TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Oregon State hasn’t had many tense moments in a season full of blowouts. With a smooth move in the lane and a tough finish in the final seconds, Mikayla Pivec showed the Beavers haven’t forgotten how to handle them.
Pivec scored 17 points, including the go-ahead short jumper with 1.4 seconds left, and third-ranked Oregon State stayed undefeated with a 63-61 victory over No. 18 Arizona on Friday night. The senior said her big moment was the product of several people doing the right thing during a pressure-packed possession.
“Taylor (Jones) set a nice screen for me, Destiny (Slocum) hit me right on time and I was able to find a way,” Pivec said.
Oregon State (15-0, 3-0 Pac-12) won by less than 10 points for the first time all season. Arizona (14-2, 2-2) has lost two straight games after starting the season with 14 consecutive wins.
Pivec shot 7 of 12 from the field and added 10 rebounds and six assists. She’s made several big shots during her career, including in late-game situations, but it wasn’t needed during her senior year until Friday.
“It’s nice to be able to close out games in that kind of situation,” Pivec said. “You know as you’re going through the Pac-12 and the NCAA Tournament, you’re going to have games like that more and more frequently.”
Arizona had a chance to win in the final second, but Aari McDonald’s 3-point attempt was blocked by Slocum right before the buzzer.
Oregon State could be in position to earn a No. 1 ranking for the first time in program history if it can beat Arizona State on Sunday. No. 1 UConn and No. 2 Oregon have already lost this week.
Arizona’s Amari Carter hit a driving layup with 3:26 left to give the Wildcats their first lead of the fourth quarter at 60-59. The game was tight from that point forward with crucial defensive stops for both teams before Pivec broke through with her game-winning shot.
“That’s who she is,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “If you watched her a year ago, the ball was in her hands a lot of moments just like that. She has a knack for making the right play in the big moment and coming through.”
Slocum added 13 points and six assists for the Beavers. Jones added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Kat Tudor hit a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left while being fouled — then added the free throw for a 4-point play — to push Oregon State ahead 49-44 going into the fourth quarter. The Wildcats had scored 10 straight points up to that point.
McDonald scored 15 points and has had at least 10 points in 52 straight games, which includes every game during her two seasons with at Arizona. She shot just 6 of 21 from the field on Friday, with several shots bouncing around the rim before falling out.
Cate Reese added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Arizona coach Adia Barnes said her team had a few defensive lulls during the second half that were tough to overcome. She was pleased with the team’s shot selection in the final minutes, which included a layup and a 3-pointer that rolled in and out.
“Those are shots we normally make,” Barnes said. “Those are shots that I want them to take.”
Arizona rallied for a 26-22 lead after Sam Thomas’ 3-pointer midway through the second quarter but Oregon State responded with the next 11 points, capped by Tudor’s 3-pointer from the corner. The Beavers took a 36-30 lead into halftime.
Oregon State: The Beavers had to work for it, but it’s another win. Pivec had a terrific all-around game and came up with the big bucket right when they needed it.
Arizona: The Wildcats are in the middle of a tough stretch, playing three straight Top 10 opponents. Arizona showed it can hang with one of the best teams int he country, but was hurt by its 35% shooting in the fourth quarter. … Arizona freshman Helena Pueyo left the game with a sprained ankle during the second quarter. Barnes said Pueyo’s 3-point shooting ability was missed and is hopeful she can return for Sunday’s game vs. No. 2 Oregon.
Oregon State: The Beavers make the short trip up Interstate 10 to face Arizona State on Sunday.
Arizona: The Wildcats host No. 2 Oregon on Sunday.
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