Thursday, March 24, 2016

DePaul/Oregon State: What To Watch For

Photo Credit: Geno Green

The second week of the women's NCAA Tournament kicks off in earnest with regional semifinal games on Friday and Saturday.

One of the more intriguing showdowns will take place on Saturday as the No. 6-seeded DePaul Blue Demons and the No. 2-seeded Oregon State Beavers meet at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX.

Here are some intriguing storylines to watch for as we inch closer to the BIG EAST/Pac-12 battle:

Something Must Give:

Saturday's meeting represents the irresistible force against the immovable object to a tee as DePaul likes to take a high volume of three-point attempts and run an up-tempo offense, while Oregon State prides itself on touches in the paint and a methodical half-court philosophy.

DePaul ranks sixth in the nation in scoring offense (81.2 per game), third in assists (20.8 per game) and 12th in field-goal percentage (46.1).

Oregon State's calling card all season has been its intimidating defense by holding opponents to 50.4 points per game (Fourth in Division I), ranks atop the country in three-point field goal defense and have forced 31 of its 34 opponents to under 40 percent shooting. 

In the first two rounds of the tournament, Oregon State lived up to its defensive tendencies by holding Troy and St. Bonaventure to a combined 20.2 percent shooting.

DePaul coach Doug Bruno believes his tough non-conference and BIG EAST schedule have prepared the team for games like Oregon State.

"The BIG EAST and non-conference schedule prepared us to play some of the best defensive teams in the country," Bruno said. "Defensively speaking, it doesn't get much better than playing UConn, Notre Dame, Baylor and all of the teams in the BIG EAST, so I think our players will be ready to go."

Battle of Conference Players of the Year:

For BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year Chanise Jenkins, the all-too familiar feeling of playing against the opponent's respective league winner for the third time in as many games this NCAA Tournament lurks ever so close.

First, James Madison's Jazmon Gwathmey (CAA), Louisville's Myisha Hines-Allen (ACC) and now Oregon State's Jamie Weisner (Pac-12), but Jenkins is taking the latest battle in stride as more of a team focus, than an individual player.

"Oregon State's a really good team and they have really good guard play to go along with quality post play from Ruth Hamblin," Jenkins said. "We are really looking forward to the game and focusing on our matchup."

Unchartered Territory:

One thing for certain after Saturday's game will occur— either the Blue Demons or the Beavers will make their first ever trip to the Elite Eight.

Both teams are a combined 0-5 in the Round of 16 (DePaul- 0-4, Oregon State- 0-1).

The month of March creates organic storylines and for DePaul or Oregon State, they can move one step closer to the ultimate shining moment— the Women's Final Four.

Game Planner:

No. 6 DePaul vs No. 2 Oregon State

Time: Saturday, 5 p.m. CT

TV/Online: ESPN/WatchESPN

Line: Oregon State (-6.5)

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.