OSU on top
TEMPE, Ariz. — What a difference a year makes.
Almost a year ago, Jan. 31, 2014, Oregon State was a 12-8 team when they came into Tempe to face Arizona State and led by 13 before falling to a furious rally by the Sun Devils and lost 64-62.
The No. 9 Beavers haven't lost a regular season conference game since then and didn't let a slow start get the best of them in a 68-57 win Sunday over 13th-ranked Arizona State that left Oregon State in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12.
Jamie Weisner scored 21 points to help as Oregon State in a battle of the last two teams unbeated in conference play.
"We have a combination of the ability and now the experience," said Beavers coach Scott Rueck. "So last year, there were so many firsts — learning how to win, losing some really hard, tough games, like the one we lost here a year ago and now they've got a fight. They've learned how to win and they're will to do what it takes and it leads to opportunities like this one."
What it took on Sunday was for Oregon State (18-1, 8-0 Pac-12) was a 14-0 run early in the second half to pull away from Arizona State (18-2, 7-1). It was the Beavers' eighth win in a row and it ended the Sun Devils' 14-game winning streak, one short of the school record.
"I think we are a lot tougher than we played today," Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said. "We let the magnitude of the game just get inside us a little bit. We talk a lot about collective toughness. We didn't play as a team. We got frustrated, we got away from things and we started to play as individuals."
Center Ruth Hamblin added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Beavers, which scored 28 points in the lane, taking advantage of their height advantage. Weisner also hit 3-of-4 from beyond the arc for Oregon State.
"Definitely a big game for us, but we just tried to stick to our game plan and this is what we work for every single day, we didn't have any fear coming in here," Weisner said. "We have confidence in everyone, if somebody is not hitting one night, then somebody else will pick them up. We have experience."
Katie Hempen led Arizona State with a career-high 22 points, hitting 6-of-8 from outside the 3-point line, but was the only Sun Devil in double figures. Oregon State led by as much as 20 in the second half, never allowing the Sun Devils closer than 11 after that.
"We settled down, we were dialed in coming out of the locker room," Rueck said. "There was a high level of focus, I thought we executed phenomenally. We got great looks and took care of the ball during that stretch. And our defense was pretty outstanding all day."
Oregon State: Had lost 17 straight to Arizona State in Tempe. Before Sunday, its win was 74-54 on Jan. 26, 1996. The Beavers have won 17 straight games, dating back to last season. The last Pac-12 team to beat Oregon State in the regular season was Arizona State on Jan. 31, 2014 -- 64-62. Oregon State had not swept the Arizona schools on the road since 1995.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils came one game short of the school record for consecutive wins, set in 2008-09. The Sun Devils came into the game third in the nation in defending against the 3-point shot, allowing 21.9 percent. Oregon State was fourth in the nation in 3-point percentage (39.5) and made 7-of-20 (35 percent). During its winning streak, Arizona State had won its games by an average 20 points. The loss was the first for Arizona State since a 63-57 defeat to Green Bay at the Gulf Coast Showcase tourament in Florida on Nov. 29.
With Oregon State up by six, Ali Gibson scored a layup, was fouled, but missed the free throw. However, Sydney Weise — who went to high school in Phoenix — grabbed the rebound and Gibson fed Weisner for one of her 3-pointers, kick-starting the 14-0 run.
Oregon State: hosts Southern California on Saturday.
Arizona State: visits Colorado on Friday.