Beavers prepare for Pac-12 Tournament

Women’s Basketball vs. ASU

Michael Kiever Sports Reporter

Fresh off winning back-to-back conference titles, the OSU women’s basketball team is looking to improve upon last year’s early exit.

Preparing for Washington State or USC: With a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament, the Beavers do not have the benefit of knowing their next opponent. They will be playing whoever wins the USC-Washington State matchup happening tonight at 6:00 pm, which means practice has been split between taking measures for self-improvement and also preparing for both teams 

“We’ve been focusing on the things we need to improve on from last weekend,” said senior forward Deven Hunter. “Then it will be more of what we did against those two teams and putting in our offense for that.”

Any perceived lack of preparation should not be too much of a worry for the Beavers, as they have already seen their fair share of the two teams. Through conference play, the Beavers have already beaten both- USC twice and Washington State once on the road. Additionally, assistant coaches have done some extra scouting work throughout the season to prepare for this very situation.

“We have assigned scouts for our staff during the year. Those coaches have those teams all year, including the tournament,” said head coach Scott Rueck. “They’ve been working, and fortunately (USC and Washington State) have separate coaches.”

Beavers react to receiving Pac-12 Honors- Over the weekend, several Beavers were showered with Pac-12 honors, including two of the most prestigious awards available. Senior guard Jamie Weisner won Pac-12 Player of the Year and senior center Ruth Hamblin won her second-straight Defensive Player of the Year award. The news was quick to spread, and teammates were eager to shower praise.

“It was great to see, it was well-deserved for both of them. They played a great season,” Hunter said. “It’s great to see teammates, especially fellow seniors win awards like that.”

While Hamblin ceded that the award was a welcome confirmation of her defensive identity, she was quick to shower praise on her teammates.

“It’s certainly neat. I think it’s cool that I can be an anchor defensively down there for our team,” Hamblin said. “It’s definitely a team-award in a lot of ways, because if we weren’t winning and doing the things that we’re doing, I wouldn’t be getting that.”

No time for kicking back: The Beavers are looking to prevent a repeat of last year, when they won the Pac-12 championship only to be bumped in the second round by ninth-seeded Colorado. Junior guard Sydney Wiese blames last year’s early exit to inexperience and a lack of mental fortitude, something she sees as a stark difference going into post-season play this time around.

“I don’t think we were (ready.) It’s tough, because none of us had won a conference championship before,” Wiese said. “Obviously, we were on the highest high, and then you forget you’re going up to Seattle to face the same teams that you’ve already played two times.”

“It’s changed this year. I know that we’re very focused going into this weekend. We learned that each team is going to come and bring their best effort, because it honestly is a one-and-done tournament.”

With bad memories of last year still fresh in mind, Rueck has also recognized the differences leading up to Friday’s game.

“They’re not relaxing, saying ‘hey, we don’t play till Friday,’ or ‘we won the Pac-12, we’re satisfied.’ It’s the opposite, actually,” Rueck said. “They got after each other (in Tuesday’s practice) and wanted to get better. It was awesome to see.”

On Twitter @michaelkievaa

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