SEATTLE (AP) For the second time in a matter of days, Sydney Wiese and No. 6 Oregon State got the better of California.
Now the wait begins for California to see if those two losses to the Beavers contribute to the Golden Bears either making the NCAA tournament or being left out.
Wiese scored 26 points and the top-seeded Beavers rolled into the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals with a 65-49 victory over California on Friday.
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Wiese and the Beavers (28-3) won their sixth straight, leading by as many as 16 in the first half and holding off every run by the Golden Bears. It was Oregon State’s second win in a week over California, knocking off the Bears in the regular-season finale by 15.
And every win this weekend in Seattle only bolsters Oregon State’s chance of possibly landing a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs. The Beavers will play No. 15 UCLA in the semifinals Saturday.
”It’s tough to play a team (twice) in a four or five day span because you know each other so well, and at the end of conference play, too,” Wiese said.
California would like to join Oregon State in the NCAAs, but will have an antsy wait over the next week until the tournament field is announced on March 13. Kristine Anigwe led California (19-13) with 26 points, but needed 24 shot attempts to do so.
The Bears likely needed one more victory to bolster their NCAA Tournament hopes, but California coach Lindsay Gottlieb believes the Bears have done enough as is to warrant an at-large bid.
”I’m confident that’s where we belong. It’s hard to be confident in things that are out of your control,” Gottlieb said. ”We know that, you know, if we have five or six more wins, then it’s not a question.”
Mikayla Pivec added 17 points for Oregon State, who a year ago used a run to its first Pac-12 Tournament title as the precursor to a Final Four run. Marie Gulich overcame early foul trouble to add 12 points.
California was within 10 midway through the third quarter, but went six minutes without scoring. A free throw from Anigwe in the opening moments of the fourth quarter finally broke the scoreless drought but the Bears still trailed by 15. California had one final run, pulling within 55-47 with 4:05 remaining on Anigwe’s basket. After an Oregon State turnover, Asha Thomas’ 3-pointer rimmed out and the Bears could get no closer. Wiese’s three-point play with 2:04 left finally put the game away.
Wiese was 7 of 13 shooting and added six rebounds and six assists, finishing one point off her career high.
”Every time they made a run at us we made the plays to keep them at bay,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said.
California: The Bears face an uncomfortable wait. It seemed a foregone conclusion in December, when California went 13-0 in nonconference play, that the Bears were NCAA bound. Now they are very much on the bubble.
”Looking at our resume lined up against other people, I think if we get in that tournament, we’ll be everything that it’s about, which is, `Hey, I don’t want to face that team,”’ Gottlieb said.
Oregon State: The Beavers won their sixth straight over the Bears and improved to 5-0 this season against the Bay Area schools. The earliest they would see Stanford is the tournament title game.
Oregon State played without guard Katie McWilliams due to an undisclosed injury. McWilliams played just eight minutes in the regular season finale against California. Rueck said he hopes McWilliams is able to play at some point this weekend.
California: The Bears wait until March 13 to find out their postseason fate.
Oregon State: The Beavers face No. 15 UCLA in the semifinals Saturday.