Do the Trojans have what it takes to make history at the big dance?

Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

In the 77-year history of the women’s NCAA Championship Tournament, a No. 15 seed has never defeated a No. 2 seed.

Troy looks to change that this year, when head coach Chanda Rigby’s women’s basketball team travels to Corvallis, Oregon, to take on PAC-12 champs Oregon State.

Do the Trojans have what it takes to take down the Beavers? Oregon State has lost only once since Jan. 4, to fellow conference powerhouse Stanford.

OSU also owns a 14-1 home record this season, and it seems all but a lock for a victory in the first round of the tournament. Most would ink Oregon State in their brackets for the next round and beyond. Wouldn’t you?

Not so fast.

While the odds are heavily stacked against the Trojans, remember that the situation that senior guard Ashley Beverly-Kelley and the rest of the team find themselves in is nothing new: playing a statistically better team for a seemingly unattainable prize.

Troy never was never even supposed to be here, remember? The Trojans had never advanced to the conference semifinals, and Arkansas State seemed destined to run away with the Sun Belt title.

Not so, however, as the Trojans defeated the top two seeded teams in the tournament to claim the title. In other words, Troy is used to playing as an underdog.

To say that Friday’s matchup will be a test is an understatement, though, as the Beavers’ dynamic offense boasts second team All-American and Wade List watch member Jamie Weisner.

Weisner, along with two other teammates, average double-digit scoring. If the Trojans can limit one or more of those players to single digits, chances are that

Troy can hope to simply outscore Oregon State.

Despite having the No. 2 seed in the tournament, the Beavers are averaging only 66.8 points per game, far less than Troy’s 81.8. What does that mean?

The hosting Beavers play amazing defense.

Look for Troy to try to get open looks for its other key scorers while Oregon State tries to lock down Beverly-Kelley. Ball movement and offensive rebounding, two things that Troy has done well so far this year, will be the key to staying in this game.

Juniors Caitlyn Ramirez and ArJae’ Saunders will need to step up in a big way for Troy on the offensive end. They will need to be able to make shots from beyond the arc, early and often, to catch Oregon State on its heels.

As for Weisner, she lives off of creating easy buckets for herself on drives and by moving without the ball. The Beavers will look to get her the ball and give her open shots, something Troy will need to limit as much as possible.

So does Troy actually have a shot to make history and pull off the colossal upset?

We’ll find out Friday afternoon. Remember, they don’t call it March Madness for nothing.

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