Seniors continue to lead Beavers Women’s hoops

Sydney Wiese and head coach Scott Rueck have developed a unique relationship over Wiese’s career.

Keenan Puncocher, Multimedia Contributor

The Oregon State Women’s basketball seniors are 103-23 over the last four seasons, a fitting statistic given the performance put on by the seniors this last weekend as the Beavers went on to extend their winning streak to 13 consecutive games against the Oregon Ducks.

Although the Beavers currently hold only a trio of senior roster spots, it is hard to ignore the impact they have had during this season.

In Friday’s game at Matthew Knight Arena, the seniors contributed five of 10 points scored in the 4th quarter and secured four of a possible five rebounds, which led to a low-scoring victory for the Beavers 43-40.

It was a similar story in Sunday’s game, in which the seniors once again produced results, scoring a total 15 of 23 points and obtaining five of eight rebounds in the 4th quarter, lifting the Beavers to a 67-60 victory.

“We’re 22 games into our season and you know exactly to whom you go to,” head coach Scott Rueck said. “I don’t care who are, you just go to your money, and every team has its money and for us, it becomes time to get (Sydney) Wiese the ball and fortunately she makes a lot of great plays for us.”

Following a weekend of play in Oregon, the Beavers will be hitting the road for two games this weekend in Arizona, preparing first for Arizona State on Friday and then the University of Arizona on Sunday.

Having played their last four games on the road, Arizona State (14-7, 5-5 Pac-12) is currently riding a three-game losing streak. Although they have faced recent struggles, the Sun Devils find themselves ranked #23 in the country and hold an impressive 7-2 home record this season.

Currently last in the Pac-12 averaging 64.2 points per game, Arizona State thrives on the defensive side of the ball. As a team, they trail only the Beavers in scoring defense holding opponents to 55.5 points per game, presenting a potential defensive showdown in Tempe. 

The Sun Devils are also second only behind OSU in the rebounding margin this season where they are a notable +9.4 in total rebounds.

“(ASU is) going to be very physical with you, we know that every pass and dribble will be challenged,” Rueck said. “Our team is up for it, but it is going to be tough because they’re coming off losses and have a great week of practice I assume, and so they are going to be highly motivated in this game.”

For senior guard Sydney Wiese, this upcoming weekend has even greater significance, as she will be returning home to the Phoenix area to play against ASU for the first time since her freshman year in the 2013-14 season.

“I am super excited, to say the least, to return home,” Wiese said. “A lot of the people who are going to be able to watch have been watching us on TV and online and I have family coming down from Minnesota, and so to be able to see them and have them at a game and for us to be playing in that atmosphere is incredible.”

In that game, Arizona State would go on to outscore OSU 31-21 behind a late 4th quarter run handing the Beavers a heartbreaking 64-62 loss.

“It was a sucky feeling, but I think we used it to fuel us because we could have either broken down or we could have respond with our backs against the wall and figure out a way to win,” Wiese said. “I think that feeling of losing and letting it slip away while we still were young, forced us to grow up a lot that year. So, I am thankful for that experience, but it isn’t going to happen this year.”

The Beavers would then go on to win their next nine consecutive games later that season.

Arizona (11-10, 2-8 Pac-12) has struggled so far this season under first-year head coach Adia Barnes and are currently on a four-game losing streak after a tough span of road games.

One area in which Arizona has an edge over the Beavers is how they defend the 3-point line, holding opponents to 30 percent shooting from 3-point range, which is third best in the conference.

Arizona possesses a high-scoring backcourt of senior guards in LaBrittney Jones and Malena Washington, who averaged 28 of the Wildcats 65.3 points per game. The duo has led the way in points for 17 of the 22 games so far this season, presenting a similar threat that the Colorado Buffaloes posted the Beavers earlier this year.

“They’ve (Arizona) been somewhat up and down this season but I know that they are always going to come out ready to go us against us, but we’ll be ready for them,” sophomore guard Katie McWilliams said.

When Stanford secured a road victory last Sunday against conference opponent Washington, the Beavers propelled themselves into first place atop the Pac-12 standings.

Having won earlier this season against both Washington and Stanford, the Beavers now hold a unique position as one of two teams with only one conference loss. The Beavers now control their own destiny the rest of the season when it comes to finishing first in the conference.

The Beavers currently hold a better record than they did at this point last season when they were 19-3, outpacing pre-season expectations so far in which they were predicted to finish fifth in the conference.

“We’re starting the downward part of the season, but it doesn’t mean that it gets any easier,” Wiese said. “There is still so much to improve at and our coaches are doing a really good job showing us what we are doing well but then emphasizing, making sure that we see what we can still improve on so we stay hungry and focused on the little things, because it is going to come down to those little things especially in the next couple of games.”