OSU has won its last 3 games despite an injury to its leading scorer.
The Oregon State women’s basketball team lost a significant piece of its roster when Jamie Weisner injured her left wrist last month. The length of her absence is still undetermined.
As a freshman last year, Weisner was the team’s leading scorer with 12.5 points per game. This year, she’s improved on that total. With 13.8 points per game, she remains the team’s leading scorer, while also contributing 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest.
But surprisingly, the Beavers haven’t lost a step with her out. In fact, the Beavers have been perfect in her absence, having won three consecutive games with Weisner watching in her street clothes.
How then, have the Beavers made up for the hole that Weisner left?
As head coach Scott Rueck explained, the Beavers’ continued success is due, in large part, to the recent emergence of Oregon State’s frontcourt. Sophomore forwards Deven Hunter and Samantha Siegner have made big strides since their freshmen years, as has sophomore center Ruth Hamblin.
“A year ago, Sam and Deven weren’t quite ready to be scorers for us,” Rueck said. “They were playing a lot of minutes at our power forward position, and our (posts) didn’t always provide offense for us. That put a lot of pressure on our guards and we were definitely an outside-in team, which is not my preference. I like to be inside-out.”
This year is a different story. With more experience under Hunter and Hamblin’s belt, they’ve morphed into one of the better frontcourt tandems in the conference. Their production has made life easier for OSU’s wings, who as a result see much less attention from opposing defenses.
In conference games this year, Hunter is averaging 9.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists, while Hamblin averages 12.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and a conference-best 3.6 blocks.
Last year, they had averaged just 4.7 and 4.4 points, respectively.
Additionally, the frontcourt gets a boost from freshman guard Gabby Hanson. The 5-foot-11 Hanson frequently spends time at the power forward position, and she too is playing well for OSU. In conference games, she’s averaging 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds.
In the backcourt, freshman point guard Sydney Wiese has proven to be a valuable asset as well.
“Now Ruth is emerging as an offensive weapon,” Rueck said. “Now we have Deven and Sam and Gabby, along with those same guards and the addition of Sydney, of course.
“That I think is the main difference in our team this year. We have more offensive threats on the floor for 40 minutes, and that’s a hard team to guard.”
Even though their leading scorer is out for the foreseeable future, the Beavers are not lacking in offensive threats.
Mitch Mahoney, sports reporter
On Twitter @MitchIsHere