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With Oregon State clinging to a 74-72 lead in the final seconds, Kat Tudor wanted the ball.

Oregon State’s sophomore guard worked hard and fought through players so the ball would end up in her hands.

And with 11.6 seconds left, she was fouled and went to the line to try and seal the Beavers’ 14th straight Civil War win.

But Tudor, who had a career game with 34 points and had been 5 for 5 from the line, missed the first free throw before hitting the second for a 75-72 lead.

The disappointment was evident on Tudor’s face as she headed back to the Beavers' bench after the Ducks called a timeout.

That miss proved costly — for a few minutes anyway — as Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, who played on the same AAU team as Tudor, calmly sank a game-tying 3 to send the game to overtime.

Instead of letting the miss get her down, Tudor responded with a made free throw to open the overtime. She then once again worked hard to get the ball, this time driving to the lane for a floater that put the Beavers up 78-75.

They were Tudor’s final points in a masterful performance that saw the No. 18 Beavers fend off the No. 7 Ducks in an 85-79 thriller.

“I’m really inspired by her toughness and the way she handles things,” said senior Marie Gulich, who also had a standout performance with a career-high 28 points while grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing out five assists.

“She can be so hard on herself and everyone’s like, Kat, everything’s fine. You’re fine. You’re having like 34 points, everything’s fine. Just get a stop. She did really good today and I’m really proud of the way she handled it.”

Coach Scott Rueck said Tudor is somewhat of a perfectionist and when she isn’t she has been know to get down on herself.

“She cares so much,” he said Friday night. “She plays with every ounce of her heart and I can relate to that. I’m somebody that did the exact same thing and I didn’t ever want to make a mistake. … Any shot she misses, whether it’s in a practice, shootaround, whether she’s in the gym by herself shooting, it hurts. She feels like she should make every shot.”

Tudor nearly did on Friday. She finished 10 for 14 from the floor, including a 7-for-10 performance from three. She also hit 7 of 9 free throws.

“It was pure focus,” Tudor said. “I was focused this whole week, just uber focused, and I woke up (Friday) morning knowing we had a late game so you have to kind of get yourself ready for that and mentally prepared.”

Oregon coach Kelly Graves said the Ducks wanted to not allow Tudor, or the rest of the Beavers, to get good looks from beyond the arc.

OSU was 9 for 11 in the first half and 13 for 26 for the game.

“We said don’t let them make threes, make them make twos,” he said. “Well, they made 13 threes. … We just didn’t do a good enough job of staying with the kids we were supposed to stay with.”

Tudor said it was Gulich who helped her keep the right mindset during Friday’s game regardless of the situation.

“Throughout the whole game Marie was not going to let me do that either,” she said. “She always looks at me — together Kat, together. She was not going to let me be in a mood.”

Instead, Tudor played the part of a cold-blooded assassin.

She hit all three 3-point attempts in the first quarter and had 10 points after 10 minutes to help the Beavers to a 28-17 lead. She finished the first half with five made 3s and 18 points.

“I think she’s really grown and I’m so proud of her for handling adversity in a much better way,” Rueck said. “It’s so cool for all of us to watch her. She actually is giving up a ton of confidence in watching her grow.

“… Tonight, and I know it killed her for missing that stupid free throw, but who cares, on to the next, we can’t worry about that, let’s make the next great play and that’s what she did all night.”

Quick turnaround

As thrilling a win as it was for the Beavers and as tough a loss as it was for the Ducks, there is little time to let the emotions of Friday linger.

The teams face each other again at 5 p.m. Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene.

“It’s the way it is and we’ve done it for years now and so you kind of get accustomed to it, but there’s no enjoyment tonight, really,” Rueck said late Friday night. “My mind's already to the next game. So it’s a little bit unfortunate for a rivalry game.”

Few subs

Friday’s game was a heavyweight fight, mostly played by the starting five on both teams.

Of the 225 minutes played, the Beavers used the bench for just 15 combined minutes. For the Ducks, they used players off the bench for just 18 minutes.

“It was that type of game,” Rueck said. “You blink and you give up momentum, and so that was just kind of how it played out. I didn’t go into the game with a plan necessarily that way, it just kind of felt right.

“You want to counterpunch when you see what they’re doing and it seemed like the right thing to do for our team, in this game. Who knows on Sunday?”

Bando out

The Ducks played without senior guard and 3-point specialist Lexi Bando, who had a walking boot on her left leg.

Bando is averaging 10.5 points per game. She is out indefinitely, Graves said after the game.

“It’s serious enough to not know when she will come back,” he said.

Could it end her season, and career?

“No I don’t think so,” he said. “I sure hope not.”

Mallory McGwire got the start in Bando’s place and scored all 10 of her points in the second half.

McWiliams shines

Katie McWilliams may be remembered for hitting the 3 that basically sealed the win in overtime, but the junior also finished with nine points, eight assists and four rebounds.

McWilliams, from South Salem High, also played the point the majority of the game and finished with just two turnovers.

She teamed with Mikayla Pivec at the point and the two combined for 17 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds.


Sports editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald and Corvallis Gazette-Times

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