Second-seeded Oregon State survives Long Beach State 56-55

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CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Raven Benton and Long Beach State nearly made history.

With five seconds left and the 15th seed 49ers down by a point, Benton let go on a jumper that she thought looked good. All eyes were on the ball as it hit the back of the basket and bounced away, and second-seeded Oregon State hung on for a 56-55 first-round victory Friday.

A No. 15 seed had never defeated a No. 2 in tournament history.

Afterward Jody Wynn consoled her near-Cinderella team.

"I told them they deserved to win — and they felt the same way," Wynn said.

Breanna Brown scored 12 points while Mikayla Pivec and Marie Gulich each added 10 points for Oregon State (30-4), which was also seeded second last season when they made a run to the Final Four.

Benton finished with 17 points Long Beach State (23-11). Madison Montgomery added 15.

The 49ers took over the lead on Jessica Gertz's 3-pointer with 2:48 left, but Sydney Wiese hit two free throws to put Oregon State back in front 56-55 with 1:07 to go.

Long Beach State tried to manage the clock, but Benton missed a long jumper with 5 seconds left and Anna Kim's 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the backboard, ending the upset bid.

"It was a good look," Benton said. "So it felt good."

Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said the story of the game was Long Beach.

"This is a good team," he said about the 49ers. "You throw seeds out the window."

The 49ers, who edged UC Santa Barbara 56-55 for the Big West Tournament title and the automatic berth, were making their 12th overall tournament appearance and first since an at-large bid in 1992.

Ranked No. 8 in the final AP poll, the Beavers were coming off a loss to Stanford 48-43 in the Pac-12 Tournament final.

With four seniors in its starting lineup, Long Beach State was tenacious, pulling in front 27-23 lead on Montgomery's 3-pointer. Afterward she signaled "10" to the crowd with her fingers, her point total.

Oregon State, with a distinct size advantage, reclaimed the lead to go up 29-27, but Benton's 3-pointer at the buzzer sent Long Beach into the break with a 30-29 lead, stunning the large pro-Beaver crowd.

Wiese was scoreless in the first half, sitting after her second foul. The 49ers' point guard, Kim, was also scoreless.

The Beavers pulled in front 33-32 on Brown's layup, and Pivec added another layup to extend it. Wiese hit a 3-pointer, her first points of the game, with 2:37 left in the third quarter to cap an 11-2 run and give Oregon State a 40-34 lead. The Beavers were up 44-39 heading into the final quarter.

The 49ers were especially effective on Wiese, holding her to just seven points.

Wiese broke the Pac-12 career record for 3-pointers earlier this season, surpassing Stanford's Candice Wiggins. She currently has 371. She also set Oregon State's career assist record this season and now has 620.

"I think it (the win) says we're gritty and tough," Rueck said. "That's been our M.O. We find ways to win."


Long Beach State: The lone non-senior among the starters is sophomore Martina McCowan who hails from Portland, about a 90 minute drive north from Corvallis. McGowan played for St. Mary's Academy. Gertz, played for Oregon City High School, while freshman forward Azena Henry played for Portland's Jesuit.

Oregon State: Oregon State played Long Beach State to open the 2010-11 season. It was Scott Rueck's first game as coach of the Beavers, and they won 71-39 despite a cobbled together roster of walk-ons and a few recruits.

WILY AGAINST WIESE: The 49ers targeted Wiese, which was no small task given that the Oregon State guard is a six-footer with an accurate perimeter shot. Wiese finished with seven points, five rebounds and six assists.

"We tried to throw everything at her but the kitchen sink. She's so talented," Wynn said. "I think we did a great job. We bothered her and forced her to give it up."


Oregon State: The Beavers face seventh-seeded Creighton on Sunday.


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