In a game that is sure to go down as an all time classic, not just in the Civil War series but in all of college basketball, the Oregon State Beavers have defeated Oregon, snapping the Ducks nine game win streak and handing them their first PAC-12 loss.
The Beavers took an early lead in the first quarter behind stellar three point shooting, particularly from Kat Tudor. Oregon would spend most of the game slowly eroding that lead, and by the fourth quarter the teams were swapping the lead back and forth.
As the clock ticked down, it looked like the Beavers had it locked up; they led by 2 with possession, and there were less than 10 seconds left on the clock. Tudor missed a crucial free throw that would have given the team a 4 point lead however, and the Ducks had one last chance to send the game to overtime.
That was all Sabrina Ionescu needed. She drained a three with 3 seconds left on the clock, and it looked like Oregon State had let all their momentum, and the game, slip away. But the Beavers would not be denied, and a suffocating defense only allowed the Ducks 4 points in the extra period. Kat Tudor may have been player of the game, but Katie McWilliams was the hero of the game; she hit an incredibly clutch three point shot, and added one extra at the foul line, to put the game out of Oregon’s reach.
The win puts the 18th ranked Beavers at 14-4, with a 5-2 conference record, and well in the hunt for the PAC-12 crown. They’ll still be chasing the 7th ranked Ducks, now at 17-3, 6-1 in the conference, and well aware of where that 1 came from.
Kat Tudor had what may be the best game of her college career. 34 points, including 7 three pointers, led the Beavers tonight. Matched up against Ionescu for much of the night, Tudor did not back down, and matched the Oregon star nearly point for point. The game continues the hot streak Tudor started in last week’s game against Arizona; after three games when Tudor was quiet, it’s good to see her bounce back like this, especially against one of the best players in the nation.
Marie Gulich, despite being double and triple teamed, had another huge game. Gulich added 28 points of her own, and also contributed a massive 15 rebounds for a double double. The Beavers ability to get second chance points, and keep the Ducks from doing the same, kept them in the game even when shooting slowed in the third quarter. Gulich also added 3 blocks.
Katie McWilliams had the shot that iced the game, and finished the night with 9 points and 8 assists. McWillaims usually plays a more supportive role compared to fellow guards Tudor and Mikayla Pivec, but proved tonight she can make the important shots when they count.
In a losing effort, Sabrina Ionescu proved why she’s been making headlines all year. Ionescu had 35 points total, including the only 4 the Ducks scored in overtime. The game was often a story of how much the Beavers could contain Ionescu; when they couldn’t, Ionescu could hit just about anything, especially the shot that extended the game.
Ruthy Hebard was the other big standout for the Ducks. The 6 foot 4 forward was part of the squad that was tasked with containing Gulich, and while they weren’t quite up to the task, Hebard still proved quite effective on her own. She finished with 24 points and 7 rebounds.
Round 2 in the Civil War is this Sunday, January 21st, at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene. The Ducks will look to split the season series, and the Beavers will look to take control of the PAC-12 race. It’ll be hard for any game to match the thrill of this one, but I’m sure both teams will find a way. Tip off is at 5:00 pm.