With strong defense, South Carolina ends Oregon State's season
South Carolina put the defensive clamps on Oregon State's offense and ended the Beavers' season Tuesday in the NCAA Women's Tournament at San Marcos, Texas.
The No. 1-seeded Gamecocks held the Beavers to five second-quarter points and won 59-42 in a second-round game in the Hemisfair Region.
The eighth-seeded Beavers (12-8) had won nine of the previous 11 games, including beating Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament and Florida State in the NCAA tourney's first round. Oregon State turned around its season after not playing a game for 29 days because of COVID-19 protocols.
But, it ended in fairly emphatic fashion against the Gamecocks (24-4), a program that won the 2017 national championship and were ranked No. 1 at 32-1 and ahead of Oregon last season under coach Dawn Staley when the NCAA tourney was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"They did a great job, they were disruptive all day, closed the gaps really quickly on defense," OSU coach Scott Rueck said, "and turned it into quick points at the other end. They were dominant on the boards as well. We needed shots to go down, and it just wasn't our day shooting the basketball.
"And it felt like we were a half-step slow in our (offensive reads). Against a team like this, our passes have to zip."
Oregon State led in the first quarter, and trailed only 14-13 entering the second quarter, although post Taylor Jones had to sit with two fouls. The game was tied 16-16 after Jelena Mitrovic's free throw with 7:33 left. Then, the drought of 6:08 started, in large part because of South Carolina's defensive speed on the perimeter and size and athleticism inside.
The Gamecocks went on a 12-0 run, a highlight being Destanni Henderson's open-court steal of Aleah Goodman and layup. Henderson went the length of the court for another layup and it was 28-16, before Oregon State scored again with 1:25 left on Jones' layup.
The Beavers shot just .296 in the first half (8 of 27) and made 1 of 9 3-pointers and had nine turnovers, and trailed 30-18.
South Carolina scored the first six points of the third quarter and eventually led by as many as 26 points.
"That was the game right there, we had two turnovers and a miss," Rueck said. "They disrupted us and turned it into points. That's what good teams do. The lead grew to 20 real quickly."
The Beavers shot .316 from the field, including 3 of 19 on 3-pointers (.158), despite ranking second in the country at 41% from behind the arc entering the game. South Carolina also outrebounded OSU 50-33.
"They shoot the heck out of the ball, we needed to make sure we were contesting every shot," Aliyah Boston, who led South Carolina with 19 points, told ESPN after the game. "And, we worked on getting the ball inside and attacking their bigs."
Jones, a 6-4 sophomore, fouled out in the fourth quarter with a team-leading 13 points. Goodman, in her final game with OSU, had 10 points and seven assists.
The Gamecocks had 18 free-throw attempts, making 14, to OSU's 6 (and three makes).
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