Beavers look to win third straight Pac-12 title against Stanford

Sydney Weise plays against UCLA.

A matchup of epic proportions is set to take place this weekend in Gill Coliseum with the fate of final Pac-12 standings hanging in the balance.

The Beavers will be looking to make history yet again this weekend in their quest to become the second team in Pac-12 history to win the conference three consecutive seasons; Stanford holds the record as the only team to do so.

The last meeting between No. 10 Oregon State (25-3, 14-2 Pac-12) and No. 8 Stanford (24-4, 14-2 Pac-12) on Jan. 8th would go down as one of the most memorable games of this season. After four quarters of action and a deadlock score at 51-51, it would take a total of two overtime periods to determine a winner. Oregon State would win that game in dramatic fashion 72-69, winning at Stanford for the first time in OSU program history.

“It was a great win for our team being that it was the first win (at Stanford) ever,” junior forward Breanna Brown said. “But that game itself was almost two months ago and so I’m expecting the competition to be on another level, and for it to be a tough, tough fight.”

Both teams pride themselves on their defense, holding opponents to under 35 percent shooting from the field.

“Consistency is just one thing that leads them to success in addition to being disciplined on both offense and defense,” said Brown.

Although OSU leads the conference and is 4th in the nation in rebounding with their +11 advantage, Stanford trails not far behind OSU with a conference second-best +8.3, presenting a low-scoring grind for both teams.

“We are very similar teams in that (Stanford) is very committed on the defensive end,” head coach Scott Rueck said. “They prepare well and play with a level of discipline that is difficult to do night in and out.”

While Friday’s game presents a unique challenge defensively, both teams are not without star power coming from beyond the arc.

Currently, the 4th most efficient three-point shooter in the nation, Karlie Samuelson of Stanford, is shooting lights out 48 percent; trailing just behind is OSU’s Sydney Wiese, shooting an almost equal 46 percent from deep.

“It turns out that it’s Stanford and us (for the title) and we happen to play them in the last weekend,” Rueck said. “It’s an awesome scenario for our fans and our conference this weekend and it’s what every competitor would love to be a part of.”

“It’s a blessing to be in this position,” senior guard Sydney Wiese said. “I am not sure if any of us thought we’d be here. I know other people didn’t and so it’s fun to be able to shake things up a bit and crash the party.”

If Friday’s action wasn’t enough, the Beavers will then prepare to face Pac-12 opponent Cal (17-11, 5-11 Pac-12) in the last regular game of the season.

Struggling to find consistency throughout much of the season, the Golden Bears are coming off back-to-back weekend defeats by Stanford. Having upset UCLA earlier in the season, Cal has shown it’s capable of going toe-to-toe at times with everyone in Pac-12 play.

Like opponents Utah and Colorado, defeated by the Beavers this last weekend, Cal is a team looking to finish their regular season on a positive note before the Pac-12 tournament. With nothing to lose, the Golden Bears will be looking to deliver another massive upset, like what the Beavers faced just a few weeks ago in Gill against USC.

“It’s going to be electric this entire weekend,” Wiese said. “It’s almost like a storybook and hopefully we can have a storybook ending that is happy.”


On Twitter: @keenanpuncocher

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