CORVALLIS, Ore. — Shaina Pellington hit a pull-up jumper from just inside the foul line with 0.5 seconds remaining, lifting No. 7 Arizona to a 55-53 victory over Oregon State on Thursday night.
Pellington, a senior guard, scored all 12 of her points in the second half as the Wildcats (12-1, 2-1 Pac-12) got back on track after losing their last game at USC.
“It was just a high ball screen in the middle of the paint,” Pellington said. “That was something that was working for both me and Bendu (Yeaney) throughout the entire course of the game. Just to have a one-on-one cover with their post player in the middle of the key.”
Oregon State (7-4, 0-1) was valiant in defeat, playing its first game since Dec. 19 because of COVID-19 issues, against an opponent that reached last season’s national championship game.
The Beavers final hope went awry when the in-bounds pass at midcourt was deflected.
Yeaney led the Wildcats with 15 points. Taya Corosdale scored a career-high 19 points for the Beavers, hitting 6 of 8 from the field with a team-high eight rebounds.
Talia von Oelhoffen, the Beavers’ leading scorer this season, had nine points and five assists.
“We battled them until the end,” Corosdale said. “They played in the national championship game last year, so we knew there were going to bring it.”
Arizona returns two starters from last season’s team that lost to Stanford in the NCAA championship game – senior forwards Kate Reese and Sam Thomas.
“It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was a gritty game that showed our character especially after a bad loss (to USC) in LA,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. “I always say that your true character shows when things are tough and not when it’s 70 and sunny outside and things are peachy.”
Corosdale’s 3-pointer from the left wing with 3:44 left put the Beavers on top 51-49 for the first time since early in the third quarter.
Talia von Oelhoffen’s top-of-the-key jumper increased the lead to 53-49. But Arizona came back to score the game’s final six points.
“December 19 is a long time ago, so I really didn’t know what to expect tonight from us,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “I was really proud of our effort tonight. I love the way we competed. I knew Arizona was going to be tough, physical and ready for a war. They always are.”
Pellington scored eight points in the first five minutes of the third quarter after going scoreless in the first half, helping the Wildcats surge ahead, 38-34.
Ariyah Copeland’s three-point play gave Arizona a 45-39 lead late in the third quarter, and it sent Oregon State forward Kennedy Brown to the bench with her fourth foul.
Arizona: With the departure of leading scorer Aari McDonald, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft by the Atlanta Dream, Arizona is not the same team that lost to Stanford in last season’s national championship game. But the Wildcats remain formidable.
Oregon State: Due to COVID-19 issues, the Beavers were playing their first game in 25 days. Five of their games were postponed or canceled. Taylor Jones, who is second on the team in scoring and rebounding, was unavailable for the Arizona game for unspecified reasons.
Arizona: The Wildcats will be at Oregon on Saturday.
Oregon State: The Beavers will host Colorado on Monday.