Women's Basketball Sends Seniors Out With A Bang

Feb. 22, 2003

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University's women's basketball team sent its seniors out with style on Saturday afternoon when the Beavers cruised to a 62-46 victory against Washington State in the regular season finale in Gill Coliseum.

Beaver senior Michelle Smith led all players with 13 points and pulled down a career-high eight rebounds in 34 minutes of action. Fellow senior Kristina Rukstelyte had a season-best eight points and pulled down five rebounds in her final appearance in Corvallis.

With the victory, Oregon State improves to 14-11 on the season and 8-8 in the Pacific-10 Conference. The win marked the sixth consecutive home victory for OSU and its 12th win of the season in Gill Coliseum - just one game short of the school record (13-2) set in 1994-95.

WSU opened the game with a 4-3 lead but Oregon State scored 13 consecutive points to take a 16-4 advantage at the 12:25 mark of the first half.

'I was very proud of our team,' said OSU head coach Judy Spoelstra. 'I thought they came out and played very hard right at the beginning of the game.

'They made a great jump on WSU and kept the lead, which enabled us to get a lot of subs and different people into the game.'

Smith and Rukstelyte combined to score 10 straight Beaver points over a two-minute stretch to giving OSU control of the contest (20-6) with just 11:25 left.

The Beavers extended their lead to 33-14 with 3:04 remaining but WSU ended the half on a 5-0 run to close out the frame.

Oregon State took a 33-19 advantage into the break.

OSU shot 14-of-33 (42-percent) in the opening 20 minutes while the Cougars connected on just 5-of-17 (29-percent) field goals, but kept in the contest with 9-of-14 shots from the free throw line.

Jessica Perry pulled WSU to within 33-20 to open the second half but that was as close as the Cougars would get as Smith answered with her second trey of the game.

Junior guard Leilani Estavan also reached double figures in scoring for OSU with 12 points and a game-high five assists. Freshman post Karen Vickery finished with the best game of her career, recording five points and four rebounds. All 10 Oregon State players that saw action in the contest scored.

Perry led the Cougars with 12 points.

The Beavers wrap-up regular season action next week in Los Angeles. Oregon State faces UCLA on Thursday at 7 p.m., before a 2 p.m. showdown on Saturday against USC.

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