Women's Basketball Hits The Hardwood Thursday

Dec. 20, 2000

CORVALLIS, Ore. -

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL LOOKS TO GET BACK TO WINNING WAYS, TRAVELS TO PORTLAND THURSDAY
Thursday December 21, 2000
OSU at Portland - 7 p.m. PST, Portland, OR
(Chiles Center)

PROBABLE STARTERS
OREGON STATE BEAVERS (6-1)
G #23 Syesha Thomas, 5-6, Sr., (7.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.3 apg.)
G #34 Felicia Ragland, 5-9, Jr., (16.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.6 apg.)
F #31 Nicole Funn, 6-0 So., (16.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.4 apg.)
F #42 Brina Chaney, 6-5, Fr. (4.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.9 apg.)
C #22 Ericka Cook, 6-3, Jr. (11.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg,2.1 apg.)

UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND (5-3)
G #20 Da'Love Woods, 5-5, Fr. (5.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg,1.6 apg.)
G #23 Ashlee Giles, 5-11, So., (9.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg,1.8 apg.)
F #14 Renee Maxie, 5-10, Fr., (6.6 ppg,1.8 rpg, 1.0 apg.)
F #25 Sharon Rissmiller, 5-11, Sr., (12.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.1 apg.)
C #22 Tami Standish, 6-0, Jr., (15.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.8 apg.)

A GLANCE AT THE PILOTS: The University of Portland brings a 5-3 record into Thursday's game with the Beavers. Junior Tami Standish paces the Pilots with an average of 15.5 points per game and 6.9 rebounds. Senior forward Sharon Rissmiller is the only other UP player to average double figures in scoring with 12.1 points per game and adds 6.4 boards per contest. The Pilots have won three straight games including a decisive 78-54 trouncing of Cal Poly last Saturday. As a team Portland is being out-rebounded 39.1-38.4 boards per game. The Pilots are a perfect 3-0 in the Chiles Center this season.

THE SERIES: Oregon State leads the all-time series with the University of Portland 15-1, including a decisive 72-44 victory last season. The Pilots lone win against the Beavers was a 61-50 triumph in the Chiles Center during the 1985-86 season. In the teams seven meetings in the `90's Oregon State has dominated UP in Corvallis, winning by an average of 18.5 points. The Beavers have not fared as well in the Chiles Center, topping the Pilots by an average of 4.7 points. OSU has won 11 consecutive meetings with Portland.

LOOKING BACK AT UTAH: In a match-up between two of the top defensive teams in the nation, the Beavers fell short 53-49 to suffer their first loss of the season on Monday at the hands of an undefeated Utah squad. Oregon State struggled shooting from the field, connecting on just 13-of-48 field goals for 27.1 percent. The Utes fared even worse shooting just 26.3 percent, making 15-of-57 attempts. Utah dominated the boards however, out-rebounding the Beavers 50-36 including a 24-11 offensive rebounding advantage. Senior guard Syesha Thomas led OSU in scoring for the second consecutive game with 12 points including three 3-point baskets. Junior Ericka Cook posted her second consecutive double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. High-scoring guards Nicole Funn and Felicia Ragland were held in-check throughout the evening. Funn finished with just six points - all from the charity stripe (6-6) while Ragland managed just four points, 15 points below her season average. Funn failed to reach double figures in scoring for the first time this season while Ragland's streak of 13 consecutive double-digit outings was snapped.

BEAVERS MOVE UP IN POLL: Oregon State received 24 votes in the Associated Press Top-25 women's basketball poll released Monday morning. OSU was idle over the past week but voters took in account the team's perfect 6-0 record and best start since the 1994-95 campaign. Utah, the Beavers Monday night opponent, moved into the Top-25 rankings at No. 25. 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 doubled their number of votes in the ESPN/USA Today Top-25 Coaches poll, recording 10 on Monday.

WATCHING THE BOARDS: Oregon State had been dominating its opponents all season on the battle of the boards but the Beavers met their match with Utah on Monday night. OSU struggled all game with the Utes earning a 50-36 rebounding advantage. The Beavers are still out-rebounding their opponents' 41.6-35.4 boards per game for a +6.1 rebounding margin but the Utes narrowed the rebounding margin drastically from OSU's +9.5 advantage against opponents prior to Monday. Utah's 24-11 edge on the offensive glass narrowed the gap between the Beavers and their opponents as well, 119-94.

FAN-TASTIC: The Beavers registered their highest attendance figures of the season Monday night against Utah, when 1,386 fans showed their support in Gill Coliseum. The 1,386 screaming supporters are the most to attend an Oregon State non-conference game since the December 7, 1996 Gazette-Times Classic championship game against Illinois. 1,424 fans were in attendance to see the Fighting Illini drop the Beavers 65-50.

NATIONAL LEADERS: As a team, Oregon State managed to stay in this week's national rankings for scoring defense. The Beavers allow just 52.7 points per game, which ranks No. 5 nationally. University of Utah continues to lead the nation in scoring defense, giving up only 47.1 points per contest. Junior guard Felicia Ragland moved into the nation's leaders in steals. Ragland is tied for 22nd in the country with 3.6 steals per game.

LEADING THE LOOP: Oregon State entered the week leading the Pac-10 Conference in five statistical categories: Scoring Defense (52.7), Scoring Margin (+19.5), Field Goal Percentage Defense (37.3), Rebounding Margin (+9.5) and Offensive Rebounds (18.0).

THOMAS TAKES CHARGE: Senior Syesha Thomas has led Oregon State in scoring in the last two games. Thomas recorded a career-high 18 points against Saint Mary's on Dec. 10 and then reached double figures with 12 points Monday against Utah. The 5-6 guard has buried 10-of-16 shots from the field, including a 6-for-10 clip from beyond the arc in her last two outings.

RAGLAND'S STREAK IS OVER: Junior guard Felicia Ragland's streak of 13 consecutive games scoring in double figures ended Monday with a four-point effort against Utah. Ragland connected on just 1-of-7 shots from the floor, finishing 15 points below her 19-point season average. The 5-9 guard's had not been held under double figures in scoring since a 5-point effort on 1-of-11 shooting against Stanford on February 12, 2000.

NO FUNN: Sophomore Nicole Funn has struggled scoring from the field in Oregon State's last two games. Funn has shot a combined 2-for-16 from the floor in the last two contests and has scored a total of just 16 points. Just two weeks ago, the 6-0 forward was named Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week after exploding for 51 points in OSU's road victories against Ohio University and Marquette.

ESTELL LOOKS TO SHINE: Sophomore Michelle Estell came off the bench to bury a 3-pointer and two key free throws in the final three minutes of the Beavers Monday night loss to Utah. Estell's two tosses from the charity stripe narrowed the Utah lead to one-point with 2:13 remaining but OSU still fell short on its comeback bid. The 5-11 sophomore scored a career-high 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting and dished out a career-high two assists last season versus Thursday's opponent, University of Portland.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: Junior Ericka Cook recorded her second consecutive double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds against Utah Monday. Cook's double-digit rebounding and scoring effort is her third of the season and fourth in her career. The 6-3 post matched her career-high with 11 boards against the Utes. Prior to Monday night's game, Cook ranked first in the Pac-10 Conference with an average of 4.17 offensive rebounds per game. The North Medford High grad grabbed a team-high two offensive rebounds against Utah. Cook has now moved in front of sophomore Nicole Funn to lead the Beavers in rebounding with an average of 7.6 boards per game.

HOME STREAK: Oregon State's five-game home winning streak was snapped with Monday's loss to Utah. The Beavers have won 50 of their last 77 (.649) games played at Gill Coliseum. Over the last eight seasons OSU is 68-32 in the friendly confines of Gill.

NON-CONFERENCE RECORD: Oregon State has an all-time non-conference record of 225-112 dating back to the 1976-77 season for a .668 percentage.

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 has a record of 67-78 while in her sixth season at the helm for Oregon State. Spoelstra has recorded a 165-146 overall record while in her 12th season 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 Thursday's game against the University of Portland 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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