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Gonzaga Women Upset Oregon State, Advance to Sweet 16 in Spokane on Saturday; View Slideshow

Photos by Eli Francovich

Courtesy Gonzaga Athletics

Eleven must be Gonzaga’s lucky number.

The No. 11 seed Bulldogs, paced by Emma Wolfram with a career-high 17 points, held off a furious late rally by the Oregon State Beavers on their home court for a 76-64 victory on Sunday.

Gonzaga (26-7) advances to the Sweet Sixteen, heading home to Spokane to face on Saturday, March 28 the winner of Monday’s game in Knoxville between Tennessee (28-5) and Pittsburgh (20-11). The Bulldogs were also the No. 11 seed in 2011, and also playing in the Spokane Regional, when they made a stunning run to the regional finals before losing to top seed Stanford.

The Beavers (27-5) have never made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament’s current format. In 1983, the Beavers beat UCLA to advance to the second round when the field was 32 teams.

Gonzaga led by as many as 12 points midway through the second half, but Oregon State tied the game at 64 on Jamie Weisner’s 3-pointer with 3:30 to go.

That would be the last points the Beavers would score as Gonzaga had the game’s final 12 points.

Sunny Greinacher‘s layup put the Zags back in front before Keani Albanez‘s layup just beat the shot to make it 68-64 with 1:26 left and time ran out for the Beavers.

Weisner had 24 points for Oregon State, which won it’s first-ever Pac-12 regular-season title this season. The team’s wins are the most-ever for the women in school history.

But the Beavers had struggled at time heading into the NCAAs. A loss to Stanford in the final week of the regular season spoiled Oregon State’s perfect record at home, and then the team fell to Colorado in is Pac-12 tournament opener against Colorado.

Last year Oregon State returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 18 seasons. After opening with a victory against Middle Tennessee, the beavers fell to South Carolina in the second round.

The Zags, the West Coast Conference champions who won an at-large bid, are playing in their seventh-straight NCAA Tournament.

The Beavers jumped out to a 9-2 lead, following a pair of baskets from Ruth Hamblin, named the Pac-12 player of the year. Gonzaga narrowed it to 12-11 on Greinacher’s jumper, then pulled in front on Georgia Stirton‘s basket.

Albanez’s steal and jumper put the Bulldogs up 17-14, but Weisner answered with her own 3 on the other end.

The Zags, shooting 73 percent through the first 10 minutes and making 13 straight shots after starting 1-of-5, pulled in front 31-25. Hamblin’s layup pulled Oregon State within 33-32.

The Bulldogs finished up the half going 2-for-11 and held a 37-34 lead at the break.

Ali Gibson’s 3-pointer tied it for Oregon State to open the second half but Gonzaga took control from there, going up 47-38 on consecutive layups from Elle Tinkle.

The Bulldogs stretched the lead to 53-43 on Greinacher’s jumper with just under 12 minutes to go.

TIP-INS:

Gonzaga: Elle Tinkle‘s dad is Wayne Tinkle, who is head coach of the Oregon State men’s team. Tinkle, naturally, threw his allegiance behind his daughter for the game, sitting in behind the Zags’ bench.

Oregon State: Weisner played on the same AAU team as Elle Tinkle when the two were kids. … The two teams met previously in the 2004 WNIT, where the Beavers won 69-64 in Corvallis.

UP NEXT

Gonzaga heads home to Spokane to face the winner of Monday’s game in Knoxville between Tennessee (28-5) and Pittsburgh (20-11) at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday, March 28. Tickets to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament games at the Spokane Arena are currently available to the public for purchase through www.ticketswest.com.

Oregon State’s season ends.

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