By Steve Gress

Corvallis Gazette-Times

Next up

Arizon at No. 10 Oregon St.

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Scott Rueck has high expectations for the Oregon State women.

Even he did not anticipate the No. 10 Beavers to have the kind of weekend they did.

Not on a road trip to take on UCLA and USC, one that has been one of the toughest for his teams in his nine seasons leading the program.

Not down two key members to injury and playing their first two true road games.

None of that seemed to faze the players.

The Beavers earned an 83-73 win at UCLA on Friday before a strong second half lifted them to a 76-52 win over USC on Sunday.

Oregon State earned a road sweep of the L.A. schools for just the second time under Rueck (2014-15 season the other) and third time ever in program history (2000-01).

“Shoot, I’m just ecstatic for this group and super happy for them,” Rueck said Sunday.

The trying week of dealing with the loss of Kat Tudor to a torn ACL for the season and the finger injury that is keeping Janessa Thropay on the bench seemed to be a distant unpleasant memory once the Beavers took the court on Friday.

Oregon State was an impressive 59 of 106 from the floor, including 12-for-27 shooting from beyond the 3-point line in the two wins. The Beavers missed just three free throws, making 29 of 32.

Defensively, the Beavers forced the Bruins and Trojans to combine to shoot just over 32 percent (42 of 131) from the floor, and just 5 of 30 from 3-point range.

“This team had to play with laser focus this weekend to compete with two very good teams on their home floor and I thought our execution was as good as it was all year offensively,” Rueck said. “Then you put that together with our defensive effort and our rebounding (and) it just made for an opportunity to separate, which we did.”

Last year the Beavers lost by 35 points at UCLA and then blew an 18-point second-half lead in a four-point loss at USC.

That dropped Oregon State to 2-2 in Pac-12 play.

Not this season.

Even without Tudor, who will have surgery later this month, and Thropay, who is expected to be back this season, the Beavers showed they are capable of making a run at another Pac-12 title. They are tied with Oregon and Stanford at 4-0 heading into this week’s games.

“Now it just proves how much this team is willing to work and fight for what we want,” said junior Maddie Washington, who had a career-high 19 points in the win over USC.

Added sophomore Aleah Goodman, who had 17 points on Sunday, including nine points in the first quarter to jump-start the offense: “It kind of showed our fight and grit and I’m really excited for the rest of the season.”

The Beavers are sure to continue to reconfigure things at both ends of the court as they get accustomed to being short-handed.

“The skills are there and we’re learning them as coaches and they are just executing to a T,” Rueck said.

Dominant Ducks

The Ducks, who won the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles last season, also picked up a road sweep of the Los Angeles schools.

Oregon routed USC 93-53 — the Ducks’ second straight 40-point win — on Friday and had a big fourth quarter in a 72-52 win at UCLA on Sunday.

Oregon has won its first four conference games by an average of 28.25 points per game.

Coach Kelly Graves said it was the other end of the floor that took a step forward.

“Defense has been the area we’ve lacked some tenacity and toughness,” he said. “We’re so good offensively sometimes we think it’s going to be just as easy on the defensive end. That’s what we found out on this trip, we can defend.”

Utes start 4-1

Utah ran through the nonconference season undefeated and that fast start has carried over to the Pac-12 slate as the Utes earned a road sweep of the Washington schools to improve to 4-1.

The Utes’ lone loss came at home to Arizona State on a buzzer-beater.

Utah will take on Colorado this week for the second time, then hosts the Bay Area schools before traveling to the Oregon schools in what should be a tough two-week stretch.

Poll watch

Oregon (No. 5), Stanford (No. 6) and Oregon State (No. 10) all won twice on the road and maintained the same positions in this week’s Associated Press Top 25. Arizona State also remained the same at No. 19 after splitting with the Bay Area schools.

Utah (36), Cal (17) and Arizona (1) received votes.

Oregon was ranked No. 2 on one ballot and No. 4 on three others, while Stanford was No. 3 on one ballot and No. 4 on two others.

Oregon was as low as No. 8 on one ballot, while Stanford was as low as No. 7 on four ballots.

Oregon State was as high as No. 8 on two ballots and as low as No. 12 on one.

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