Early On, Women's Basketball Defense's Setting The Tone

Dec. 17, 2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. - On Monday, when the NCAA released its weekly statistical package, the Oregon State women's basketball team was ranked 10th in the nation in scoring defense at 51.4 points per game. That figure also led the Pacific-10 Conference.

On Tuesday night, the Beavers defeated UC Irvine, 58-42, and lowered that scoring average against to 50.2 points per game. The NCAA won't have another update until next week, but it's certain the Beavers could jump even further in the rankings. OSU has a game against Seattle University Friday night and the challenge for the Beavers will be to keep the defensive pressure rising.

'Playing good team defense and getting stops is imperative for our success,' head coach LaVonda Wagner said. 'We work daily on our pressure defense and closing out each defensive possession with rebounds. We want to challenge the offense to score under pressure.

'I'm happy with defensive focus but I'm not satisfied. In order to compete at a Pac-10 level we must continue to work to get better as a group.'

Last season, when the Beavers went 20-12 and advanced to the WNIT, they allowed just 56 points per game and outscored their opponents by an average of 7.5 points per game. Through the first eight games of the season, which finds OSU at 6-2, the Beavers are outscoring their opponents by 12 points on average.

Oregon State has held opponents to less than 50 points in four of its six games this season; no team has scored more than 64 points, and that came in a 76-64 victory over Weber State.

Furthering the details over the impressive defense, OSU opponents are shooting just .219 from beyond the three-point line, and the Beavers entered the week at a 22-percent clip, which was seventh in the nation. Again, that number should improve.

From the field, in general, teams are shooting .362 which is shy of the Beavers' .415.

Oregon State has also been big on the boards, so much so, that it allowed UC Irvine just one offensive rebound en route to 21 overall boards Tuesday night. The Beavers, meanwhile, grabbed 49 rebounds, with 19 coming offensively.

Kirsten Tilleman enters Friday night's game as the team's leading rebounder with 7.9 per game, but El Sara Greer has come on strong over the last two weeks and is close behind with 6.7 on average. She had 17 two weeks ago against UC Santa Barbara and led the Beavers with eight against the Anteaters. Greer was just two rebounds shy of a double double.

The strong rebounding and strong defense overall has helped boost an OSU scoring offense that is nearly matching last season's points per game average at 62.2. Those factors have combined to give the Beavers the 6-2 record and allowed them to win five of their last six games.

Oregon State wraps plays its final home game of the 2009 calendar year when hosting Seattle University Friday night at 7 p.m. at legendary Gill Coliseum. The matchup between the teams is the first since 1981 and OSU has a 3-2 all-time series lead.

Tickets are still available for the game. Reserved tickets for individual women's basketball games are $10, while general admission for adults is $7 and senior/youth is $5.

Single-game and season tickets are available by visiting osubeavers.com, calling 1-800-GO-BEAVS or by visiting the ticket office at Gill Coliseum.

For those who can't make it to the game, catch it live on KLOO 1340-AM in the Corvallis area and KKAD 1550-AM in Portland. A full audio and video stream is also available at Beaver Nation Online (osubeavers.com). Ron Callan will call all the action.

Support Oregon State University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund. For more information follow this link or call 541-737-2370. You can make an 'everyday champion.'Follow Beaver Athletics on Twitter

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