Beavers won’t fly under the radar
The Beavers were picked fifth in the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, feature a talented roster
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 03:11
Fresh off of one of the most surprising seasons in recent memory, the Oregon State women’s basketball team has high expectations this season.
Prior to the start of last season, OSU was projected by the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll to finish last in the conference. The team surprised many, ending the season with a 20-13 record and finishing fifth in the conference.
This year, the coaches’ poll picked the Beavers to finish fifth, the highest they have ever been placed since the creation of the poll.
“[Being placed that high] shows a lot of respect that feels great,” said head coach Scott Rueck. “We won’t be able to surprise anyone this year. Last year they had us at 12, so you have to take [polls] with a grain of salt.”
Rueck will return for his third year as head coach of the Beavers. Prior to joining OSU, Rueck led George Fox University to an NCAA Division III Championship in 2009.
The Beavers return four of five starters from last year: senior guard Sage Indendi, senior forward Patricia Bright, junior guard Alyssa Martin and sophomore guard Ali Gibson. Oregon State also features a well-regarded freshman class.
Indendi will be playing her third year at Oregon State. She played out her freshman year at George Fox University under Rueck and won the championship in the process. Indendi was named the D3hoops.com Division III Rookie of the Year in 2009, as well as being named to the Final Four All-Tournament Team.
Returning with her is Bright, named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team last year after blocking a total of 115 shots, which is the second-most in conference history, as well as a record for Oregon State.
“I was shocked [to be named to the All-Defensive Team],” Bright said. “I know there are a lot of good post players in the Pac-12, and I was just very honored.”
Also returning is Gibson, who is fresh off of one the more impressive freshman seasons in OSU history. She averaged a team-high 33.1 minutes per game, and was second on the team in scoring, at a clip of 11.7 points a game. Her 56 three-point makes are the eighth-highest amount ever at Oregon State. Gibson’s impressive play earned her a spot on the Pac-12 All-Freshman team as well as being named an All-Pac-12 honorable mention.
“I actually was really surprised [to be named to the All-Freshman Team],” Gibson said. “I came here as a freshman just hoping to see some playing time and get on the court.”
Rounding out the returning starters is Martin, who is a serious threat from long-range. Martin finished last season with 95 three-pointers made, which placed her seventh all-time for OSU. She averaged team highs in minutes and points per game, with 38.1 and 12.4 respectively.
Seniors Thais Pinto and ShaKiana Edwards-Teasley are the only other returning players who played in every game last season. Both were solid contributors from the bench, and Pinto was named the netscoutsbasketball.com International Player of the Year. She underwent knee surgery over the offseason and will not be ready for the season opener.
Also returning is junior guard Katie Schrock, along with senior guards Quortni Fambro and Mollee Schwegler.
New to the team this year is an impressive freshmen class, ranked as the 17th-best recruiting class in the nation by ESPN HoopGurlz. It features two of the top 100 recruited players. Guard Jamie Weisner ranked 41st and forward Samantha Siegner was 94th. The group also features center Ruth Hamblin, guard Khadidja Toure and forward Deven Hunter. All of them hail from the Northwest.
“This is the first time in my three years that we’ve recruited all the players on this team,” Rueck said. “So it has a different feel this year. This is our team. I love them all.”
Mitch Mahoney, sports reporter
On Twitter @MitchIsHere