Women's Basketball Remains In Search Of Back-to-Back Pac-10 Victories

Jan. 29, 2001

CORVALLIS, Ore. -

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL STILL IN SEARCH OF BACK-TO-BACK CONFERENCE VICTORIES, BEAVERS VISIT ARIZONA SCHOOLS THIS WEEK

Thursday February 1, 2001
OSU at Arizona State - 6 p.m. PST, Tempe, AZ
(Wells Fargo Arena)

Saturday February 3, 2001
OSU at Arizona - 1 p.m. PST, Tucson, AZ
(McKale Center)

PROBABLE STARTERS
OREGON STATE BEAVERS (11-6 overall, 3-4 Pac-10)
G #23 Syesha Thomas, 5-6, Sr., (5.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.0 apg.)
G #34 Felicia Ragland, 5-9, Jr., (18.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.1 apg.)
F #31 Nicole Funn, 6-0 So., (13.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.6 apg.)
F #42 Brina Chaney, 6-5, Fr. (4.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.6 apg.)
C #22 Ericka Cook, 6-3, Jr. (12.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.1 apg.)

ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS (13-6 overall, 5-2 Pac-10)
G #4 Amanda Levens, 5-9, Jr., (14.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.4 apg.)
G #33 Natalie Tucker, 5-9, Sr. (5.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.4 apg.)
F #13 Leah Combs, 6-2, Jr., (4.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.8 apg.)
F #23 Betsy Boardman, 6-1, Fr., (10.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.8 apg.)
C #35 Melody Johnson, 6-2, Jr., (13.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 0.5 apg.)

ARIZONA WILDCATS (14-5 overall, 4-3 Pac-10)
G #10 Reshea Bristol, 5-10, Sr., (13.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 6.7 apg.)
G #13 Aimee Grzyb, 5-7, Fr. (8.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.4 apg.)
G #35 Krista Warren, 6-2, So., (8.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.8 apg.)
F #45 Elizabeth Pickney, 6-4, Jr., (14.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 0.7 apg.)
C #50 LaKeisha Taylor, 6-4, Jr., (9.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.4 apg.)

A GLANCE AT THE SUN DEVILS: Arizona State brings a Pac-10 Conference leading 5-2 mark and a 13-6 overall record into Thursday's game against Oregon State. The Sun Devils have won four-straight, including a 67-57 victory against rival Arizona last Saturday. Junior guard Amanda Levens leads the squad with 14.4 points per game while post Melody Johnson also contributes big numbers with 13.9 points per outing and a team leading 6.8 rebounds. Freshman starter, Betsy Boardman, a Beaverton High School grad, also averages double figures in scoring with 10.6 points per game. ASU leads the conference in turnover margin (+4.5), committing just 16.4 miscues per game compared to its opponents 20.9.

THE SERIES WITH ASU: Oregon State leads the all-time series with the Sun Devils 16-14. ASU won the last meeting between the squads, 75-58 in Tempe, and have taken six of the last seven encounters against the Beavers. In her tenure as head coach at OSU, Judy Spoelstra has a record of 4-6 against Arizona State.

SUN DEVILS AND BEAVERS LAST SEASON: In last season's Wells Fargo Arena meeting between Oregon State and Arizona State, the Sun Devils led from start-to-finish en route to a 75-58 victory. ASU surged to a 25-5 lead over the opening 13 minutes of action and held the Beavers to just 17 first half points on 25-percent shooting. Felicia Ragland finished with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds for OSU.

A GLANCE AT THE WILDCATS: The University of Arizona enters Thursday's game against Oregon on a 3-game slide before hosting the Beavers on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats lost back-to-back games on the road against USC and UCLA before falling at Arizona State, 67-57, last Saturday. Prior to the recent 3-game skid, Arizona's only other losses came at the hands of Top-10 squads: Notre Dame (No. 5) and Auburn (No. 9). The balanced Wildcats have four players average in double figures for scoring and seven players score more than eight points per game. Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney leads the squad with 14.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while senior guard Reshea Bristol adds 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and a Pac-10 Conference leading 6.89 assists per game. As a team, Arizona leads the conference in scoring offense with an average of 79.5 points per game. The Wildcats are a perfect 9-0 in the McKale Center this season.

THE SERIES WITH ARIZONA: Oregon State and Arizona have each won 15 games in the all-time series with the Wildcats winning seven-straight against the Beavers. OSU has not won in Tucson since a 79-64 victory during the 1994-95 season. In her tenure as head coach at Oregon State, Judy Spoelstra has a record of 2-8 against Arizona.

WILDCATS AND BEAVERS LAST SEASON: Oregon State led by as many as 13 points in the first half before the Wildcats cut the lead to 36-34 at halftime. The Beavers continued to pull away in the second frame, leading by as many as 10 points but UA would not go away and took the lead 67-65 after Lisa Griffith buried a 3-pointer with 31 seconds remaining. Chassie Wiersma sank two free throws with :01 tick left to send the game into overtime where the Wildcats hit a pair of free throws to seal the 79-77 comeback victory.

LOOKING BACK AT USC: Junior guard Felicia Ragland scored 21 first half points and finished with a career-high 29 points and career-high 13 rebounds but it wasn't enough, as USC escaped with a 69-67 overtime victory over Oregon State last Saturday. Both teams shot a combined 54 free throws in the foul-plagued contest. Oregon State led by as many as 11 points in the first half but the Women of Troy rallied to cut the OSU lead to 35-34 at halftime. The game see-sawed back-and-forth with neither team taking larger than a four-point lead for the remainder of the contest. Trailing by a basket with time running out, Oregon State freshman Leilani Estavan hit an arching 4-footer that knotted the score 53-53 and sent the game into overtime. Ebony Hoffman's lay-up with 26 seconds remaining in OT gave the Women of Troy the lead for good (66-64) and three USC free throws in the final six seconds sealed the victory. Junior post Ericka Cook finished with 16 points to reach double figures in scoring for the 12th consecutive game while Estavan scored a career-high 10 points and dished out four assists.

LOOKING BACK AT UCLA: Oregon State dominated from the start, running to a 71-58 victory against UCLA last Thursday night. OSU scored the first 13 points of the game and held the Bruins scoreless until the 12:25 mark. Junior guard Felicia Ragland recorded her second consecutive double-double with 23 points and a career-high tying 12 rebounds. The Beavers held Pac-10 Conference leading scorer Michelle Greco to just three points in the first half on 1-of-11 shooting. Greco finished the night with a game-high 25 points. Ragland buried 10-of-15 shots from the floor and 2-of-3 from 3-point range on her way to garnering team-high scoring honors. Junior post Ericka Cook reached double figures in scoring for the 11th consecutive game with 13 points while freshman Hollye Holbrook buried 5-of-7 shots to match her career-high with 12 points. Freshman point guard Leilani Estavan came off the bench to match her career-high in scoring with eight points, dish out seven assists and pull down a career-high seven boards.

BEAVERS REMAIN OUT OF POLL: Oregon State has not appeared in the Associated Press Top-25 women's basketball poll for the past two weeks after garnering one vote in the Jan. 15 poll. The Beavers received a season-high 25 votes in the Dec. 25 AP poll. Prior to this season Oregon State had not received votes in a national poll since the 1995-96 season, when OSU was ranked No. 22 in the final AP poll.

ROAD TRIP: Oregon State will hit the road for six of its next eight Pac-10 Conference games. The Beavers are 4-2 away from Gill Coliseum this season and 1-1 when visiting conference foes.

BIG THREE: A trio of Beavers, Felicia Ragland (18.5 ppg),Nicole Funn (13.4 ppg) and Ericka Cook (12.9 ppg) have combined to score nearly two-thirds of Oregon State's points. The 'big three' average 44.8 points per game while the rest of the squad combines for an average of 25.4 points per contest.

FAST FACT: Oregon State is 7-2 when the 'Big Three' - Felicia Ragland, Nicole Funn and Ericka Cook - all reach double figures in scoring.

CLOSE DOESN'T CUT IT: In Oregon State's four Pac-10 Conference losses, the Beavers have been out-scored by a combined total of just 15 points. In it's three conference victories, OSU has knocked off its opponents by a combined 47 points.

RECORD BOOK: Junior Ericka Cook has moved into 10th place in the Oregon State record book for career blocked shots. The 6-3 post's 57 swats surpassed head coach Judy Spoelstra's total of 47 to move into the Top-10. Cook needs just four more stuffs to move past Tina Lelas' (1994-97) total of 60 and climb into ninth place. Kristina Walsh (1995-98) is next on the ladder with a career total 62 blocks.

UNLUCKY NUMBER: Oregon State has scored 67 points in three of its four Pac-10 Conference losses this season. The Beavers dropped their Jan. 5 league opener against Oregon 71-67 and then fell to both Washington (Jan. 20) and USC (Jan. 27) by the same score, 69-67.

REBOUNDING WATCH: Oregon State continued to win the battle of the boards last week against both UCLA and Southern Cal. The Beavers controlled a 47-42 rebounding advantage against the Bruins last Thursday and then pulled down 42 boards compared to USC's 36 last Saturday. Oregon State's +4.8 rebounding margin ranks second in the Pac-10 Conference. The Beavers continue to maintain an edge against their opponents on the offensive glass, earning a 258-222 advantage.

INJURY UPDATE: Sophomore post Kristina Rukstelyte has missed the last six games after re-injuring her right knee in practice following the Pac-10 season opener against Oregon. Results of an MRI show that the Kaunas, Lithuania native, tore a piece of the meniscus as well as the anterior cruciate ligament that was repaired over the summer. Rukstelyte will be sidelined for an undetermined amount of time and her return to the Beaver lineup this season is questionable.

RAGLAND CONTINUES TO DO IT ALL: Junior guard Felicia Ragland recorded her sixth double-double of the season and 11th of her career, with a career-high 29 points and career-high 13 rebounds last Saturday against USC. The double-double is the 5-9 guard's third in row after pouring in 23 points and 12 rebounds against UCLA last Thursday and registering 12 points and 12 boards on Jan. 20 against Washington. In OSU's seven conference games, Ragland has recorded four double-doubles and scored 20-plus points on five occasions. Ragland ranks second in the Pac-10 Conference with an average of 18.5 points per game. The Tulare, CA native, leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (.462), ranks second in steals (2.88) and fourth in rebounding (7.2).

MORE ON RAGLAND: A legitimate All-America candidate, Felicia Ragland, has reached double figures in scoring in 10 consecutive games and 16 of 17 games this season. The 5-9 guard has started 73 consecutive games for the Beavers and has led the squad in either scoring or rebounding in 11 contests this season. Ragland ranks third in Oregon State's record book for 3-point baskets made. The Tulare, CA native, has made 30-of-65 (.462) long balls this season and has a career total of 76 treys.

ESTAVAN COMES UP BIG: Freshman point guard Leilani Estavan had the best games of her career against UCLA last Thursday and USC last Saturday. Estavan matched her career-high with eight points, dished out a game-high seven assists and grabbed a career-high seven rebounds in the Beavers' 13-point victory against the Bruins. Against Southern Cal, Estavan hit a 4-footer with :01 second left to send the game into overtime and finished with a career-high 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting and recorded a game-high four assists. The Palisades High School grad leads the Beavers in assists with 63, for an average of 3.71 per game. The 5-7 red-shirt freshman ranks second in the Pac-10 Conference with a 1.70 assist-turnover ratio. Estavan was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line against the Bruins and has hit 28-of-32 charity tosses this season.

INSIDE GAME?: In last Saturday's game against USC, Oregon State's post players combined for just two points on 0-for-5 shooting from the floor in the first half. In the second frame and overtime, junior Ericka Cook came alive and scored 16 points but freshman Brina Chaney managed just three points on a 3-of-4 clip from the free throw line while fellow freshman Hollye Holbrook was held scoreless on 0-for-2 shooting. Holbrook posted big numbers in OSU's victory against UCLA last Thursday, matching her career-high in scoring with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.

COOK CONTINUES TO PRODUCE: Junior Ericka Cook has reached double figures in scoring during 12 consecutive games, the longest streak of any Beaver this season. The 6-3 post buried 4-of-7 shots from the field and finished with 13 points against UCLA last Thursday, including seven consecutive points in the final two minutes of the first half. Cook was held scoreless in the first half of Oregon State's 69-67 loss against USC last Saturday but finished with 16 points and kept the game close in the second half. Cook connected on 8-of-12 free throws while playing 42 minutes of the overtime game. The former North Medford High star, currently ranks 10th in the Pac-10 Conference with an average of 12.9 points per game.

HOME STREAK: The Beavers have won 54 of their last 84 (.643) games played at Gill Coliseum. Over the last eight seasons OSU is 71-35 in the friendly confines of Gill. Oregon State is just 2-3 in Pac-10 Conference games played at home this season.

NON-CONFERENCE RECORD: Oregon State has an all-time non-conference record of 227-113 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 72-83 while in her sixth season at the helm for Oregon State. Spoelstra has recorded a 170-150 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. Thursday's game at Arizona State will be broadcast solely on the Internet while Saturday's game against Arizona can also be heard 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, Jan. 20 at Washington and Feb. 17 vs. Washington State and Mar. 1 vs. Arizona. The Beavers can be seen Live on Jan. 13 against California.

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