Ruth Hamblin leads No. 10 Oregon State past USC, 57-49
LOS ANGELES (AP) Ruth Hamblin helped No. 10 Oregon State hide the fact it was short-handed.
Hamblin had 16 points and 14 rebounds and the Beavers held off Southern California 57-49 on Saturday night, with starting point guard Sydney Weise out for the third straight game with an injury.
Jamie Weisner added 14 points for Oregon State (10-2, 1-0 Pac-12). The Beavers used a smothering defense to hold the Trojans to a season-low 29.3 percent shooting.
''I loved our defensive effort tonight,'' Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. ''We were laser-focused, and we know we've had to be since (Weise) went down. We've been riding our defense. We did it the other day against Notre Dame, and we did it again today.''
Hamblin overcame foul trouble for her fourth double-double of the season.
''I definitely made some mistakes defensively I don't usually make'' Hamblin said. ''I need to clean that up, but offensively I was able to get into a groove.''
With Hamblin forced to the bench by her fourth foul midway through the third quarter, Southern California erased a 14-point, third-quarter lead to pull even at 43 with 7:04 to play.
''When Ruth goes out it takes a little while for us to adjust,'' Rueck said. ''That means both Ruth and Sydney are out. That's significant. That's a big change for us. And they get more comfortable, they don't see 6-foot-6 in the middle. I think that's what happened tonight.''
Sadie Edwards scored 20 points to lead Southern California (12-2, 0-2). The Trojans lost their second straight Pac-12 game after winning all 12 nonconference games.
''Offensively we struggled to execute,'' Trojans coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. ''Oregon is a very physical team. We struggled with their physicality. But I'm really proud of our effort and I want us to learn from this. We fought back, and were able to get out on the fast break and that sparked the comeback. We just have to learn how to execute in the important moments down the stretch.''
The Trojans, coming off a 78-73 loss at UCLA on Thursday night, were the sixth team this season held to less than 30 percent shooting by the Beavers. They who have held 11 of their 12 opponents below 40 percent shooting.
''I think defense is where we get our identity as a team,'' Hamblin said. ''It gives us energy on the offensive end, and it's how we define ourselves. It's huge in the Pac-12 staying strong defensively.''
The Beavers closed their nonconference schedule by losing two of their last three, falling to Tennessee 53-50 at home on Dec. 19 and losing at Notre Dame 62-61 on Dec. 28. The Beavers have been ranked 11th or higher in every AP Poll since Dec. 29, 2014.
Oregon State: The Beavers are one of three schools, along with Connecticut and South Carolina, with three players (Hamblin, Weisner and Wiese) on the Naismith Trophy Early Season Watch List. The Beavers come off a 2014-15 season in which they posted a school-record 27 victories and won their first Pacific-12 Conference championship.
Southern Cal: The Trojans came into the game having held opponents to 51.9 points per game, 14th in the nation, with 11.3 steals per game, 22nd-best in the country.
Oregon State: at UCLA on Monday night.
Southern Cal: host Oregon on Monday night.