Oregon State is moving on in the NCAA Women’s Tournament after snapping a 30 game win streak from the Baylor Bears. Baylor and the Beavers battled back and forth in a stone cold classic of this year’s tournament, until Oregon State managed to pull away in the fourth for a 72-67 victory.
It was apparent early in the first quarter exactly what type of game we would be getting; tough and physical, with both teams focusing on leveraging their interior size. For Oregon State, that’s been the game plan all season with scoring running through Marie Gulich. Baylor, meanwhile, had 6 foot 7 inch Kalani Brown locking down the key.
Oregon State got the early edge in the first, with Gulich getting a quick start to her night, with eight points in the quarter. Baylor battled back in the second, behind a impressive defensive stand from Brown to lock out Gulich. Baylor erased the Beavers early lead, and went into the locker room with a 31-29 lead.
Kat Tudor then hit the third quarter like a flash of lightning, draining a couple of threes and giving the Beavers the lead back. Neither team could hold a lead for long though, as the teams traded that back and forth throughout the quarter.
With the Beavers holding a two point lead at the beginning of the fourth, it was time for both teams to prove which one would be the grittiest, toughest, team of the day. This day, it was Oregon State. Marie Gulich dominated the paint, and Kat Tudor was deadly from behind the back court, as the Beavers built one of the first multiple score leads either team had had today.
The news got worse for Baylor, as forward Lauren Cox fouled out late in the game. Cox had been one of the Bears principle scoring threats, finishing with 15 points. She also brought an incredible five blocks to the table.
Her absence gave Marie Gulich and Taya Corosdale even more room to work with, and with time winding down it looked like the Beavers had it all but locked up. Baylor guard Alex Morris wasn’t done though, and scored 9 points in the final two minutes of the game to cut the Beaver lead from 8 to 2. It looked like Baylor might be able to get the game into overtime, or even finish the Beavers season.
Unfortunately for Baylor, there’s been a player the Beavers have relied on all season to clutch out these sorts of games, and once again Katie “McBuckets” McWilliams was the dagger in the heart of an Oregon State opponent. McWilliams hit a three to give the Beavers a five point lead with 20 seconds to go, and Baylor could not find a basket.
We all new the Beavers were elite. Now the rest of the nation does.
There’s too many accolades to list for the team this game. It was a true team effort. Like she has done all season, Marie Gulich was the leader on the court, finishing with 26 points and 9 rebounds. Kat Tudor was the Beavers best option when Gulich was locked down, with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Mikayla Pivec was a defensive nightmare for the Bears, and her smart ball handling cut down on the turnovers that have been the bane of OSU all season. She finished with 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists.
All those rebounds really added up, and may have been the most important part of the Beaver victory. Baylor has dominated the boards all season, but for the first time this year, they got beat in that stat.
This game was a masterpiece of coaching from Scott Rueck, who had a perfect game plan to contain Baylor’s threats. If you want to contribute to Building the Dam’s efforts to get a Rueck statue built, hit us up in the comments.
The Beavers will play the winner of #1 Louisville vs. #4 Stanford on Sunday.