Beavs Nab Valentine’s Day Victory Over UCLA

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CORVALLIS, Ore. Ruth Hamblin posted her second straight double-double with 18 points and 10  rebounds, Gabriella Hanson and Sydney Wiese added 14 apiece and the Oregon State women’s basketball team assisted on 20 of its 25 made field goals, all of which helped the Beavers to a 70-54 Valentine’s Day victory over UCLA in Gill Coliseum on Friday night.
The win, the fourth in a row and sixth in the last seven games for Oregon State, moves the Beavers’ record to 16-9 overall and 8-5 in Pac-12 play. OSU is now 11-1 in Gill, tying the best home start in program history (1995-96; 1982-83). Ten of those wins have been by double digits. Oregon State is also a perfect 6-0 in conference games in Gill for the first time in the Pac-10/12 era, an undefeated league start which hasn’t been matched since the Beavers were 7-0 at home to begin their 1982-83 NorPac schedule.
“We wanted this win really bad and I think we showed it in the first 20 minutes,” Wiese said. “They (UCLA) are a great team and I’m just happy we pulled out the victory. Everybody stepped up and played big.”
UCLA (11-14, 5-8) held its only lead, 4-2, less than three minutes in before the Beavers responded with a 10-0 run which gave them a 12-4 advantage at the 14:40 mark of the opening period. Wiese started the spurt with back-to-back 3-pointers and then Hamblin and Deven Hunter finished it off with easy layups on the block.
The Bruins pulled to within two on a number of occasions, but with the score 20-18 and 8:57 left until intermission, Oregon State closed the half on a 22-8 run to put the game out of reach. The decisive stretch featured contributions from up and down the Beavers’ lineup.
Oregon State started the game by making just one of its first seven shots, but closed the first half by converting 14 of its final 23 (60.9 percent) and enjoyed a sizeable 42-26 lead at the break.
Hamblin and Samantha Siegner each had six points during the run. Wiese, Khadidja Toure and Ali Gibson added makes from behind the arc and Alyssa Martin sprinkled in a free throw to put the Bruins in the 16-point hole.
“We definitely came out and stepped on them right away,” Hamblin said. “Offensively we executed [well] and we were getting some stops. It was a very good first half for us.”
UCLA dressed eight, all of whom played, while the Beavers shuffled a rotation of nine on the court throughout the evening. Oregon State’s bench, however, outscored its counterparts 23-0.
The barrage for OSU’s reserves was spearheaded by the heady play of Gabriella Hanson, who scored 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting to go along with six rebounds. The freshman, who has a knack for hitting a timely bucket to swing momentum, did so yet again midway through the second half.
An Atonye Nyingifa layup cut the Bruins’ deficit to 57-43 with 7:27 to go and increased defensive pressure from UCLA had forced Oregon State to scramble until Hanson calmly drilled her first 3-pointer of the game from in front of the Beaver bench. She’d hit another a minute later to extend OSU’s lead to 63-44 with 5:17 on the clock, as her team was able to close it out and snap a nine-game UCLA winning streak in the series.
“The second half we were up so there was no reason to rush and take a quick shot,” Wiese added. “We just wanted to work the ball around and get the best opportunity to score as possible.”
During a nearly 10-minute stretch in the second half, Hanson accounted for all of Oregon State’s 10 points. She hit a little pull up to stop a 6-0 UCLA run with 11:31 left and another Beaver did not score until Hamblin converted a layup with 1:55 on the clock.
Hanson has now been successful on 46.9 percent of her 3-pointers this season, a clip which is even better in Pac-12 play where she has made 54.5 percent.
In addition to Hamblin’s double-double, the sophomore tallied six blocks, her seventh game this year with at least five. Her 89 total this season are third in Oregon State history and ninth in Pac-12 history. Wiese was 4-of-5 from 3-point range and now has made 73 triples, putting her just three shy of setting a new school best and 10 shy of cracking the conference’s top 10.
The Beavers also pulled down 41 rebounds to UCLA’s 28 and have not been outrebounded in the last 11 games, the longest such streak for OSU since 1980 when it was even or better on the boards in 17 straight.
“This is a first for me being here where we’ve been a dominant rebounding team,” Head Coach Scott Rueck said. “This team just continues to improve. Now it’s almost weird if we miss a box out.”
OSU’s 8-5 conference record matches its best start in the last 17 seasons. The Beavers had the same mark in 2011-12, 2001-02 and 1999-00. Their 16-9 overall mark is their second-best record through 25 games since 1995-96 (2011-12; 17-8).
Oregon State will look for its best-ever home start when it hosts USC (16-9, 9-4) on Sunday at noon in a game televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

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