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UCLA women’s basketball falls to Oregon State in final 15 seconds of tight matchup

Sophomore center Lauren Betts puts her hand up to call for the ball. Betts scored a career-high 24 points against the Beavers on Friday night. (Neha Krishnakumar/Daily Bruin staff)

Women’s Basketball

No. 9 UCLA77
No. 11 Oregon State 79

By Gavin Carlson

Feb. 16, 2024 11:24 p.m.

When the top-11 matchup tipped off shortly after 7 p.m., a record-setting crowd was packed inside Gill Coliseum.

Donning bright orange Beaver-branded construction vests and hard hats, the largest student section in Oregon State women’s basketball history watched a second quarter that featured two intentional fouls and a technical foul.

But that chaotic 10-minute sequence was still somehow dwarfed in excitement by an all-time finish that featured five lead changes in the final 15 seconds of the game.

After blowing a seven-point lead in just over two minutes, No. 9 UCLA women’s basketball’s (19-5, 8-5 Pac-12) hopes of victory were drained by a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give No. 11 Oregon State (21-3, 10-3) a 79-77 victory in Corvallis. Sophomore center Lauren Betts followed three consecutive possessions with lead changes with what appeared to be the game-winning shot with 1.1 seconds left, but Beaver guard Talia von Oelhoffen made a catch-and-shoot triple off the ensuing inbound pass to steal the win as time expired.

“Obviously any loss sucks,” said sophomore guard Kiki Rice. “Just the fact that we had a seven-point lead with a few minutes left and weren’t able to hold onto it, and then we were able to make some big plays down the stretch on the offensive end, but just the fact that we couldn’t get a stop at the end is tough.”

Following a chaotic back-and-forth opening three quarters, UCLA held a 72-65 advantage with 2:30 left in the game.

Then Oregon State went on a 7-0 run in less than 90 seconds, finishing a layup and 3-pointer before von Oelhoffen made a pair of free throws to tie the game at 72 with 1:03 to play.

After a turnover and foul from Betts on each end of the floor in the game’s next two possessions, another pair of Beaver free throws pushed their run to nine and gave the hosts a 74-72 lead with 15 seconds remaining.

And then, clutch basket after clutch basket ensued from both teams.

The flurry of last-second lead changes began after a UCLA timeout, as Betts found senior forward Angela Dugalić at the top of the key. After returning from a one-game absence to represent her national team, the 6-foot-4 Serbian completed Betts’ assist with a made 3-pointer to put the Bruins up 75-74 with 6.6 seconds left.

But the chaos was just beginning.

After three timeouts before a play occurred, von Oelhoffen drove by sophomore forward Lina Sontag to put the Beavers back up one with 2.3 seconds left. Friday’s contest was Sontag’s first game back after missing the previous two to represent the German national team.

With the previous two plays involving frontcourt players returning from absences, the ball poetically found Betts on the game’s second-to-last possession. As this game also marked her return after missing the previous four for undisclosed medical reasons, the 6-foot-7 center caught the ensuing inbound pass just inside the 3-point line.

Drifting to her left, Betts immediately shot the ball after the catch, swishing the shot before celebrating with her teammates as the clock read 0.1 seconds.

“Credit to Lauren – she was just calm,” said coach Cori Close. “She made a big-time shot.”

The Bruins appeared to have survived the Friday frenzy.

But a replay review added a second to the clock, and with 1.1 seconds left, Oregon State used a pair of timeouts before setting up von Oelhoffen again. The sophomore was ultimately left open at the top of the key before drilling the game-winning 3-pointer to send the Corvallis crowd into near bedlam.

“They burnt us on a switch,” Close said. “We work on this situation all the time. … We have to get that stop with one second left, and we weren’t able to do it. That’s my responsibility to make sure we’re ready for that.”

One final official review confirmed the shot would count, and von Oelhoffen’s five points in the final 2.3 seconds were enough to lift the Beavers over the Bruins.

Graduate student guard Charisma Osborne dribbles toward the paint with the ball. Osborne is now second all-time in points scored for UCLA women’s basketball. (Neha Krishnakumar/Daily Bruin staff)

The epic finish was first set up by a chaotic second quarter. 

On what appeared to be a typical drive to the basket, Rice’s elbow made contact with forward Raegan Beers, sending Oregon State’s leading scorer to the floor, where she audibly cried while the officials reviewed the play. Rice was ultimately handed an intentional foul after the replay, and Beers headed to the locker room, where she remained for the rest of the game.

With the Beavers’ 6-foot-4 leader suddenly out, Betts promptly scored UCLA’s next five points, finishing a spinning drive before completing an and-one layup and free throw. After attempting just two shots in the first quarter, the nation’s most efficient scorer finished with 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting.

“I thought we did a good job, for the most part, of getting Lauren touches,” Close said. “She needed to touch the ball as much as possible every time down, and she was very efficient.”

Midway through the second period, graduate student guard Charisma Osborne converted a midranger to move to second on UCLA’s all-time scorer’s list. After breaking the record for most games played in program history at tipoff, the fifth-year passed former Bruin guard Jordin Canada in the scoring ranks with the basket.

But the second quarter still had plenty more in store.

A hit to the neck of sophomore forward Gabriela Jaquez resulted in the quarter’s second intentional foul, and Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck was handed a technical foul just a few possessions later for arguing a different foul call.

When the dust settled at halftime, UCLA held a slight 34-32 lead behind 13 points from Osborne.

Little did anybody know, the wildest finish in recent Bruin memory would turn the slight halftime advantage into a heartbreaking defeat.

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Gavin Carlson | Sports staff
Carlson is currently a staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. He was previously a reporter on the softball and men's golf beats.
Carlson is currently a staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. He was previously a reporter on the softball and men's golf beats.
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