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There was plenty that Scott Rueck and the No. 9 Oregon State women’s basketball team had to be happy about regarding their performance Friday night.

The outcome, however, was not one.

Despite hanging tough most of the game, the Beavers dropped a 77-68 decision to No. 3 Oregon in a Pac-12 showdown at Matthew Knight Arena.

The Ducks controlled most of the game but the game was still in doubt until the closing 90 seconds.

“We’ve got so many positives to take away,” Rueck said. “While we’re never satisfied with a loss, in every lesson there are things to learn from and so I think the fourth quarter ... the whole game had things that we can latch on to, get better at going into Monday’s game.”

Sophomore Destiny Slocum, who led the Beavers with 19 points, agreed.

“Everything that we planned for was there,” she said. “It’s just small execution on the defensive end and the offensive end that we can fix watching film. Just getting better each and every day.”

The rematch comes quickly, about 70 hours after the conclusion of Friday's game. The Ducks (24-1, 13-0) and Beavers (20-5, 10-3) meet at 6 p.m. inside a sold-out Gill Coliseum as part on ESPN's Big Monday.

"It’s great that we have two days to prepare again, work on what didn’t work (Friday) and just get better like we did all week," Slocum said. 

For the most part, Rueck liked his team’s decision making Friday night but felt the Beavers settled for shots more than they could afford, especially against a team as powerful as Oregon.

“There’s a time to push but in a game like this against a team that scores so well you can’t afford bad shots, you can’t afford lost possessions,” he said. “I thought that hurt us in the first half even more than the second.”

The Beavers finished 27 for 54 from the field but were just 6 for 21 from beyond the 3-point line. Katie McWilliams had 14 points and Aleah Goodman and Joanna Grymek both added 12.

But Mikayla Pivec was just 2 for 6 from the floor and finished with six points, well off her season average of 14.5. She did, however, become the 22nd player in program history to surpass 1,000 points.

Grymek played a career-high 28 minutes and hit 6 of 7 shots from the center position.

“I thought she did a great job and I thought our team did a great job finding her as well,” Rueck said. “We saw the floor really well from the beginning of the game to create those opportunities and I thought our execution was on point.”

Freshman Patricia Morris also had some key minutes at the center spot, collecting four rebounds and a block in five minutes.

That has been a position by committee all season.

“Our fives are growing incredibly,” Rueck said. “They’ve come along at their own pace but Trish has shown great things. She played great last week against Kristine Anigwe and gave us great minutes against Cal in that game.

“I thought she played great (Friday). The block she had, controlling the ball at that end early in the second half was phenomenal. So her growth is great and for this team moving forward I think she’s going to be a big factor for us.”

Sabrina Ionescu was 12 for 24 from the field and scored a game-high 29 points for the Ducks, who have now won 17 straight games, the longest streak in Division 1.

The reigning Pac-12 player of year, however, was not satisfied with her performance.

“I’m still kind of bummed I didn’t shoot the ball very well,” she said. “I left a lot of points on the board and I think I should have been able to hit some of those shots.”

The Ducks also got big games from Ruthy Hebard (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Satou Sabally, who had 18 points and was 5 for 7 from 3.

“Overall, regardless of how many points I scored, I think everyone contributed and won us that game,” Ionescu said.

The Beavers may have lost two in a row in the series but have won eight straight at home — all under Rueck.

“It’s always nice to be home,” Rueck said. “But what I know about that is you can’t count on that. It’s nice to be home, it’s nice to have people pulling for you. At the same time, Oregon is not going to be fazed. I don’t think we were phased by the atmosphere. It’s just going to be another great basketball game in front of an amazing crowd.”

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Sports Editor

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