Corvallis, OR — Faithful Beaver fans turned up the volume in a packed Gill Coliseum for an anticipated match up with PAC-12 rival UCLA. Oregon State clinched a first round bye in the PAC-12 Championships with a victory over No. 15 UCLA Bruins, and their sixth win in their last eight games.
The Beavers nursed a 31-27 lead at half time. Sloppy offense, which saw 12 turnovers and a porous paint defense kept it closer than Oregon State’s sharpshooting would indicate. They shot 45% from the field while the Bruins shot 33%.
Monique Billings started strong for UCLA scoring 10 largely uncontested points in the first half. UCLA’s leading scorer Jordin Canada allegedly suffered a head/neck injury in the second period to contribute to a mostly ineffective outing for the Bruins.
When the Beavers offense wasn't able to get into its set, they started to rely on late in the clock contested jumpers. Sydney Wiese's shot wasn't falling in the first half (1-5 from three-point), only adding to a stagnant offense by Oregon State. After a sloppy first two-quarters from the Beavers, and a cold shooting start from the Bruins, both teams entered the locker room with plenty to discuss.
Beavers Head Coach Scott Rueck said after the game that Oregon State was “…in a lull (the) first part of the second quarter on offense…” He said the team got their “fire back” in the second half, after seeming to lose it in Friday’s deflating loss to unranked USC.
To start the third, the Beavers had Wiese feed the forwards in the low post leading to easy buckets on the first two possessions. On the other end of the floor, the Bruins were able to exploit Oregon State's zone scheme to get open jumpers at the elbow early in the shot clock.
For some reason, the Beavers went away from a very effective low post offense and back to taking perimeter jump shots and gave up their halftime lead early in the third quarter as UCLA continued to exploit the Oregon State's zone defense.
Beaver’s star guard Wiese, regained composure and guided her team to a strong finish in the third, going up by three, 49-46. It was during the third stanza that Wiese set a new school record for all-time assists.
The final 10 minutes was mainly controlled by Oregon State as Wiese's near triple-double (10 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists) guided the Beavers to an impressive win over a very talented and athletic UCLA squad Sunday afternoon in Corvallis, 68-61.
Despite an elite all-around game from Weise, she identified “focusing on vision and spacing to see the open person,” and “keeping (their) head(s) up to see the open person” as key improvements that the Beaver’s needed to make. Coach Rueck added: “To beat a team as good as UCLA, you need everyone.”
Next up the Bruins will return home to face No. 10 Washington as they continue their quest to solidify their standing in the Pac-12.