TEMPE, Ariz. — Marie Gulich put an exclamation point on her final regular-season game in an Oregon State uniform.
The senior center displayed her repertoire of shots, using her myriad of moves to score inside, her soft touch with the mid-range jumper and her ability to fade away to score in a dominating final 20 minutes.
Gulich was 13 for 13 from the field and 4 for 4 from the free-throw line as she poured in 30 of her career-high 36 points after halftime.
That performance was crucial as the No. 12 Beavers rallied from 10 down at the half to pull out a 64-60 Pac-12 women’s basketball victory over Arizona State on Sunday.
Gulich finished 16 for 18 from the field and the Beavers were 17 for 23 after half, when they outscored ASU 42-28 after scoring just 22 points in the first two quarters.
“It just felt good,” Gulich said in a postgame radio interview. “I was in a good rhythm today and honestly the passes from the guards were really good. They set me up really good. It was fun.”
One of those guards, Katie McWilliams, was more than happy to see Gulich take over.
“What a way for her to finish off her Pac-12 play,” McWilliams said on the radio. “Just what an amazing player and leader we have and that I’ve gotten to play with for three years.
“I love getting her the ball so whenever we run those plays for her I’m so ready. She hit a lot of tough shots too, so you have to give her a lot of credit for just working down there and getting whatever she could.”
Oregon State (23-6, 14-4) finishes in a tie for third with UCLA but will be the No. 3 seed in this week’s Pac-12 tournament at KeyArena is Seattle. The Beavers get the nod because of their win over first-place Oregon; the Bruins lost both matchups with the Ducks.
Arizona State (19-11, 10-8) will be the No. 6 seed and face Arizona (6-23, 2-16) in the first round of the tournament on Thursday. The Beavers will play the winner of that game on Friday.
McWilliams finished with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists and Mikayla Pivec chipped in nine points, seven rebounds and three assists for the Beavers.
Arizona State got 13 points from Sophia Elenga and Robbi Ryan, and 11 from Reili Richardson.
Down 32-22 at the half, the Beavers made a concerted effort to get the ball to Gulich, who scored OSU’s first eight points of the period to get them within 34-30 with 6:55 to play.
McWilliams then hit a 3 to make it 34-33, but she missed two free throws that would have given the Beavers their first lead of the game.
ASU pushed the lead back to four before Pivec got the Beavers even at 39-all. Her layup with 54 seconds left gave the Beavers their first lead of the game, 41-39.
Gulich scored 16 points in the third and hit all seven of her field goal attempts as OSU led 45-43 after three. The Beavers were 10 for 15 from the floor while ASU was 5 for 15.
“We came out that second half and we had a different mindset,” McWilliams said. “We knew that we needed to get it inside to Marie more and get her more looks.”
Gulich scored the 12 of the Beavers’ first 14 points of the fourth for a 59-50 lead with 2:50 to play.
But the Sun Devils battled back and cut the deficit to 62-60 on three free throws with 17.6 seconds left.
But McWilliams calmly sank two free throws with 12.7 left and ASU missed a pair with 4.1 seconds left and the clock ran out.
Gulich said the Sun Devils had to choose between guarding her or staying out on the Beavers’ deadly outside shooters.
“I love that about our team that we have shooters outside so I can just score one-on-one in the paint because if they help off we shoot 3s,” she said. “I think it’s a really tough decision for an opposing team.”
In addition to Gulich’s hot hand, the key to the third quarter was that OSU did not turn the ball over and gave up just two offensive rebounds in the period.
ASU converted 10 OSU turnovers into 10 points and had seven offensive rebounds that led to nine second-chance points in the first half.
It was the second straight game the Sun Devils struggled in the third. On Friday Oregon outscored ASU 20-8 to take control; OSU had a 23-11 edge on Sunday.
“It really felt like that could be a 20-point game the way that they were the aggressor,” coach Scott Rueck said of the halftime deficit in his postgame radio interview. “So proud of the heart and the grit to find a way to get back in the game. It was almost a magical third quarter. The way we executed on both ends of the floor was phenomenal.”
The Beavers trailed 14-4 before Aleah Goodman scored five straight. McWilliams’ layup off a pass from Taylor Kalmer capped a 7-0 run.
But the Sun Devils took a 16-11 lead into the second quarter.
Arizona State pushed the lead to 26-13 thanks to a 7-0 run in the second before taking a 32-22 lead into the half.
Elenga was big for the Sun Devils, hitting all four of her field goals and all three of her free throws for 11 points off the bench.