Beavs Host Arizona With NCAA Berth In Sight
THE GAME: Oregon State (19-9, 11-5) will look to win eight straight for the first time since 1995-96 when it begins its final regular-season weekend on Friday, Feb. 28, hosting Arizona (5-22, 1-15) at 7 p.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 KLOO 1340AM 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.
FILL GILL: General admission tickets for Friday's game are just $1 and can be purchased here.
THE RUNDOWN: A win on Friday would give a big boost to the Beavers’ NCAA Tournament hopes as no 20-win Pac-12 school with 12 league victories has ever been left out of the field ... Oregon State’s 11-5 conference record is its best through 16 games since 1995-96 ... OSU, which hasn’t been ranked since 1996, is receiving votes in both the AP (33rd) and USA TODAY Coaches’ Polls (29th) ... The Beavers are projected as a 10-seed in Baton Rouge in the latest ESPN Bracketology ... Oregon State has not been outrebounded in 14 straight games, its longest streak in 34 years ... Sydney Wiese broke the school single-season record for 3-point makes against USC on Feb. 16 and now has 85, tied for eighth in Pac-12 single-season history ... Ruth Hamblin is third in the NCAA with 104 blocks and averages 3.71 per game, more than 243 teams in the country ... She is currently fourth in single-season blocks in Pac-12 history ... Hamblin also leads the conference in field goal percentage in league games (.672) and is second when including non-conference contests (.589) ... The Beavers are 21st in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (8.2) ... Wiese’s 4.2 assists per game are 11th in the nation among freshmen ... Freshmen and sophomores are responsible for 82.7 percent of the team’s points and 89.3 percent of its rebounds ... Oregon State, which hasn’t averaged more than 70.0 ppg since 1995-96, scores 72.0 this season.
VS. ARIZONA: Oregon State owns a 28-31 all-time record against Arizona and has gone 17-10 when playing the Wildcats in Corvallis. The Beavers have won the last two in the series and are coming off of a 64-50 victory in Tucson on Feb. 2. It was the Beavers’ second straight road win over the Wildcats, something they had only done once before in 1988-89. Nine Oregon State players scored, including three in double figures, and Arizona never led. Sydney Wiese led all scorers with 13. Deven Hunter added 12 and tied a career high with five assists and Gabriella Hanson put up 11. OSU’s last home win over the Wildcats came on Jan. 10, 2008 (68-43).
TOURNAMENT RESUME: No 20-win Pac-12 school with 12 league victories has ever been left out of the NCAA Tournament. Beating Arizona in Gill would move OSU to 20-9 overall and 12-5 in conference action. There have only been five Pac-12 teams to get 12 conference wins and not receive an invite, but none won 20 total games.
CONFERENCE START: Following its seven-game winning streak, OSU’s 11-5 conference record is its best Pac-12 start since beginning 1995-96 with the same record through 16 games. It is only the fifth season in program history with double-digit Pac-10/12 wins and the first since the 2001-02 squad went 11-7. Each win during the run has been by at least 10 points.
SOS & RPI REVIEW: As of the most recent release of the official NCAA RPI ratings (Feb. 17), the Beavers sit in 32nd, thanks in large part to playing the nation’s 34th-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. 8 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 is 33rd in the AP Top 25, receiving eight votes, and 29th in the USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll, receiving 13 votes. They are the first votes for OSU from the nation’s writers since Dec. 29, 2008 when the Beavs received 11 after a 9-1 start to the season. The last time Oregon State received pub in the AP poll this late in the season was when it ended the 1996 campaign at No. 22 in the country. Additionally, the latest Bracketology from ESPN has improved Oregon State’s position in the NCAA Tournament field and projects the Beavs as a 10-seed in Baton Rouge.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: A win on Friday would eclipse Oregon State’s longest conference winning streak as a member of the Pac-10/12. Aki Hill’s 1994-95 Beavers also won seven league games in a row en route to school-record 12-6 Pac-10 mark. The Beavers have not won eight straight at any point since the 1995-96 campaign. A Sunday victory would also give OSU its best overall start since the 1994-95 squad finished their season with a 21-8 record, would be just the ninth time the Beavers have won 20 games in a season in program history and would clinch a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament for Oregon State.
STREAK STATS: The Beavers have gone on this winning streak not thanks to the exploits of one or two players, but by employing a balanced attack. During the last seven games, Sydney Wiese (14.9), Ruth Hamblin (12.7), Gabriella Hanson (12.0) and Deven Hunter (10.3) are all averaging in double-figures scoring and Ali Gibson is putting up 9.6 ppg. OSU is shooting 46.2 percent and scoring 67.3 ppg in its last seven while holding its opponents to 34.6 percent from the floor and 53.1 ppg.
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 85, which leads the Pac-12, is tied for eighth in the nation and tops all freshmen in the country. With 31 guaranteed games, Wiese is on pace to finish with 94 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). She is currently tied for eighth on that list with USC’s Ashley Corral (2010 & 2011). Nearly 70 percent of Wiese’s field goals this year have come from 3-point range (85-of-123). 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 (.440), 3-point field goal percentage (.372) and field goal percentage defense (.357), trailing only Stanford in all three. OSU also tops the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.283). The team’s field goal percentage is currently its highest since it was successful on 44.3 percent of its attempts from the floor during the 1995-96 season.
HOME COOKING: Oregon State’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 (15.1 ppg) and Jamie Weisner (12.6 ppg) have been responsible for 35.2 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 68.9 in away contests.
STREAK ON THE GLASS: Oregon State has not been outrebounded since playing at Stanford on Jan. 5., a streak of 14 straight, the second-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.
DRASTIC DEFENSE: OSU has held four opponents this season to less than 30 percent shooting and five to under 50 points. In the 3+ years Scott Rueck has been the head coach, the Beavers are 20-2 when forcing their opponents to shoot less than 30 percent and 25-3 when holding them to under 50 points. OSU’s .357 field goal percentage defense is second in the Pac-12 and 21st in the country. 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.
MAKE MORE THAN YOU MISS: Oregon State shot 52.8 percent (28-of-53) from the floor against Washington on Feb. 23, its best in a Pac-12 game since converting 53.3 percent (24-of-45) against Arizona State on Jan. 5, 2008.
HOLY HANSON!: 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 42.4 percent this season (27-of-61) and is just shy of qualification in the Pac-12 rankings. Hanson is third the conference from 3-point range in league games, making 22-of-45 (48.9 percent). The freshman, who reached double-figures in scoring once in the season’s first 20 games, has now done it in seven of the last eight.
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 12.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg and 4.0 bpg in league games. Hanson averages 9.5 points and 5.3 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 23 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 104 total, which is third in the NCAA, and averages 3.71 per game, a rate which is sixth in the country. She has 136 career blocks to her name in just 56 games, already sixth all-time at Oregon State. Her 104 blocks are currently fourth in Pac-12 history. Hamblin averages more blocks than 243 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 88-of-131 from the field in league contests, a 67.2 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 second in the Pac-12 from the field when including non-conference games, shooting 58.9 percent (119-of-202) 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 26.4 minutes, 10.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. She is second in the conference in field goal percentage, 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 1,784 shots and OSU has rejected 164, 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 21st in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (8.2) and 15th in 3-point field goal percentage (.372). 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 230 3-pointers this season, beating the previous school record of 194 (2010-11).
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 2,016 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).
BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE: Sydney Wiese has proven herself to be an able distributor at the point. She is fourth in the Pac-12 and tops all conference freshmen, averaging 4.2 assists per game. Through games played as of Feb. 24, she is also 11th among first-year players across the country in assists. Her 117 assists through the season’s first 28 games are the most for an OSU player since Mercedes Fox-Griffin had the same number after the first 28 contests of the 2008-09 campaign. Wiese is currently second among OSU freshmen in single-season assists all-time. 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 82.7 percent of Oregon State’s scoring (1,668 of 2,016 points), 79.4 percent of its minutes played (4,451 of 5,600 minutes) and 89.3 percent of its rebounds (1,108 of 1,241). 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.