The non-conference slate for the Oregon State Beavers Women’s Basketball is set to tip off on November 9th (after an exhibition contest on the 3rd against Northwest Nazarene). The Beavers are coming off their second Elite Eight run in three years after going 26-8 last season.
The schedule will feature a couple games that will help the team figure out their starters, rotation, and identity. But it quickly ramps up from there as six of their final nine scheduled opponents played in some sort of postseason tournament a year ago, including three NCAA Tournament teams (with the possibility of two more at the Vancouver Showcase!).
Let’s take a look at what the Beavers have ahead of them.
November 9th - Cal Poly
Last season: 17-12 overall, 11-5 in BWC (2nd), no postseason
The Beavers will kick the season off by hosting the Mustangs from the Big West Conference. Cal Poly will be looking to replace the production from the twinning duo of Dynn and Lynn Leaupepe. Senior forward Devin Stanback will likely be the one to fill most of the shoes left by the Leaupepe sisters as the returning team leader in scoring, rebounds, and field goal percentage. They will be without the Big West Sixth Woman of the Year winner Ayzhiana Basallo after she transferred to San Jose State.
November 14th - Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Last season: 8-21 overall, 6-12 in SWAC (T-7th), no postseason
Next the Beavers will host the Golden Lions who are looking for their first winning season under Head Coach Nate Kilbert’s seventh year. Junior center Shawntayla Harris headlines the team as she was selected to the preseason All-SWAC second team after leading the Golden Lions with 49 blocks. Harris is also Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s leading returning scorer and rebounder.
November 17th - Saint Mary’s (CA)
Last season: 20-11 overall, 13-5 in WCC (2nd), lost in first round of WNIT
Oregon State’s first 2018 postseason attending opponent will come in the third game of the year versus the Gaels. Saint Mary’s will come in with some firepower from preseason All-WCC selections Megan McKay and Sydney Raggio. The senior forward duo averaged 15 and 14 points per game last season, respectively, while leading the team in rebounds. A newcomer to look out for would be sharpshooting freshman Taycee Wedin, a former teammate of Oregon State’s Aleah Goodman at La Salle High School who owns Oregon’s high school three point shooting record (359 makes).
November 22nd - vs Western Kentucky (in Vancouver, British Columbia)
Last season: 24-9 overall, 12-4 in C-USA (2nd), lost in first round of NCAA Tournament
The Vancouver Showcase will be making its debut this year and features quite a field. Oregon State will have its first rematch from a year ago once they square off with Western Kentucky. In the first round of the 2018 NCAA tournament, the Beavers topped the Toppers, 82-58, to kick off their Elite Eight run. Western Kentucky may have lost former Honorable Mention All-American Tashia Brown to graduation, but they return C-USA Freshman of the Year, Raneem Elgedawy (pictured above) and C-USA Sixth Woman of the Year, Dee Givens. The Toppers will also be in coaching transition after Coach Michelle Clark-Heard (an alumnus of WKU) left the team to coach Cincinnati.
Depending how the cards fall for Oregon State in the tournament, they could potentially face the NCAA’s last two champions in South Carolina and Notre Dame!
December 1st - La Salle
Last season: 8-22 overall, 3-13 A-10 (T-12th), no postseason
After stiff competition at the Vancouver Showcase, the Beavers will likely have things to address over the next week and show corrections against La Salle. The Explorers are in transition after hiring a new head coach in Mountain MacGillivray, who notably took Quinnipiac to the Sweet 16 in 2017. But don’t expect a miracle turnaround from La Salle against Oregon State as they’ll have to figure out a way to replace All-Big-5 performer Amy Griffin who led the team in points, assists, steals, and blocks. Their next two best players Adreana Miller and Shaquana Edwards would have been set to return this year, but have opted to transfer to Ohio State and Quinnipiac (ironic isn’t it?) respectively.
December 9th - Santa Clara
Last season: 9-21 overall, 5-13 in WCC (T-8th), no postseason
A week later, Oregon State will host another rebuilding team in Santa Clara. They lose All-WCC performer Morgan McGwire, who nearly averaged a double-double, but regain star guard Emily Wolph who could be fun to watch. As a sophomore in 2016-17, Wolph led the Broncos in points and assists; impressive considering she stands at 5’5’’. Last year, she scored 27 points in the first game of the season, but then missed the rest of the year due to injury.
December 14th - Eastern Washington (in Lahaina, Hawaii)
Last season: 17-14 overall, 12-6 in Big Sky (T-3rd), no postseason
The Beavers will next head to Hawaii to host the Maui Jim Maui Invitational for the third straight year. First they will face Eastern Washington as they head into their 17th year under Wendy Schuller. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they won’t have All-Big Sky performer Delaney Hodgins and her team leading 22 points per game and seven rebounds per game from a year ago. Instead, they’ll have to rely on Violet Kapri Morrow (15 ppg, 5 rpg) who looks to finish her career strong after making the Big Sky’s third all-conference team.
December 15th - Texas A&M (in Lahaina, Hawaii)
Last season: 26-10 overall, 11-5 in SEC (T-4th), lost in Sweet 16 of NCAA Tournament
The next day on the island of Maui, Oregon state will take on SEC juggernaut, Texas A&M. The Aggies will have star power in Chennedy Carter, the reigning National Freshman of the Year after averaging 23 points per game. They also have Head Coach Gary Blair, who led the Texas A&M to a national title in 2011. While the Beavers will have their hands full with Carter, they won’t have to worry about any of the other four starters from last year’s Sweet 16 squad after two players graduated and two others transferred, including Anriel Howard, who leaves A&M as it’s all time leading rebounder.
December 20th - Duke
Last season: 22-8 overall, 11-5 in ACC (T-4th), lost in Sweet 16 of NCAA Tournament
Oregon State will then face their second consecutive Sweet 16 team when they host Duke after getting back from Hawaii. This will be a rematch of last year’s contest in Durham, North Carolina, where the Blue Devils won, 65-72. This team will look a bit different from the one they faced a year ago as they will be without three of their starters from last season, including All-American Lexi Brown, and three point specialist Rebecca Greenwell. Instead, Head Coach Joanne McCallie (three time ACC Coach of the Year) and the Blue Devils will have to rely on the talented but oft-injured guard Haley Gorecki (11 points per game) and leading rebounder/blocker, forward Leaonna Odom. All-ACC Freshman Team member, Jade Williams, will be another to watch at 6’5’’.
December 29th - CSU Bakersfield
Last season: 18-14 overall, 10-4 in WAC (2nd), lost in first round of WBI
To wrap up the non-conference, the Roadrunners will come to Gill Coliseum. CSU Bakersfield looks to be a contender in the WAC with the return of guards JJ Johnson and Alexxus Gilbert, who collectively had 93 steals on one the nation’s better defensive teams. Center Vanessa Austin will look to build on her career after making the WAC’s Newcomer Team last season when she lead the team in field goal percentage.
This non-conference slate is stacked. The Beavers will face some quality opponents including two Sweet-16 teams, and with potential to face more at the Vancouver Showcase. I anticipate that Oregon state will be 10-1 heading into conference play with their only loss coming from the tournament in Canada. By the time they open up Pac-12 play against Washington State on January 4th, the starters and rotation should be fairly settled. Go Beavs!!