Coach Spoelstra's Assessment Of The Beavers At The Pac-10 Turn

Jan. 26, 2005

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State head coach Judy Spoelstra provides her analysis of where the Beavers are headed while opening the second half of Pacific-10 Conference action.

After advancing to the Women's National Invitation Tournament in four straight years, and surging into the quarterfinals last season, the current Beaver squad is not counting out its hopes of another run.

'We talked about it as a team after the Arizona loss. Certain things (defensive saavy, turnovers, sharing the basketball and shot selection) have to improve quickly for us to make a run at a winning season. In that discussion, we emphasized our tough preseason schedule and having the 33rd toughest schedule in the country to prepare for Pac-10. What we are lacking is a little confidence in our shooting ability and trust on the defensive end.'

The Beavers enter the week with a 5-13 overall record, but the preseason schedule garnered no breathing room as Oregon State faced top-notch opponents across the board, due in part to scheduling contracts that were made two years ago.

'We owed return games from good teams we were able to get at home and compete against with a more experienced team. This year's squad, with five walk-ons and only two returning starters wasn't really that conducive to early success. If we played some RPI's in the 150 and above, it could have easily been a 9-0 start. Then, confidence wise, you are a different team.'

With the eight remaining Pac-10 games, and a home game versus Utah Valley State, the Beavers are still in position to have a chance at a winning record.

Last year's squad was 13-2 when shooting a higher percentage than the opposition. Where's the shooting now?

'Shannon has pulled her weight of shooting the ball, but prior to Pac-10 play she dropped in percentages. When you are the only one putting up consistent scoring early in the year, everyone starts to focus on you much more. Now we see more of Shannon's shots a little off balance and this is an aspect of her game she needs to focus on. What is amazing about Shannon is she also leads the team in assists and steals. She really is carrying a load, but all this adversity will only make her better as a complete player.'

Other Beaver players have stepped up at times with great shooting efforts. Kim Butler had 20 points against Arizona last week, and they are a dominant team inside.

'What we are trying to do is establish the inside game early on, but we run into trust issues there as well. When a team is inexperienced, they have a hard time passing into the post with the trust that it will be caught. This is an area we have really emphasized for the past 2 months. We want to get Kim and Tiffany more touches.'

Shot selection has been a big bugaboo for the Beavers, as they are a paltry 25% behind the 3-point line.

'We can certainly help ourselves by taking smarter three's and again establishing the inside game will only open up the outside game.'

While the Beavers have struggled at home this year, in the past four years their home court record has been 40-20.

'We know we have great tradition here, and it is our hope that we can once again make this a tough place for people to play.'

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