Going into their matchup, the Cal and No. 12 Oregon State women’s basketball teams could not have been going in more different directions.
The Bears (10-6, 1-4 Pac-12) were playing in their first game after just falling out of the top 25 after a loss to an unranked Utah team at home. On the other side, the Beavers (13-3, 4-1) came in off two consecutive victories over Oregon and having maintained a top-12 ranking the entire season.
And it looks like that ranking won’t be going anywhere.
Oregon State beat Cal, 70-48, on Friday night in Corvallis, Oregon, despite the Beavers being without star guard Sydney Weise for the seventh consecutive game.
The beginning of the game started out much differently than what the final score may show, with the two teams starting out trading points, allowing the Bears to keep it close in the opening minutes. Cal was able to stay with the powerful offense of Oregon State, almost solely through its star freshman, Kristine Anigwe. The forward managed to score eight points in the opening five minutes of the first quarter, keeping the Bears down only one, 13-12.
After a three-pointer by guard Katie McWilliams and a layup by powerful center Ruth Hamblin, who finished the game with 15 points and nine rebounds, the Beavers began to separate themselves, going up by four. Forward Mikayla Cowling kept it close with a shot to make the score, 18-14, but a three-minute scoring deficit to end the quarter did not help the Bears close in.
The second quarter started out with the two squads trading threes with Cowling nailing an important shot to keep Cal down only 21-18. Guard Jamie Weisner, the best free-throw shooter in the country, then went 1-2 from the line, a lucky break for the Bears that doesn’t often come from the 94.1 percent shooter from the line. But Cal was unable to take advantage with Cowling then missing two free throws of her own.
The Bears ended their over four-minute scoring deficit with a pass from freshman guard Asha Thomas to junior forward Courtney Range to bring the score within four. With Anigwe beginning to get tired, the team began relying on Range more and she did her best, ending the night with a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds. But with Oregon State going on a 9-3 run with just more than three minutes left in the half, Cal’s chances of emerging with a victory continued to dwindle.
In the second half, things only got worse.
By the 4-minute-25-second mark of the third quarter, the first timeout of the second half, the Bears’ only points had come from Anigwe in the opening two minutes. And the Beavers had managed 15 points.
Shooting only 20 percent in the quarter, the Bears’ struggles to stop the powerful Oregon State offense were complemented by their own inability to score almost any points in the third quarter, creating an almost 20-point separation, 54-35.
Turnovers were a major problem for the Bears, who surrendered 11 in the game, allowing the Beavers to get more and more chances at the basket. And they took advantage of it.
Three Oregon State players scored more than 15 points with Hamblin joined by guard Gabriella Hanson, who had a career-high of 20 and Weisner with 16, all playing lights out. While Anigwe had another stellar game, ending with 16 points and 6 rebounds, she was double-teamed throughout the night and in foul trouble, which prohibited her from making many breaks on the basket and having another standout night like she has had so many times this season.
The same problems that have plagued this team this year were brought out even more against the Beavers. Despite trying many different types of defense, Cal could not stop an Oregon State offense that shot 56 percent in the game, and the Bears’ only eight-person team showed its fatigue as early as the second quarter.
With the scoring shutout to start the second half, the young Bears team never really got back into the game and were unable to catch up to the almost perfect Beaver offense.