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Oregon State Women’s Basketball: Opponent Preview - Western Kentucky

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Beavers face the Toppers in a rematch of last year’s NCAA first round game.

NCAA First Round: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers v Illinois Fighting Illini Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Oregon State Women’s Basketball Team takes on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in game four of the 2018-19 season. Tip-off is slated for 8:30 PM PST on Thursday, November 22nd, in the inaugural Vancouver Showcase Women’s Tournament. These teams met recently back on March 16th, in the first round of the NCAAs where the Beavers won 82-58. To watch live, you’ll need to purchase the game from the Vancouver Showcase page (it will be ten bucks per game or 25 to watch the whole tournament). Check out the team’s schedule or Twitter page to learn how to follow along live (other than the paid stream). Let’s take a closer look at the Lady Toppers.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Oregon State vs Western Kentucky
Western Kentucky had no answer for “Das Hammer” in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
News Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Western Kentucky (1-4 overall, 0-0 conference)

Last season: 24-9 overall, 12-4 in C-USA (2nd), lost in first round of NCAA Tournament

After winning 24 games behind All-American Honorable Mention Tashia Brown, the Lady Toppers have hit a rough patch to start the season. They started out the season with four straight losses and three of their opponents scored at least triple digits. After those first four games, the Lady Toppers ranked last (349th) in Division I for scoring defense.

In their fifth game Head Coach Greg Collins earned his first win in as a head honcho, beating Southern Illinois, 83-76. Collins was an assistant at Western Kentucky for six years before former Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard (an alumnus of WKU) left to take over the same position at Cincinnati.


Who to watch

#15 - Raneem Elgedawy, Sophomore Forward

The 6’4’’ Elgedawy is Conference USA’s returning Freshman of the Year after averaging nine points, seven rebounds a year ago. This year she is second on the team for points at 16 per game and leads the team in rebounds at 6.8 per contest.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Western Kentucky
Givens went from Sixth Women to First in about eight months.
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

#4 - Dee Givens, Junior Forward

The former Conference USA Sixth Woman of the Year has moved on from her off-the-bench role to a starting one. She averages a team best 19.6 points per game and has tallied 16 total steals so far, good for 15th in the nation. Five games into the season, she is hitting over 54% of her shots from downtown

#11 - Alexis Brewer, Junior Guard

The West Virginia transfer has made a splash so far this year by hitting over 50% of her three point shots as well. In the Lady Toppers’ season opener against 5th ranked (AP) Louisville, Brewer scored a career high 22 points in her first game for Western Kentucky.


Prediction

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Western Kentucky
For the Lady Toppers to have a chance, they’ll need Elgedawy to be a force in the paint to set up the outside shooters.
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

I think the fact that five games into the season Western Kentucky is giving up 96 points per game should tell you how this one plays out. The only way the Lady Toppers keep this close past the first is if Givens and Brewer are lights out from downtown and Eldgeway is able to bully her way through the paint. Beavers will gobble up the Toppers and move onto the second round to face the winner of 13th ranked South Carolina versus East Tennessee State.