As the Oregon State women’s basketball team begins the final third of the Pac-12 schedule, the No. 16 Beavers will face six teams they have played once already this season.
The Beavers (17-6, 8-4), who are tied with Arizona State for fourth place in the conference standings, head to Washington State on Friday (6 p.m.) and Washington on Sunday (3 p.m.).
Oregon State opened the conference season against those two teams back in late December.
The Beavers won both games — 71-53 over WSU and 75-63 over the Huskies — but trailed at the half in each contest.
Both Washington teams have struggled.
The Cougars, who are without head coach June Daugherty due to an indefinite medical leave of absence, enter the weekend 10-14 overall and 3-9 in Pac-12 play, tied for ninth.
Washington is dead last in the conference at 1-11 and 7-16 overall in Jody Wynn’s first season.
Coach Scott Rueck said the Beavers will watch the most recent games by both teams and see if they are doing the same things as the first time or what wrinkles have been added.
“You have one game to go off of so you look at what worked and what didn’t and what adjustments each team have made and then you go into it like it’s another game,” Rueck said. “... So it’s just two more games. These two are in Washington and I think we’re prepared to handle the adversity we know that is coming.”
Added freshman forward Taya Corosdale: “Obviously every team gets better throughout the season so both of these teams have been getting better so that’s something we will have to look at is what their strengths are coming up.”
Sophomore guard Mikayla Pivec said having played a team once helps speed up the preparation part from an individual player standpoint.
“The second time you play a team you know their tendencies a little better and you don’t have to scout individual players as much, just mostly getting reps of what you’ve done before and prepare for new wrinkles,” she said.
Rueck admitted it’s “amazing how quickly” the season goes. But even though it’s the stretch run, the approach stays the same for the Beavers, he said.
“You just want to continue to get better and you have more samples to work from and you know what you’re good at and what you’re not,” he said. “I think everybody’s tweaking a little bit just to become more and more efficient and be at your best now."
Oregon State plays four of its final six on the road, where the Beavers are just 3-4 this season. But they are coming off a sweep of Utah and Colorado the last time they left Corvallis.
“That definitely helps us a lot, it was a big confidence booster for us in kind of just knowing we can do that all the time when we’re on the road,” Corosdale said.
McWilliams heats up
Junior guard Katie McWilliams has never really looked to be a big scorer for the Beavers. But in the last three games, McWilliams has found herself open more often and she has been happy to take — and make — most of them.
McWilliams scored 15 points at Colorado, a team-high 16 against Stanford, and had 14 of her season-high 19 in the first quarter last time out against Cal.
Rueck said it’s just part of McWilliams’ progression in the program.
“For her it’s really hitting now to where she’s realizing what she can and cannot do and what she can do is a lot,” Rueck said. “It’s really neat to see.”
Senior center Marie Gulich needs 11 points to reach 1,000 for her career at Oregon State.
Gulich has had a sensation senior season and has scored in double figures in all but one game. She leads the Beavers with 16.6 per game, and 17.7 in Pac-12 contests.