CORVALLIS, Ore. – Ruth Hamblin and Deven Hunter each posted double-doubles for Oregon State and the Beavers used a nearly flawless offensive start to defeat Washington State, 72-57, in Gill Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
Hamblin scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to notch her third double-double in the past six games. Hunter tallied the second such performance of her career with a 16-point, 10-rebound effort. Sunday marked the first time OSU had two players with double-doubles in the same game since Feb. 6, 2010 at Oregon.
With the win, the Beavers moved to 12-8 on the season and evened their Pac-12 record to 4-4. OSU is now 8-1 at home, its best start in Gill since 1995-96 and has split its first eight league contests for the first time since 2003-04.
Oregon State jumped on the visiting Cougars (11-9, 5-3) early and often, eventually opening up a gap as large as 25 in the first half. The Beavers connected on 14 of their first 16 shots from the floor and held WSU to just eight makes on 32 attempts in the entire opening frame.
“[Associate Head Coach] Mark Campbell put together a great game plan for us,” Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck said. “We did a good job of finding mismatches in their zone and I thought we really exploited that in the first half.”
After Sage Romberg started the game with a jumper on Washington State’s first possession, OSU answered with a 14-2 run over the ensuing four minutes. The Beaver onslaught was sparked by Hunter’s decisiveness from the high post. On her first two touches, Oregon State’s first two possessions, the sophomore sized up her defender and powered her way to the hoop for baskets at the rim.
“She did a great job getting them into foul trouble as well,” Rueck added of Hunter’s performance. “She was an advantage we had on the floor. We’ve seen glimpses, but this might have been the best game of her career today.”
A Kolbie Orum layup capped off the 14-of-16 start for OSU with 8:10 to go in the half and gave the Beavers a 32-15 lead. Oregon State would make four of its final eight shots in the stanza and finished the first half shooting 66.7 percent (16-of-24).
In the final 9:39 of the opening period, Washington State would only convert one field goal, a Mariah Cooks three-pointer with 5:28 until the break. The Cougars ended the opening 20 minutes on a 1-for-15 streak from the floor and Oregon State led 44-21 at halftime.
The Cougars, who erased a 14-point halftime deficit to OSU last Jan. 27 in Pullman and more recently were able to dig out of an 18-point hole at Oregon on Friday, didn’t go away quietly. WSU scored 10 of the first 12 points in the second half and cut the Beaver lead to 15, 46-31, on a Dawnyelle Awa layup with 18:18 left.
OSU was up by the same margin (54-39) six minutes later when another 10-2 Cougar run brought the visitors to within seven, 56-49, with just 6:14 to go.
Gabriella Hanson stemmed the tide with an offensive rebound and put back and then Hamblin added another bucket off an assist from Wiese. Jamie Weisner would hit a pair of free throws to push OSU’s lead back to double-digits, 62-49, and the Beavers would hold on from there to nab their largest victory in the series since a 25-point win in 2008.
“All day long I thought our defense was really good,” Rueck said. “Credit them for coming out of the locker room really inspired [in the second half]. It’s new for us to play a good team like that with a 20-point lead. It goes into the psychology of it and that’s what the second half was. We lost our aggressiveness. The second you take your foot off the gas...they’re in control and have momentum.”
Ali Gibson, who was a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range on Friday, made 2-of-3 on Sunday as part of her 10-point effort. Sydney Wiese scored in double figures for the fourth straight game, putting up 15. The freshman also handed out five assists against a single turnover and had four steals.
Lia Galdeira, who came in averaging 18.4 points per game, led WSU with 21. The team’s leading scorer, Tia Presley (19.1 ppg) was held to just six points on 3-for-10 shooting.
OSU dominated on the glass, 46-31, and outscored Washington State 34-22 in the paint thanks in large part to Hamblin and Hunter.
The Beavers return to the court for their penultimate regular-season road trip of 2013-14 when they head to Arizona for a matchup at No. 14 ASU on Friday evening. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PT.