Senior Day is Special
March 7, 2009
Corvallis, Ore. - The Oregon State women's basketball team added to an already strong resume for postseason play with its fourth consecutive victory, a 61-58 decision over the UCLA Bruins Saturday afternoon at legendary Gill Coliseum. The Pac-10 Conference game marked the final regular season contest for Beaver seniors Brittney Davis, Mercedes Fox-Griffin and Tiffany Ducker.
'The first thing I would like to do is congratulate my team,' Beaver head coach LaVonda Wagner said. 'That was an outstanding team win. It is a tremendous close to the regular season; tremendous close to the careers at Gill Coliseum for our seniors. I would also like to thank the community for coming out and cheering for us. It made a big difference having all those people in the stands (att. 2,648) and being our sixth man.'
The victory improved OSU to 19-10 overall, its most victories since the 2002 season, and pushed it into a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference with the Bruins (18-11) and USC at 9-9. The nine conference victories represent the most since 11 in 2002, when the team also tied for fourth.
'Finally we are all connecting and we have all bought into Coach's vision,' Fox-Griffin said. 'We all have one goal and that's what we have been trying for all year and it has shown.'
Davis, who transferred from Minnesota following the 2006 season, scored the first 10 points for the Beavers and her layin at the 16:13 mark of the first half gave OSU a 7-6 lead, a lead it wouldn't surrender the rest of the game. She led four Beavers in double figures for scoring, finishing with a team-high 14 points - all in the opening half.
'I think we have a lot more weapons now, and anyone can score any given night,' Davis said. 'Before, we just relied on one scorer and now we have an inside game and an outside game, and it's a great feeling to be 19-10.'
The Beavers built an 11-point lead on eight occasions, the first at 33-22 late in the first half, before they settled on a 36-27 advantage at the break. OSU then held no less than an eight-point lead throughout nearly the entire second half, before a late UCLA rally inside the four minute mark. Neither team scored in the last 1:29 of the foul-plagued game in which there were 50 fouls leading to four disqualifications. UCLA had two chances to the tie the game in the final 29 seconds, including Rebekah Gardner's open look from the corner at the buzzer that bounced off the rim.
Oregon State will return to action Friday at the Pac-10 Tournament at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California. The Beavers figure to be at a minimum a candidate for the Women's National Invitation Tournament, but are hoping to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament - which would be a first for the program since 1996.
'I would say we are certainly on the bubble, and we have never been on a bubble since I have been here,' Wagner said. 'We played a tough schedule, our RPI is very good. We have competed in every game we have played, but we do have one loss that we should not have had but other than that, we have competed.'
Oregon State has won six of its last eight games overall and eight of its last 11.
The Pac-10 Conference is currently deciphering a complicated tiebreaker as to determine if USC or OSU is the No. 5 seed in the league's tournament. The No. 5 seed would play No. 4 UCLA at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, the No. 6 seed goes against No. 3 Arizona State Friday at 11 a.m.
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