on back to back baskets by Kolbie Orum, this while the Beaver backups' defense was shutting the Trojans out for over 7 minutes.
JenVonTa Hill broke a nail though, and Sydney Wiese had to briefly return, as did Weisner, who finally got her only basket of the game. That and a pair of Wiese baskets, one off the steal below, anchored an 8-0 run that opened the lead to 41.
It would grow to 45 on another Orum basket before a game ending Troy 3 pointer.
In addition to Hamblin's huge numbers, Gulich was also a problem for Troy inside, finishing with 12 points, and 6 rebounds.
Wiese initially appeared to have just missed a double double, with 8 points to go with 10 rebounds. Subsequently, an updated official box score was released, and Wiese was indeed credited with 10 points, and the double double.
Hanson had her best game in a while, finishing with 9 points, and both Taylor Kalmer and Orum had 7 point outings.
Hamblin and Weise, and Gulich, also led a dominant effort on the boards, as Oregon State had a season high 66 rebounds, 25 more than Troy got to.
No one from Troy got to double figures, with Emmerson and Beverly-Kelly both held to 9 points and 9 rebounds.
Oregon State held Troy to 16% shooting, allowing just 12 of 74 shots. This was down from the 17% the Trojans shot in the first half. Troy also shot only 14% from 3 point range, as Oregon State consistently forced the Trojans, normally a major transition offense style of team, into a half court game they were not at all adept at.
"We made them miss a lot of shots," Rueck said. "I felt we could do that if we were able to stay in front of them."
Oregon State improved to 29-4, and will await the winner of this afternoon's second game at Gill, between St. Bonaventure and Oklahoma State, for a Sunday showdown for a ticket to the Sweet 16.
"I wanted us to play well today, execute, and be who we are," Rueck concluded. "That's play defense, and (patiently) take what's there on offense. When we do that, we are pretty hard to beat."
Troy finished their season a respectable 20-13. But as one ESPN Analyst noted, they had never seen anything like Ruth Hamblin.