South Carolina tops Oregon State women in NCAA Tournament Elite 8

Battling from behind – and foul trouble – for most of the game, the No. 3 Oregon State women’s basketball team’s comeback fell just short against No. 1 South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, 70-58, Sunday at MVP Arena in Albany, New York.

Both of the Beavers’ leading scorers, posts Raegan Beers and Timea Gardiner, picked up three fouls in the first half, limiting what they could do on the defensive end and how often they could be on the floor for much of the second half, but the Beavers found a way to keep it close late.

Despite falling behind by 12 heading into the fourth quarter, Oregon State started the final frame on a 12-4 run to cut the deficit to just four after a Donovyn Hunter layup with 3:55 to go. After that, the Beavers failed to score, and the Gamecocks salted the game away at the free throw line to make their fourth straight Final Four and keep their undefeated season alive.

‘What they did this year is not common’

After just 13 wins a year ago, the Beavers’ (27-8, 12-6 Pac-12) season has ended in the Elite Eight.

“I’ve gotten to talk a lot about great teams for a lot of years, and more importantly, great people, a lot of years,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “This team, it rivals any team I’ve ever been a part of. What they did this year is not common. It’s not normal. We’re not supposed to be here.

“But we are, and the people in the room get it. Not surprised by it.”

Beers finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, and both Lily Hansford and Hunter stepped up to provide scoring with Beers and Gardiner out with foul trouble, with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Gardiner added 10 points and 11 rebounds to round out double-digit contributors.

The Gamecocks (36-0, 16-0 SEC) were led by freshman Tessa Johnson’s 15 points, with Kamilla Cardoso adding 12 points and nine boards and Bree Hall scoring 10 points. Reserve forward Ashlyn Watkins had eight points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks off the bench.

South Carolina scored a whopping 28 points off second-chance opportunities, outrebounding the Beavers 51-37 with 22 offensive rebounds, and scored another 12 points off 12 OSU turnovers.

“In this game today, we had to be near flawless, and we just weren’t able,” Rueck said. “We just weren’t quite flawless enough.”

Despite foul trouble from Beers and Gardiner in the first half Hansford and Hunter kept the Beavers afloat and in the game behind a flurry of 3s. Hansford had nine first half points on a trio of long balls, while Hunter added two 3s and six points.

Oregon State shot 39.3% from the field and 6 for 14 from 3-point land in the first half and held South Carolina to 32.6% shooting.

After hanging around for most of the third quarter, the dam finally broke for the Beavers late in the frame. The Gamecocks outscored the Beavs 15-5 over the last six minutes of the third to take a double-digit lead heading into the final 10 minutes behind 26 second-chance points through three quarters alone.

The Beavs slowly crawled their way back into striking distance, holding South Carolina to just a single basket in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter and cutting the lead to six points. OSU eventually cut the deficit to just four after a layup by Hunter with 3:55 to play, opening the fourth quarter on a 12-4 run, but a scoring drought and subsequent free throws by the Gamecocks sealed the victory late.

Beavers could return every player next season

Though the season has ended in the Elite Eight, Rueck said the Beavers have a lot to be proud of after being picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12 this season and improving from last year by 14 wins. Oregon State made just their third Elite Eight in program history and took an undefeated and undisputed favorite of the NCAA Tournament to the wire Sunday in Albany.

“I think the grass is green where you water it,” guard Talia von Oelhoffen said. “That’s just always been my focus. I saw it as a challenge to rebuild this program and the culture. I came here to go to the Elite Eights. Obviously Final Four is a goal, but to win games like this and to go this far and this deep in the tournament, so I just stayed on that path, and I continued to believe in the vision that coach Rueck had and the culture of this program.”

Beers and Gardiner were named to the All-Region team, as voted on by members of the media in attendance, and South Carolina’s Cardoso was named the most valuable player.

The Beavers do not have a single senior on their roster and could return every single contributor from this season next year.

Read our updates from the game below.

After cutting it to four points, the Beavers were held scoreless over the final 3:55 and fell out of the NCAA Tournament in the Elite Eight to No. 1 South Carolina, 70-58. Four Beavers finished in double figures in Raegan Beers (16), Lily Hansford (12), Timea Gardiner (10), and Donovyn Hunter (10).

The Beavers shot 36.4% from the floor and held South Carolina to 33.3% shooting, but were outrebounded 51-37, gave up 22 offensive rebounds and 28 second-chance points. On top of that, the Gamecocks scored 12 points off 12 Oregon State turnovers.

The Gamecocks were led by three double figure scorers in Tessa Johnson (15), Kamilla Cardoso (12), and Bree Hall (10).

After a Donovyn Hunter layup with 3:55 to go, the Beavers cut a once double-digit deficit to just four. The Beavers trail the Gamecocks 62-58 with 3:37 to play and have outscored South Carolina, 12-4, in the fourth quarter so far. Four Beavers are in double figures in Raegan Beers (16), Lily Hansford (12), Hunter (10), and Timea Gardiner (10).

South Carolina built up a double-digit lead heading into the fourth quarter and have 26 second-chance points off of 18 offensive rebounds through the first three quarters.

In the blink of an eye, South Carolina has taken a 55-41 lead with 1:34 to play in the third quarter. The Gamecocks are on a 12-0 run over the last 3:20 and lead by double digits for the first time Sunday. All nine Gamecocks that have taken the floor have scored, led by Kamilla Cardoso’s 12 points. South Carolina has taken 22 more shots than the Beavers due to 18 offensive rebounds and 10 OSU turnovers.

Oregon State battled back to bring the deficit within two, but now trail 46-41 with 3:44 left in the third quarter after a South Carolina 3-pointer from Raven Johnson.

Raegan Beers has managed to stay on the floor without picking up a foul and has a game-high 13 points and four rebounds. Timea Gardiner has just three points but nine rebounds, and Talia von Oelhoffen has eight points and three assists. Gamecock forward and leading scorer Kamilla Cardoso has three fouls.

Despite heavy foul trouble on their two leading scorers, the Beavers have stayed in the game with the long ball and trail 37-33 at the halftime break. OSU is shooting 6 for 14 from 3, led by Lily Hansford’s nine points and Donvoyn Hunter’s six points on five combined 3-pointers.

Both Raegan Beers and Timea Gardiner have three fouls.

Oregon State is shooting 39.3% from the field while South Carolina is shooting 32.6% from the field. The Gamecocks are led by Bree Hall’s seven points.

With 4:56 left in the first half, Oregon State still trails South Carolina, 27-22. Raegan Beers and Timea Gardiner are both in foul trouble with three fouls on Gardiner and two on Beers, forcing both to spend early time on the bench. On the outside, Lily Hansford is keeping the Beavers in the game with a trio of 3-pointers and a team-high nine points.

Oregon State fell behind by eight before back-to-back 3-pointers from guard Lily Hansford cut the lead in half just before the end of the first quarter. Oregon State is shooting just 36% from the field on 4 for 11 shooting, but South Carolina is shooting a worse 32%. However, the Gamecocks have taken double the amount of shots, shooting 7 for 22 from the field with six second-chance points. After three turnovers in the opening moments, Oregon State finished the first quarter with four total.

Hansford leads the Beavs with six points while Raegan Beers and Talia von Oelhoffen have added four a piece. South Carolina is led by Bree Hall’s five points through one frame.

At the first media timeout Oregon State trails South Carolina 10-4 with 4:25 to play in the first quarter. After 26 turnovers against Notre Dame on Friday, the Gamecocks have come out in a full-court press with lots of on-ball pressure that has put OSU in a rut offensively. The Beavers have shot just 1 for 5 from the field and have three turnovers, while South Carolina has shot 3 for 11. Raegan Beers has all four of Oregon State’s points.

For Oregon State: G – Donovyn Hunter (6.7 PPG); G – AJ Marotte (5.2 PPG); G – Talia von Oelhoffen (10.8 PPG); F – Raegan Beers (17.5 PPG); F – Timea Gardiner (11.6 PPG)

For South Carolina: G – Te-Hina Paopao (11.1 PPG); G – Bree Hall (9.4 PPG); G – Raven Johnson (8.2 PPG); F – Chloe Kitts (9.5 PPG); F – Kamilla Cardoso (14.2 PPG)

Game time set for Oregon State women vs. South Carolina in NCAA Tournament Elite Eight matchup

The Beavers (27-7, 12-6 Pac-12) and Gamecocks (35-0, 16-0 SEC) will face off at 10 a.m. Sunday at MVP Arena in Albany, New York, with the game televised on ABC.

Alec Dietz covers University of Oregon football, volleyball, women’s basketball and baseball for The Register-Guard. You may reach him at [email protected] and you can follow him on X @AlecDietz.


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