Women's basketball takes on Seattle Pacific in exhibition opener on Sunday
Published: Friday, November 2, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 2, 2012 03:11
The Oregon State University women’s basketball team will play its first and only exhibition game Sunday against Seattle Pacific University, a Division II team.
Oregon State returns four of five starters from last year: Sophomore guard Ali Gibson, senior guard Sage Indendi, junior guard Alyssa Martin and senior center Patricia Bright are all returning for another season under third-year head coach Scott Rueck, who received a two-year contract extension Thursday that will take him through the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.
The Beavers will be without their leading scorer from last season, Earlysia Marchbanks, who was a senior last season.
Marchbanks was the unquestioned leader for the Beavers a year ago. Finding that new presence will be crucial for the team’s success.
“Just where we get that leadership from this year is going to be the biggest challenge for us this season,” Rueck said. “But that is also what I’m most excited to see.”
“[Marchbanks] was a great player,” added Gibson. “I think the team as a whole needs to come together to try and fill her absence.”
Instead, the Beavers feature a deep bench that is headlined by five highly touted freshmen: guards Khadidja Toure and Jamie Weisner, forwards Deven Hunter and Samantha Siegner, and center Ruth Hamblin.
The team will get its first chance to find a new leader, as well as see the new freshmen in action, Sunday. The exhibition game against Seattle Pacific will be Oregon State’s only opportunity to tune up before the season begins with non-conference play on Nov. 10 against Western Washington.
“It will be like looking at a road map that tells me where the team might be headed and what the team needs to get there,” Rueck said.
The Beavers have very high expectations weighing on them after they finished last season with a 20-13 record and surprised the rest of the Pac-12 by finishing tied for fifth.
In the surprising season, Rueck was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year, as voted on by the conference media. Oregon State also earned a WNIT berth, advancing to the Sweet 16 with wins over UC Davis and Saint Mary’s, the furthest the Beavers have gone in the postseason in eight years.
Mitch Mahoney, sports reporter