Beavers earn Pac-12 season title with 73-55 win over Cal
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) After Oregon State cut down the net to celebrate the school's first-ever Pac-12 regular-season title, coach Scott Rueck hung it around the neck of his lone senior, guard Ali Gibson.
''Our goal all year was to cut down the nets, and we didn't want to share it with anybody,'' Gibson said.
The seventh-ranked Beavers went into Saturday's game against California guaranteed a share of the league's season championship. With the 73-55 win over the No. 24 Golden Bears, they claimed it outright.
Sydney Weise had 23 points, including a season-high seven 3-pointers, for Oregon State (26-3, 16-2), which has already claimed the top seed in next week's conference tournament in Seattle.
The Beavers had lost at home fell to No. 19 Stanford on Thursday to postpone the celebration, and needed the win in the final game to finish in front of Arizona State.
Following the game, Weise wore Gibson's warmup jersey.
''It was her senior day, and there were a lot of emotions. We knew if we won this game we'd win the title outright. That was all on our minds,'' Weise said. ''But I think ultimately we just told each other: `This is for us. This is for the 12 of us and how hard we worked in the offseason, during practices and every single game. This one is just for us.'... I think that we showed that today. We rallied with each other. We celebrated. I mean, it was picture-perfect.''
Brittany Boyd just missed out on her third triple-double of the season with 15 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists for California (21-8, 13-5). The Golden Bears needed a win to secure the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.
The loss snapped a 15-game winning streak against the Beavers.
''We really have contrasting styles of play,'' Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. ''I think they did them a little bit better today than we did us today over all. But It was kind of a series of runs. We started out the game getting out in transition, turning them over, playing how we want to play. And then they got into more of a rhythm, and obviously the 3-point line was the difference in the game.''
Cal jumped out to an 8-0 lead while Oregon State missed its first four shots from the floor. The Beavers made timely 3-pointers to get back in the game, pulling within 16-15 on Ruth Hamblin's jumper before Weise's 3-pointer tied it at 18 with 7:10 left in the first half.
Oregon State took its first lead of the game, at 21-20, on Gabriella Hanson's layup and free throw. Another Hanson layup pushed the lead to 38-24 and the Beavers went into the break ahead 40-26.
Cal closed to within 40-35 on Courtney Range's layup, but Jamie Weisner answered with a 3-pointer for the Beavers.
Weise hit a 3-pointer and the Beavers had a 54-43 lead midway through the second half. Oregon State led by as many as 18 points in the second half.
Oregon State's 69-58 loss at home to No. 19 Stanford on Thursday snapped a five-game winning streak and postponed their shot at clinching the league title.
The loss to the Cardinal also snapped a 21-game winning streak at Gill Coliseum, which dated back to last season. The Beavers previous two losses this season - to Tennessee and Washington - came on the road.
Oregon State had already won more games this season than any other team in school history.
Cal was coming off of a 74-59 victory at Oregon on Thursday.
''Give credit to Cal, they came out strong, they saw a weakness in us and they exposed it - and I'm glad they did - right off the bat because then we started to step up our game and we never looked back from there,'' Weise said.
California: Boyd has two triple-doubles this season to lead the nation. She ranks seventh nationally with an average of seven assists per game. ... Cal will be the fourth seed in the Pac-12 tournament next week.
Oregon State: The Beavers honored Gibson in a pregame ceremony to mark her final game at Gill Coliseum. Gibson was Rueck's first recruit. ... The Beavers' only previous league championship was the 1982-83 NorPac conference title. ... Rueck gave a piece of the net to former player Alyssa Martin, who graduated last year, but helped pave the way for the program to reach the regular season title.
With her seven 3-pointers, Weise also matched her career high set last season against rival Oregon. Overall the Beavers made 15 3-pointers in the game, matching the high reached early in the season against Butler.
It was the regular-season finale for both teams. The Pac-12 tournament opens Thursday in Seattle.