Early on in Thursday night’s matchup, Oregon State seemed to be in serious trouble. New Mexico had jumped out to a big lead early in the first half, but the Beavers managed to slowly climb back into the game. In the fourth quarter they completed the comeback, taking down the Lobos 78-73 to advance to the quarterfinals of the WNIT.
After Jelena Mitrovic grabbed the first point of the game with a free throw, the Beavers wouldn’t hold the lead again until the third quarter. New Mexico simply couldn’t miss a shot in the first quarter. LaTascya Duff did the most damage, going 5 for 5 on three pointers in the first 10 minutes, but she wasn’t the only one. Her sister LaTora also hit a pair of threes, and the Lobos as a whole dropped 30 points on the Beavers, going up 30-16 after the first.
New Mexico stayed in control early in the second quarter. After an Antonia Anderson three, the Lobos stretched their lead to 18 points with 5 minutes left in the first half. At that point, Oregon State finally got a run going. Ellie Mack in particular was excellent, scoring 7 points over the final few minutes as the Beavers cut the deficit to just 8 points, 44-36, at halftime.
Oregon State continued to chip away at the Lobo lead, until Talia von Oelhoffen hit a three to cut it to just one point. Ellie Mack followed that with a jumper to give the Beavers the lead for the first time since the first quarter. New Mexico tied the game in short order and took the lead back before the end of the third, with the Lobos up 56-53.
The fourth was set to be a battle, and both teams did not disappoint. The Beavers grabbed the lead back with baskets from Taya Corosdale and Ellie Mack, and stretched the margin to five points. The Lobos then went on an eight point run to grab the lead back. Talia von Oelhoffen scored 4 straight to put the Beavers back in front, but the Lobos took the lead right back with a Jaedyn De La Cerda jumper. After an Emily Codding three and another De La Cerda jump shot, both teams were tied 71-71 with the final minute about to begin.
Ellie Mack broke the stalemate with a layup, and added one more with a free throw. After two offensive rebounds New Mexico’s Antonia Anderson managed to cut the Beaver lead to one point with 26 seconds to go. The Lobos were forced to foul Talia von Oelhoffen to get possession back, and after von Oelhoffen hit both free throws they needed a three. They didn’t get it, as De La Cerda’s attempt went wide. Von Oelhoffen hit two more free throws to close out the OSU win.
The Beavers will be facing a familiar opponent in the next round. UCLA knocked off the Wyoming Cowboys 82-81 in double overtime to advance in the bracket, and will be coming to Corvallis Sunday for quarterfinals. In their one meeting earlier this season, Oregon State beat the Bruins 72-58. Tip off is set for 12:00 PM PT.