CORVALLIS, Ore. — Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said there was a sense of urgency for the Lady Volunteers after they lost three of their last five games.
“I think we came in here with something to prove, but more than that, our goal was to play hard. We hadn’t done that,” Warlick said.
Diamond DeShields had 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks and No. 14 Tennessee held off No. 7 Oregon State 53-50 on Saturday night.
Mercedes Russell added 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting for the Lady Vols (8-3).
“I think it was a huge win for us. It’s no secret we’ve been struggling the past couple of games,” Russell said.
Sydney Wiese scored 17 points, and Jamie Weisner had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Beavers (8-1), but the guard duo combined to shoot 13 for 40 from the field.
“I think we grew up a lot today. I love the fight and the heart,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said.
Oregon State outrebounded Tennessee 48-33, but the Lady Volunteers’ scrambling and trapping defense forced 15 turnovers and limited the Beavers to 30.8 percent shooting. Tennessee was 3 of 8 on free throws.
“We talk a lot about relentless effort. I thought our defense set the tone tonight,” Warlick said.
Tennessee went on a 9-0 run in the first quarter, capped by Graves’ jumper in the lane at the 1:48 mark, to lead 15-7.
The Lady Volunteers started the second quarter on a 10-2 run, capped by Russell’s jumper with 6:46 left in the half, to go ahead 27-13. Tennessee ended the half on an 8-0 run and led 35-18 at the break.
The Beavers went down by as many as 19 early in the second half, but went on a 12-0 run to close the third quarter, and were behind 45-40 heading into the fourth.
Oregon State trailed by 51-50 with two minutes left when the Beavers got four offensive rebounds on the same possession. Wiese threw a wild pass to Weisner, who stepped out of bounds with 50.4 seconds left.
On the next possession, DeShields missed a shot, grabbed the rebound and was fouled. She made both free throws with 34 seconds left. DeShields had missed her six previous free throw attempts in the game.
Weisner missed a jumper and snagged her own rebound, but Oregon State center Ruth Hamblin apparently turned the ball over. After an official review, the Beavers were given the ball with eight seconds left.
Weisner missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Last season, then-No. 8 Tennessee beat No. 10 Oregon State 74-63 in Knoxville. Beavers players had openly talked about their eagerness for the rematch.
The Beavers have dominated the boards, and entered the contest averaging an NCAA-best 35 defensive rebounds per game. The team’s rebounding margin of 18.8 was second in the nation. … Oregon State has held the opposition to under 40 percent shooting in its first eight games this season, but Tennessee shot 43.9 percent.