The best season in the history of the Oregon State women’s basketball program came to an end today, as the No. 1 Connecticut Huskies defeated the Beavers in the Final Four semifinals, 80-51. Attempting to win an unprecedented fourth-straight NCAA Tournament title in a row, the Huskies were just too much for the best the Pac-12 had to offer this season.
Senior Ruth Hamblin ended her career with another double-double effort, posting 10 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. Meanwhile, junior Sydney Wiese led the team with 13 points, and senior Jamie Weisner added nine points in the final game of her career. The Beavers’ Big Three combined for just 11-for-34 shooting from the floor against the three-time defending champs.
“Hats off to UConn,” OSU Head Coach Scott Rueck said after the game. “They played a phenomenal game tonight. I thought they obviously shot the ball extremely well. With a team like that, you’ve got to kind of pick your poison. And that team made us pay, no matter what we did. And that’s why they are who they are.”
The Huskies have won their five NCAA games this year by an average of 41.6 points per game, which is unreal. Thus, the Beavers did better than most other UConn opponents, even if they trailed by nine after the first quarter and were never able to really challenge the Huskies at all.
“They can hit from everywhere,” Weisner told the press postgame. “People come in off the bench, and there’s no lag. They expose every weakness and make you pay for it, force you into things you don’t want to do. And then
offensively, I mean, they have weapons everywhere, every position.”
That being said, Rueck—with a big assist from Hamblin and Weisner—has built the OSU program into a national contender, and now Wiese and her teammates will have to pick up the torch in 2016-17 and run with it to keep this good thing going. Considering this senior class was part of a team that won just 10 games as freshmen, Rueck has done a stellar job making the Beavers a power in the Pac-12.
“This group sitting next to me and in the locker room right now, you know, the greatest season in the history of our school, in our sport ended tonight,” Rueck noted. “And there’s one reason that I’m sad, and that’s that that’s the last game that this team gets to play together.”
“The foundation of this turnaround and this rebuild of a program, and so going forward, exact same thing we just talked about with Connecticut,” he added. “That is built. We are in the process of those expectations staying high. Knowing how to conduct ourselves day in, day out, how we work in the offseason: all those things, our culture, pieces, and then you just continue to add talent.”