Following Friday’s disappointing loss to Stanford, Oregon State coach Scott Rueck didn’t hide his feelings about the way his team played.
He admitted they were soft in being outrebounded 17-8 on the offensive glass, which helped the Cardinal escape with a 60-57 victory.
On Sunday, the Beavers played with a greater toughness and discipline to get on the glass and flipped the script.
This time, Oregon State was the one with the 17-8 edge on offensive rebounding, which helped the No. 16 Beavers to a 68-48 Pac-12 women’s basketball win over No. 25 California before a Gill Coliseum crowd of 3,706.
“I thought we really competed well,” Rueck said. “You saw Taya (Corosdale) getting up in the air and ripping rebounds and holding position. Certainly Marie (Gulich) is going to do what Marie does every night.
“That was clearly the message and we knew that was the difference the other night and the team responded like our teams typically do. It was a tough lesson the other night and it hurt because we knew that was a winnable game with that exception.”
The victory sends Oregon State (17-6, 8-4) to the state of Washington with a little momentum. The Beavers take on the Cougars on Friday and the Huskies on Sunday. Cal (15-8, 6-6), which was blown out twice in the Willamette Valley this weekend, hosts Colorado on Friday.
Marie Gulich finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Beavers while Katie McWilliams chipped in 19 points and four assists. Freshmen Corosdale and Aleah Goodman each had eight and Mikayla Pivec had 13 rebounds.
Kristine Anigwe scored 13 points for the Golden Bears, who had just two players with eight or more points.
McWilliams provided an offensive spark in the first quarter and gave the Beavers the start they needed.
The junior guard hit her first four shots and had 14 points in the first quarter as the Beavers bolted to a 20-10 lead after one period.
She was 5 for 6 overall and 2 for 3 from three to go with a two free throws.
“Katie McWilliams came out and just demonstrated her leadership,” Rueck said. “She played like a champion today. She responded to adversity extremely well and said if they’re going to leave me I’m going to make them pay and set the tone for our team today.”
McWilliams, who has been more active taking shots the past few games, said she just took advantage of what the Golden Bears gave her on Sunday.
“I was coming off screens and they would hedge out and then leave so it left it wide open for me,” said McWilliams, who had 16 points to lead the Beavers in the loss to Stanford on Friday.
“Obviously if I’m open I’m going to take my shots. That’s how it’s been the last couple games, just taking opportunities that I have.”
The Beavers never let Cal get back in the game, thanks to a stifling defense that forced the Golden Bears into a 7-for-32 shooting performance in the first half. Cal was just 2 for 14 in the second quarter and didn’t hit a basket until there was 2:42 left.
Rueck said the Beavers followed assistant coach Katie Baker’s game plan to a T.
Meanwhile, the Beavers turned their 20-10 first-quarter lead into 33-14 thanks to a 3 by Kat Tudor and Goodman’s long pass to Gulich for a layup.
Goodman canned a 3 and Gulich had a block to close out the period with Oregon State up 36-17.
Anigwe had just four points on 2-for-7 shooting in the first half; she finished the game shooting 6 for 14 and just six rebounds.
“It was just team defense,” Gulich said. “My job was just to keep her out and then I had everyone just having my back and backing down.
“She had to hit tough shots today and I give the credit to the fours and the guards outside to help me out. They squeezed in and that made it tough on her and then she just had to pass it out or shoot over us.”
Cal tried to get Anigwe involved early in the third and she scored four quick points, but Gulich had the first six for the Beavers and they were able to push the lead to as many as 25 midway through the period.
But Cal closed the quarter on a 12-4 run — the only basket by the Beavers was a McWilliams 3 with 31 seconds left — to get within 52-35.
But that was as close as the Golden Bears would get.
“I thought today was a great bounce back for the team,” Rueck said.