Women's Basketball heats up despite falling temperatures, defeats UNLV

For LaVonda Wagner and her team, these cold winter temperatures in the Willamette Valley aren't slowing down anything.

Last night at Gill, the Beavers put up 91 points in a victory over UNLV, with three players scoring over 20 points. The Beavers led by 17 at halftime, and went on to win by 37. The final score was 91-54.

"I thought we played 40 good minutes of basketball tonight" Lavonda Wagner said after the game.  "We had a good first half of play and came out the second half focused." 

A win of this nature is nothing new for the women's team this year. They're now 6-1 on the season, and hold the second best record in the Pac-10 conference. 

The Lady Beavers are averaging 78.2 points per game this season, second in the conference to Stanford. Their only loss of the season came to then #2 North Carolina in a tournament late last month-- and they only lost that game by four.

Not only are the Beavers scoring more than almost every team in the conference, they're allowing a conference-best 53.4 points per game. 

Improving on creating more offensive opportunities with tough defense was something LaVonda Wagner continues to keep a close watch on.

"I felt our ball pressure was really good tonight. We forced them to 19 turnovers and we were able to pour 27 points off those 19 turnovers. Rebounding is something we must get better at. We need to get stronger and get to the glass on the defensive and offensive ends. On the defensive end, we've got to close out that possession by getting the rebound. On the offensive end we need to be able to get multiple looks at the rim. That is something we really paid attention to tonight." 

Wagner-- who had 17 years of assistant coaching experience before coming to Oregon State-- continues to make her mark on the program.  Oregon State now has the best starting record they've had since before LaVonda arrived in Corvallis.

Mercedes Fox-Griffin, who has played in almost every game since she arrived on campus four years ago, leads the conference in assists per game, and free throw percentage. She's a perfect 15 of 15 on the year. She tossed in eight points and nine assists against UNLV.

Talisa Rhea, a 5-11 Sophomore from Alaska, has picked up right where she left off last season, when she earned Freshman All-Pac-10 honors. Talisa is one of the best three point shooters Oregon State Women's Basketball has ever seen, and she proved that in the team's first game of the season against Sacramento State when she sunk ten three pointers. She went on to score 42 points in the game, and set a Pac-10 record in the process. The performance earned her Pac-10 player of the week honors. 

Senior guard Brittney Davis is averaging 14.6 points per game, and tossed in 22 against UNLV. She ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in scoring. Sophomore center Alex Mitchell continues to be a force on the inside. She scored a team-high 23 against UNLV, and averages 12.9 per game.

The Lady Beavers will be back in action on Thursday, when they travel to UC Irvine to play the Anteaters. They'll make a stop at Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday, before taking a few days off for Christmas. After the holiday, they'll play Western Oregon on December 28 before starting the Pac-10 season at UCLA on January 2.

--Jake (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)

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