CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Oregon State center Ruth Hamblin entered the NCAA Tournament on a hot streak, and coach Scott Rueck said the senior was becoming ”the ultimate competitor.”
”I think she’s really been focused on positioning, and her anticipation and her understanding of the game is just getting better and better,” Rueck said.
Hamblin had 18 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks as Oregon State dominated early and cruised to a 73-31 win over Troy in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Friday.
”I have this different aggressiveness and just a poise in understanding my role and what I need to provide for this team,” said Hamblin, the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Sydney Wiese added 10 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Beavers (29-4), the No. 2 seed in the Dallas Regional. Oregon State has won 19 of its last 20 games.
Kristen Emerson had nine points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the 15th-seeded Trojans (20-13).
Troy went 2-26 in 2011-12, the year before coach Chanda Rigby took over.
”We’re an emerging program. Every year has been a step, and we’ve stood on the shoulders of the players of the year before,” Rigby said.
Oregon State shot 42 percent compared to 16 percent for Troy, thanks in part to 6-for-7 shooting from the 6-foot-6 Hamblin. The Beavers also had 24 assists on 29 made baskets, outrebounded Troy 65 to 42 percent, and scored 44 points in the paint, while the Trojans had eight.
Troy scored on its opening possession of the game, but the Trojans shot 1-for-17 the rest of the quarter, and Oregon State surged out to a 23-4 lead.
The Beavers used their height advantage early and gave the ball to Hamblin, who had nine points in the first quarter.
Oregon State had used every player on its roster by halftime, and pushed the lead to 40-14 at the break.
The third quarter ended with the Beavers ahead 54-21.
Troy: The Trojans, from Troy, Alabama, won the Sun Belt tourney as the No. 4 seed, and made their second tourney appearance. Their first was in 1997. … Troy averaged 81.8 points per game and forced 21.8 turnovers per game, and both marks were good for sixth in the nation. The Beavers had 18 turnovers on Friday. … Ashley Beverly Kelley, the lone senior on the roster for the Trojans, was the Sun Belt’s leading scorer at 20.3 points per game.
Oregon State: The Beavers, who claimed a share of the Pac-12 regular season title and won the conference tourney, have made the NCAA Tournament three straight years. Last season, Oregon State was a three-seed, but fell to Gonzaga in the second round. …. Weisner, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, had two points on Friday. She led the Beavers with 17.3 points per game this season.
TRANSITION D: Wiese said that Oregon State’s focus on defensive transition kept the Trojans from easy buckets, and therefore, Troy wasn’t able to set up its full court press as much. ”We eliminated quick shots for them, which is the rhythm they like to play in,” Rueck said.
OFF NIGHT: Weisner had an off night, missing six of her seven shots and not scoring until the fourth quarter, but the Beavers had enough players step up.
”Obviously, we’re a very deep team and we have a lot of talent. It just depends on who is going to go off on any certain night,” Hamblin said.
Oregon State plays the winner of the No. 7-seed Oklahoma State versus No. 10 St. Bonaventure game on Sunday.