Beaver women win season opener

Beaver women win season opener

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Alyssa Martin lit up the scoreboard with 20 points to lead a trio of Beavers in double figures and Deven Hunter pulled down 12 rebounds to help the Oregon State women’s basketball team to a 71-59 win over Western Washington in the team’s season opener on Saturday afternoon.

Alongside Martin, Oregon State’s much-heralded freshman class had a dazzling debut. Khadidja Toure did a little bit of everything running the point and added 13 points of her own while fellow first-year wing Jamie Weisner dropped in three corner jumpers from behind the arc as part of her 11-point effort.

Similar to the team’s exhibition against Seattle Pacific last Sunday, the Beavers came out on fire in the second half to pull away from the Vikings. Oregon State trailed 31-27 coming out of the break, but was sparked by Martin on the offensive end. The junior scored the first seven points of the half on a pair of layups off Ali Gibson steals and a three-point bucket, which gave OSU its first lead of the game with 18:34 to go, 34-31.

Western Washington used an Erika Ramstead triple to tie things at 40 nearly four minutes later, but that preceded a 10-0 Oregon State run, fueled entirely by the team’s freshmen, which would put the game away.

Weisner (one) and Toure (two) converted a series of layups to give Oregon State a 46-40 edge. Not to be outdone, the Beavers’ freshmen post players got in on the action as well. Ruth Hamblin grabbed an offensive rebound and converted a put-back for two and then Hunter did the same. When the dust had settled, OSU led 50-40 with 11:56 to go and rode that lead all the way to the finish.

Hamblin had nine points, four rebounds and three blocks and was nearly impossible for Western Washington to control inside. Hunter also posted nine points to go along with her 12 rebounds. Collectively, Oregon State’s five freshmen scored over 60 percent of the team’s points (43-of-71) on over 55 percent shooting (16-of-29).

Despite the positive result, the contest was in doubt for much of the first half. Oregon State trailed by four heading into intermission and didn’t lead at all in the first 20 minutes of action. The Vikings swelled their advantage to 10 points at the 11:09 mark, 17-7, before the Beavers calmed themselves and reeled off a 9-0 run to get back into the game.

Ali Gibson tied a career high with six steals as OSU won its 15th-straight season opener. The Beavers are back in action on Monday night when they host Cal Poly in Gill Coliseum at 7 p.m.

• Oregon State last lost a season opener on Nov. 16, 1997 against San Diego State (63-56).
• Alyssa Martin’s 20 points were just four off her career high and the most she’s had in a game since Jan. 23, 2011 against Oregon (21).
• Ali Gibson also had six steals in a game against Southern Utah last season (11/20) and now has 73 in her career.
• Ruth Hamblin’s three blocks already put her well on her way to breaking the OSU freshman record set by Brenda Arbuckle in 1983-84 (47).
• OSU had four games last year in which a player pulled down at least 12 rebounds.