THE GAME: Oregon State (8-4) opens up Pac-12 play on the road when it travels to the Bay Area for a matchup with No. 23 California (8-3) on Friday, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m.
TRACKING THE BEAVS: The game will air live on the Pac-12 Networks with Krista Blunk and Mary Murphy on the call and be broadcast on KEJO 1240AM with Ron Callan at the mic. Live audio and live stats are also available 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 is in the midst of a stretch of three straight against ranked opponents for only the third time in school history ... The Beavers, on a school-record pace from deep, are ninth in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (9.1) and 14th in 3-point field goal percentage (.394) ... OSU is one of only two teams in the country with two players shooting over 45 percent from 3-point range (Wiese/Weisner) ... The Beavers, who have nine underclassmen on their roster and start four, employ one of the five youngest starting lineups in the nation ... Oregon State has scored 911 points so far this season, its best offensive start since 1993-94 ... Ruth Hamblin is ninth in the country, averaging 3.33 blocks per game, and tied a school record with nine against Notre Dame ... Sydney Wiese’s 49 assists through the season’s first 12 games are the most for an OSU player since 2008-09 ... Oregon State is averaging 16.1 more points per game this season than at the same point last year ... The Beavers are averaging 16.7 assists per game and have assists on 200 of their 323 made field goals (61.9 percent) ... OSU is 19-2 when forcing its opponents to shoot less than 30 percent and 23-3 when holding them to under 50 points with Scott Rueck at the helm ... Jamie Weisner is averaging 18.0 points and 5.6 rebounds over the last nine games and has scored in double figures in each, the longest streak for an OSU player in three years ... Oregon State is looking for its first top-25 road win since 1995.
VS. CAL: Oregon State is 28-37 all-time against Cal, but has won only once in the teams’ last 19 meetings. The Beavers’ last victory came on Feb. 2, 2006 in a 63-55 triumph in Berkeley. OSU’s Kim Butler led all scorers with 30 points in that game and Tiffany Ducker had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Last season, Cal won the first match-up on Feb. 3 in Corvallis, 60-38. Oregon State responded with an inspired performance on Feb. 24 at Cal, holding a 17-point lead on the No. 6 Golden Bears before the hosts stormed back for a 58-56 win. A ShaKiana Edwards-Teasley baseline jumper that would have sent the game to overtime rimmed out with seven seconds on the clock. Jamie Weisner notched the third double-double of her career in that one with 20 points and 10 rebounds. It was one of the Beavers’ eight conference losses by five points or fewer in 2012-13.
LAST TIME OUT: Sophomore center Ruth Hamblin tied a school record with nine blocks and the Oregon State women’s basketball team put together its most complete performance of the season, leading No. 2 Notre Dame for large portions of the game before the Irish were able to take the lead in the second half and escape with a 70-58 win in front of a crowd of 4,032 in Gill Coliseum last Sunday. Hamblin added 12 points and eight rebounds for the near triple-double. Jamie Weisner scored a team-high 18 and Sydney Wiese put up 15 to go along with a game-high three steals. It was OSU’s first home loss of the season.
AGAINST THE AP TOP 25: The Beavers are 15-80 against ranked foes since 1990-91 and have not beaten a team in the polls since they defeated No. 19 Utah, 71-62, on Dec. 16, 2003. Since that game, OSU is winless in its last 47 against nationally ranked opponents. Oregon State’s last road win against a top-25 team came on Jan. 5, 1995 when it beat No. 21 USC in Los Angeles, 69-56.
TOUGH SLEDDING: Friday’s game continues a stretch of three straight against nationally ranked opponents. It is just the third time in program history the Beavers have matched up with three ranked foes in a row (2007-08; 2012-13).
BOMBS AWAY: The Beavers have proven adept at hitting from long range this season. They are currently ninth in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (9.1) and 14th in 3-point field goal percentage (.394). Prior to this year, Oregon State had only connected on 12 3-pointers in a game three times in program history, a feat it has already accomplished three times this season. It hit a school-record 17 against LMU, 14 against Florida in and 13 against Clemson. 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.
#SWISHSISTERS: The Beavers are led from 3-point land by Sydney Wiese and Jamie Weisner. Wiese is 18th in the nation, converting 46.1 percent of her attempts (35-of-76), and Weisner is 25th at 45.1 percent (32-of-71). 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 90 made 3-pointers and Weisner with 82, which would place them 1-2 in OSU’s record book.
OFFENSIVE FIREWORKS: The Beavers have scored 911 points so far this season, their third-best offensive start in school history. In 1980-81, Aki Hill-led Oregon State scored 1,026 points in its first 12 games. OSU would average a school-record 81.6 points per game that year en route to a 22-6 record and the Beavers’ first appearance in the Associated Press Top 25 national rankings. The 1993-94 Beavers put up 936 in their first dozen contests and made the school’s third NCAA Tournament appearance.
JUST STOP: Ruth Hamblin tied a school record, sending away nine Notre Dame shots last Sunday. Patricia Bright had the same number against Pepperdine on Dec. 10, 2011. Hamblin leads the conference and is ninth in the country, averaging 3.33 rejections per contest. She’s on pace to finish the year with 103 blocks, which would rank fourth in Pac-12 history and second at OSU behind Bright’s 115 in 2011-12. Hamblin started the season with 2+ rejections in each of the Beavers’ first 10 games, the longest streak with double-digit blocks for an OSU player since El Sara Greer in 2010-11 (13). The top blocking team in the Pac-12 two of the last three seasons, OSU is again leading the conference and is fourth in the nation in blocks per game (6.3). The Beavers had 10 rejections against Notre Dame on Sunday; it’s second game this year with at least that many. A season ago, they had four games with 10+ blocks after doing it a school-record five times in 2011-12. Opponents have taken 767 shots and OSU has rejected 75, meaning one in every 10 field goal attempts gets blocked by a Beaver.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE: Oregon State has significantly increased its offensive output from a year ago. When compared to the Beavers’ non-conference statistics from 2012-13, OSU is averaging 16.1 more points per game (75.9 to 59.8), has 68 more assists (200 to 132), is shooting 6.1 percent better from the floor (43.8% to 37.7%) and 13.8 percent better from 3-point range (39.4% to 25.6%). Oregon State has done all of that against the 34th toughest schedule in the country.
PERFECT FROM THE LINE: Oregon State has struggled a bit from the line this season, converting 64.7 percent of its free throw attempts, but was a perfect 10-for-10 in Sunday’s game against Notre Dame. That performance marked just the fourth time in program history the Beavers had made every one of their free throws when attempting at least 10. OSU went 10-of-10 from the charity stripe against Cal on Jan. 7, 2006; tied a Pac-12 record by going 17-for-17 against Washington State on Feb. 14, 2004; and was 13-of-13 at Washington on Jan. 17, 2004.
DRASTIC DEFENSE: Known as a great defensive team, OSU has already held three opponents this season to less than 30 percent shooting and under 50 points. In the 3+ years Scott Rueck has been the head coach, the Beavers are 19-2 when forcing their opponents to shoot less than 30 percent and 23-3 when holding them to under 50 points. OSU’s .342 field goal percentage defense is currently 23rd in the nation and second in the Pac-12. Its .346 field goal percentage defense was a school record in 2012-13 and the 16th best number in the country. Since 2006-07, all but one of Rueck’s squads has finished in the top 25 in the nation in that category.
BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE: Freshman Sydney Wiese has proven herself to be an able distributor at the point. She is sixth in the Pac-12, averaging 4.1 assists per game, and 12th in the league with a 1.5 assist to turnover ratio. Her 49 assists through the season’s first 12 games are the most for an OSU player since Mercedes Fox-Griffin had 55 after the first 12 contests of the 2008-09 campaign.
MAKING IT ALL GO: Despite being just a freshman, Sydney Wiese has displayed a mature game at the point in her young career. She has started each, leads OSU averaging 30.3 minutes per game and played all 40 in Sunday’s tilt with Notre Dame. A quick glance at the Beavers’ stats shows that as Wiese goes, so does Oregon State. In the team’s eight wins she is averaging a team-high 14.3 points on 55.7 percent shooting, including a 53.8 percent mark from behind the 3-point line. In its four losses, Wiese is scoring just 8.0 per game, shooting 33.3 percent from the floor and 29.2 percent from behind the arc.
SHARING THE ROCK: As a team, Oregon State averages 16.7 assists per game and has assists on 200 of its 323 made field goals (61.9 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: 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, a career-best streak of nine, and is averaging 18.0 points and 5.6 rebounds over that span. Weisner’s nine straight games scoring 10 or more is the longest such stretch for an OSU player since Alyssa Martin did it in 10 straight her freshman season, from Nov. 26, 2010 at UNLV to Jan. 6, 2011 at home against Washington.
BIGGER ROLE FOR HANSON: Freshman Gabriella Hanson has significantly upped her playing time and production of late and set career highs in nearly every statistical category at the Duel in the Desert from Dec. 19-21. She averaged 2.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 9.9 minutes in the first eight games of the season before coming off the bench to the tune of 6.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 22.0 minutes in the three games in Las Vegas.
YOUNG & RESTLESS: OSU features 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.)
OWNING THE BOARDS: Improvement in rebounding was a main focus during the Beavers’ offseason workouts and a concerted effort on the glass has paid dividends in 2013-14. OSU is 38th in the nation and third in the conference, pulling down 8.4 more rebounds per game than its opponents. The top four Pac-12 schools in that department in 2012-13 made the NCAA Tournament (California, Colorado, Stanford, UCLA). The Beavers are averaging 46.6 rebounds per game this year 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 139, which is also third all-time at Oregon State. Ali Gibson isn’t far behind, with 113 career makes from deep, tied for fifth 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 927 points in her career and is just 73 away from becoming Oregon State’s 17th career 1,000-point scorer. She needs to average 3.8 points over the final 19 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.
FILLING GILL: Oregon State is 5-1 at home this season and its play on Ralph Miller Court is due in large part to the support it has received from Beaver Nation. The crowd of 4,032 against the Irish was Oregon State’s second this season of over 4,000. Before this year, OSU had only had a home crowd that large during the non-conference portion of its schedule once, in the aforementioned game against Montana in 1995. The Beavers are averaging 2,224 fans per game, the fourth best mark in the Pac-12.
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.