SEATTLE — Sydney Wiese and Gabby Hanson made the slow walk across the court to their bench while Stanford players celebrated.

Wiese shook hands with her teammates on the bench before getting a hug from Marie Gulich. She looked up into the stands and blew her mom a kiss, then got a handshake from Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer.

Oregon State’s bid for a second straight Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament title was not to be on Sunday night as the Cardinal used a stifling defense to pull out a 48-43 win at KeyArena.

It was Stanford’s 12th tournament title.

“This group, I couldn’t say enough about this team to be a significant player (Katie McWilliams) down all weekend, to play three games in three days,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “… I was just proud of the grit and the heart that they showed to give themselves a chance to win again (Sunday) against a really good team.”

Wiese was named to the all-tournament team along with Stanford’s Alana Smith, California’s Kristine Anigwe, UCLA’s Jordin Canada and Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu.

The game started about as well as the Beavers (29-4) could have hoped as they bolted out to a 16-3 lead behind a 7-for-9 shooting display that had to have stunned the Cardinal.

“We had a really good start, we came out really strong,” said senior Kolbie Orum. “But we knew that Stanford is a really good team so we tried to keep that run going and going and they started hitting tough shots."

Added VanDerveer: "We kind of got the bloody nose first, but that motivated people to keep playing hard and make plays."

OSU led 22-12 after the quarter, but from there Stanford (28-5) was able to keep the Beavers frustrated offensively and gave up just 21 points the final three quarters.

“They play us like we play other teams,” Orum said. “They took away our tendencies and they got the best of us tonight. We played our butts off, we just came up short.”

Rueck knew the game was far from over.

“We saw them get down (Saturday) night and come back and dominate the last three quarters," he said. "(Sunday) I wouldn’t say they quite dominated but they made the plays and they were in control more so the final three quarters."

Wiese was hounded all game long by Briana Roberson and Marta Sniezek. While she led the Beavers with 13 points, Wiese was just 4 for 13 from the floor.

“We had people really work hard to shut her done and worked hard to make everything tough,” VanDerveer said. “I’m so proud of how hard this team worked and battled.”

Said Wiese: “Every time there was an on-ball, there was at least one, maybe two defenders that were on my hip.”

With McWilliams out for a third straight game with an undisclosed ailment, it didn’t help that Mikayla Pivec picked up two fouls in the first quarter and sat the rest of the half.

Pivec, who had 17 points in the win against California in the quarterfinals and 15 in the semis against UCLA, started well with six points on two 3s in the first quarter.

She had just two more the rest of the game.

“We had total control of this game when she picked up that second one and we were flowing so well offensively with that group,” Rueck said.

Wiese’s banked 3 at the buzzer to end the first half gave the Beavers a 29-23 edge. After a Stanford bucket to open the third, Pivec scored inside and Wiese had an and-one to put OSU up 34-25.

But Stanford scored nine straight to get even before Orum put the Beavers up 36-34 after three.

The Cardinal scored the first six of the fourth to take their first lead since 3-2.

Down five late, the Beavers had a chance and Wiese drained a 3 that would have gotten the Beavers within 46-44 with 44 seconds left, but Pivec was called for an offensive foul.

Marie Gulich had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Beavers while Smith had a game-high 18 off the bench for Stanford. Karlie Samuelson chipped in 14 and Erica McCall added eight.

Rueck had a simple message for the Beavers, who will learn next Monday who they face in the first round of the NCAA tournament, after the loss.

“The reality is what they have accomplished is ridiculous,” Rueck said. “It’s amazing what they’ve done in the No. 1 conference in the country. Tonight Stanford won but this has been the best team all year and won the games that mattered in the regular season. … We’re poised to make a great run in the postseason.”


Sports Editor

Sports editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

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