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Taylor Kalmer vs. North Dakota

Oregon State's Taylor Kalmer, right, drives past North Dakota's Chastity Franklin earlier this season. Kalmer is averaging 9.4 points off the bench for the Beavers, who return home to face San Jose State on Sunday.

The last time the Oregon State women’s basketball team walked off the Gill Coliseum floor was three weeks ago when the Beavers dropped a tough 72-67 decision to then-No. 6 Notre Dame.

The Beavers have gone 3-1 since, rolling to lopsided wins while dropping a road contest at then-No. 16 Duke (72-65).

No. 19 Oregon State returns home on Sunday for the first of its last four games before opening Pac-12 play with a 2 p.m. tip against San Jose State.

The Spartans are 2-6 and coming off a 76-59 home loss to Cal State Northridge on Thursday.

After the loss to Duke on Nov. 25, the Beavers (5-2) regrouped with a dominating performance in the two-day Maui Jim Maui Classic Dec. 1-2.

Oregon State beat Nevada 89-49 and Utah State 94-55.

“We just came in with a different mentality than we did in the past couple games before Hawaii,” junior guard Taylor Kalmer said on Wednesday. “We just wanted to play with a lot more chemistry and a lot more grit in those games and I think that showed.”

The Beavers had a sensational offensive performance in Hawaii. They combined to make 78 of 137 attempts for an incredible 57 percent from the field.

Oregon State also was 19 for 41 from 3, including a 13-for-24 performance against Nevada.

The Beavers had four players in double figures in both games and had eight players score at least eight points against Nevada.

“Those are great wins but those are just a couple games preseason,” Kalmer said. “We’re going to have some tougher competition going forward but (they were) good wins, good confidence booster but we’ve got some more games in front of us to worry about.”

For the season, the Beavers have had four players in double figures six times — in the game at Duke the Beavers only had three in double figures. Five players are averaging at least 9.4 points per game. Marie Gulich leads the way at 15.3, while Mikayla Pivec (14.4) and Kat Tudor (13.1) are also in double figures.

“That’s super important just to have that depth,” said Kalmer, who is averaging 9.4 off the bench. “It’s hard to find that on teams nowadays. There’s usually one or two good people but with all of us, our bench players, we have a lot of opportunities to score so that helps us a lot.”

While the offense has been solid, the Beavers have also played well defensively.

Opponents are shooting just 32.4 percent from the field and scoring 55.4 points per game.

In last weekend’s tournament, the Beavers allowed more than 15 points in a quarter just once — 23 in the fourth against Utah State when they were up 38.

Still, that’s an area of focus for the Beavers, who built their championship teams on the defensive side of the ball.

“We learned from Notre Dame and Duke that in those losses that it came down to defense,” Kalmer said. “So going into (last weekend’s tournament) we really had to mentally prepare ourselves and just always keep in mind that play by play we need to get a stop no matter what. No matter what the scoreboard is, we can’t play the scoreboard.”

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Sports Editor

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