On March 24th, 2011, I was at a Portland Blazers game. The Blazers, playing the Spurs, were down by two with seven seconds left in the game. Nicolas Batum was fouled on a rebound, and tied the game up with his free throws. The Spurs screwed up the inbound pass, giving the Blazers a chance for the win with 0.9 seconds left in the game. A perfect inbound pass from Andre Miller to Batum gave the Blazers an amazing buzzer beater win. Until tonight, it was the most amazing game I’ve ever seen in person.
The rematch between #19 Arizona State and #9 Oregon State started tough, and the refs let it get out of hand quickly. Fouls were not coming, despite the Sun Devils playing aggressive defense that sent a few Beavers to the floor early. The Sun Devils built a big early lead, off of some excellent three point shooting; ASU could just could not miss their shots early, while the Beavers struggled to find open looks under the pressure Arizona State was applying.
The Beavers finally started making some shots, and cut the Sun Devil lead 20-13 at the end of the first, but toward the end of the quarter, Kennedy Brown went down with a knee injury and had to be helped off the court. She didn’t return for the rest of the game, and we’re still awaiting word on the severity of her injury. The Beavers could be without one of their starters for some time.
Arizona State continued to aggressively press the Beavers on defense, with special focus on keeping the ball out of the hands of Taylor Jones. With Brown out, Jones was left as the Beavers major interior scoring threat, and the Sun Devils did everything they could to shut her down. For awhile, they were successful, and whenever the Beavers seemed like they could cut down ASU’s lead, a clutch three from Robbi Ryan would or a jumper from Jamie Ruden would undo much of the Beavers’ work. They did manage to cut down the Arizona State lead to 35-30 at halftime.
Oregon State’s frustration with the officiating finally boiled over in the third. After a Kat Tudor three finally tied the game up, an odd foul call on Taylor Jones caused Scott Rueck to erupt. The Beavers were assessed a technical, which allowed ASU to get their lead back with free throws. It didn’t last long, as Destiny Slocum hit a three to give the Beavers their first lead of the night. The two teams traded the lead for a couple minutes, but another Robbi Ryan three gave the Sun Devils some breathing room, and they ended the third up 44-40.
Back to back threes in the 4th gave Arizona State an 8 point lead, and it looked like momentum had swung away from the Beavers. Then, Aleah Goodman decided to carry the team for awhile. She hit two threes in a row, and then added a driving layup, scoring 8 straight points and tying the game with 3 minutes to go. Oregon State grabbed the lead, but the Sun Devils took it back a couple minutes later. With 9 seconds left in the game, Destiny Slocum tied things up with a layup, but Arizona swiftly scored, taking a 2 point lead with 3.1 seconds left in the game.
Oregon State called a timeout and moved the ball up to half court, and after the inbobund an amazing pass from Maddie Washington set up a gorgeous layup from Kat Tudor, tying the game with less than a second to go. Inexplicably, Arizona State screwed up the inbound pass, throwing it out of bounds. giving the Beavers 0.4 seconds to win the game.
That’s all the time you need if you’re Mikayla Pivec, who caught the inbound from Aleah Goodman and instantly got the ball in the air. It ran around the rim for about an eternity, before finally dropping, giving the Beavers an incredible, legendary, 64-62 victory. The Beavers improve to 19-4, and 7-4 in conference.
Destiny Slocum led the team in scoring, with 20 points and 2 assists. Aleah Goodman was next, with 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Her clutch 3 shooting, her 4 threes helped erase some of the biggest deficits the Beavers faced. Mikayla Pivec’s game winning heroics have been documented, and she finished the night with 11 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks. Despite being aggressively guarded by ASU, Taylor Jones added 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Beavers face another top 25 ranked team on Sunday when #12 Arizona comes to Gill. OSU one the last matchup in Tucson 63-61. Tip off is set for 12:00 PM PT.