Women's Basketball Remains Undefeated With A 65-52 Victory Against Saint Mary's

Dec. 10, 2000

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University's women's basketball team won the battle of the unbeatens Sunday afternoon, as the Beavers improved to 6-0 with a 65-52 victory against previously unbeaten Saint Mary's College (6-1).

Beaver guard Syesha Thomas buried a 3-pointer less than a minute into the game to put OSU on the board 3-0 and in the lead for good. Oregon State streaked to an early 14-2 advantage, connecting on five of its first nine shots in the game, but the Beavers went stone cold from the floor for the remainder of the half, hitting just three field goals in 15 minutes.

Saint Mary's defense forced nine Beaver turnovers in the first half but the Gaels struggled shooting from the floor, hitting just 7-of-29 field goals (24-percent) and turned the ball over 10 times themselves.

With just under two minutes remaining before intermission, SMC narrowed the Oregon State lead to four points (23-19) but the Beavers sunk five free throws to close out the half and take a comfortable 28-19 lead into the locker room.

'If you look at the halftime stats, our free throw shooting was struggling a little bit, our field goal percentage was struggling a little bit, we were still doing a good job on rebounds, but I think it's our defense that really held true,' said OSU head coach Judy Spoelstra. 'We take a lot of pride in our defense and our players work really hard in practice to get better.'

Oregon State utilized an 11-2 run in the opening five minutes of the second frame to build a 17-point lead (39-21).

Felicia Ragland's 3-pointer at the 12:35 mark gave the Beavers a 44-26 advantage but Saint Mary's grabbed a bit of momentum and quickly went on a 6-1 run. Thomas then stepped up and took charge for the Beavers, burying a 3-pointer and then stealing a Saint Mary's pass and taking it the length of the floor for a lay-in, catapulting a 12-2 OSU run. Thomas capped off the run with another 3-point basket at the 4:19 mark to give the Beavers their largest lead of the game, 23 points (57-34).

The Gaels out-scored OSU 18-8 over the remaining four minutes of the game, but Oregon State's lead was too large to overcome.

Thomas, a senior, led the Beavers with a career-high 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and a 3-for-4 clip from 3-point range.

'Sy (Syesha Thomas) had a great game and was really feeling it,' commented Spoelstra. 'We tried to work the ball around and see if we could get it back in her hands. It's nice to see her shoot the ball so well, she shot the ball tremendously for us when we went to Europe.'

Ragland reached double figures in scoring for the 13th consecutive game with 17 points while teammate Ericka Cook recorded her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Pac-10 Conference leading scorer Nicole Funn, was held below her 19.6 points per game average, but fell just short of a double-double with 10 points and nine boards.

Katie Davis led Saint Mary's in scoring with 18 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds while the Beavers held twin posts, Jerkisha and Jermisha Dosty in-check for the most part.

'I give our post players and our guards a ton of credit,' said Spoelstra. 'Our posts did a great job on their two really, really good post players and our guards had excellent help-side defense. I think it was a great all-around team defensive effort.'

Jerkisha Dosty finished the game with 14 points and eight rebounds while Jermisha Dosty added nine points and 10 rebounds.

Neither team shot well from the floor. Oregon State hit 20-of-56 shots for 36-percent while the Gaels connected on just 19-of-66 field goals for 29-percent.

OSU won the battle of the boards, 49-45 but Saint Mary's grabbed more offensive rebounds than the Beavers, 20-16.

Oregon State has not opened the regular season with a 6-0 record since the 1994-95 campaign, when the Beavers reeled off seven straight victories. The Beavers return to action on Monday Dec. 18 when they host the University of Utah in a 7:05 p.m. clash.

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