Beaver women collect win in Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. – Four Beavers scored in double figures and OSU’s defense held Arizona to under 27 percent shooting as the Oregon State women’s basketball team collected a 57-48 road win against the Wildcats on Friday night.

Patricia Bright led the Oregon State (7-8, 1-2 Pac-12) quartet with 12 points, her first double-digit scoring effort since a 68-64 victory over Winthrop on Nov. 21. She was joined by Jamie Weisner, Ali Gibson and Alyssa Martin, who all had 11. Weisner chipped in 10 rebounds as well to register her second career double-double. Her other such effort came when she had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the Beavers’ 54-36 defeat of Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 13.

“I’m happy for this team,” Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck said. “It has been a journey to this point. Last weekend there were a couple of good games that proved elusive to us, but I’m proud of this team for hanging with it. The effort was great and we had some big performances in the second half. It was nice to see the team buckle down and just decide that we were going to win this game.”

After playing a pair of tight contests in their opening weekend of Pac-12 action against the LA schools, the Beavers found themselves in another neck-and-neck affair in the second half of this one. Arizona (9-5, 1-2) took a 42-41 lead on an Erica Barnes layup with 10:42 to go, which capped off a 12-2 run Wildcat run.

But from that point until the final whistle sounded, Oregon State’s defensive tenacity confused and befuddled Arizona. The Beavers closed the game on a 16-6 run and over that final 10:42, Arizona made only two field goals, going 2-for-18 from the floor in that span.

OSU’s closing run was spearheaded in large part by the Beaver bench, in particular the play of freshman Samantha Siegner, who had career-highs in points (6), rebounds (6) and minutes (18).

After Bright made a jumper to put the Beavers back on top, 43-42, Siegner proceeded to score all of her buckets, and six of the team’s next eight points. She finished the spurt with a baseline pull-up which gave the Beavers a 51-46 advantage with 3:35 to go.

“Sam was awesome tonight and it has been something that’s been coming,” Rueck said of Siegner. “There have been flashes and she’s been outstanding in practice over the last month. Today was a culmination of that and we needed her. She was poised against pressure and I thought she was a key player for us tonight.”

Bright and Weisner would both sink free throws as Arizona was forced to foul with time winding down to seal the victory, which snapped the Beavers five-game losing streak and delivered the team’s first win over the Wildcats since 2009.

In the second half, the OSU bench combination of Siegner and Bright outscored Arizona’s reserves 14-3. Bright also had four rebounds and team-high three blocks. She now has 140 rejections in her career and is just five shy of passing Carol Menken and Tiffany Ducker to move into third place all-time at Oregon State.

“When Patricia brings her ‘A’ game she’s a handful on both ends and tonight she did,” Rueck said of his center. “We’ve seen flashes of it this year. We’re working on consistency with her. I was really happy for her to come out and play like she did tonight. I knew she would bring a good effort and she did.”

Oregon State handled significant Arizona pressure in the backcourt quite well just one game after turning the ball over 24 times. Against the Wildcats, who trapped and utilized a full-court press for all but the game’s first two minutes, the Beavers had just 15 turnovers, using crisp passing and quick ball movement up the court to catch Arizona in poor defensive position from which it couldn’t recover.

“What we faced was something that has beaten us so far this year and that’s pressure,” Rueck commented. “Tonight showed huge growth in this group and our point guard play from Alyssa Martin and Mollee Schwegler was great. The team rallied, came back and helped each other out, alleviated [the pressure] and we found great looks. The evolution of this team is fun to watch. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been fun to watch and I’m really happy for them. It was a good day for us.”

OSU opened the game on a 7-0 run and Arizona began the evening 0-for-12 from the field, but the Wildcats soon found their groove and answered with a 13-0 stretch of their own. A three-pointer from Gibson, which put her over 500 points in her career, tied the game, 20-20, late in the first half and settled things down for the Beavers, who took a 24-22 lead into the break.

ShaKiana Edwards-Teasley, making her fourth consecutive start, had nine rebounds. Gibson also had five assists for the second straight game and the Beavers had four players in double figures for the first time this season.

Oregon State will attempt for its first road sweep of the Arizona schools since 1994-95 when it makes its Pac-12 Networks debut on Sunday against Arizona State. Tipoff will be at noon PT/1 p.m. MT.