Try as they might not to think about it, the Oregon State women’s basketball players know what lies ahead on Sunday — a date with No. 6 Notre Dame in Gill Coliseum.
But first comes Wednesday night’s 6 p.m. home game against Utah Valley. The Wolverines fell 71-64 in overtime at Portland on Tuesday night.
The No. 18 Beavers have plenty to work on after opening the season with a 65-55 victory over a game North Dakota team that has had recent postseason experience.
The Fighting Hawks gave Oregon State (1-0) all it could handle in the opener.
“You know, the first game’s a little tricky,” junior guard Katie McWilliams said Tuesday afternoon. “You don’t know what to expect from the other team because they don’t have a game under their belts and we don’t have any film to watch.
“I thought we came out a little slow, little bit of nerves and shots weren’t going down for some people. But we fixed things along the way, adjusted and I thought we came out really strong in the second half.”
One area McWilliams and Kat Tudor said the Beavers need to shore up is on the defensive end.
“My defense was terrible and I know I need to work on that,” Tudor admitted. “We watched film (Monday) and every defensive clip was on me.”
Added McWilliams: “We just need to step it up and make sure we’re in our stance at all times and know what our player is going to do when they get the ball. If the shooter has the ball we have to get on the shooter. We let them shoot too many 3s, I think.”
The game was tied at the half and the Beavers led by three after three quarters before clamping down on defense and pulling out the win.
It was a similar feeling to last year’s game against Marquette, one the Beavers lost 74-73 at home, in that OSU was tested to the end.
“I’m glad we got the 'W' this time rather than last year,” Tudor said. “It was good to just have our backs against the wall and see how we respond, and we responded well. The first half was a little rough offensively, defensively and all that. The second half we just came out stronger and tougher and talked about it and calmed down.”
Having the early challenge was a positive, especially with what lies ahead the next 10 days.
“In the past two years I think we’ve always started out with a team that wasn’t maybe as strong,” McWilliams said. “So just to have that challenge right away is going to help us moving on into these next couple games and in the long run.”
Despite getting 15 rebounds from point guard Mikayla Pivec and 12 more from center Marie Gulich, the Beavers were outrebounded 42-39 by North Dakota.
The Beavers were outrebounded just twice (in the first four games) last season and held a 43.3-32.4 edge on the glass per game.
(Not) free throws
North Dakota made 10 of its 12 free throw attempts last Friday while the Beavers were just 4 for 10 from the line.
The Beavers made 67.6 percent of their free throws last season.
Pivec and Gulich both nearly had triple-doubles in last Friday’s opener.
Pivec had 15 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists while Gulich had 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks.
Freshman Taya Dorosdale played 19 minutes off the bench and finished with six points and two rebounds. Her 3-pointer with 3:06 left gave the Beavers a 10-point edge and felt like a dagger.