Beavers look to continue winning ways in Pac-12 play

The OSU women’s basketball team in a huddle

Kalib LaChapelle, Multimedia Contributor

After having a 12 game winning streak broken on the road by UCLA earlier this season in their only conference loss so far, the No. 9 Oregon State women’s basketball team has won seven straight heading into this weekend. Now the No. 15 Bruins (18-5, 9-3 Pac-12) come to Corvallis on Sunday as the Beavers (22-2, 11-1 Pac-12) look for a rematch.

The Beavers will take on USC on Friday and UCLA two days later in Gill Coliseum. OSU currently is alone at the top of the Pac-12 conference. Earlier this season they travelled down to L.A. to play UCLA riding a 12 game winning streak and lost 56-66. OSU then played the Trojans (12-11, 3-9 Pac-12) and came away with the win 74-60. Now they will face off again, this time in Gill Coliseum, as the season begins to look short heading toward the Pac-12 tournament. Both USC and UCLA have been playing teams close in their last few games, and UCLA is coming into this weekend after getting a win against Stanford on Monday but will have to play University of Oregon on Friday before coming to play the Beavers.

“Both USC and UCLA have been playing everybody tough,” said head coach Scott Rueck.

USC and UCLA both play fast, trying to push the ball up the court and score in transition and then look to play through their post in the half-court set. The common theme between players and coaches was that they would have to slow both of their opponents down to win these games.

“Both teams love the transition so transition defense is what we are preaching more than anything else,” Rueck said. “We have to make these teams play half-court basketball. Both of these teams have a big post presence and like to attack the rim.”

“A big thing for us in both games is defensive transition,” said senior guard Sydney Wiese. “Making sure that we play five-on-five half court and we don’t let them get any good looks whether it’s at the three point line or the rim.”

Throughout the season the Beavers have been near or at the top of the Pac-12 in rebounding margin. They currently sit at +11.4 rebounds per game, putting them at first in the Pac-12 and 4th in the country. By contrast UCLA and USC are 7th and 11th in the Pac-12 in the same category.

“We’ve got to rebound and stay poised on offense,” said junior center Marie Gulich. “Those teams pressure a lot so we need to stay poised and be strong with the ball.”

The Beavers have had trouble this season with turnovers, and are last in the Pac-12 in turnover margin. On the other side, UCLA and USC are both in the top half of the Pac-12 in turnover ratio, and are aggressive in trying to cause turnovers wherever they can.

“UCLA and USC are very athletic teams. They like to pressure and cause turnovers to try and take us out of what we want to do,” said Wiese. “We have to play really solid team defense and then do our job on the offensive end of the floor making plays and hitting shots.”

@KalibLaChapelle on Twitter

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