Oregon State finished their non-conference schedule a perfect 12-0, and climbed all the way up to 3 in both national polls. But now the real season starts, as the Pac-12 is absolutely loaded with quality teams. 4 teams, including the Beavers, are undefeated. 5 are in the top 25. It’s a big challenge, but the Beavers should be up for it. First, they’ll face the Utah Utes.
Utah Utes (7-5)
- Head Coach: Lynne Roberts (5th Season)
- Top Performer: Lola Pendande (13.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG)
- Points For: 72.8
- Points Against: 62.8
- Last Game/Streak: 70-80 L vs Colorado (1L)
The Utes have been trending upward over the past few seasons, becoming a WNIT mainstay over the past few seasons.. Last year they finally reached 20 wins, but pulled out of postseason play after a series of injuries wore the team down. They’re hoping for a better end to the season this year.
So far, results have been mixed. They’ve pulled off a couple nice wins this season, including a 77-73 win over BYU, but they dropped four games in non conference play, and dropped the conference opener to Colorado 80-70.
Last year the Beavers beat Utah 71-63 in Corvallis, but this year’s Utes squad is going to be very different. It’s lead by two Freshmen, forward Lola Pendande and guard Brynna Maxwell. They’re an interest pair, Pendande, at 6’ 4”, is a tremendous threat in the post both defensively and offensively, with 19 blocks to go with her 13.4 points per game. Maxwell, meanwhile, is the team’s best shooter, especially from the three point line. She’s shooting .451 overall, and .420 from behind the arc.
The Utes also have a capable floor general in guard Dru Gylten, who leads the team in assists, with 55. She also leads the team in steals, with 17. The Utes generate a pretty solid amount of turnovers, about 15.7 a game, and have enough speed and athleticism to score off of them, which could be a problem for the Beavers.
The Utes have experimented quite a bit with the other two spots in the starting five. Forward Ota Makurat has seen the most starts with 8, but lately the Utes have been using Andrea Torres as their second forward. Both have some size, with Makurat 6’ 3” and Torres 6’ 2”. The Utes will need that size to combat Taylor Jones and Kennedy Brown.
Another Freshman, guard Kemery Martin, has gotten 9 starts, but after shooting poorly the Utes have searched for other options. Kiana Moore appears to be the answer for now, she’s shooting much better, .520 overall, but doesn’t take a lot of threes.
Player to Watch
Lola Pendade (Forward - Freshman)
The Utes have more size than a lot of the team’s the Beavers have faced this season, and none are bigger than Pendande. Utah plays a very aggressive defense, and Pendande will probably be pressed into taking on Taylor Jones. She’s been one of the better players on the team at generating turnovers, so she’s going to need to interrupt a lot of the passes into Jones and block some of her layups if Utah wants to pull off the upset. The Beavers guards match up very well with Utah’s, but if Utah can win the battle in the post, Oregon State could get in some trouble.
- Date: Friday, January 3rd
- Time: 7:00 PM PT
- Location: Gill Coliseum
- Coverage: The game will be aired on Pac-12 Mountain, and streamed via Pac-12 Now. KEJO 1240 will broadcast the game in Corvallis, and OSUBeavers.com will have live stats.