FREEPORT, Bahamas – Jamie Weisner scored 26 points and Oregon State shot over 42 percent from 3-point range, but Florida took its first lead late in the game and was able to hold off the Oregon State women’s basketball team, 73-70, at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas on Saturday.
The Beavers (4-2) grew a lead as large as 10 in the first half, but were never able to pull away from the Gators. Oregon State’s lead fluctuated between seven and two for the majority of the game until Florida (5-3) went on top for the first time, 65-64, on a pair of free throws with 4:27 to go.
Deven Hunter made a couple of freebies of her own to put her team back on top by one, but a Kayla Lewis jumper with 3:41 remaining gave UF at 67-66 advantage, one it would not relinquish after a couple of late Oregon State 3-point attempts rimmed out.
“Florida did a good job, was able to take control in the second half and then we just had a hard time stopping them,” Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck said. “They did a great job of putting it on the floor and, with the way the game is being called this year; we just couldn’t help but foul them and gave them too many free throws. That’s part of the maturation process of this team. We have to learn to be able to defend and keep them off that free throw line.”
Florida scored 13 more points from the stripe than Oregon State, converting on 21 of its 28 trips to the line. But the Beavers jumped out to their 10-point lead with 11:08 on the clock in the first half thanks in large part to their long-range display. OSU hit on seven of 18 attempts from behind the arc in the opening 20 minutes and bettered that to 7-of-15 in the second half. Overall, Oregon State connected on 14 of its 33 3-point attempts. That total made would have been a school record coming into the season, but fell three short of the 17 the Beavers hit last Thursday against Loyola Marymount.
“[We shot well, but] obviously it wasn’t quite good enough,” Rueck added. “I thought we executed better today than we did yesterday. [But] our issues were on the defensive end of the floor – credit Florida for that.”
Oregon State started the game on an 8-0 run courtesy of 3-pointers from Jamie Weisner and Ali Gibson and a fast-break bucket for Weisner. Florida pulled to within two, 12-10, before the Beavers opened up their 10-point lead, 24-14, thanks to a 12-4 run, capped by Sydney Wiese’s 3-pointer from the top of the circle.
Florida was down just four, 35-31, at the half and Oregon State kept the Gators at bay coming out of the break by hitting on another run of 3-pointers. Five of the Beavers’ first six field goals of the second half were from behind the arc.
Weisner opened the barrage with her third of five made threes. She hit another a few minutes later and was followed by makes from Alyssa Martin, Khadidja Toure and Ali Gibson. Gibson’s triple put Oregon State up 52-45 with 10:03 to go. The only 2-point basket during that stretch came on a spinning layup from Weisner.
“We grew up a lot in the last two days,” Rueck said. “We knew we were going to have two tough opponents over here … [and] I thought we learned a lot of lessons. It’s pretty clear where we have to get better and that’s what we hoped for in scheduling this tournament.”
Weisner’s 26 points were just one off her career high, set last Jan. 4 against USC. Alyssa Martin and Ruth Hamblin topped Oregon State on the boards, pulling down seven apiece. Hamblin’s five blocks were also a career high and her fifth game this year with three or more.
Oregon State will return to the States for its first true road game next Friday, Dec. 6 when the Beavers travel to the Chiles Center for a matchup with Portland at 7 p.m.