Beavers sink Ducks in women's basketball
Oregon State's rough start to the women's basketball season is a distant memory.
So is Oregon's fast start.
The Beavers (9-6, 7-6 Pac-12) are a confident team rolling into this week's Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament at Las Vegas after beating Oregon 88-77 on Sunday, Feb. 28.
The result likely secures an NCAA Tournament spot for the Beavers, and probably another shot at the Ducks on Thursday morning in the second round of the conference tournament.
"I think we're peaking when we want to be peaking, for sure," said Aleah Goodman after the senior out of La Salle Prep led the Beavers with 20 points and won for the first time in her college career at Oregon.
Oregon (13-7, 10-7) had the No. 4 spot in the conference tournament secured before Sunday and gets a first-round bye. OSU is the No. 5 seed and will play 12th seed California (1-15) at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Oregon State dominated the second half on Sunday to beat 14th-ranked Oregon 88-77 in the regular-season finale at Matthew Knight Arena.
Oregon State has beaten two consecutive ranked teams and has won six of seven heading into the postseason.
"(The Beavers) came in hungry. They played hungry," Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. "And they executed. That second half was a clinic."
The Ducks, who played Sunday without freshman point guard Te-Hina Paopao, have lost four of five conference games since having three games cancelled at the end of January.
Goodman led the balanced Beavers' offense with 20 points and four assists. OSU had six players score in double figures, shot 50% from the floor and hit 11 of 20 3-pointers.
Taya Corosdale gave OSU a big boost, hitting 4 of 5 3-pointers and scoring 14 points. Freshman Sasha Goforth made all nine of her free throws and scored 17 points. Ellie Mack had a strong defensive game and scored 14 points.
"This team has so much ability to pass and score from all five positions and throughout our roster that we're really difficult to guard," Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. "I thought that was evident today. No matter what they did, we had an answer for it. And we were able to keep that up consistently for 40 minutes and answer every run that they had."
Sedona Prince led Oregon with 22 points, 18 of them in the first half. Erin Boley and Taylor Mikesell scored 16 apiece and Nyara Sabally had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Beavers took command in the third quarter, forcing the Ducks into 4-of-17 shooting and outscoring Oregon 23-15 to lead to turn a three-point lead into an 11-point margin.
OSU, the best 3-point shooting team in the country, made 7 of 9 3s after halftime and led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Sunday's game flipped the script from Oregon's 79-56 win in Corvallis on Dec. 13. At the time, the Ducks were 5-0 on their way to an 8-0 start. They are 5-7 since that 8-0 start.
Oregon State, which went winless between Dec. 6 and Jan. 27 — five losses and seven COVID-19 postponements — is now the more confident team as the postseason begins.
Without Paopao, who was on the bench wearing a boot on her right foot, Oregon struggled to get consistent clean looks. Prior to Sunday, Paopao had started every game of her freshman season. Graves said he learned just before the game that Paopao couldn't play. He said that since her foot is in a protective boot, he doubts she can play in the Pac-12 tournament.
The Ducks did score 77 points, but shot only 42% and would have lost by more if not for 19 second-chance points from 16 offensive rebounds. In fact, the game might have been decided by halftime if not for Prince.
The 6-7 redshirt sophomore had 18 of Oregon's 35 first-half points (on 8-of-11 shooting), surpassing her previous high of 16 points in a game before halftime. But she took only four shots in nine minutes in the second half.
Graves, while crediting the Beavers for a strong performance, said several times that he still believes in his team and that things can click enough for a long postseason run similar to what they did in 2017, when Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard were freshmen.
"Right now, we're guaranteed two games — one in Vegas and one in San Antonio (NCAA Tournament)," Graves said. "We'll see if we deserve to play more."
Goforth had 12 first-half points for the Beavers.
Oregon State had six blocked shots in the first half, two apiece from Jones and Von Oelhoffen. And the Beavers' length was a problem for the Ducks. In the first half, besides Prince, Oregon was 7 of 25 from the floor (28%) in the first half.
But it was Oregon State's precision offense in the second half that decided the contest.
"I can't express how proud I am of this team and how well we've really stuck together," Goodman said. "We bought in to the program. We bought in to the coaches. And it's paying off."
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