Women's Basketball Returns To Action Monday

Dec. 15, 2000

CORVALLIS, Ore. -

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL RETURNS TO ACTION,BEAVERS LOOKS TO REMAIN UNDEFEATED,HOST UTAH MONDAY NIGHT
Monday December 18, 2000
Utah at OSU - 7:05 p.m. PST, Corvallis, OR(Gill Coliseum)

PROBABLE STARTERS
OREGON STATE BEAVERS (6-0)

G #23 Syesha Thomas, 5-6, Sr., (6.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.5 apg.)
G #34 Felicia Ragland, 5-9, Jr., (19.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 apg.)
F #31 Nicole Funn, 6-0 So., (18.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.3 apg.)
F #42 Brina Chaney, 6-5, Fr. (4.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.8 apg.)
C #22 Ericka Cook, 6-3, Jr. (11.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg,2.3 apg.)

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH (8-0)
G #14 Kelsy Stireman, 5-7, Fr. (7.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg,2.0 apg.)
G #25 Lindsay Herbert, 5-11, Jr., (6.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg,2.0 apg.)
F #21 Kristina Andersen, 6-1, Sr., (11.0 ppg,6.5 rpg, 2.3 apg.)
F #24 Amy Ewert, 6-0, Sr., (8.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.4 apg.)
C #52 Lauren Beckman, 6-2, Jr., (9.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.8 apg.)

A GLANCE AT THE UTES: The University of Utah brings a perfect 8-0 record into Saturday's game with the University of Oregon before heading to Corvallis to face the Beavers Monday. The Utes boast the best defense in the nation, holding their opponents to just 46.8 points per game. Senior Kristina Andersen's 11.0 points per game lead the balanced Utah offense. The Eugene, Ore., native, also pulls down 6.5 rebounds per game. Lauren Beckman leads the team in rebounding with 7.5 boards per contest and is second on the squad in scoring with 9.5 points. The 6-2 junior also leads the team in blocked shots with a total of 22. Ten Utah players average at least 10 minutes of playing time. As a team, the Utes have connected on 201-of-444 field goal attempts (.453) while holding their opponents to just 32-percent (124-387) shooting from the floor. Utah has a +9.3 rebounding margin, grabbing 40.2 boards compared to their opponents 31.0. The Utes will have played seven consecutive home games before facing Oregon State.

THE SERIES: Oregon State leads the all-time series with the University of Utah 5-2. The Beavers have not faced the Utes since the 1994-95 season, when OSU topped Utah 80-67 in Gill Coliseum.

LOOKING BACK AT SAINT MARY'S: Senior guard Syesha Thomas scored a career-high 18 points to help the Beavers top Saint Mary's College 65-52 in the Dec. 10 battle of the unbeatens. Oregon State led from start to finish, streaking to a 14-2 lead but then going ice-cold from the floor for the remainder of the half. Saint Mary's struggled shooting from the field, hitting just seven first half field goals and finishing the game shooting a meager 29-percent. OSU went into the locker room with a 28-19 lead and extended their advantage to as many as 23 points in the second half. Thomas, one of four Beavers to score in double figures, buried 6-of-7 shots from the field including a 3-for-4 clip from 3-point range. Junior Felicia Ragland reached double figures in scoring for the 13th consecutive game with 17 points while teammate Ericka Cook recorded her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Nicole Funn was held below her 19-point scoring average, but still reached double figures in scoring for the sixth consecutive game and just missed a double-double with 10 point and nine rebounds. Ragland and Funn were also major forces on the defensive end, combining for seven steals on the day.

BEAVERS RECOGNIZED NATIONALLY: Oregon State received two votes in the Associated Press Top-25 women's basketball poll released Monday evening. The Beavers are off to their best start since the 1994-95 campaign when OSU reeled off seven consecutive wins to open the season. Oregon State has not received votes in a national poll since the 1995-96 season, when OSU was ranked No. 22 in the final AP poll. The Beavers also received five votes in the ESPN/USA Today Top-25 Coaches poll.

GLEISBERG LEAVES SQUAD: Freshman forward Kristine Gleisberg has left the Beaver squad, announced head coach Judy Spoelstra on Friday morning. Due to the passing of her father prior to Thanksgiving, Gleisberg, a native of Ventura, Calif., has decided not to return to Oregon State. Gleisberg had played in three games for the Beavers, grabbing six rebounds, scoring one point and recording one blocked shot. OSU added two walk-ons to its squad to bring its roster to 11 players. Carey Jo Stephens, a 5-9 sophomore and Marissa Nehl, a 5-7 sophomore, both of Bend, Ore., have joined the team.

GREAT START: Oregon State's 6-0 start is the best in head coach Judy Spoelstra's tenure. The Beavers have opened the season with a 6-0 record on just three previous occasions, dating back to the 1976-77 season.

COULD IT BE COINCIDENCE, AGAIN: Prior to last week's victory against Saint Mary's, the only other time that the Gaels and Beavers had met was an 87-70 OSU victory during the 1994-95 season. 1994-95 was the same season that Oregon State recorded its best start, with a 7-0 record. The last time that Oregon State and the University of Utah faced each other was also during the 1994-95 season. The Beavers topped the Utes 80-67 to improve to 7-0. A win against the Utes on Monday would improve the 2000-01 Beavers' record to 7-0.

DEFENSIVE BATTLE: Monday's game will be a battle between a pair of the top defensive teams in the nation. Utah leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing its opponents to score just 46.8 points per game. Oregon State is ranked fourth in the nation for scoring defense, giving up 52.7 points per game. Utah is out-scoring its opponents by 25.3 points per contest while the Beavers have a scoring margin of +19.5 points per game.

FAST FACT: Oregon State has not trailed in the second half of this season's first six games. The Beavers have outscored their opponents 225-128 in the opening frame.

HOME STREAK: Oregon State has a Gill Coliseum winning streak of five games which started last season with a 73-66 victory against USC on February 24, 2000. The Beavers are a perfect 3-0 in Gill this season.

NATIONAL LEADERS: Guard Felicia Ragland's 19.0 points per game average ranks among the national leaders. Ragland is currently tied for 41st place on the Individual Leader Board for scoring. As a team, Oregon State ranks nationally in four categories. The Beavers are tied for first with a 1.000 winning percentage (6-0) and rank No. 4 in scoring defense, allowing their opponents to score just 52.7 points per game. Oregon State also ranks 15th in rebounding margin at +9.5 and 16th in scoring margin at +19.5. OSU leads the Pacific-10 Conference in all four categories mentioned above.

LEADING THE LOOP: Oregon State is the only team in the Pacific-10 Conference without a loss. Beavers lead the loop in four statistical categories and rank second in three categories.

HITTING THE LONG BALL: Just three Beaver players have hit shots from 3-point range so far this season. Freshman Leilani Estavan has buried 4-of-9 shots from long range while senior Syesha Thomas has connected on 6-of-18 3-point attempts. Junior Felicia Ragland leads the Beavers with 10 baskets from beyond the arc in 25 attempts. Ragland has now moved into fifth place in the Oregon State record books with 187 3-point baskets attempted, while her 56 treys rank fifth on the all-time list for 3-pointers made. The 5-9 guard, needs just 13 more long balls to pass Nicole McAllister and move into fourth place.

RAGLAND CONTINUES TO SHINE: Junior guard Felicia Ragland scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds to help the Beavers beat Saint Mary's on Dec. 10. Ragland has now reached double-figures in scoring on 13 consecutive occasions. The streak started last season with an 11-point effort at Washington State (2/19/00). The Tulare, Calif., native also snagged three steals against the Gaels to bring her season total to 21. Ragland's average of 3.5 steals per game leads the Pac-10.

FUNN HOUSE: Sophomore Nicole Funn leads Oregon State with an average of eight rebounds per game and ranks second in the Pacific-10 Conference for boards. The 6-0 forward has not had fewer than six rebounds in a game this season. Funn is currently second on the team and fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring with an average of 18 points per game. Despite shooting poorly against Saint Mary's on Dec. 10, Funn set a career high in steals with four, tied her career high in assists with two and tied her career mark for blocked shots with a pair. Funn ranks in the Pac-10's top-5 in five different individual statistical categories (scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding).

COOK CAN'T BE CONTAINED: Junior post Ericka Cook recorded her second double-double of the season and the third of her career, with 12 points and 10 rebounds against Saint Mary's on Dec. 10. Cook also matched her season-high with three blocked shots against the Gaels. The North Medford High graduate is currently tied for first in the Pac-10 with 1.67 blocked shots per game. Cook also leads the conference in offensive rebounds with an average of 4.17 per contest. Not only is Cook scoring points, grabbing boards and swatting shots, but the 6-3 post ranks third on the squad in assists with 14.

CRASHING THE BOARDS: Oregon State picked up where it left off last season, winning the battle of the boards against its opponents. The Beavers are out-rebounding their opponents 42.5-33.0 per game for a Pacific-10 Conference leading +9.5 rebounding margin. OSU is dominating the offensive glass, controlling 108 rebounds compared to its opponents' 70 offensive boards. The Beavers' 18.0 offensive rebounds per game ranks first in the Pac-10.

COACHING ADDITIONS: Oregon State has three new coaches on the sideline this season. Tony Newnan joins the Beavers after guiding the high-powered offense at the University of California-Santa Barbara and Stephanie Norman brings a wealth of experience to the staff after working as an assistant at Oregon from 1992-99. Jualeah Woods rounds out the staff, joining the Beavers after two seasons as an assistant at California, under her former coach, Marianne Stanley.

HEAD COACH JUDY SPOELSTRA: Judy Spoelstra enters her sixth season at the helm for Oregon State. Spoelstra is 61-77 in five seasons at OSU and has a 159-145 overall record in 11 seasons as a collegiate head coach, her first six being at Montana State. Spoelstra was named Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the 1999-2000 season.

BEAVERS ON THE RADIO: Join the voice of Beaver women's basketball, Jon Warren, as he calls the play-by-play for all of Oregon State's 2000-01 games. Every OSU women's game will be broadcast on the Internet on the Oregon State athletics home page - www.osubeavers.com. This Monday's game against the University of Utah can also be heard on KLOO (1340 AM) in Corvallis. Future games will be broadcast on the Beaver Sports Radio Network, through satellite affiliates.

BEAVERS ON TELEVISION: OSU will play six televised games this season on Fox Sports Northwest. The Beavers' Pacific-10 Conference season opener against Oregon on Jan. 5 will be broadcast on tape-delay, as well as the Jan. 18 game at Washington State, Feb. 17 vs. Washington State and Mar. 1 vs. Arizona. The Beavers can be seen Live on Jan. 13 against California and Jan. 21 at Washington.

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