CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Kennedy Brown scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half to help the No. 7 Oregon State women’s basketball team overcome a poor first-half shooting performance for a 68-55 nonconference win over Liberty on Saturday at the Miami Thanksgiving Classic.
The victory was the 500th of coach Scott Rueck’s career. The Beavers are now 7-0 and return home to take on Hawaii on Dec. 6.
“What a privilege to be able to do something long enough to get there,” said Rueck, who won 288 games at George Fox and now has 212 wins with the Beavers. “Anytime you hit something like that, it causes you to reflect. I think back to win No. 1. I can picture it like it was yesterday. A double-overtime win at Vanguard University in Los Angeles.”
Mikayla Pivec added 14 points, six rebounds and six assists and Aleah Goodman chipped in 13 points and four assists. Brown also had a team-best nine rebounds. Taylor Jones and Destiny Slocum both added eight points.
Ashtyn Baker led Liberty with 15 points, Bridgette Rettstatt added 12 and Emily Lytle added 10 for Liberty.
This one was never easy as the Beavers played from behind in the first half. They were down 30-25 at the half after making only 9 of 29 shots from the field in the half and only 3 of 16 from beyond the 3-point line.
“It was evident they were in control of everything and we were scrambling and nothing was easy for us, and honestly nothing was going right,” Rueck said in his postgame radio interview. “It was just one of those just really frustrating stretches that teams go through and I was really proud of the way we battled in that second quarter just to find some sort of traction.”
Oregon State used a 22-13 edge in the third period to take a 47-43 lead into the final 10 minutes.
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Brown tied the game at 32 and then hit a 3 for a 35-34 lead with 6:47 to play in the quarter. The Beavers were 7 for 12 from the field and hit 2 of 5 threes in the period.
Oregon State finished the second half 12 for 24 from the field.
“To this team's credit they have huge heart, they rally, they found a way,” Rueck said. “Just made some big plays down the stretch.”
The Beavers trailed 13-4 before reeling off seven straight points in the final 1:38 to make it 13-11 after one quarter.
OSU was just 5 for 18 from the field and 1 for 8 from deep. Jones had seven points but picked up her second foul late in the period.
The Beavers were within 20-19 but Liberty scored seven straight to go up 27-19 at the midpoint of the second quarter.
Oregon State held Liberty to a free throw over the final 3:55 of the half to get within 30-25 at the half.
Jones led the Beavers with six points despite playing only seven minutes and did not pay in the second quarter after picking up her second foul. Pivec played just nine minutes as she also picked up two fouls.
Lytle had 10 to lead Liberty.