THE GAME: Oregon State (17-9, 9-5) will look to win six straight when it plays the first game of its final regular-season road trip on Friday, Feb. 21, visiting Washington State (14-12, 8-6) at 7 p.m.
TRACKING THE BEAVS: The game will be streamed live for free via Washington 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: Oregon State’s 9-5 conference record is its best through 14 games since 2001-02 ... The Beavers are currently 37th in the official NCAA RPI ... OSU received votes in the USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll for the first time since 1996 on Tuesday ... The Beavers also entered the latest ESPN Bracketology and are projected as an 11-seed in Iowa City ... Oregon State has not been outrebounded in 12 straight games, its longest streak in 34 years ... OSU is 4-0 this season against traditional Pacific Northwest rivals, its best mark against WSU, UW and UO since 1982-83 ... Sydney Wiese broke the school single-season record for 3-point makes against USC and now has 78 ... Gabriella Hanson is second the conference from 3-point range in league games, making 50 percent ... Ruth Hamblin is third in the NCAA with 95 blocks and averages 3.65 per game, more than 241 teams in the country ... She is currently tied with Lisa Leslie (1993) for fourth in single-season blocks in Pac-12 history ... Hamblin also leads the conference in field goal percentage in league games (.658) and is third when including non-conference contests (.573) ... The Beavers are 19th in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (8.2) ... Wiese’s 4.2 assists per game are 10th in the nation among freshmen ... Freshmen and sophomores are responsible for 83 percent of the team’s points and 91.6 percent of its rebounds ... Oregon State, which hasn’t averaged more than 70.0 ppg since 1995-96, scores 72.0 this season.
VS. WASHINGTON STATE: Oregon State owns a 47-28 all-time record against Washington State and has gone 17-18 when playing the Cougars in Pullman. The Beavers snapped a three-game WSU winning streak in the series with a 72-57 victory on Jan. 26. Ruth Hamblin and Deven Hunter both posted double-doubles and the team used a nearly flawless start to knock off WSU. OSU, which opened up a gap as large as 25 in the first half, connected on 14 of its first 16 shots from the floor and held the Cougars to just eight makes on 32 attempts in the opening frame. The 15-point margin of victory was Oregon State’s largest since Jan. 19, 2008 (60-35).
CONFERENCE START: Following its five-game winning streak, OSU’s 9-5 conference record is its best Pac-12 start since beginning 2001-02 with the same record through 14 games, which was also the last year the Beavers won double-digit games in league play (11-7).
SOS & RPI REVIEW: As of the most recent release of the official NCAA RPI ratings (Feb. 17), the Beavers sit in 37th, thanks in large part to playing the nation’s 30th-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. 5 Stanford; No. 9 Penn St.; No. 18 Cal; No. 20 Arizona St.).
NATIONAL RECOGNITION: The Beavers have begun to turn some heads around the country with their inspired play of late. Oregon State received three votes in USA TODAY Top 25 Coaches’ Poll released on Tuesday, the first votes the Beavs have received from the nation’s coaches since March 11, 1996. The most recent ranking recognition of any sort for OSU came on Dec. 29, 2009, when the program earned 11 votes in the AP poll. Additionally, the latest Bracketology from ESPN has moved Oregon State into the NCAA Tournament field and projects the Beavs as an 11-seed in Iowa City.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: A win on Friday would give Oregon State just its second six-game conference winning streak in the past 19 seasons. Rueck’s 2011-12 Beavers also put together such a stretch in league play. Before that, however, OSU hadn’t put together that many wins in a row in conference action since winning seven consecutive games in the 1994-95 campaign - a program record in the Pac-10/12 era. A Friday victory would also match the 2011-12 squad’s 18-9 overall start. That was the Beavers’ best mark through 27 games since beginning the 1995-96 season with a 19-8 tally.
NORTHWEST DOMINANCE: The Beavers are 4-0 so far this season against their Pacific Northwest rivals (Oregon, Washington, Washington State). It’s the program’s best record against those conference foes since 1982-83, when Oregon State was 7-0 against the region’s major college teams.
RECORD BREAKER: Against USC on Feb. 16, Sydney Wiese passed Sage Indendi (75; 2010-11) to take the top spot in single-season 3-point makes at OSU and now has 78. She 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 93 made 3-pointers, which would be third in Pac-12 history behind Taylor Lilley’s 124 (Oregon; 2010) and Jeanette Pohlen’s 96 (Stanford; 2011). Nearly 70 percent of Wiese’s field goals this year have come from 3-point range (78-of-114). The Pac-12 freshman record for 3-pointers is held by Arizona’s Lisa Griffith (92; 1997).
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES: Oregon State finds itself on the right side of many important percentage markers. The Beavers are second in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.436), 3-point field goal percentage (.370) and field goal percentage defense (.361), trailing only Stanford in all three. OSU tops the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.287) and is slightly ahead of the Cardinal (.288).
HOME COOKING: After playing four straight at home, Oregon State will return to the road this weekend for its final conference trip of 2014. OSU’s 12-1 mark at home is the program’s best-ever start in Gill, surpassing 11-1 records in 1995-96 and 1982-83. The single-season school record for wins in Gill Coliseum is 13, accomplished three times (1994-95; 2002-03; 2008-09). The Beavers’ only home loss this season came to No. 2 Notre Dame on Dec. 29. Eleven of those dozen wins have come by at least 10 points.
HOME COOKING II: OSU is a perfect 7-0 in home conference games for the first time as a member of the Pac-10/12. The Beavers were 7-0 in NorPac home games in 1982-83. They also started 7-0 at home in NWBL play in 1979-80 before dropping the final game that season to finish 7-1 in Corvallis. Oregon State’s seven home conference wins are its most since the mid-1990s when it was 8-1 in Pac-10 games in Gill in both 1994-95 and 1995-96.
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 13 games in Gill, Wiese (14.0 ppg), Weisner (12.3 ppg), Ruth Hamblin (12.0 ppg), and Deven Hunter (10.2 ppg) are all averaging double figures and Ali Gibson (9.2 ppg) is not far behind. OSU puts up 76.6 points at home compared to 68.2 in away contests.
STREAK ON THE GLASS: Oregon State has not been outrebounded since playing at Stanford on Jan. 5., a streak of 12 straight, tying the third-longest in school history and best in the last 34 years. The Beavers were even or better on the glass a school-record 17 consecutive games in 1980. OSU accomplished the feat through the final 16 contests of the 1979-80 season and the first game of the 1980-81 campaign.
MAKE MORE THAN YOU MISS: Oregon State shot 52.1 percent (25-of-48) from the floor against UCLA on Feb. 14, its best in a Pac-12 game since converting 52.3 percent (23-of-44) against Washington State on Jan. 19, 2008.
HOLY HANSON!: Freshman Gabriella Hanson has been a super sub as Scott Rueck’s first off the bench this season. Initially inserted because of her defense, Hanson’s offensive game has developed into a well-versed part of OSU’s attack. The most eye-popping numbers come from behind the arc, where she is shooting 44.4 percent this season (24-of-54) and is just shy of qualification in the Pac-12 rankings. Hanson is second the conference from 3-point range in league games, making 19-of-38 (50 percent).
STEPPING UP: After going 8-4 in 12 non-conference games a number of OSU players have stepped up their performances in Pac-12 play led by Ruth Hamblin and Gabriella Hanson. Hamblin’s numbers in the non-conference were 6.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 3.3 bpg compared to 12.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 3.9 bpg in league games. Hanson averages 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in Pac-12 contests after putting up 3.4 ppg and 2.4 rpg in the non-conference.
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 20 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. With those performances, Hamblin has two of the 10 best single-game blocking totals in the NCAA this year. She has 95 total, which is third in the NCAA, and averages 3.65 per game, a rate which is sixth in the country. She has 127 career blocks to her name in just 54 games, already seventh all-time at Oregon State. Her 95 blocks are currently tied with Lisa Leslie (1993) for fourth in Pac-12 history. Hamblin averages more blocks than 241 teams in the country.
EFFICIENT FROM THE FLOOR: Hamblin has also been the most efficient Pac-12 player from the floor in conference games. She’s made 75-of-114 from the field in league contests, a 65.8 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 third in the Pac-12 from the field when including non-conference games, shooting 57.3 percent (106-for-185) overall this season.
MOST IMPROVED?: Ruth Hamblin’s sophomore season has put her in the conversation among some of the nation’s most improved players. Last year, Hamblin averaged just 13.0 minutes, 4.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. This season she has arguably been Oregon State’s most important presence on the court and is averaging 25.9 minutes, 9.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. She is third in the conference in field goal percentage (.573), seventh in rebounds and first in blocks.
TEAM BLOCKS: The top blocking team in the Pac-12 two of the last three years, OSU is again leading the conference and is ninth in the nation in blocks per game (5.9). Opponents have taken 1,658 shots and OSU has rejected 153, meaning one in every 11 field goal attempts gets blocked by a Beaver.
BOMBS AWAY: The Beavers have proven adept at hitting from long range. They are currently 19th in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (8.2) and 21st in 3-point field goal percentage (.370). 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. Oregon State has made 214 3-pointers this season, beating the previous school record of 194 (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 second and seventh in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage. Wiese has converted 43.3 percent (78-of-180) of her attempts from behind the arc while Weisner has been successful on 39.2 percent (47-of-120).
OFFENSIVE PACE: OSU has scored 80 or more points six times this season, something it hasn’t done that often since 1995-96 when it broke that mark nine times. The Beavers have scored 1,872 total points and average 72.0 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 25 games of 2012-13, they’re averaging 14.6 more points per game (72.0 to 57.4), have 95 more assists (388 to 293), are shooting 6.1 percent better from the floor (43.6% to 37.5%) and 9.5 percent better on 3-pointers (37.0% to 27.5%).
BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE: Sydney Wiese has proven herself to be an able distributor at the point. She is fifth in the Pac-12 and tops all conference freshmen, averaging 4.2 assists per game. Through games played as of Feb. 17, she is also 10th among first-year players across the country in assists. Her 108 assists through the season’s first 26 games are the most for an OSU player since Mercedes Fox-Griffin had 112 after the first 26 contests of the 2008-09 campaign. Wiese is on pace to finish the season with 133 assists, which would place second among freshmen at Oregon State. Leilani Estavan handed out 139 during her first year in Corvallis (2000-01).
YOUNG & RESTLESS: OSU features a 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 percent of Oregon State’s scoring (1,554 of 1,872 points), 79.7 percent of its minutes played (4,146 of 5,200 minutes) and 91.6 percent of its rebounds (1,057 of 1,154). 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.
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 tied for 30th in the nation, pulling down 7.7 more rebounds per game than its opponents. The Beavers are averaging 44.4 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.