OSU’s storied season comes to an end

Courtesy: Godofredo Vasquez Corvallis Gazette-Times
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Jonathan Parrish Sports Reporter

Loss to UConn upsetting, but spirits remain high

After a loss such as No. 2 Oregon State’s 80-51 defeat at the hands of No. 1 UConn, there were plenty of reasons to be upset with the result.

Yes, the Beavers were blown out by 29 points.

Yes, they turned the ball over 18 times, sloppy passes leading to 21 points for the Huskies.

And yes, OSU put on a comparatively poor showing given how this team has played this season.

But none of that was why head coach Scott Rueck was upset at all.

“The greatest season in the history of our school, in our sport, ended tonight, and there’s one reason that I’m sad,” Rueck said. “It’s that it is the last game that this team gets to play together.”

That’s a point to highlight, as this season was, like Rueck mentioned, this program’s best. They finished with the most wins in a season with 32, earned their second-straight Pac-12 regular season championship, and won the conference tournament for the first time as well. They earned their third-straight NCAA tournament berth, and reached their first Elite Eight, and with the win over No. 1 Baylor, went to their first Final Four.

With the loss in UConn, however, comes the end of this storied season, and the end of a team that showed tremendous camaraderie, and the embodiment of a family according to Rueck.

“I wish I could describe to people what it’s like to be their coach,” Rueck said on the team this season. “Where you walk into the gym everyday and just can’t wait to see them, has nothing to do with basketball. They’re committed to each other. They’re a true family.”

“We’re proud with each other,” senior guard Jamie Weisner replied on what the team talked about after the loss. She finished the game with nine points and four rebounds. “We exceeded everyone’s expectations, and (we said) that we love each other. We all just said thank you. It’s been a good ride, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Weisner, and the other four seniors on this team played their final game, and have been one of the best classes in the program’s history. Just one of those seniors, center Ruth Hamblin, who scored 10 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the game, reflected on this season and their careers with OSU.

“It’s been absolutely unreal,” she said following the loss. “Just the work ethic of the people that came into this program and everyone bought into the vision that Coach Rueck had, and we’ve all kind of been in this together, us against the world.”

The loss against the Huskies was a tough pill to swallow for OSU, but with the defeat and the end of the season, the team is positive toward the future.

“It’s really exciting, the future,” Hamblin said. “We’ve kind of set the bar high for this program and everyone’s expectations are going to continue to be high, and we know how to handle that now.”

“I’m really excited to see what the team does in the future and how they respond next year,” she said.

Redshirt-sophomore forward Breanna Brown agrees.

“We had a lot of accomplishments this year and we can’t let this moment overshadow that so we’ll be back,” she said.

Rueck, despite the loss, was grateful for this season, and had this to say in his final thoughts:

“We’re so grateful for the way we’ve been supported, the outpouring of support not only from our fans and Beaver Nation but from everyone,” he said. “It’s been amazing to watch the basketball community embrace this team. We’re humbled by that and very appreciative. So thank you very much.”

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