Women of Troy take two close victories in Oregon

The Women of Troy escaped Oregon with two wins, capping off their road sweep with a narrow 53-50 victory over the Oregon State Beavers Saturday afternoon at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore.

Clutch · Sophomore guard Ashley Corral hit two big free throws late in Saturday’s game at Oregon State to secure the win for USC. - Tim Tran | Daily Trojan

The Women of Troy (16-11, 10-6) were active on the defensive end of the floor in the first half, limiting the Beavers (9-18, 1-15) to 16 percent shooting from the field.

They also limited guard Talisa Rhea and guard Haiden Palmer — the Beavers’ two leading scorers — to a combined eight points on 3-17 shooting in the first half.

“One of the things we emphasized going into the game was defense. We just wanted to bring the intensity and let our defense create our offense,” senior guard Heather Oliver said.

The Beavers, however, did manage to get to the free-throw line 10 times during the first 20 minutes, which kept the game relatively close during the first half.

With their defense creating opportunities on the offensive end, the Women of Troy went into halftime leading 28-19.

Things changed in the second half as the Beavers managed to make it a game, going on a 16-7 run and tying the score at 35 apiece midway through.

That’s as close as the Beavers would get, as the Women of Troy would not relinquish their lead.

“We knew coming into this game that it was going to be hard. We weren’t nervous and we knew it was going to be a challenge, but we just really wanted to win this game,” Oliver said. “It was our will to win that carried us through.”

After the Beavers tied it up, it was Oliver who started a 12-4 run that, with two free throws and a key 3-pointer, would put the Women of Troy up 47-39 with about 6:30 left to play.

But the Beavers would not quit.

The Women of Troy were held scoreless for the next three minutes as the Beavers managed to make it a two-point game at 49-47 with just over a minute remaining.

Beavers’ forward Christina Marinacci sank a baseline jumper on the next possession to push the lead to four points, but Rhea hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to a single point with just under 30 seconds to go.

With the Women of Troy up 51-50, sophomore guard Ashley Corral was fouled, and she calmly sank both free throws to extend the lead to three points.

And from there, the Women of Troy breathed a sigh of relief as they watched the Beavers miss two 3-point shots in the final seconds.

“I was a bit nervous, but I knew [we would] get the job done,” Oliver said. “It was nerve-wracking, but it was good to come out of Oregon State with a win.”

The Women of Troy were led by Oliver’s 18 points.

Meanwhile, for the Beavers, Rhea and Palmer both chipped in 11 points but had to work for every point as they combined to shoot just 6-33 from the field.

“Briana [Gilbreath] did a great job on [Rhea],” Oliver said. “We knew she’s a great shooter and we just wanted to shut her down and I think we did a great job of doing that.”

The Women of Troy return home for their final two games of the regular season to face Arizona and Arizona State starting Thursday.