Sophomore guard Katie McWilliams lit up the floor from behind the arc in the women’s basketball home opener Friday afternoon. McWilliams finished the game with 29 points, going a perfect 7-for-7 on threes throughout the game.
Starting the season ranked No. 25 in the AP Poll, Oregon State asserted their dominance with an 88-56 home victory over Lamar University Friday afternoon.
Oregon State (1-0) opened the game on an 11-2 run, behind two of McWilliams’ three-pointers. Lamar (0-1) came storming back, cutting the deficit to 15-12. That was the closest Lamar ever got to taking the lead.
From there, Oregon State dominated all aspects of the game, especially shooting. The Beavers finished the game shooting 60 percent from the field, including 62 percent from three. McWilliams and senior guard Sydney Wiese finished a combined 12-for-13 from behind the arc.
After being primarily a bench player in her freshman season, McWilliams is expected to make a bigger contribution on the offensive side in her second year.
“Coaches have been pushing me to be in that role to shoot it when I’m open, to be confident when shooting and I’ve been working on that everyday in practice and on my own,” McWilliams said. “I think I’ve become more confident after last year getting a lot of experience on the court, so coming into this year I’m having a lot of fun and am happy to be shooting good.”
“She plays like a veteran,” said Wiese on McWilliams’ performance.
Lights out shooting for the Beavers may grab the headline, however, the story of the first half was hustle and second chance points.
Forward Brea Brown, a redshirt Junior, was putting in work in the rebounding category, snatching up seven boards, including four coming on the offensive glass in the first half. This led to 14 second chance points by OSU, putting them up by 19 at the break. Brown finished the game with a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) after fouling out in the middle of the fourth quarter.
“Brea has a lot of great instincts, today we saw that defensively,” Rueck said. “She just played by feel a lot, she closed down driving lanes, she got some blocks, did a great job on the offensive boards and finished well today. Brea’s a gamer and she always has been.”
OSU was able to make the most of the situation, finishing the game with 15 offensive rebounds out of 47 total as a team. Six OSU players finished with at least five rebounds.
“Offensive rebounding has not necessarily been a strength,” Rueck admitted. “It was something we emphasized before the game, we talked about, we’ve been working on it.”
Getting it done on the boards seemed to help the team, that is coming off of a Final Four appearance and having to replace multiple starters work together effectively.
“I thought this group just set the tone as they are coming together as a group,” Rueck said. “They set the tone for what they are going to become, which is a resilient team that plays unselfish basketball and is very gritty, and I thought we saw all of that today.”
The Oregon State women’s basketball team return to action Monday night, hosting Idaho State at 6 p.m.