Women’s hoops eyes another trip to the Final Four

Kalib LaChapelle, Multimedia Contributor

OSU will have to replace key members from last year’s Final Four team, but young players are ready to step up

After advancing to the the first  Final Four in school history the Oregon State Women’s Basketball program isn’t planning on missing a beat.

The Beavers graduated three starters and look to replace them in the lineup and move new talent into role player positions, but head coach Scott Rueck is very happy with how they are looking.

“That group (graduated seniors) created a culture here,” said Rueck. “ I’m sure you’ve felt it, it’s a championship culture.”

With five Pac-12 teams ranked in the top-25 nationally, the Pac-12 looks to be one of the most competitive conferences in the country. Oregon State won the Pac-12 Tournament last year and has been regular season conference champions the last two years, and is opening up ranked fifth in the Pac-12.

“This (The Pac-12) is one of the best, if not the best conference in the country,” senior guard Sydney Wiese said.  “We have to be on every game, day in day out.”

After losing major players to graduation last year the Beavers had one of the top recruiting classes in the country with freshman guards Mikayla Pivec and Kat Tudor as well as freshman forwards Madison Washington and Janessa Thropay joining the squad this year. Both Pivec and Tudor said that their team, the coaching staff and Beaver Nation as a whole were making their transition very easy.

“They (the freshman) are fitting in amazingly well.” said Rueck.

The team lost some height and big rebounders with their graduating seniors last year and Coach Rueck says he thinks the team has enough versatility to play “a few different ways.” He also says the team has been competing at a high level in practice and running hard.

“Practice is great, we are running a lot, trying to speed up from last year.” said Pivec.

Wiese, one of the two returning starters along with senior guard Gabriella Hanson, said that she is taking on new responsibilities this year as a floor leader. She is one of the most explosive offensive players in the conference and the country and looks to continue her great play into this year. She also said that she is happy with the way everyone on the team was stepping up in new roles.

“I’m trying to make sure we get the best possible shot every possession,” said Wiese. “Whether it’s scoring for myself or creating opportunities for others.”

The Beavers will look to compete in the Pac-12 and make it back to the tournament. They want to be able to play against the top teams in the country.

“I think this team has the ability to beat anyone,” said Rueck.