CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State center Ruth Hamblin entered the NCAA tournament on a hot streak, and coach Scott Rueck said the senior was becoming “the ultimate competitor.”
“I think she’s really been focused on positioning, and her anticipation and her understanding of the game is just getting better and better,” Rueck said.
Hamblin had 18 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks as Oregon State dominated early and cruised to a 73-31 win over Troy in the first round on Friday.
“I have this different aggressiveness and just a poise in understanding my role and what I need to provide for this team,” said Hamblin, the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Sydney Wiese added 10 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Beavers (29-4), the No. 2 seed in the Dallas Regional. Oregon State has won 19 of its last 20 games.
Kristen Emerson had nine points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the 15th-seeded Trojans (20-13).
Troy went 2-26 in 2011-12, the year before coach Chanda Rigby took over.
“We’re an emerging program. Every year has been a step, and we’ve stood on the shoulders of the players of the year before,” Rigby said.
Oregon State shot 42 percent compared to 16 percent for Troy, thanks in part to 6-for-7 shooting from the 6-foot-6 Hamblin. The Beavers also had 24 assists on 29 baskets, outrebounded Troy 65 to 42, and scored 44 points in the paint, while the Trojans had eight.
Troy scored on its opening possession of the game, but the Trojans shot 1 for 17 the rest of the quarter, and Oregon State surged out to a 23-4 lead.
The Beavers used their height advantage early and gave the ball to Hamblin, who had nine points in the first quarter.
Oregon State had used every player on its roster by halftime, and pushed the lead to 40-14 at the break.
The third quarter ended with the Beavers ahead 54-21.
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