OSU seniors lead the comeback

Brenden Slaughter, Sports Reporter

Fourth quarter comeback started by OSU seniors 

At the end of the third quarter against the No.11 Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, the No.12 Beavers were down 10 points and nothing had been going their way all night. 

The shots weren’t falling, the fouls were piling up and the Beavers looked well on their way to another defeat at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal.

However, what the Cardinal didn’t expect, was the never say die attitude that the seniors on OSU’s squad have kept inside them since their loss to Stanford last season.

Senior guard Jamie Weisner knew that the Beavers were going to rally in the game when senior forward Deven Hunter came into the huddle right before the start of the fourth quarter and gave the team a message.

“We are not getting blown out to this team four years in a row,” Hunter said in the huddle.

Those words of motivation was all the fuel that the Beavers needed to complete one of the biggest comebacks in school history, and against an opponent that is perennially one of the nation’s best.

“We just rallied around that energy,” Weisner said. “We just came together as one and everyone including our bench stepped up. This is a team win for sure.”

“Everybody gave their full heart and it was an all or nothing mentality heading in the fourth quarter,” Hunter said. “Everyone who was on the floor or on the bench gave everything they had trying to complete the comeback.”

The victory was something that you could tell that Rueck and Co. were going to appreciate for a long time. Rueck, Weisner, and Hunter couldn’t even put into words how special the game was. 

By beating the Cardinal 58-50, the Beavers showed that they have some of the best upperclassmen leadership in the country. Very few teams would have been able to make that type of dramatic comeback, most would have wilted—but not the Beavers.

Weisner, Hunter, center Ruth Hamblin, forward Samantha Siegner and guard Jen’Von’ta Hill are all seniors and won’t be in Corvallis next season. Beating this team was significant and meaningful given where OSU came from when they arrived.

Head coach Scott Rueck said that this game is something that he dreamed of when these seniors came to OSU.

“The last 12-13 minutes of the game was an absolute blur, and it was a stretch of basketball that none of us will ever forget,” said an emotional Rueck. “It’s the first time that this group (of seniors) beat Stanford. I couldn’t be prouder of this senior group that came here to turn the program around and it’s a significant win for that reason.”

But for the Beavers, it all started with Hunter. She led the charge with her scoring output and outgoing leadership, and Rueck said it made the difference.

“Sooner or later you say enough is enough and that’s what I saw out of (Hunter) today,” Rueck said. “Her passion, her getting out of character, is a tribute to her desire and her will to get this team over the top.” 

For OSU, beating Stanford is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The Cardinal have been a national powerhouse for the last three decades under head coach Tara Vanderveer and for the Beaver seniors to get a win against Stanford at home with their fans is something that they will never forget.

“It’s a pretty sweet feeling,” Weisner said. “It’s now something that I’ve only ever experienced one time.”

The work is hardly done for OSU, as they are only six games into the grueling Pac-12 season, but the Beavers earned every bit of this win by scraping and never giving up, and the seniors were rewarded with defeating a team like Stanford.

“You come here on a vision, and last year that vision became a reality. Stanford played spoiler to us last year, and that was in our minds,” Rueck said. “To handle all of the adversity like they did, it sums this group up. They are tough as heck and they are competitors and today they overcame a big challenge and I couldn’t be more proud.” 

On Twitter @b_slaught

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