Oregon State envisions the Washington schools as teams they can beat. The Huskies and Cougars picture the Beavers in the same light.

So something has got to give this week when the Beavers begin the home portion of their Pacific-10 Conference women's basketball schedule against their Northwest brethren.

"We're all desperate," OSU coach Scott Rueck said Tuesday. "It's a big weekend for all of us, we all need these games.

"That's why I say (the games will be) two wars, because I know what we're all playing for. We're all playing for our first wins, we all need it."

The Beavers (7-6, 0-2) host Washington (5-6, 0-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday and Washington State (2-12, 0-2) at 2 p.m. Saturday. OSU lost twice by a combined five points in Arizona this past weekend; the Washington schools were swept at home by the Los Angeles schools.

Rueck hadn't completed his scouting report in time for his weekly Tuesday media availability. But he sees the Huskies as a team still trying to find itself after the graduation of all-conference guard Sami Whitcomb, and WSU as a club that struggled in part because it overscheduled.

"Washington is athletic, they're a Pac-10 team," Rueck said. "Washington's had some good wins, and couple games they'd like to have back, just like everybody. Washington State has won only two games but it's played a really tough schedule. Gonzaga beat them by two (67-65 on Dec. 11.)

"I don't know if they have the athleticism of the (Arizona schools), but they both are more athletic than us. We're excited for the challenge. We hope to be competitive and hope to find a way to win them."

Washington has lost three games in a row; the Cougars have dropped six straight and are 0-6 on the road. The Beavers are 3-1 at Gill Coliseum.

The Beavers have already exceeded most realistic preseason expectations but Rueck said more wins make the players eager to practice, and give the coaches more material to rebuild the program.

"Everybody wants a little bit of hope and everybody is looking for that spark to keep you battling and that reward for all your hard work," Rueck said. "People are smiling and happy (after victories).

"This group has been resilient and they've battled after losses. But it's a whole lot more fun after a win, so that's what we're hoping for."

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