No. 25 Utah Hands OSU Women First Loss Of The Season

Dec. 18, 2000

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Kristina Andersen's four free throws in the final 25 seconds lifted No. 25 ranked University of Utah past Oregon State University 53-49 in Monday night's women's basketball action.

The Utes improve to 10-0 on the season while the Beavers suffered their first loss of the year and fall to 6-1.

Not only was the game a battle of the unbeatens but it was also a match-up of two of the top defensive squads in the nation.Utah entered the game as the top ranked defensive team in the country, allowing its opponents to score an average of 46.9 points per game while Oregon State ranks fourth in the nation, giving up just 52.7 points per contest.

'It wasn't a pretty game from an offensive standpoint but I think it was a good game from the defensive perspective,' commented OSU head Coach Judy Spoelstra. 'I think that the tell-tale story is the offensive rebounds. You've got to give Utah a lot of credit, they did a good job coming in and boxing us out on the inside.'

Both teams struggled shooting from the floor in the first half. OSU trailed 4-2 until Syesha Thomas buried three consecutive 3-point baskets and gave the Beavers their largest lead of the game at 11-6. Utah answered the Oregon State scoring flurry with a 14-2 run over an 8-minute stretch, to earn a 20-13 lead with 4:20 remaining on the clock.

The Beavers found themselves trailing at halftime for the first time this season as the Utes took a 28-16 lead into the locker room.

OSU's high-scoring duo, Felicia Ragland and Nicole Funn were held without a field goal in the half, shooting a combined 0-for-6.

The Beavers biggest downfall on the night however, was rebounding. OSU has been dominating the boards throughout the season, out-rebounding its opponents by 9.5 boards per game. Utah took a commanding 25-15 rebounding advantage into the locker room, including an 11-2 edge on the offensive glass.

'We lost our intensity halfway through the first half. Utah did some very good things and spread our defense out,' said Spoelstra. 'In the second half we really tried to spread the floor out and make them have to play defense a little bit longer.'

Oregon State started slowly in the second half, allowing the Utes to build a 14-point lead (20-34) with 13:35 remaining in the game. Pressure defense helped the Beavers slowly chip away at the Utah lead and a 9-0 run in a two-minute span capped off by a Michelle Estell 3-point basket narrowed the gap to 46-47 with 2:11 on the clock.

The Beavers missed two easy baskets near the end of the game that could have forced a tie and Utah was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final minute to squelch OSU's comeback bid.

Thomas led Oregon State in scoring for the second consecutive game with 12 points while junior Ericka Cook recorded her second consecutive double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Funn and Ragland were held way below their scoring averages on the night. Funn finished with six points on 6-for-6 shooting from the charity stripe while Ragland's streak of 13 consecutive double-figure scoring games came to a halt as the junior guard managed just four points.

Lauren Beckman's 11 points and 10 rebounds led the Utes while Andersen finished with 10 points, hitting 8-of-8 free throw attempts. Senior Lori Red-Castagnetto also added 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

The Beavers hit just 13-of-48 field goals on the night for 27.1 percent but the Utes managed just 15-of-57 shots from the floor for 26.3 percent.

Utah finished with a commanding edge on the boards, out-rebounding Oregon State 50-36 and grabbing 24 offensive rebounds compared to the Beavers 11.

'We have a lot of respect for Utah and the way they played basketball today,' added Spoelstra. 'They taught us a lot of lessons and things that we need to go back and work on in practice.'

Oregon State hopes to get back on the winning track when it travels to the University of Portland Thursday night, for its final contest before Christmas.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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