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Beavers Win OT Thriller Against Cougars, 63-61

Katie McWilliams hits some of the biggest shots of her career to save Oregon State from the upset.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Beavers need overtime to defeat a scrappy, shorthanded, Washington State team, but came out of Friel Court with the win. Oregon State’s season record is now 18-6, 9-4 in the conference, a few wins back of the top teams in the PAC-12. Washington State falls to 10-15, and 3-10 in the conference.

The game started off like a lot of Oregon State toughest games have; the Beavers shooting was poor, and they were turning over the ball. The Cougars had strong early showings from Borislava Hristova and Maria Kostourkova to take a 17-7 lead after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Oregon State’s shooting remained cold, but Washington State joined them, as the team’s combined for only 13 points. Washington State was able to contain Marie Gulich for most of the first half, despite not scoring much in the paint, and their perimeter players outplayed Oregon State’s for an 11 point half time lead.

The third quarter began the Beaver comeback. Marie Gulich, assisted by Mikayla Pivec, finding openings was a big part of this, but Aleah Goodman was the star of the show. Goodman buried a series of threes to help erase the Cougar lead, and by the end of the quarter the game was tied.

It looked like the Beavers would finally take control of the game in the fourth. Oregon State took their first lead of the game on a Goodman three point shot, and had built a five point lead with two minutes left in the game. Unfortunately, the Beavers started to turn the ball over again, with the Cougars capitalizing on those mistakes to erase the OSU lead. With 16 seconds left on the clock, Borislava Hristova scored a layup, with a plus one from a foul, to give Washington State a two point lead.

While Washington State used fouls to eat away time, Marie Gulich missed a three point shot, but the Cougars knocked the ball out of bounds. With 2 seconds left, Aleah Goodman served up a beautiful inbound pass for Katie McWilliams, who tied the game, sending it to overtime.

Gulich started the extra period off strong for the Beavers, and six points in overtime. The Beavers once again built a small lead, this time six points with 30 seconds to go. The Cougars battled back; clutch threes from Hristova and Pinelopi Pavlopoulou erased that margin. It looked like we were headed to a second OT period, but a massive inbound pass with seconds to go set up Katie McWilliams for a final shot; she missed, but the Cougars fouled her, and McWilliams buried both shots to seal the win.

McWilliams was the hero of the night, finishing with only 9 points, but the four most important points of the game. She also had 7 rebounds.

Goodman was the top scorer, and her ace shooting helped erase the early Washington State lead. She finished with 17 points, and was 5-7 from beyond the arc.

Marie Gulich had another strong game, though not one of her best. She scored 15 points, but her biggest contribution was her 16 rebounds, including six offensive boards.

Rebounding was one of the Beavers biggest strengths tonight. The team as a total finished with a massive 52, compared to Wazzu’s 32. Even when the Beavers shooting was poor, they would often have two or three shots at the basket.

To counter that, they team continued to struggle with turnovers. with 15 tonight. That number is not unusual for the Beavers this season, and their inability to fix that issue puts a ceiling on their efforts this season.

Washington State’s top scorer was Borislava Hristova, who totaled 21 points. Hristova is one of the PAC-12’s top scorers, and she was deadly from most of the floor tonight. While Oregon State shut down Washington State in the paint, the Cougars found ample opportunities outside the key. Resigning the post to the Beavers was a double edged sword however, as they essentially gave up on second chance opportunities, which kept the Beavers in the game.

The Cougars were shorthanded tonight as four of the team’s players, three of them starters, were suspended for violating team rules. The Cougars certainly didn’t play like a team missing half their starting roster; it will be interesting to see how their roster develops.

Up Next

Oregon State finishes their Washington road trip with a match against the Huskies on Sunday at 3:00 pm. The Beavers won the first match up with Washington this season 75-63, and since then Washington has struggled in their conference schedule, going 1-11.

Washington State, meanwhile, will have to face the conference’s best team, the Oregon Ducks, on Sunday. That’s a tough match under any circumstances, let alone after such an emotional, hard fought defeat.