CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Scott Rueck called a timeout with just over four minutes left in the first half on Tuesday night.
The 16th-ranked Beavers held a 25-20 lead over No. 6 North Carolina and Oregon State’s fifth-year women’s basketball coach wanted to make sure his team finished the half disciplined.
The Beavers did just that.
Jamie Weisner buried a 3 and Ruth Hamblin had back-to-back baskets to give the Beavers a 32-20 lead. After a bucket by the Tar Heels, Ali Gibson canned a 3 and Kolbie Orum scored to cap a 12-2 run that gave OSU its largest lead of the half at 37-22.
The Beavers used that burst to gain the separation they needed and went on to post an emphatic 70-55 win over the Tar Heels.
It’s the Beavers’ first road win over a top-1o team.
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“It feels great for this team to experience success in such a big way,” Rueck said in a phone interview. “It validates what they’re doing and all their efforts.”
North Carolina (9-1) never got closer than 11 from there.
“It put a little bit of scoreboard pressure on them, too, but also with the officiating you never know what you’re going to get on the road, so I thought that gave us a pretty good buffer heading into the second half,” Hamblin said.
OSU pushed the lead to as many as 20 in the second half before withstanding an 11-4 run midway through the second half as the Tar Heels attempted to make a comeback.
Hamblin led the way with 17 points while Weisner added 14 for the Beavers, who improve to 8-0 and head to New Orleans to play in a tournament this Friday and Saturday before taking on No. 11 Tennessee on Dec. 28.
Sydney Wiese had a rough shooting night (4 for 15) but finished with 13 points and dished out eight assists for OSU.
Deven Hunter fouled out but scored seven points in 22 minutes and grabbed 16 rebounds as the Beavers held a 50-43 advantage in the category. Hamblin added 10 for the Beavers.
The Tar Heels did finish with 23 offensive rebounds, but didn’t get one until more than 12 minutes into the game.
“All week we worked so hard on boxing out because we knew we could possibly make them miss the first one but the second shot was where they are very effective so that was a key for us taking that away,” Hamblin said.
UNC had a hard time getting going offensively throughout the game.
Oregon State limited the Tar Heels to a 27-for-76 shooting performance (27.6 percent) that included just 1 for 14 from the 3-point line.
“Ruth really changed the game,” Rueck said. “They couldn’t score inside consistently. Then our perimeter players did such a good job boxing out and challenging perimeter shots.”
The Tar Heels also struggled from the free-throw line, hitting 12 of 26, including just 7 of 20 in the second half.
“That’s pretty bad,” North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “Our shooting was really, really bad tonight, and I’m sure they had a lot to do with it.”
The Beavers didn’t light it up either. Hamblin (7 for 9) and Weisner (5 for 9) combined to shoot 12 for 18, but the rest of the team was just 13 for 39 (.333).
Allisha Gray finished with 20 points for the Tar Heels. Stephanie Mavunga chipped in 14 points.
The Beavers know this win will open the eyes of many teams.
“Every single team’s going to bring it every night, especially now we probably have quite a big target on our backs,” Hamblin said. “So we need to keep focused and play the right way every minute.”