2017 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament semifinal preview: UCLA vs. Oregon State
When: Saturday, March 4, at 6:00 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Oregon
After a couple of rock-solid performances in the Quarterfinals on Friday, the Beavers and the Bruins will battle it out Saturday night for a spot in the Pac-12 Championship.
Who to watch: Oregon State
The Beavers lost a couple of key players from last season's Final Four-worthy team, but no momentum. OSU won the Pac-12 Conference regular season for the third-straight year and entered this tournament as the No. 1 seed. Senior Sydney Wiese stepped up in a huge way, setting the Pac-12 record for career three-pointers. She also leads her team in scoring, averaging 15.7 points per game.
In their first game of the tournament, Friday's 65-47 win over Cal, Wiese dropped 26 points including four of those threes that she likes so much. Freshman Mikayla Pivec contributed 17 points -- a significant improvement over her season-average of 7.1 points per game.
Another senior, Gabriella Hanson, has helped anchor the defensive end of the court for OSU. Hanson was first in steals (1.4 per game), second in assists (2.6), and fifth in offensive rebounds (1.2) for the Beavs in her final year. She provides immeasurable leadership too.
Who to watch: UCLA
The fourth-seeded Bruins were dominant for long stretches of Friday's 77-68 Quarterfinal win over Arizona State. UCLA's offensive outbutst was no surprise; the Bruins averaged 74.6 points per game in the 2016-17 season, second in the Pac-12.
Juniors Jordin Canada and Monique Billings put on a clinic. Canada led all scorers with 24 points, not surprising since she averaged the third-most points in the conference this year with 17.7 per game. She also led the Pac with 6.73 assists per game.
Billings is just as key to the Bruins' offense, especially on the boards. She averaged 10.8 rebounds per game.
Senior Kari Korver brings a veteran presence to UCLA, and she continues to impress beyond the arc. Her 62 three-pointers made led the team, and she's seventh in the Pac-12 with an average of 2.7 threes per game.