End of an era

Amy Schwartz, Multimedia Contributor

Oregon State falls to Florida State in the Sweet 16, Wiese and seniors close book on storybook careers

Through tears and with a hand on each other’s shoulders, Sydney Wiese and Gabby Hanson ended their careers as Oregon State women’s basketball players the same way they began – together.

A 66-53 loss to the Florida State Seminoles in the Sweet 16 ended the Beavers’ march to their second-straight Final Four appearance.

Wiese and Hanson came to Oregon State four years ago to a program that was still in the building stages under coach Scott Rueck.  

Following Saturday’s loss, Hanson reflected on her time in a Beavers uniform.

“Well, I’m proud,” Hanson said. “I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over our four years. I don’t think anyone expected us to do what we’ve done, and for that, I’m extremely grateful and proud. I’ll never be ashamed to say that I was a player at Oregon State. But it is hard, because you put so much time and effort into four years, and no one sees what goes on behind the scenes. No one sees all the – just everything that goes on.”

Despite a disappointing ending to the season, Sydney Wiese is proud of how her team exceeded expectations this season.

“It has exceeded expectations and we’re a family forever,” Wiese said. “And so as painful as it is, we’ve done some incredible things that we will be able to cherish for the rest of our lives. And incredibly thankful for Coach Rueck especially. He started all of it, and so he’s the one that brought us all here. He had faith in us from the beginning.”

Hanson and Wiese won the Pac-12 regular season three years in a row, went to the Final Four last season, and in their sophomore year lost to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Wiese set the Pac-12’s all time record for three pointers and became Oregon State’s all-time leader in assists. Hanson was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year this season. Their list of accomplishments together stretch far and wide.

“I’m so grateful to have played with Sydney Wiese,” Hanson said. “What she’s been able to do is uncanny. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and I’m just extremely proud to call her my friend, my sister, [tearing] sorry. Just proud.”

A senior class with a home record of 60-6 will be moving on. Wiese, Hanson and Kolbie Orum have completed their careers at Oregon State. The class formed a bond early in their OSU careers.

“The senior class is so special,” Wiese said. “I think once we set foot on campus, we were sisters right from the jump, and we have maintained that throughout the four years and it’s going to continue on. More than just basketball, I think the season might be over, but these friendships and these relationships are going to go on forever.”

Rueck coached the Beavers to a 31-5 season. Following the loss, he had nothing but good things to say about his team.

“I love this team,” Rueck said. “I just absolutely love them. I just told them, you know you’re doing something right and you’re part of something special when you never want it to end. And this was a group that was just an absolute blast to go to work with every day. They gave everything they had, every day. Every day. And it was demanded out of this group by these two (Wiese and Hanson) sitting next to me.”

With the loss to the Seminoles, the Beavers’ season comes to a close. Coach Rueck looked to his seniors’ bigger picture Saturday night.

“It ends for us,” Rueck said. “But I could not be more proud of what this group has done. It’s hard to look at the big picture at the moment, but the big picture is crazy, all the firsts that these two have experienced, over their four years, along with our other seniors, gives me a huge sense of pride to be a part of it. It’s a blessing to be their coach.”

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