Leilani Estavan Leads Women's Basketball Past Cincinnati, 61-55

Dec. 19, 2003

CINCINNATI - Senior guard Leilani Estavan scored a career-high 25 points as Oregon State's women's basketball team wrapped up the non-conference schedule with a 61-55 victory against University of Cincinnati on Friday night.

Nearly unstoppable at home, the loss marks the first time that Cincinnati (6-4) has dropped back-to-back games at Fifth Third Arena in seven years.

In a game of runs, the Beavers (6-3) used back-to-back 3-point field goals by Estavan and Ebony Young to spark their most crucial run of the contest and lead the team to victory.

OSU trailed by six points (44-38) with 9:57 in the game but closed out the final eight minutes on a 20-9 run as the Bearcats couldn't find the bottom of the net.

Estavan buried 8-of-14 field goals in the contest, including a 4-for-5 clip from 3-point range en route to her career-best 25 points - 19 of which were scored in the second half.

Young also reached double figures in scoring with a career-best 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while senior Krystal Turner added 10 rebounds.

Debbie Merrill led the Bearcats with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

For the fourth straight game, the Beavers shot over 50-percent from the field, finishing with a 54-percent (23-for-43) clip.

'Give our players a ton of credit,' said OSU head coach Judy Spoelstra. 'It was a chess match for a while.'

Cincinnati pulled in front by a 9-2 margin to open the game but the Beavers used a 15-2 run of their own to take a 17-11 lead with 7:05 on the clock.

The Bearcats battled back behind Merrill's shooting to knot the score at 24-24 going into the break. Other than Merrill and senior guard Valerie King, the rest of the Cincinnati players appeared unable to face the basket and look to score.

OSU hit 11-of-21 (52-percent) field goals in the opening 20 minutes, but UC held an 18-13 rebounding edge and OSU failed to get an offensive board.

Oregon State returns to action on Dec. 27 when the Beavers open Pacific-10 Conference play in Palo Alto, CA against No. 7 Stanford University. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Maples Pavilion.

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