SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Freshman center Ruth Hamblin led OSU with eight points and six rebounds, but a series of extended droughts did in the Oregon State women’s basketball team against Utah, as the Beavers fell to the Utes by a score of 66-40 at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday afternoon.
Utah (13-10, 4-8 Pac-12) opened and closed the first half on a pair of runs to give themselves a 34-21 heading to the break. The Utes began by scoring the game’s first 12 points while the Beavers were unable to find the bottom of the net until there was 10:20 on the clock.
“You try to push every button you can with the team and sometimes you can’t find one,” Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck said of his squad’s slow starts. “Today that was evident. They’re good kids, they’re warriors and they’re battlers, but we are coming out slow game after game and getting down before we start competing. Today was a humbling experience for all of us, but credit Utah [because] they played a great game.”
Over the final 53 seconds until intermission, Utah closed on a 7-0 spurt. The Utes shot 5-for-10 from behind the arc in the opening period, while OSU (9-15, 3-9) was unable to convert on any of its four long-range attempts.
In the second, the Utes again came out firing and OSU had difficulty finding its offensive rhythm. Utah began the final half on a 12-4 run to grab a 46-25 lead with 12:00 left.
The Utes’ lead eventually grew to as large as 29 points courtesy of an 11-0 stretch, which was snapped by a Deven Hunter three-pointer with 3:57 left in the game. Hunter’s basket ended a 6:40 scoreless streak for the Beavers. The Utes’ Michelle Plouffe matched Hunter’s long-range basket on Utah’s next possession to again increase her team’s advantage to its largest point.
The Utes shot 48.1 percent (25-for-52) from the floor, including 9-for-18 (.500) from three-point range, while Oregon State was held to 29.6 percent shooting (16-for-54) and just 2-for-12 (.167) from deep. Utah’s three-point effort was the best by a Beaver opponent this season. California converted at the same percentage in Corvallis on Feb. 1, but only attempted six all game.
It was the first game this season where the Beavers didn’t have at least one player break double-digits in scoring. Hamblin’s eight points on 4-for-5 shooting and six rebounds gave the freshman her highest totals in those categories since she went for 10 and six against Michigan State in Las Vegas on Dec. 19.
Deven Hunter pulled down three rebounds in the contest and now has 151 this season, which places her ninth on OSU’s single-season freshman list. Next up is Debbie Dalluge, who grabbed 175 boards in 29 games during her freshman campaign in 1984-85.
Utah’s Iwalani Rodrigues led all scorers with 18 points, while Plouffe added a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Utes.
The Beavers are back at home on Friday, hosting Washington State in OSU’s annual Pink Game in Gill Coliseum at 7 p.m.