Beavers crank up 'D,' blow out Ducks
CORVALLIS — Even before heading down for the pregame team meeting, Jamie Weisner noticed something a little different Friday night.
The crowd inside Gill Coliseum was larger than usual at that time, even with rival Oregon in town for the Civil War.
“I looked over at Gabby (Hanson) and said, ‘There’s going to be a lot of people here tonight,’” Weisner said.
It only kept growing as tipoff drew near.
Weisner and her Oregon State women’s basketball teammates made sure they sent the majority of those in attendance home happy as the No. 11 Beavers rolled to their eighth straight victory in the series with a convincing 70-37 Pac-12 win over the Ducks before a crowd of 7,652.
It’s the third-largest crowd in Gill Coliseum for a women’s basketball game. The largest was 9,418 against Stanford in 1996.
The crowd, which may have been bolstered some by those who attended the first public appearance of new football coach Gary Andersen 45 minutes before tipoff in front of Gill, was the first thing coach Scott Rueck wanted to talk about in his postgame press conference.
“That crowd was incredible,” he said. “That’s why we do what we do. That’s why I came here — to see that. … Tonight coming out was like a dream come true, to be honest.”
Added Weisner: “Just running out and seeing the whole stands full, I mean, it’s what we work for so it was incredible.”
What was also pretty incredible was the way the Beavers played defense. Sure, there were some mistakes, but the Beavers held Oregon (8-6, 1-2) 17 points below its previous low this season.
“These guys just played lights out defensively,” Rueck said. “It wasn’t a great offensive performance by us but good enough considering the defense that we played. Really proud of the effort today.”
Oregon State (13-1, 3-0) next visits Oregon at 5 p.m. Sunday in Eugene.
The Beavers have won five straight at home in the series, a record.
It was also Oregon State’s largest margin of victory in the series; the previous record was 29 (70-41) on Feb. 28, 2009 in Gill.
Neither team started well offensively, but the Beavers were able to take advantage when the Ducks went 9 minutes, 16 seconds in the first half without scoring a point. The Beavers turned a 6-5 deficit into a 17-6 lead.
“I think it was just us having to be gritty because the ball wasn’t going down for us,” Rueck said. “I thought we locked them down and then we got comfortable.”
Rueck said the biggest key on defense was containing Oregon point guard Lexi Petersen.
“When they get loose in the open court, that creates a lot of problems and that’s when they get kick-out 3s, Jillian (Alleyne) gets deep position because of that,” Rueck said. “I thought we did a really good job, Ali (Gibson) and Gabby, of guarding the point tonight. They did a really good job of defending her and slowing her and allowing us to make it a half-court game.”
The Ducks were just 14 for 58 from the floor and went 0-for-3 from beyond the 3-point line.
Offensively, the Beavers did manage to put four players in double figures with Weisner and Samantha Siegner leading the way with 11 each. Deven Hunter and Hanson each chipped in 10. Weisner added 10 rebounds and a career-high seven assists.