Despite an impressive first half from the Liberty Flames, the Beavers dominated in the second half to win their second game in the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament 68-55. Oregon State now stands at 7-0 this season, and Head Coach Scott Rueck earned his 500th win with the team.
It didn’t come easy, with Liberty controlling the pace of the game early. While the Beavers couldn’t seem to find a shot, the Flames capitalized on fouls and turnovers to take a 13-4 lead in the first. Aleah Goodman got a clutch three near the end of the quarter to keep things close, but the Beavers couldn’t grab the lead.
That pattern continued in the second, with great threes from Destiny Slocum and Jasmine Simmons keeping things close, but Liberty continuing to score off turnovers to stay in front. Emily Lytle and Ashtyn Baker led the Flames on a 9-0 run late in the second quarter to put Liberty up 10 with 2 minutes left in the half, but the Beavers managed to trim the deficit to just five, 30-25, before the team’s went to the locker rooms.
The second half was a completely different game. Things started physical, with both teams trading personal fouls and free throws back and forth. Kennedy Brown then led the Beavers on a 12-2 run to take the lead. Today was perhaps Brown’s best performance since joining the team, with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.
The Flames battled back, and at the end of the third the Beavers only led by 4, 47-43. In the fourth, the Beavers defense managed to suffocate Liberty, with the Flames only managing 12 points. Brown and Taylor Jones looked excellent in the key, while Mikayla Pivec and Aleah Goodman locked down the edges. Pivec had another great night, with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals.
In the end, the Flames just couldn’t find any scoring, only managing 12 points in the final quarter,and only a solitary 3 pointer in the final two minutes, while the Beavers rode solid free throw shooting to a 13 point, 68-55 win.
The team will return to Corvallis next weekend, hosting Hawaii on Friday, December 6th.