Well, someone is going to get a conference win this weekend as the Oregon and Washington schools clash in the second week of Pac-10 play. Up first is Oregon State (7-6, 0-2 Pac-10) for Washington (5-6, 0-2). The surprising Beavers lost to the athletic Arizona schools by a combined five points last week.
“It’s a little like deer-in-headlights,” said junior transfer Sage Indendi of her first Pac-10 game. The Beavers’ second-leading scorer (10.8) played at George Fox University from 2008-09. “I’m a little more grounded than that because of nonconference play. The preparation we put in makes it less of a shock. But the speed, the physicality – the fact that everybody is an athlete…If you show any weakness in the game, people are going to capitalize on that.
“We’ve seen that the past couple of games. We went into a drought for a couple of minutes and they just ate us up. That made the difference in the game. Everything is encompassed into turnovers, too. We can’t throw some lollipop skip-pass because some freaky athlete is going to pick it off. But, we’re getting a lot better.”
First-year Oregon State coach Scott Ruek told media his team is desperate for a win to prove the hard work is beneficial. Plus the community has set the bar low after a series of transfers and firing of coach LaVonda Wagner, but Ruek wants to show moral victories aren’t his standards.
The team won seven nonconference games, but was predicted to finish last in the Pac-10 conference by media and coaches. Some don’t even expect the Beavers to win a Pac-10 game, finishing 2-16 in 2009-10 under Wagner.
The Beavers did defeat the Huskies in the conference tournament last year, but with a completely different team. UW is equally as hungry for a conference win, competing with a depleted roster due to injuries. Freshman F Marjorie Heard has had time to shine, getting unexpected minutes because of the circumstances.
If UW posts Regina Rogers (hamstring) and Mollie Williams (concussion) do not return for the Thursday game, the Huskies will lack depth and size.
“We can relate to that,” said Ruek, who pieced together a 12-player roster with walk-ons, transfers and just two players from last season. “But we work real hard.”
Williams and Rogers made the trip to Corvallis, participating in partial practices. Williams missed two games while Rogers hasn’t played since the opening game of the season.
“You never know who’s going to have an outstanding night, want to come out and play,” said OSU senior El Sara Greer of disregarding UW’s injuries. “You might hear of an injury, but by tonight, they could be fine. We’re going to be ready and not think, ‘Oh this person is out, so we’re going to sag off.’ No, play at 100 percent the whole game.”
Elsewhere, Washington State won two nonconference games and is on the road against Oregon. The conference highlight is a nationally televised game between No. 12 UCLA and USC on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on FSN.
Here’s your complete conference schedule:
Sat., Jan. 8
USC at UCLA, 1:30 p.m. PT/ FSN
Arizona at California, 2 p.m. PT
Arizona State at Stanford, 2 p.m. PT
Washington at Oregon, 2 p.m. PT
Washington State at Oregon State, 2 p.m. PT