The 13th ranked Oregon State Women’s Basketball team took care of business in Round One of the NCAA Tournament against Western Kentucky, 82-58. They will now face 12th ranked Tennessee in the second round on their home court. You can check out the game on ESPN 2 at 11 am PST. If you can’t watch, then you have the option of listening on the Oregon State Beaver Sports Network on TuneIn. Then there’s always the official Twitter account of the team to give you live updates. Let’s check out the Volunteers!
Tennessee (#12 in AP Poll, 3 seed in Lexington regional, 25-7 overall, 11-5 in SEC)
The Volunteers come into the second round of the NCAA Tournament after a Friday thrashing of 14 seed Liberty, 100-60. Their game against the Flames was their fourth this season where they scored triple digits! Believe it or not, Tennessee has more players (3) from the state of Oregon than Oregon State (2); those are senior forward Jaime Nared, senior center Mercedes Russell, and freshman guard Evina Westbrook. Oregon State’s Katie McWilliams was a teammate of Westbrook’s when they played at South Salem during their prep careers.
They may just be ranked one spot ahead of the Beavers in the AP Poll, but the Volunteers have a far more impressive resume with a wins against ranked teams such as #7 South Carolina (twice), #8 Texas, #14 Texas A&M, #15 Stanford, and #18 Georgia. They just have two losses at home on the year, including against #4 Mississippi State.
Tennessee is led by the aforementioned Nared and Russell who average 16.9 and 15.1 points per game respectively. Russell is also the Volunteers leading rebounder at nine per game; it will be interesting to see her matched up with the Beavers’ senior center and All-American Marie Gulich down low. Westbrook is the team leader in assists at 4.4 per game. Interestingly, Tennessee is more turnover prone than Oregon State, averaging 16.7 per game compared to the Beavers’ 14.1.
This will obviously will be a tough match-up for the Beavers. Tennessee is athletic and has the size advantage with all but two players listed as six-foot or higher. This will again come down to Oregon State’s ability to hit the three-ball effectively. They were able to do that against Western Kentucky, but the length of Tennessee will likely impair their ability to get those deep shots off accurately. That will lead to more double-teams on Gulich in the post and effectively get the Beavers out of rhythm on offense. I’m predicting Tennessee prevails in front of a rabid wrong-shade-of-orange crowd, but hey, that’s why they play the game.