THE GAMES: Oregon State (6-2) travels to Las Vegas for the fifth time in program history when it participates in the Duel in the Desert hosted by UNLV at Cox Pavilion this Thursday through Saturday. The Beavers play Creighton (4-5) on Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m., the host Lady Rebels (2-7) on Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. and Clemson (6-3) on Dec. 21 at 5 p.m.
TRACKING THE BEAVS: All three games in Las Vegas will be streamed live and air on the radio on KEJO 1240AM with Ron Callan on the call. Links for the video streams, live audio and live stats can all be found on osubeavers.com and fans can follow @OregonStateWBB on Twitter for all game day information, including score updates, photos and observations.
THE RUNDOWN: Oregon State, on a school-record pace from deep, is 10th in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (9.0) and 10th in 3-point field goal percentage (.404) ... The Beavers are one of just two teams in the country with two players shooting over 45 percent from 3-point range (Wiese/Weisner) ... OSU, which has nine underclassmen on its roster and starts four, employs one of the five youngest starting lineups in the nation ... The Beavers have scored 649 points so far this season, their best offensive start since 1995-96 ... Sydney Wiese’s 38 assists through the season’s first eight games are the most for an OSU player since 2008-09 ... Oregon State is averaging 18.4 assists per game and has assists on 142 of its 229 made field goals (62 percent) ... The Beavers are in the midst of an 12-game streak of not allowing an opponent to shoot better than 40 percent ... Jamie Weisner is averaging 22.3 points over the last three games, the best for an OSU player in four years ... Ruth Hamblin leads the team and the conference and is ninth in the country, averaging 3.13 blocks per game ... Alyssa Martin has 919 career points and needs to average 3.5 ppg the rest of the season to become Oregon State’s 17th 1,000-point scorer ... OSU is one of only two Pac-12 schools with two active players that have 100+ makes from deep (Martin/Ali Gibson).
VEGAS MATCHUPS: The trip will be the program’s fifth to Las Vegas and second in a row after OSU appeared in last season’s Holiday Hoops Classic at South Point Casino. Oregon State is 1-3 all-time against the Bluejays with its only win in the series coming at a UNLV-hosted tournament in 1985. The Beavers are 5-2 against the Lady Rebels and have won the last four. UNLV’s last win came in 1989. The game against Clemson and the ensuing home matchup with Notre Dame on Dec. 29 will provide Oregon State with Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opponents for only the fifth and sixth times in program history. The Beavers are 3-1 all-time in games against ACC foes, but have only played one – North Carolina in 2008’s Junkanoo Jam – over the last 17 seasons. OSU defeated Clemson in the team’s only meeting at the Giusti Tournament of Champions played in Portland Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 14, 1984, 82-75.
LAST TIME OUT: Jamie Weisner scored a team-high 19, Sydney Wiese added 17 and Deven Hunter contributed 12 as the Beavers used a 10-of-16 performance from 3-point range to defeat Hawai‘i, 76-64, in Gill Coliseum on Friday night. Weisner scored 14 of OSU’s 19 during an eight-minute stretch late in the first half and continuing into the second and Wiese was a perfect 5-of-5 from deep to help Oregon State remain undefeated at home (5-0).
BOMBS AWAY: The Beavers have proven adept at hitting from long range this season. They are currently 10th in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (9.0) and 10th in 3-point field goal percentage (.404). Both marks would set new school records if Oregon State was able to keep up the pace. OSU has five seasons in its history where it finished converting more than five 3-pointers per contest, including a school-record 6.5 in 2010-11. The Beavers led the conference in 3-point field goal percentage in 1993-94, shooting at a .383 clip that still stands as an OSU record. However, that squad only made 72 of its 188 attempts. To compare, this year’s team has already hit 72 of its 178 tries from deep. Oregon State made 17 shots from long range against Loyola Marymount on Nov. 21, easily eclipsing the program’s previous record of 12, which had happened on three occasions, most recently at Arizona on Jan. 2, 2011. The Beavers were just three shy of the Pac-12 record of 20, attained earlier this season by Oregon against Bakersfield. The NCAA record is 22.
#SWISHSISTERS: The Beavers are led from 3-point land by Sydney Wiese and Jamie Weisner. Wiese is 14th in the nation, converting 50 percent of her attempts (22-of-44), and Weisner is 21st at 46.5 percent (20-of-43). Oregon State is one of only two schools in the country boasting two players shooting better than 45 percent from three (St. Mary’s). With 31 guaranteed games, Wiese is on pace to finish with 85 made 3-pointers and Weisner with 77, which would place them 1-2 in OSU’s record book.
NATIONAL & PAC-12 RANKS: Oregon State is among the national leaders in a number of categories, including points per game (81.1; 26th), scoring margin (+18.3; 27th), 3-point field goals per game (9.0; 10th); 3-point field goal percentage (.404; 10th), field goal percentage defense (.327; 13th), blocked shots per game (6.4; 7th) and rebound margin (+11.3; 18th). The Beavers are also at the top of the Pac-12 in field goal percentage defense, blocked shots, assists (17.8/game) and 3-point field goal percentage.
OFFENSIVE FIREWORKS: The Beavers have scored 649 points so far this season, their best offensive start since 1995-96, when OSU put up 651 en route to an NCAA Tournament appearance. Only three previous times has an OSU squad scored 700+ through the first nine games of a season.
DRASTIC DEFENSE: Dating back to last season, the Beavers are in the midst of an 12-game streak of not allowing an opponent to shoot better than 40 percent. The school record is 15 games, which ran from March 7, 2012 (Washington State) to Dec. 19, 2012 (Michigan State). In the 3+ years Scott Rueck has been the head coach, the Beavers are 18-2 when forcing their opponents to shoot less than 30 percent and 22-3 when holding them to under 50 points.
BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE: Freshman Sydney Wiese has proven herself to be an able distributor at the point. She is third in the Pac-12, averaging 4.8 assists per game. Her 38 assists through the season’s first eight games are the most for an OSU player since Mercedes Fox-Griffin had 40 after the first eight contests of the 2008-09 campaign. Wiese is on pace to hand out 148 assists, which would set a new Oregon State freshman record.
SHARING THE ROCK: As a team, Oregon State is 29th in the nation, averaging 17.8 assists per game and has assists on 142 of its 229 made field goals (62 percent). No Beaver squad has averaged more than 15 assists in a season since 1997-98 (15.4) and 2002-03 was the last season OSU assisted on as large of a percentage of its made baskets, 63.3 percent (433-of-684).
WE SEE YOU JAMIE: Sophomore sensation Jamie Weisner had somewhat of a slow start to the season, scoring 19 points combined over the first three games. She has scored in double figures in each contest since and is averaging 22.3 points (67 total) and 4.7 rebounds over her last three games. That three-game stretch is the best for an Oregon State player since Talisa Rhea scored 71 from Jan. 14-21, 2010 against Arizona (20), Arizona State (26) and Stanford (25). Weisner is also 25th in the nation, converting 91.3 percent of her attempts from the line (21-of-23).
YOUNG & RESTLESS: The Beavers feature an extremely young roster in terms of NCAA Division I experience. OSU has 11 players, nine of which are underclassmen, who collectively have 10 varsity letters (0.9 average). Ali Gibson (junior) and Alyssa Martin (senior) are the only players with more than one year under their belts. Scott Rueck went undefeated and won the NCAA Division III title at George Fox in 2009 despite returning no starters and bringing in 10 freshmen.
STARTING YOUNG: After a quick national survey, it is believed that Oregon State has one of the five youngest starting lineups in the nation, featuring four underclassmen (three sophomores, one freshman) and one junior. Maryland Baltimore County, New Mexico State and Boise State all start five underclassmen and Abilene Christian pencils three freshmen, one sophomore and one senior into its starting lineup. (Thanks to Boise State and the Mountain West Conference for the note.)
NO CHANCE: The top blocking team in the Pac-12 the last three seasons, OSU is again leading the conference and is seventh in the nation in blocks per game (6.4). Ruth Hamblin leads the team and the conference and is ninth in the country, averaging 3.13 rejections per contest. Only two Oregon State players have ever averaged more than three blocks per game, El Sara Greer (3.07; 2010-11) and Patricia Bright (3.48; 2011-12). Hamblin is on pace for 97 blocks, which would place her second in Oregon State history and fourth in the Pac-12 record book.
OWNING THE BOARDS: OSU has outrebounded six of its first eight opponents by wide margins and is 18th in the nation, pulling down 11.3 more per game than its opponents. The Beavers are averaging 49.4 rebounds per game after eclipsing the 40+ rpg mark last season for the first time since 1996-97. The school record for rebounding average is 44.5, set during the 1990-91 campaign.
A LOOK AT THE LONG BALL: Alyssa Martin is second in the Pac-12 among active players in 3-point field goals with 137, which is also third all-time at Oregon State. Ali Gibson isn’t far behind, with 106 career makes from deep, sixth in OSU history. Oregon State and Colorado are the only Pac-12 schools with two active players that have 100 or more makes from behind the arc.
MORE FOR MARTIN: Alyssa Martin also has 919 points in her career and is just 81 away from becoming Oregon State’s 17th career 1,000-point scorer. She needs to average 3.5 points over the final 23 guaranteed games to break the mark.
RECORD-SETTING WIN: The Beavers’ 102 points against Sac State are the sixth-most in program history and the first time in triple digits since putting up exactly 100 against the same Hornets on Nov. 16, 2008. Oregon State last eclipsed 102 when it scored a school-record 117 against Portland St. on Jan. 8, 1982. The win also came in front of a non-conference record home crowd of 4,139 for the program’s “Beavers Beyond the Classroom” promotion, in which it welcomes elementary and middle school students from around the area to Gill Coliseum. That number bested the 4,118 fans that watched Oregon State defeat Montana, 62-51, on Dec. 22, 1995.
SO INTERNATIONAL: OSU had four student-athletes suit up for national squads at various age levels this summer. Playing for Canada, Jamie Weisner dominated competition at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Lithuania, averaging 17.0 points on 54.5 percent shooting and 6.4 rebounds en route to making the All-Tournament Team. Ruth Hamblin was promoted to Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team for exhibition tournaments in Europe (2.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg) and China (1.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg). Gabriella Hanson led Sweden to an eighth-place finish at the FIBA U18 European Championships for Women in Croatia, pacing her squad in rebounds (7.2), assists (2.4) and steals (2.4) per game. Ali Gibson made her international debut with the Puerto Rican National Team at an exhibition tournament in São Paulo, Brazil in mid-August.