Pac-12 Women's Tournament: Oregon State wins championship
SEATTLE (AP) -- Sydney Wiese scored 18 of her 21 points in the first half while Oregon State built a 27-point lead and Ruth Hamblin added 23 points and a career-high 20 rebounds in a 69-57 win over UCLA on Sunday night that gave the Beavers their first Pac-12 Conference Tournament title.
After winning at least a share of two straight regular-season conference titles, the Beavers (28-4) capped off their first conference tourney title and earned the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with a dominant performance that will only help solidify their place as a high seed when the NCAA field is announced on March 14.
Wiese was the instigator, hitting four 3-pointers in the first half as Oregon State raced to a 44-17 halftime lead. Hamblin dominated the inside, making 10 of 14 shots and nearly outrebounded UCLA as a team.
Jordin Canada led UCLA (24-8) with 17 points.
Pac-12 player of the year Jamie Weisner added 19 points and Oregon State became the fifth different school to win the Pac-12 Tournament title, although Stanford remains the only school to win more than one. Oregon State is also the first No. 1 seed other than Stanford to win the tourney title.
Last year's conference tournament was supposed to cap Oregon State's ascent to the top of the Pac-12, but the Beavers were surprisingly bounced in the quarterfinals by No. 9 seed Colorado. Determined to make up for last year's shortcomings, the Beavers withstood a late challenge from Washington in Saturday's semifinals before taking care of the Bruins.
Wiese and Weisner combined for 23 of Oregon State's first 30 points. The Beavers took a 30-15 lead on Wiese's third 3-pointer of the first half, and that was the start of a 17-2 run over the final 5:40 of the second quarter that led to a 44-17 lead. UCLA pulled within 63-54 late in the fourth quarter after a five-point possession, but the Beavers answered with layups by Weisner and Hamblin to end the Bruins comeback hopes.
Oregon State and UCLA split the season series, but Wiese missed the first game in Los Angeles due to a hand injury when the Bruins gave the Beavers one of their two losses in conference play.
Kari Korver added 10 points for UCLA, but the Bruins shot just 24 percent in the first half and were 2-of-16 shooting in the second quarter. The Bruins will likely be a top-four seed and host games in the NCAA tournament when it is announced on Monday, March 14
The Beavers are expected to be a Nos. 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.