Act I: Freshmen get first taste of the NCAA tournament

Kalib LaChapelle, Multimedia Contributor

As the curtains fall on the final act for the veterans of Oregon State women’s basketball, the first intermission is only just starting for the youngest players on the roster.

Florida State defeated the Beavers 66-53 in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament on Saturday night, and it marked the last time that Sydney Wiese and the rest of the senior class would don the orange and black on the court. It was the end of an era.

But even though the face of the program is graduating, the end of this season marks only the first year in the careers of Mikayla Pivec, Kat Tudor, Madison Washington, and Janessa Thropay. Pivec became a starting guard for the team 11 games into the season, and the rest of her class has filled key role positions in practice and on the court.

“I’m very proud of my teammates and all the work we put in to get here, especially the freshmen. I think it is a huge transition to come from high school and come in ready to play,” said redshirt junior forward Breanna Brown. “I’m just so proud of them.”

After her first full season, Pivec says that even though it was a tough loss, she was proud of her team throughout the season

“Looking back right now. A Pac-12 championship, almost got a (conference) tournament title, and a Sweet Sixteen. If you would’ve told me that at the beginning of the year I would’ve said it would be great,” Pivec said. “The hardest part will be not being able to see these (seniors) every day during practice. Those relationships have meant a lot to us.”

And Tudor, who is a native of Stockton, Calif. and had the Sweet Sixteen matchup as a “homecoming” game, talked about just how much her team meant to her.

“I’m just thinking about how good this all was. How blessed I am to go through it with all of these people that I love,” Tudor said.

Throughout the season the talk has been of the culture that has been created in Corvallis through careful recruiting and the players themselves. The graduating classes of the last two years were the founders of what the program is, and what they hope it will continue to be in the future.

“I think the way we have bought in and bought into making each other better,” Brown said. “It has been the biggest thing for us and our success. Whether it’s upperclassmen taking extra time to work together or work with freshmen and teach them.

“After a three hour practice most people would be like “Nah I’m done” But them knowing they could come to all of us (seniors) after.”

And the freshman class is on board as well. Pivec said that their number one goal for the next year would be to carry on what the seniors this year taught them coming in.  

“The seniors have built a great legacy here and it our goal to instill that culture into the next group of freshmen that come in,” Pivec said. “As each year goes on to keep those core values the same. They’ve passed on a lot and their leadership is a big part of why we are so successful.”