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Beavers 'never let hope die' in realizing Final 4 dream

When Oregon State started their postseason, they were on a mission to take the program to heights it never had never reached before. And tonight, for the first time in program's history, the Beavers are going to the Final 4.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas, TX -- After making history as the first Lady Beaver team to play in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, the Beavers will continue their historic dance in Indianapolis at the Final Four after beating the Baylor Bears on Monday night, 60-57.

Despite a home court crowd at the American Airlines Center, the Lady Bears ended the first quarter down 16-11 to the Lady Beavers.

Oregon State's first three scoring possessions were 3-pointers scored by junior guard Sydney Wiese and senior guard Jamie Weisner.

Baylor's poor free-throw shooting and their tendency to allow Oregon State to crash the boards attributed to the first quarter deficit.

Frustrated with her team, head coach of the Bears, Kim Mulkey, received a technical foul halfway through the second quarter for throwing her jacket.

"I thought you saw two of the best defensive teams in women's basketball just battle their butts off, but you cannot miss that many free throws and win a ball game at this level," said Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey.

The Beavers held their lead through the second quarter ending the first half on top of Baylor 34-25.

Oregon State's largest lead of the game of nine points came when Weisner hit another 3-pointer at the buzzer. She finished with 18 points, and Weisner finished with 16. Senior center, Ruth Hamblin posted a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds.

"We knew what we were capable of, and I think our work ethic has just paid off," said Hamblin. "We never let our hope die."

The second half started with a sense of urgency from Baylor. The Bears clawed back to within one by capitalizing on a lot of second chance misses by OSU. The third quarter ended 48-47 in favor of Oregon State.

Baylor took their first lead of the game with 6:52 left in the fourth quarter, led by junior guard, Alexis Jones, who had 19 points for the game. Fellow junior, Nina Davis added 11 points.

"We didn't make our goal of the Final Four, but a lot of teams didn't make it to the Elite Eight," said Davis. "There were only eight teams, and we were one of those teams standing. We don't take that for granted."

The game came down to the wire, but two late fouls committed by Baylor allowed the Beavers to pull away with the victory.

"This is a group that believed when there was no reason to, and they will see themselves through to a final four," said Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck.

The Beavers will play the University of Connecticut Huskies on April 3rd.