OSU women's basketball: Trojans storm back in second half to deny Beavers a title

2014-03-09T21:00:00Z 2014-03-09T21:07:22Z OSU women's basketball: Trojans storm back in second half to deny Beavers a titleCorvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
March 09, 2014 9:00 pm  • 

SEATTLE — After dominating teams of late with its suffocating defense, the Oregon State women’s basketball team got a taste of its own medicine in the second half Sunday night.

Despite playing its fourth game in four days, it was USC that won the hustle plays over the final 20 minutes to capture the Pac-12 tournament title game with a 71-62 victory in Key Arena.

The Trojans, who trailed by seven at the half, blitzed the Beavers — outscoring them 42-26 — in the second half and went on to hand OSU its first loss in the last 12 games.

USC earned the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. With a 23-10 record and winners of 13 of their last 15, the Beavers should also receive a bid. That announcement will be made on March 17.

Still, Sunday’s loss hurt.

Coach Scott Rueck said there was a sense of mourning in the locker room, “because this team has done everything right.”

“When you stick yourself out on a limb like that, and you invest everything you have and you care about everybody and it doesn’t go your way, it hurts,” he said.

Added freshman point guard Sydney Wiese: “It’s another life lesson and we’re going to learn from it. We still have a lot of work to do. USC is a great team and they earned this championship. It hurts and it’s going to burn today but we have to get back to work (Monday) and finish the season strong.”

The Beavers were seeking their first Pac-10/12 tournament title and looked primed to make that happen when they went up 34-23 on Jamie Weisner’s 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 17 seconds left in the first half.

But the Trojans hit a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left as the shot clock was about to expire to get within 36-29 at the break.

USC cranked up the pressure and scored the first nine points of the second half to take a 38-36 lead, its first since 13-12 with 13:23 to play in the first half.

The Trojans eventually capped a 31-12 run to take a 60-48 lead with 7:21 to play.

The Beavers had just one field goal from the 11:53 mark — a 3 from Wiese — until Deven Hunter scored on a layup with 3:03 to play.

“I thought we came out soft the second half (and) for whatever reason that’s something has happened to us several times this year,” Rueck said.

Still, the Beavers wouldn’t go away. They chipped away and got within five with 1:47 to play on a Hunter layup.

However, the was as close as they would get.

“Credit USC,” Rueck said. “They played a great second half. They punched us in the face to start the second half and gained momentum and it was hard to get it back.

“Proud of our team for weathering the storm and fighting back like they did.”

Hunter led the Beavers with 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

Wiese added 17 points and four assists and Ruth Hamblin chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds for the Beavers.

Wiese and Hamblin were named to the all-tournament team along with USC’s Cassie Harberts, Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike and Washington State’s Lia Galdeira.

USC’s Ariya Crook was named the most outstanding player.

Crook scored 11 of her team-high 16 points in the second half as the Trojans cranked up the pressure on both ends.

Kiki Alofaituli had 12 of her 15 in the second half.

The Trojans also got 12 points from Harberts and 11 from Brianna Barrett.

USC grabbed 11 offensive rebounds and converted them for 23 second-chance points.

OSU was just 1 for 10 from 3 in the second half and finished 5 for 21. USC was 7 for 12.

The Beavers were 14 for 32 from the floor in the first half, but managed just an 8-for-26 performance in the second half.

USC is the first team to win four games in the tournament. It was the Trojans’ second trip to the final, losing to Stanford in 2009.

USC 71, Oregon State 62

USC (22-12) — Cassie harberts 5-15 2-3 12, Alexyz Vaioletama 1-4 4-4 6, Ariya Crook 6-17 2-2 16, Brianna Barrett 2-6 5-6 11, Kiki Alofaituli 5-9 5-5 15, Jordan Adams 0-1 0-0 0, Deanna Calhoun 0-1 0-0 0, Desiree Bradley 2-2 0-0 6, Kate Oliver 0-1 0-0 0, Courtney Jaco 1-3 0-0 3, Kaneisha Horn 0-1 2-4 2. Totals 22-60 20-24 71.

OREGON STATE (23-10) — Deven Hunter 6-12 7-11 19, Ruth Hamblin 4-7 2-3 10, Ali Gibson 0-7 2-4 2, Sydney Wiese 7-16 0-1 17, Alyssa Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Khadidja Toure 0-0 0-0 0, Breanna Brown 1-4 0-0 2, Gabby Hanson 2-6 2-2 6, Jamie Weisner 2-6 0-0 6. Totals 22-58 13-21 62.

Halftime — OSU 36, USC 29. Three-Point Goals — USC 7-12 (Crook 2-5, Barrett 2-2, Bradley 2-2, Jaco 1-3), OSU 5-21 (Hunter 0-2, Gibson 0-3, Wiese 3-9, Hanson 0-1, Weisner 2-6). Rebounds — USC 34 (Vaioletama 7, Barrett 7), OSU 40 (Hunter 11). Assists — USC 12 (Barrett 4), OSU 8 (Wiese 4). Total fouls — USC 22, OSU 19. Fouled out — None. Technicals — None. A — 4,785

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