When Marie Gulich corralled the rebound off a missed 3 by Jordin Canada in the closing seconds of overtime, Oregon State’s lone senior had just one focus.
“Squeeze the ball, hold the ball, don’t lose the ball,” Gulich said about 45 minutes later.
That’s what Gulich did, and the No. 15 Beavers completed a crucial Pac-12 upset of No. 7 UCLA on Friday night with the 67-64 OT win.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Oregon State bench rushed the floor and the Gill Coliseum crowd of 5,011 erupted in celebration.
“I was just super happy,” said Gulich, who had 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Beavers. “I didn’t really realize it even the beep I couldn’t hear it because everything was so overwhelming at that point.
"Now that it’s over and I can think about it, I’m just excited for the team and very proud of the effort that we had tonight."
Katie McWilliams added 16 points and Kat Tudor chipped in 14 as the Beavers won their 20th game for fifth straight season and the sixth time in Scott Rueck’s eight seasons at his alma mater.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the fight, and it was obviously a great win,” he said.
Canada led UCLA with 21 points while Monique Billings chipped in 14 and Kennedy Burke 11.
Oregon State (20-6, 11-4) hosts USC in its final regular-season home game at 1 p.m. Sunday. It will be senior day for Gulich.
No. 7 UCLA (21-4, 12-2) heads to Eugene for a showdown with No. 9 Oregon at 7 p.m. Friday. The Ducks outlasted USC 80-74 in double overtime on Friday.
Tudor had a chance to win the game in regulation. The Beavers inbounded the ball from three-quarters court with 1.3 seconds left and Tudor’s heave rimmed in and out to send the game to overtime deadlocked at 55.
The Bruins scored the first five points of overtime before the Beavers responded. Tudor hit a 3 and Gulich scored inside to cap an 8-2 run for a 63-62 lead with 1:46 left.
Two free throws gave the Bruins the lead back before Gulich hit two for the Beavers.
She added two more for a 67-64 lead with 33.3 left.
Canada got off a good look but her 3 was no good and Gulich held on to the ball for dear life to run out the clock.
It was quite a finish after falling behind by five to open the overtime.
“It seemed, man, we were a little bit tired and they had a little momentum but this team just executed,” Rueck said. “… It’s very comforting to know you have a group that is going to handle those circumstances and keep their head and play to win,” Rueck said.
Like most of the game, the fourth quarter was nip and tuck. Down 50-49, McWilliams found Gulich for the layup and a 51-50 lead with 1:41 left.
But Japreece Deen answered to put the Bruins up 52-51 with 1:13 to play.
Gulich scored for a 53-52 lead before Canada drained a 3 for a 55-53 lead with 42.9 seconds left.
McWilliams then tied the game with 25 seconds left on a lob. Taya Corosdale blocked Canada’s 3-point attempt to set up Tudor’s potential game-winning shot.
Gulich scored 14 of the Beavers’ 25 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“She just executed to perfection and also Scott’s play calls down the stretch were on point,” McWilliams said. “Getting the ball to Marie was our focus and she came up big for us.”
After trailing by six following two UCLA free throws to open the third, the Beavers used a 16-3 run to take a 39-32 lead with 3:57 to go in the period.
But Burke hit a 3 to end a 10-0 run and start an 11-1 spurt for the Bruins that gave them a 43-40 lead.
Mikayla Pivec muscled in a shot to make it 43-42 going to the fourth.
The first half was much the same as the Bruins were able to take a 27-23 lead into the break.
The largest lead of the first half was just five by the Bruins, while OSU led by three.
After Tudor’s 17-footer tied the game at 21-all, UCLA scored six of the last eight points.
McWilliams led the Beavers with eight points while Canada had nine and had four in a 6-0 UCLA run that put the Bruins up 19-14 midway through the second.
Canada had UCLA’s first five points as the Bruins took a 5-1 lead. But a McWilliams 3 gave the Beavers a 6-5 edge and Tudor’s layup off a pass from Gulich gave OSU an 8-5 lead.
Aleah Goodman’s 3 late in the first put the Beavers up 11-8 by Kennedy Burke answered as the teams were deadlocked after 10 minutes.
After turning the ball over 21 times in an 84-49 loss at UCLA on Jan. 5, the Beavers had just 12 in Friday’s win.
“It just shows the progress and the progression of this group as they’ve stayed with it through all of the tough lessons and just gotten better week after week,” Rueck said.