THE GAME: Oregon State (13-9, 5-5) begins a stretch in which it will play six of its final eight games at home when it hosts Colorado (13-8, 3-7) on Saturday, Feb. 8. Tipoff is slated for 11 a.m.
TRACKING THE BEAVS: The game will be streamed live for free via Oregon State’s Pac-12 portal and air on the radio on KEJO 1240AM with Ron Callan on the call. 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: After playing seven of its first 10 conference games on the road, Oregon State will play six of its final eight in Gill where it owns an 8-1 record ... The Beavers are currently 41st in the official NCAA RPI and have played the nation’s 20th-toughest schedule ... A win Friday would give OSU its first 4-0 conference start at home since 1986-87 ... The Beavers are in the midst of a streak in which they’ve outrebounded their last six opponents, the first time in the Pac-10/12 era they have a stretch that long against conference foes ... Ruth Hamblin is fourth in the NCAA with 76 blocks, averages 3.45 per game and is on pace for 107 ... She averages more than 220 teams in the country and is already in the school’s all-time top 10 with 108 in her career ... Hamblin also leads the conference in field goal percentage in league games (.643) and is third when including non-conference contests (.548) ... The Beavers are 12th in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (8.6) ... Sydney Wiese is on pace to make 94 3-pointers this season, which would be third in Pac-12 history ... Her 4.2 assists per game are ninth in the nation among freshmen ... OSU, which has nine underclassmen on its roster and starts four, employs one of the five youngest starting lineups in the nation ... Freshmen and sophomores are responsible for 83.2 percent of the team’s points and 90.3 percent of its rebounds ... Oregon State, which hasn’t averaged more than 70.0 ppg since 1995-96, scores 73.1 this season.
VS. COLORADO: Colorado is Oregon State’s least played Pac-12 opponent and Friday’s game will be just the seventh between the two schools. The Beavers are 1-5 all-time against the Buffs, with the lone win coming in Gill Coliseum on Feb. 12, 2012, 65-45. Colorado has won the last three and escaped with a 66-63 overtime win in Corvallis in the 2013 regular-season finale. In that game, OSU raced out to an 18-point first-half lead, but the No. 19 Buffaloes rallied to take a five-point edge late in regulation. Jamie Weisner, who notched a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, hit a step-back 3-pointer with nine seconds left to force overtime.
PINK OUT: Friday’s game will be the Beavers’ annual Pink Out, in which women’s basketball will support The Corvallis Clinic Foundation’s Project H.E.R. (Help. Enlightenment. Resources.). Fans can purchase a pink “Dam Cancer” tee to receive free admission to the game. Pink shirts are on sale now at osubeaversshop.com or in person through Beaver Authentics and will also be available outside of Gill before tipoff. A portion of the proceeds from the sales will be donated to the Corvallis Clinic’s Project H.E.R.
CONFERENCE START: Following Sunday’s win at Arizona, Oregon State has split its first 10 conference contests for the second time in the past three seasons. In 2011-12, the Beavers were 5-5 through as many games and eventually started Pac-12 play 8-5. Before Scott Rueck took over, OSU hadn’t had a .500 league start through 10 games since 2003-04.
SOS & RPI REVIEW: As of the most recent release of the official NCAA RPI ratings (Feb. 3), the Beavers sit in 41st, thanks in large part to playing the nation’s 20th-toughest schedule according to WarrenNolan.com. Of Oregon State’s nine losses, five are to teams in the Associated Press Top-25 (No. 2 Notre Dame; No. 3 Stanford; No. 9 Penn St.; No. 11 Arizona St.; No. 23 Cal).
WHAT’S AT STAKE: A win on Friday would give OSU its first 4-0 conference start at home since 1986-87, when the Beavers began the inaugural season of Pac-10 women’s basketball by beating Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and Cal in Gill. Oregon State would finish 5-4 at home in league games that season.
HOME COOKING: After playing seven of its first 10 conference games on the road, Oregon State will play six of its final eight in Gill where it has fared well so far this season, with an 8-1 mark at home. The Beavers last started a season with such a record at home in 1995-96 when they were 11-1 in Corvallis, 19-9 overall, and made the school’s last NCAA Tournament appearance.
FRIENDLY CONFINES: In true road games, Sydney Wiese (15.4 ppg) and Jamie Weisner (12.6 ppg) have been responsible for 39.1 percent of OSU’s scoring offense while the production has been much more equitable for the Beavers at home. In nine games in Gill, Wiese (13.1 ppg), Weisner (12.3 ppg), Ruth Hamblin (11.6 ppg) and Deven Hunter (10.4 ppg) are all averaging double figures and Ali Gibson (9.0 ppg) is not far behind. OSU puts up 81.4 points at home compared to 68.2 in away contests.
STREAK ON THE GLASS: Oregon State is in the midst of a streak in which it has outrebounded its opponent in six straight games. It’s the first time in the Pac-10/12 era the Beavers have a stretch that long against conference foes. The school record for league games was set in 1979-80, when OSU outrebounded 12 consecutive NWBL opponents from Jan. 24 to Feb. 29.
MORE FOR MARTIN: Alyssa Martin started her first game of the season, and 95th of her career, at Arizona on Sunday. The senior replaced sophomore Jamie Weisner, who sat out with an injury sustained on Jan. 31. In 3+ years, Martin has played in 115 games and has career averages of 8.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per contest. She is third on OSU’s all-time 3-point list with 143 makes from deep and also has 943 career points. Martin would need to average 6.3 over the final nine guaranteed games of the season to become Oregon State’s 17th 1,000-point scorer. The Beavers had used the same starting lineup in the season’s first 21 games.
HUNTER COMING ON STRONG: Deven Hunter, who has scored in double figures in three straight games for the first time, has had the best stretch of her career of late. In OSU’s last three, the sophomore is averaging a team-high 13.7 ppg to go along with 7.7 rpg and also has the most assists (11). She’s made 15 of her last 24 shots (62.5 percent) from the floor. In the Beavers’ eight games before the run, from Notre Dame on Dec. 29 to Washington on Jan. 24, the forward averaged 6.8 points and shot just 33.9 percent (19-of-56).
BROWN BIG OFF BENCH: Freshman Bre Brown gave Coach Rueck big minutes off the bench last weekend. She scored six at Arizona State and tied a career high with eight at Arizona, combining for 27 minutes and 6-for-8 shooting in the two games. In her first four Pac-12 appearances before the Arizona trip, Brown had played just 24 total minutes, scored four points and only attempted three field goals.
THE CANADIAN HAMMER: Ruth Hamblin, who was affectionately dubbed “The Canadian Hammer” by former Oregon State men’s basketball standout Joe Burton during her freshman season, posted Oregon State’s first triple-double in 30 years against rival Oregon on Jan. 13. The 6-foot-6 sophomore totaled 23 points, 12 rebounds and a school-record 10 blocks in the Beavers’ 84-70 win, their seventh straight in the series. Lisa Channel was the last Beaver to accomplish the feat when she scored 16 points, had 10 rebounds and handed out 10 assists in an 84-62 Beaver win over Cal in Gill Coliseum on Feb. 11, 1984. Judy Spoelstra, also Oregon State’s coach from 1996-2005, was the first to do it when she had 10 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists against Illinois State on Jan. 7, 1983, an 89-57 OSU win; a game that was also played in Gill as part of the Big ‘O’ Classic. Hamblin’s performance is one of 18 triple-doubles in the NCAA this season and the only by a Pac-12 player. It’s the 17th triple-double in Pac-12 history and the first to be accomplished with blocks.
JUST STOP: Ruth Hamblin is quickly becoming the next in a line of great Oregon State shot blockers. Her school-record 10 rejections against Oregon on Jan. 13 came just two weeks after she tied the previous mark with nine against No. 2 Notre Dame on Dec. 29. She has 76 already this season, which is fourth in the NCAA, and averages 3.45 per game, a rate which is fifth in the country. The Canadian is on pace to finish the year with 107, which would be second in Oregon State and fourth in Pac-12 history. She has 108 career blocks to her name in just 50 games, already 10th all-time at Oregon State. Her 76 blocks are currently fourth in OSU single-season history. Hamblin averages more blocks than 220 teams in the country.
TEAM BLOCKS: The top blocking team in the Pac-12 two of the last three years, OSU is again leading the conference and is eighth in the nation in blocks per game (5.9). Oregon State has had three games this season with at least 10 rejections (Bakersfield, Notre Dame and Oregon). Opponents have taken 1,421 shots and OSU has rejected 130, meaning one in every 11 field goal attempts gets blocked by a Beaver.
EFFICIENT FROM THE FLOOR: Hamblin has also been the most efficient Pac-12 player from the floor in conference games. She’s made 54-of-84 from the field in league contests, a 64.3 percent clip. The OSU record for field goal percentage in Pac-12 games is held by Tina Lelas, who made 64.5 percent of her shots (87-of-135) during the 1994-95 league schedule. [Minimum 3.0 field goals made per game] Hamblin is fifth in the Pac-12 from the field when including non-conference games, shooting 54.8 percent (85-for-155) overall this season.
BOMBS AWAY: The Beavers have proven adept at hitting from long range. They are currently 12th in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (8.6) and 21st in 3-point field goal percentage (.369). 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 four times this season. It hit a school-record 17 against LMU, 14 against Florida, 13 against Clemson and 12 at Oregon. 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: OSU is led from 3-point land by Sydney Wiese and Jamie Weisner, who are fifth and eighth in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage. Wiese has converted 42.1 percent (67-of-159) of her attempts from behind the arc while Weisner has been successful on 39.2 percent (47-of-120).
SHARPSHOOTING SYD: Wiese leads the Pac-12 and tops all freshmen in the country, making 3.0 shots from deep per game. With 31 guaranteed games, Wiese is on pace to finish with 94 made 3-pointers, which would place first in OSU’s record book. If she finished the season with that many, Wiese would be third all-time in Pac-12 history, behind only Jeanette Pohlen’s 96 (Stanford - 2011) and Taylor Lilley’s 124 (Oregon - 2010).
THREE AMONG CAREER LEADERS: Oregon State has three active players among its all-time top 10 in 3-point field goals made. Jamie Weisner has made 95 in her career to move into ninth on Oregon State’s all-time list. Alyssa Martin is currently third in that category (143) and Ali Gibson is fourth (125).
OFFENSIVE PACE: Oregon State has scored 80 or more points six times already this season, something it hasn’t done that often since 1995-96 when it broke that mark nine times. The Beavers have scored 1,609 total points and average 73.1 per game. That 1995-96 season was the last time OSU scored more than 70 points per outing (72.8).
WHAT A DIFFERENCE: OSU has increased its offensive output from a year ago. When compared to the Beavers’ statistics from the first 22 games of 2012-13, they’re averaging 13.4 more points per game (73.1 to 59.7), have 80 more assists (337 to 257), are shooting 4.4 percent better from the floor (43.2% to 38.8%) and 10.0 percent better on 3-pointers (36.9% to 26.9%).
BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE: Sydney Wiese has proven herself to be an able distributor at the point. She is sixth in the Pac-12 and tops all conference freshmen, averaging 4.2 assists per game. Through games played as of Feb. 2, she is also ninth among first-year players across the country in assists. Her 93 assists through the season’s first 22 games are the most for an OSU player since Mercedes Fox-Griffin had 97 after the first 22 contests of the 2008-09 campaign. Wiese is on pace to finish the season with 130 assists, which would place second among freshmen at Oregon State. Leilani Estavan handed out 139 during her first year in Corvallis (2000-01).
SHARING THE ROCK: As a team, Oregon State averages 15.3 assists per game and has assists on 337 of its 578 made field goals (58.3 percent). No Beaver squad has averaged more than 15 assists in a season since 1997-98 (15.4).
YOUNG & RESTLESS: OSU features an extremely young roster in terms of NCAA experience. Of its 11 players, nine are underclassmen, and the team collectively has 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. Freshmen and sophomores are responsible for 83.2 percent of Oregon State’s scoring (1,338 of 1,609 points), 80.8 percent of its minutes played (3,554 of 4,400 minutes) and 90.3 percent of its rebounds (898 of 994). 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 OSU has one of the five youngest starting lineups in the nation, featuring four underclassmen (three sophomores, one freshman) and one junior. UMBC, 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.
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. OSU is second in the conference and 33rd in the nation, pulling down 7.5 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 45.2 rebounds per game this year after eclipsing the 40.0 rpg mark last season for the first time since 1996-97. The school record for rebounding average is 44.5, set during 1990-91.
DRASTIC DEFENSE: OSU has 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 .363 field goal percentage defense is second in the Pac-12. Its .346 field goal percentage defense was a school record in 2012-13 and the 16th best 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. This year’s team is currently 35th in the nation at .362.