Oregon State is on the brink of its first-ever women’s basketball No. 1 ranking after Mikayla Pivec scored a 5-foot runner with 1.4 seconds remaining Friday night, giving the No. 3 Beavers a 63-61 win over No. 18 Arizona in Tucson, Ariz.
The Beavers (15-0, 3-0 Pac-12) could claim the country’s No. 1 ranking with a win Sunday at Arizona State. Earlier Friday, No. 2 Oregon lost to Arizona State, and on Thursday, No. 1 Connecticut fell to Baylor.
Oregon State and No. 8 UCLA are the only unbeaten teams in Division I women’s basketball.
Pivec scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, recording her seventh double-double of the season. She came up with the game-winning play, stepping through a defender then floating in a five-foot shot to break a 61-61 tie.
The Beavers completed the win when Destiny Slocum blocked Aari McDonald’s desperation three-pointer at the buzzer.
Slocum had 13 points, Taylor Jones 12 and Kat Tudor 10 to help the Beavers’ scoring.
McDonald and Cate Reese had 15 points each for Arizona (13-2, 1-2).
The Beavers out-rebounded Arizona 38-27, but had 19 turnovers.
Oregon State led 36-30 at halftime after controlling most of the first half. The Beavers held the lead for all but about two minutes of the second quarter. After falling behind 23-19, OSU went on a three-point fueled 14-3 run to grab a seven-point lead late in the second quarter.
Both teams shot 12 of 30 during the first half, but Oregon State was able to get other scoring opportunities after out-rebounding the Wildcats 23-12.
Oregon State had a quick start to the third quarter, building its lead to 11 points. But the Beavers suddenly went cold, going more than five minutes without scoring as Arizona trimmed its deficit to one point. But the scoring drought ended in spectacular fashion, as Kat Tudor scored a four-point play with two seconds left in the quarter, staking OSU to a 49-44 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Oregon State quickly ran out to a nine-point lead, but it didn’t last. Arizona scored six consecutive points to cut the Beavers lead to 53-50. It was on for several minutes after that, as the teams traded baskets.
Arizona briefly took a 60-59 lead with 3:25 remaining, but it didn’t last long when Pivec hit two free throws on OSU’s following possession.
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