No. 17 Oregon beat No. 4 Colorado 65-59, marking the program’s first-ever win over a Top 5 team

No. 17 Oregon beat No. 4 Colorado 65-59, marking the program’s first-ever win over a Top 5 team

No. 17 Oregon State established itself as a legitimate contender for the Pac-12 women’s basketball title on Sunday when the Beavers defeated No. 4 Colorado 65-59 in Boulder, Colorado.

The Beavers won their fifth straight game — and fourth as a Top 20 team — in dominating Colorado at the CU Events Center. OSU attacked Colorado with shooting and defense from the start, built a 20-point halftime lead, and despite a terrible finish, won comfortably.

Oregon State led by as many as 25 points, and by 22 with 7:49 remaining, but was held scoreless for more than seven minutes and watched a nervy finale defeat.

“This team, I just told them, they’re unbelievable. What this team does and the way they do it,” OSU coach Scott Rueck said on radio after the game.

This is the first time Oregon State has won a road game against a top-five opponent in the AP. The Beavers’ previous best performance was a win over No. 6 North Carolina in 2014.

Oregon State (20-3, 9-3) won its 20th game for the first time since the 2019-20 season. The Beavers knocked Colorado (20-4, 10-3) out of a first-place tie with Stanford. The Cardinals have a one-game lead over Oregon State heading into their 1pm game Sunday at Washington State.

The last time Oregon State won the Pac-12 regular season championship was in 2016-17.

Talia von Olhofen led Oregon State with 18 points. Timea Gardiner scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers, while Lily Hansford scored 11 points. Raegan Beers had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Oregon State shot 48% from three-point range, hitting 10 of 21 shots from beyond the arc.

Oregon State swept the season series from Colorado, as the Beavers beat the Buffaloes 68-62 in Corvallis on Jan. 26. OSU has been swept in a two-game series by Oregon, Utah and Colorado this season.

The Beavers’ defense has become a big problem for Pac-12 opponents. OSU, which ranks fourth nationally in field goal defense, held Colorado to 37% (24 of 65) shooting. OSU had seven blocked shots, including three from the Bears.

“This team competed with an incredible level of focus and execution. Our defense was unreal,” Rueck said. “I can’t say enough about the way we competed. The way we moved the ball. The way we execute and shoot the ball.

“That night someone texted me that the sky is the limit for this team.” It sure feels that way.

Jaylen Sherrod led Colorado with 14 points.

Oregon State missed its first five shots, then began to run Colorado away from its home turf. Von Oelhoffen hit a jumper with 5:49 remaining in the first quarter to give OSU a 6-4 lead, one the Beavers never surrendered. OSU ended the first quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 17-8 lead.

The lead quickly grew to 15 after Hansford and Gardiner hit threes to open the second quarter. Then came a 7-0 run, capped by a Gardiner triple, as Oregon State took a 30-10 lead with 7:30 remaining before halftime.

Colorado responded by scoring 12 of the next 14 points to fall to 32-22. The Beavers refused to wilt, as they responded with a three-point bid. OSU closed the half on a 12-2 run over the final 2:25, all points coming on 3-pointers, to take a 44-24 lead into halftime.

“We performed well in the first half, against a pressing team,” Rueck said. “In the first half, to do what we did, that’s when the game was really decided. He had that feeling. We executed it and we were one step ahead and the ball was moving erratically and our readings and distances were very good.

Oregon State’s lead grew to as much as 25 points during the third quarter. The fourth quarter wasn’t exactly a classic. OSU led 64-42 with 7:49 left, then missed six straight shots and committed eight turnovers as Colorado rattled off 15 straight points. But time was on OSU’s side, as the margin was so large.

“We were running on fumes,” Rueck said. “It seemed like we lost our legs, which is what happens here. And they took advantage of that. But overall, it was just a great performance.”

Oregon State returns to action on Friday when the Beavers take on No. 9 UCLA at 7pm at Gill Coliseum.

– Nick Daschel covers football, basketball and other Oregon Beavers athletics topics. Contact him at 360-607-4824, or @nikdashiel.

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