SEATTLE -- The drama that has thus far defined the 2014 Pac-12 Conference women's basketball tournament has avoided the Oregon State Beavers.
The third-seeded Beavers breezed to their second consecutive win Saturday night, with another wire-to-wire victory by way of a 70-60 win over Washington State to advance to the Oregon State program's first-ever Pac-12 tournament final. The Beavers (23-9) will face No. 5 seed USC after the Trojans upset Stanford earlier in the night.
"The teams you would expect to be (playing) aren't there," Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. "It shows the parity in our conference."
Sydney Wiese and Ali Gibson combined for 36 points while making 9 of 15 shots from three-point range as Oregon State won its 11th consecutive game. In 80 minutes of action over their two games of the Pac-12 tournament, the Beavers have yet to trail and had not allowed an opponent within single digits in a second half of either game until the Cougars used a late rally to close the gap to 67-58 in Saturday night's final minute.
With the win, Oregon State moved one step closer to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1995-96. The Beavers' 11-game winning streak is the third-longest current streak in the country and the program's longest winning streak since OSU was 14 in a row in 1982-83.
"We're on a roll," Gibson said, "and hopefully we can get to the NCAA tournament."
Wiese had 20 points while hitting 4 of 6 shots from 3-point range, while Gibson matched a career-high with five three-pointers on the way to 16 points. Six-foot-6 sophomore Ruth Hamblin added 11 points and nine rebounds for Oregon State, which overcame 18 points from the Cougars' Tia Presley. WSU teammate Lia Galdeira added 16 points, giving her a Pac-12 tournament record of 75 over Washington State's three games.
The Cougars dodged a bullet 3 1/2 minutes into the game, when Galdeira went down hard after a missed layup and was writhing on the floor while clutching her left wrist. Galdeira came out of the game and got the wrist taped up before returning to action less than five minutes later.
"Gutsy kid. She's a warrior," Washington State coach June Daugherty said of Galdeira, who was expected to undergo X-rays late Saturday night or early Sunday. ". You could tell she was in a lot of pain."
Washington State (17-16) made just 8 of 30 shots over the first 20 minutes, while Oregon State's Sydney Wiese scored eight points to lead the Beavers to a 33-20 lead. Oregon State scored the first four points of the half and led by as many as 16 points without ever falling behind.
"We started nervous," Washington State's Shalie Dheensaw said. "Our shots weren't falling. Give Oregon State credit. Their shots were falling."
Washington State missed its first eight shots of the second half, helping the Beavers pull away for a second consecutive easy victory.
"A great win for us (Saturday), obviously," said Rueck, who is in his fourth season after taking over a program that finished at the bottom of the Pac-10 standings in 2009-10. "I'm excited about where we're at, where the student-athletes are at, and how far the program has come in such a short time."