The Oregon State Women’s Basketball Team takes on Western Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Tip off is slated for Friday, 9 AM PST on ESPN 2. Can’t watch? Then listen on the Oregon State Beavers Sports Network. Also, the official Twitter account of Beaver Women’s Basketball has you covered. Let’s take a closer look at the Lady Toppers!
Western Kentucky (NR, 24-8 overall, 12-4 in C-USA)
The Lady Toppers come into Knoxville fresh off a run to the Conference USA Tournament title. They finished the regular season second in the league before winning their three tournament games by a total of 59 points. They own notable wins over #17 Missouri and #25 Mercer, and battled Notre Dame for four quarters in a 13 point loss in just their third game of the year.
They are led by senior forward Tashia Brown who averages a whopping 22.7 points per game, good for sixth in the country. Next up would be senior forward Ivy Brown who averages 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
As a team, Western Kentucky collected 324 steals so far this year. That’s more than any other team that Oregon State has faced this season; quite an alarming statistic considering the Beavers’ issues with ball security.
This game is no gimme. Considering Oregon State’s year end ranking (13th in the AP) and quality wins over Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State (twice), and California, winding up with a six seed against an underrated 11 seed is a tough draw. To add on top of that, Knoxville is just a three and a half hour drive from Bowling Green (home of WKU), making this nearly a home game for the underdogs.
The outcome will depend largely on what Oregon State team shows up. Will we see the a turnover prone squad that gives up too many offensive rebounds? Or will we see the well oiled machine that hits from downtown to allow their All-American center to roam free in the paint? I think we’ll see a little of both in a very tight game where the Beaver just do enough to get to the second round.