Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said last weekend’s combined 41 turnovers against USC and UCLA were unacceptable.
He also felt he would see progress from his team in that area moving forward.
But on Friday night at Colorado, the No. 11 Beavers had five turnovers in the first three minutes and found themselves down 7-0.
After righting the ship and taking a 44-35 lead into the final quarter, the turnover bug reared its ugly head again and the Beavers were forced to hang on for a 54-49 win.
OSU had seven of its 18 turnovers in the final 10 minutes.
“I have a hard time explaining the turnovers we’re having right now,” Rueck said in his postgame radio interview on Friday. “I don’t understand it but we’ve got to get better at it and it kept them in the game.”
Added senior Kolbie Orum: “We’ve just got to take care of the ball, plain and simple. We got a bit careless in the fourth quarter and yeah, we’ve just got to control that.”
Senior point guard Sydney Wiese had five turnovers on Friday after eight against UCLA last Sunday.
She said Colorado’s zone defense threw her off a bit on Friday. She added that she was “trying to make too difficult of plays” and didn’t respect the defense enough.
“I know in the first half we had a lot of weird possessions where they weren’t really forcing us to make turnovers, I just think we didn’t see clearly,” Wiese said. “I take a lot of that upon myself because it’s my job as point guard to make sure we’re balanced and see clearly.”
The Beavers did hold a 51-30 edge on the glass, which helped them stave off the upset.
The Beavers also struggled from the free-throw line, hitting just 7 of 16. OSU was 10 for 21 in a home loss to USC on Feb. 10 before converting 8 of 12 against UCLA.
“Our defense gave us an opportunity to win (Friday) in a significant way but turnovers and then obviously missed free throws, we shot poorly from the line once again,” Rueck said.
The Beavers got a spark from their bench with Orum scoring 10, Kat Tudor five and Taylor Kalmer four.
“I really liked the production off the bench (Friday),” Rueck said. “There were a lot of great things that were kind of countered due to what the fourth quarter was like. We played a good game. We started shaky, finished a little shaky but we made the plays to win.”
The Beavers will look to change the recent trend of turnovers and free-throw shooting when they close out the road portion of their season with Sunday’s 1 p.m. contest at Utah.
The Utes, like Colorado, have nothing to lose and upsetting a ranked team would be a nice way to send out their seniors.
“(They have an) inside presence with (Emily) Potter, great guard play on the outside and they defend well,” Rueck said. “They show some zone so hopefully we’ll execute better on Sunday than we did (Friday) against it.”