Linda O’Hara knows OSU has the will to win

Linda O’Hara traveled to Seattle to cheer on her beloved Beavers

Amy Schwartz, Multimedia Contributor

One of OSU’s biggest fans weighs in on the state of the women’s basketball program

Linda O’Hara made the trek up to Seattle to see her beloved No. 1 seeded Beavers play in the Pac-12 Tournament. O’Hara teaches in the school of electrical engineering and computer science at Oregon State University and is an alumni of the university.

As a resident of McMinnville, Oregon, O’Hara has been a fan of Scott Rueck’s for years. She has followed him since his time at George Fox University when he won a NCAA Championship. O’Hara was pleased to hear of the hiring of Rueck following the firing of former women’s head basketball coach LaVonda Wagner. And once he got the job: the culture that Rueck built over last seven years in Corvallis has stood out to O’Hara.

“He is genuine. He has an ideology and culture that he has established. If you don’t fit, you don’t get recruited. I admire that. I’ve learned from talking to the gals that you can be the best player in the world and if you were going to upset the apple cart he doesn’t want you on the team,” O’Hara said. “He wants someone that is very talented but you have to groove with the team. I totally admire that.”

O’Hara has admired Coach Rueck for years because of his genuine coaching ability and his desire to invest in his players.

“I admire him. Just a down to earth, feel good, do the right thing for the players kind of person and kind of family. I’m in awe of what he’s done for Oregon State University women’s basketball.”

The Beavers were projected to finish fifth in the Pac-12 coming into the season after the loss of impact seniors last season.

“It was interesting that no one gave us credit for what we could accomplish this year because of what we lost last year,” O’Hara said. “There’s a lot of people, at the beginning of the season this year, who said we lost so much talent this year but this team is just as good.”

O’Hara knows the future will still be bright for the Beavers once senior guards Sydney Wiese and Gabby Hanson graduate at the end of the season.

“Nobody coming into this program is going to want to be the team that changes the culture. Sydney Wiese and company are the first class of recruits that has gone to the NCAA every year. There isn’t a class coming in now that’s going to want to break that trend. The bar has been set very high.”

O’Hara watched her lady Beavers clinch a ticket to the Pac-12 Tournament Championship game Saturday night after taking down UCLA. She is very confident that Rueck has what it takes to coach a team to a national championship.

“It’s not if, it’s when (the Beavers) win a championship. It might be this year, it might be next year, it might take ten years but he will win Oregon State a national championship. I have little doubt of that.”

Though Hanson performed on both ends of the ball all year, the Pac-12 Defensive player of the year had arguably her best game of the season in front of a sea of orange in Seattle.

“It’s crazy. Even when we’re watching the other games you see a sea of orange. There’s no better feeling at all. It’s really cool. Everyone gets so excited for this. Our fans are incredible.”

Freshman guard Mikayla Pivec also felt the support of Beaver Nation during her first Pac-12 Tournament.

“It’s amazing. You just look to the crowd and you see a sea of orange. It’s awesome to hear the crowd when things go our way or them rooting for us when you hear a call,” Pivec said. “It’s a 4 or 5 hour drive so for them to make the trek up here and it was great for Beaver Nation to come and support.”

Though the Beavers in contention for the Pac-12 Championship again, many expect it;s only the start of the postseason for them. The fans, including O’Hara, have been at every turn. She will be at the championship game Sunday and plans to will her team to a victory in post season and beyond.

“I’m expecting that this team will not settle unless we are in the Final Four again. There’s a lot of competition, there’s a lot of great teams out there,” O’Hara said. “There’s something about this team that’s different than last year. They will not be denied. They have the will to win. They know what it takes to win.”

On Twitter, @TheAmySchwartz


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