No. 9 Oregon State women outlast Arizona 65-60 in 2 OTs
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Oregon State lost one tough road game in Arizona and faced the possibility of heading into the postseason with consecutive desert losses.
The ninth-ranked Beavers found a way to pull out a double-overtime win in a tough road environment — a solid tune-up for the Pac-12 Tournament.
Mikayla Pivec had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Joanna Grymek blocked two big shots and Oregon State outlasted Arizona 65-60 on Sunday to close out the regular season.
“We’re fighting to carry some momentum into the conference tournament and the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and it was important to cement that,” Beavers coach Scott Rueck said.
Oregon State (24-6, 14-4 Pac-12) shot well early and bounced back from a long second-half scoreless drought with a strong fourth quarter.
Arizona (17-12, 7-11) trailed by 11 in the first quarter, but tightened up defensively to push the Beavers in the fourth quarter.
Arizona’s Dominique McBryde hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left in regulation to put Arizona up two, but Pivec scored on a layup with 5.6 seconds left to tie it at 52-all.
The Wildcats got the ball to Aari MacDonald, but her long 3-pointer at the buzzer went off the side of the rim.
After neither team could get a shot to fall in the first overtime, Oregon State scored the final seven points in the second extra session to beat the Wildcats for the 11th straight time.
Grymek had 14 points and five blocked shots, including two in the final 1:07 of the second overtime.
MacDonald had 23 points and McBryde finished with 20 for Arizona, which lost its fourth straight.
“It’s not a good feeling at all,” MacDonald said. “We left everything out on the court. We competed with a top-10 team, so it’s not too bad, but we definitely need improvement going into the Pac-12 Tournament.”
The Beavers suffered a disappointing 66-54 loss to No. 21 Arizona State on Friday after allowing the Sun Devils to score 17 straight points spanning halftime. Slocum was limited to 19 minutes because of foul trouble in that game, and Oregon State went 4 of 18 from the 3-point arc.
Arizona had a similar offensive breakdown in its 83-54 loss to No. 6 Oregon, outscored 19-0 in the fourth quarter.
Oregon State won the first meeting 86-64 in Corvallis behind Destiny Slocum’s 24 points.
The Beavers had no trouble knocking down shots early Sunday, making 9 of 13 shots to lead 21-12 after the first quarter.
Oregon State’s hot shooting did not continue.
The Beavers went 3 of 14 in the second quarter and though Arizona didn’t shoot particularly well, either, the Wildcats were able to trim the lead to 29-25 by halftime.
It got worse for Oregon State in the third.
The Beavers had a scoreless drought of nearly eight minutes spanning into the fourth quarter and Arizona used a 10-0 run to go up 37-36.
The Wildcats had plenty of chances after that, but it was the Beavers who made the biggest plays at the crucial times.
“They made the plays down the stretch,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. “We played hard, but they won it.”
Oregon State avoided ending the regular season with consecutive losses and will be the No. 3 seed at the Pac-12 Tournament.
Arizona heads into the conference tournament with the knowledge it can hang with the nation’s No. 9 team.
“If we just stick to our guns, dig deep, we can upset teams down the stretch,” McBryde said. “We can make some noise.”
Even though she’s 6-foot-8, Grymek had not been much of a shot blocker after transferring from a junior college prior to last season.
Oregon State’s coaches have worked with the Polish center about being more aggressive, and it’s paid off.
“That’s emerged this past month, and it’s given us a new dimension where other teams are having to react to us at the rim,” Rueck said. “Previously, it was almost like a green like to the rim.”
Arizona had the advantage inside against Oregon State in the teams’ first meeting. The Beavers turned the tables on the Wildcats, outscoring them 38-24 in the paint. Oregon State also had a 57-34 rebounding advantage.
Oregon State has a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament and will play Friday.
Arizona opens the conference tournament on Thursday.