Beavers Poised for Trip to Arizona
THE GAME: The No. 8/9 Oregon State women’s basketball team (16-1, 6-0 Pac-12) takes its undefeated conference record back on the road this week, as it heads to the Grand Canyon State for a Friday matchup with Arizona (7-10, 0-6)
FOLLOW ALONG: Oregon State will make its seventh consecutive appearance on the Pac-12 Networks Friday. Cindy Brunson and Anne Marie Anderson will be on the call. Live audio will also be available on KEJO AM 1240 in Corvallis or online at OSUBeavers.com.
POLL POSITIONS: Oregon State continued to move up the rankings this week, coming in a No. 8 in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches’ Poll. The ranking is the highest in school history, surpassing last week’s No. 9 ranking. OSU also remained at No. 9 in the AP Poll for the second consecutive week.
OUT OF THE GATE: Oregon State’s 16-1 record is the best start in school history through the first 17 games. Oregon State opened the season with 10 consecutive victories, the most ever by an Oregon State team to open a campaign. The OSU record for wins in a season is 24, set last year.
FACING THE PAC: Oregon State’s 6-0 start to Pac-12 play marks the first time in school history that the Beavers have won their first six Pac-12 matchups. The Beavers’ previous best starts to Pac-12 play came in the 1995-96 and 1986-87 campaigns, when the OSU opened conference action with a pair of victories. Oregon State did win seven consecutive conference games to begin 1982-83 as part of the NorPac Conference.
HOT RUN: Oregon State has won 28 of its last 31 games, in a stretch that began on Feb. 2, 2014 against Arizona. The three losses in that span have come to USC in the 2014 Pac-12 Championship game, South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and No. 8/11 Tennessee earlier this season.
WATCH OUT FOR WEISNER: Junior Jamie Weisner is coming off a pair of outstanding performances at home this weekend. The Clarkston, Wash. native opened the week with a 25-point performance against Washington State, and then followed that up by scoring 26 points against Washington. It marked the second time in her career that Weisner scored 20+ points in back-to-back games, and the 51-point total is her highest combined scoring in two-straight games. Weisner also knocked down six three-pointers on Sunday, a new career-high. Overall, the junior shot 17-for-26 (.654) from the field and 9-for-15 (.600) from three-point range in the two games.
WEISNER LOOKING AT HISTORY: After posting a pair of monster scoring games over the weekend, Weisner is now on the cusp of becoming the 18th 1,000-point scorer in Oregon State history. The junior currently has 936 career points, placing her just 64 away from the milestone. Senior Ali Gibson also reached the 1,000 point plateau earlier this season. Should Weisner get to the mark, she and Gibson would become the first OSU teammates to both have 1,000 career points since Hollye Chapman and Leilani Estavan in 2004.
WIESE HITS THREES: Sophomore Sydney Wiese is closing in on an Oregon State career record already in her young collegiate career. The Phoenix, Ariz., native sits 16 three-pointers short of Felicia Ragland’s career record of 178 long-balls. Wiese set the Oregon State single-season record with 112 three-pointers last season. The sophomore is Oregon State’s career leader with a 3-point shooting percentage of 44.0. She has hit at least one three-pointer in all but one of her 52 collegiate appearances, and has hit five long-balls three times this season.
BIG THREE: This year’s Oregon State squad features three of the top six three-point shooters in school history. Sydney Wiese is third in school history with 162 longballs, while Ali Gibson sits just behind her with 157. Jamie Weisner has converted 143 three-point attempts, good for sixth. Wiese and Weisner are also one and two on Oregon State’s career 3-point percentage list at 44.0 and 39.6 percent, respectively. Sophomore Gabriella Hanson joined Wiese and Weisner in the OSU top-10 two weeks ago, when she recorded her 125th career three-point attempt, the minimum threshold to make the three-point percentage list. Hanson is fourth with a 37.6 three-point percentage.
WINNING VS THE WILDCATS: Oregon State swept Arizona last season. Sydney Wiese and Gabriella Hanson both scored in double-figures in both of those contests. The Beavers’ 64-50 win on Feb. 2, 2014 in Tucson last season kicked off an 11-game Oregon State winning streak, which was snapped in the Pac-12 title game.
STARTING STRONG: Oregon State has scored first in 16 of its 17 games this season. The Beavers have also led at half in all but four of their games.
HAMMER TIME: Junior Ruth Hamblin is coming off a pair of great games at Gill Coliseum last week. The junior scored a career-high 31 points against Washington State, before putting up 19 more against Washington. The 6-foot-6 Canadian leads the Beaver with 14.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per game this season. She is third in the NCAA in shooting percentage at 63.1 percent. Hamblin, who was nicknamed the “Canadian Hammer” by former Oregon State men’s basketball player Joe Burton, set a Pac-12 single-season record for blocks with 141 last season.
REJECTION RUTH: Junior Ruth Hamblin broke the Oregon State career blocks record earlier this season, rejecting a shot nine seconds into the second half against Tennessee (12/28) to pass the mark set by Brina Chaney in 2004. Hamblin now has 229 career blocks.
KEEP HAMMERING: Hamblin turned a corner midway through her sophomore campaign. After scoring in double figures four times in her first 39 collegiate games, Hamblin has reached double-digits 26 times in her last 40 games, including five 20-point performances.
HELPING OUT: Oregon State is second in the nation in assists per game with 21.2. The Beavers smashed the school assist record with 40 helpers on 45 baskets against Sacramento State on Dec. 6, en-route to a 109-61 victory. OSU has 361 assists on the season. The school record for assists in a season is 579, set back in 1980-81. Wiese leads the Beavers with 103 assists, good for 16th in the nation.
WATCH WIESE: Sophomore Sydney Wiese was named to the Naismith Award Watch List in December, joining 49 of the nation’s top players. The sophomore has picked up right where she left off at the end of her freshman year, putting up 12.8 points per game this season. The point guard is shooting 47.1 percent from the field, and 48.1 percent from three-point range. She leads the team with 50 long-balls this year.
DOMINANT DEFENSE: Oregon State is second in the nation and first in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage defense (32.7 percent). The Beavers have held nine of their 17 opponents below 60 points, and have held seven opponents below 30 percent shooting, including containing then-No. 6/6 North Carolina to 27.6 percent, holding UCLA to 25 percent and limiting Oregon to 24.1 percent.
WEISNER WINS BATTLES: Junior Jamie Weisner is second in rebounds among Pac-12 guards this season. The native of Clarkston, Wash. is pulling down 6.6 boards per-game, second only to Brittany Boyd’s 7.9, and has three double-digit rebounding games.
BIG WIN: Oregon State’s win over No. 6 North Carolina on Dec. 16 was one of the biggest victories in school history. The then sixth-ranked Tar Heels are the highest-ranked team the Beavers have ever defeated on the road, and the highest ranked team OSU has beaten since it topped No. 3 Stanford back in 1992. The Beavers held the Tar Heels to just 27.3 percent from the floor, as OSU handed UNC its first loss of the season. The Beavers led by as many as 20 in the game, and never trailed. Ruth Hamblin led Oregon State with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Deven Hunter pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds.
SO-CAL STYLE: Oregon State earned the second road sweep of the Southern California Pac-12 teams in school history two weeks ago topping UCLA 65-47 on Saturday before defeating USC 76-66 on Monday. The Beavers’ only previous sweep of the Southern California opponents came back in 2000-01.
FORTRESS GILL COLISEUM: With eight home wins to open the season, Oregon State has now won 17-straight games at Gill Coliseum, in a stretch that dates back to Jan. 11, 2014. The mark is a new school record, breaking the previous mark set in 1995-96. The Beavers finished calendar year 2014 undefeated at home.
PACKING THE HOUSE: Oregon State leads the Pac-12 in attendance this season, averaging 3,658 fans per game. The Beavers hosted 7,652 spectators at last week’s Civil War, the third highest attendance total in school history, surpassing their total of 7,537 against Idaho in December.
SUPER SIX: Oregon State put six players in double-figures for the third time this season against Sacramento State, as Deven Hunter (20), Ruth Hamblin (18) Sydney Wiese (17), Jamie Weisner (16), Kolbie Orum (11) and Ali Gibson (10) all surpassed 10 points. The Beavers also placed six in double-figures against Portland and Utah State.Prior to this season the Beavers last had six double-digit scorers against UCLA back on Jan. 2, 2004, when Leilani Estavan, Mandy Close, Shannon Howell, Brina Chaney, Hollye Chapman and Krystal Turner all put up double figures.
NEW SEASON, SAME FIVE: Oregon State returns all five starters from a last season, a group that helped the Beavers to a 24-11 record. The quintet of Sydney Wiese, Jamie Weisner, Ali Gibson, Deven Hunter and Ruth Hamblin started 26 games together last season, and have started all 16 games this year. This season marks the first time since 2003-04 that the Beavers have returned all five starters.
ALL SHE DOES IS WIN: Junior transfer Jen’Von’Ta Hill boasts an impressive win-loss record of 87-4 over the course of her collegiate career, which is currently in its third season. The point guard started her career at Hutchinson Community College, where she went a combined 71-3 and made a pair of NJCAA Final Four appearances.
SPREADING IT AROUND: Ten different Beavers have scored in double figures at least once this season, and Oregon State has played at least nine players in each of its 17 games this year. Sydney Wiese leads the way with 13 double-digit games this season.
MILESTONE REACHED: Senior Ali Gibson became the 17th player in Oregon State history with 1,000 career points in the season-opener against Portland. The Woodbridge, Calif. native reached the mark when she absorbed a foul to convert a layup within the final three minutes of the contest. Through the first 17 games of her senior campaign, Gibson now has 1,121 career points, good for 13th in school history.
RUNNING WITH THE PAC: The Beavers were picked to finish third in both the Pac-12 Coaches’ and Pac-12 Media polls. The selections were Oregon State’s highest ever in both polls. OSU also received two first-place votes in the Coaches Poll and one first place vote in the Media Poll.
RUECK BUILDS SUCCESS: Head coach Scott Rueck has engineered an impressive turnaround in the Oregon State women’s basketball program, helping the Beavers match a school record with 24 wins last season. Since returning to his alma-mater in 2010, Rueck has been named Pac-12 Coach of the Year (Media) twice (2012 and 2014) and was the WBCA Region 8 Coach of the Year last season. For his efforts, Rueck received a two-year contract extension in October, keeping him at Oregon State through the 2019-20 season.
GROWING UP: After having one of the youngest teams in the nation the last two years, the Beavers bring a solid combination of youth and experience into the 2014-15 campaign. Although this Oregon State squad features just one senior (Ali Gibson), the team enters the year with five juniors. Third-year players Jamie Weisner, Ruth Hamblin, Deven Hunter and Samantha Siegner were all part of a 2012-13 freshman class that was ranked as high as 17th in the nation, and the quartet has helped OSU’s growth as a program. Adding to the group of upper-classmen is junior Jen’Von’Ta Hill, who has extensive experience at the highest level of junior college basketball, helping lead Hutchinson Community College to a pair of NJCAA Final Four appearances.
SO INTERNATIONAL: Five Oregon State players competed for their national teams this summer, traveling to different continents and continuing to build their games. Ruth Hamblin played for the Canadian Senior Women’s National Team at the Zafer Cup in Turkey in August. Her best game was against the host Turks, when she scored four points and grabbed seven rebounds. She later made the 14-player practice squad for FIBA World Championships camp, but was not selected for the final 12-player roster. Jamie Weisner played for the Canadian Senior B National team at the William Jones International Cup in Taiwan in August. She led Canada’s 5-0 run to the title by averaging 10.8 points and 6.6 rebounds. Ali Gibson played for the Puerto Rican national team, which placed second to Cuba at the FIBA Americas Centrobasket Femenino in Monterrey, Mexico, in July. She was the team’s third-leading scorer and averaged 8.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals. Gabriella Hanson played for the Swedish U-20 team at the FIBA Euro ‘A” Championships at Udine, Italy, in July. She averaged 9.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 30.3 minutes per game. Marie Gülich played for Germany’s U-20 team at the FIBA Euro ‘B’ Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, in July. She averaged a team-leading 11.6 points and 1.4 blocks in helping Germany win the event with an 8-1 record6
TOURNAMENT TESTED: The Beavers returned to the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 1996. Oregon State opened the tournament with a 55-36 win over eight-seed Middle Tennessee, before falling to No. 1 seed South Carolina in the second round.
STANDOUT CLASS: Oregon State welcomed in an oustanding class of signees earlier this month, as a trio of high school seniors signed natioal letters of intent. Katie McWilliams highlights the exciting group, coming to the Beavers with a five-star rating from ESPN. The 6-foot-2 guard is the No. 40 ranked player overall and is eighth in ESPN’s guard rankings. Taylor Kalmer will join McWilliams in the back-court. The 5-foot-7 point guard received a three-star rating from ESPN, and is listed as the No. 31 point guard in this year’s recruiting class. Tarea Green is a 6-foot-4 post player, with a three-star rating from ESPN, and is listed as the No. 45 post player in this year’s class.