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OSU women's basketball: Beavers face another tough guard combo against Huskies

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OSU-WSU defense

Washington State's Tia Presley, center, drives against Oregon State's Sydney Wiese, left, and Jamie Weisner on Friday. The Beavers will face another team — Washington — with strong guard play on Monday.

Friday night, the Oregon State women’s basketball team had to contend with Washington State’s standout guard tandem of Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley.

Galdeira, a junior, entered the game second in the Pac-12 in scoring at 19.2 points per game, while Presley, a senior, was right behind at 18.9.

They combined to score 38 points – Galdeira 21 and Presley 17 – but the Beavers were able to rally from 16 points down in the second half for a 73-70 win.

The ninth-ranked Beavers (15-1, 5-0) will face a similar challenge on Monday when Washington (14-3, 3-2) comes to town for a 5 p.m. tipoff.

The Huskies sport the conference’s leading scorer in sophomore guard Kelsey Plum, who is averaging 25.4 points per game.

Washington also has senior guard Jazmine Davis, who scores 15 per contest and is over 2,000 for her career. She needs 21 points to set the school record.

Those two did most of the damage against the Beavers last season, combining for 93 of the Huskies’ 125 points in two losses – 75-68 in Corvallis and 77-57 in Seattle.

“I think it’s just a challenge for us to get better,” OSU senior guard Ali Gibson said. “(Friday) night you saw there were times when we didn’t hold their scorers down and I think it’s just great for us to get better to be able to work through getting through ball screens, shutting people down. Because as we progress and get farther into the season and hopefully into the postseason we’re going to see guards like this all the time. So we really need to learn from it.”

Last year, the design was for Davis and Plum to take most of the shots for the Huskies. Plum has taken 280 shots and Davis 207 this season. Junior forward Talia Walton is third at 181. Those three account for 64 percent of Washington’s field goal attempts.

Plum can score at will and has 11 30-point games in her career. She has seven such games this season, including one against then-No. 5 Texas A&M in which the Huskies routed the Aggies, 70-49. She went for 45, a career high, in the season opener at Oklahoma.

She is shooting .496 from the floor overall (139 for 280), including .496 from the 3-point line (35 for 81). Plum can also get to the free-throw line, averaging 7.7 attempts per game and has made 118 of 131 attempts (.901). She was 18 for 22 from the foul line in the two games versus the Beavers last season.

“It’s really important we keep her off the free-throw line,” OSU coach Scott Rueck said. “That’s something that this team traditionally does. We do a great job playing position defense to where fouls are not usually a big story in our games. That needs to be the case again.”

After a grueling comeback win on Friday, it was nice to have two days to recuperate and get ready for what should be another tough Pac-12 game.

“The extra day is always nice, just being able to work on us also and be able to work on them so that two days really allows us to do that,” Gibson said.

Coming back like they did on Friday also gives the Beavers some confidence.

They had just five players score with Ruth Hamblin leading the way with a career-high 31 and Jamie Weisner adding 25, two off her career-high. Sydney Wiese added 10 points and Gabby Hanson had four and Gibson three.

“I think it also gives us confidence knowing that a couple years ago we wouldn’t have got that win, we wouldn’t have come back and battled,” Gibson said.” And just the fact that we all knew that we wanted to win and knew that we needed it more. I think that was huge for us.”

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Sports editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald and Corvallis Gazette-Times

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