No excuses here.
The Oregon State Beavers lost to USC Friday night 72-66. The Beavers actually staged a dramatic comeback and almost won the game. More about that later in this story. Oregon State outrebounded USC 39-26 but committed 21 turnovers and that was really the difference in the game.
The untold story about this year's team is the mounting injuries leaving the Beavers very thin when it comes to inside play:
The talented 6'6" Freshman tore an ACL last week and is out for the season. A lot of the Oregon State offense ran through the Derby, Kansas native and was the team's leading shot
The 6'4" power forward was lost early in the season to a severe hamstring injury. Her experience, her ability to get rebounds and her outside shooting has been missed.
Both Kennedy Brown and Taya Corosdale will be back in the fall but that doesn't help right now.
At 6'9" she is big and strong. She could make a big impact. But before she arrived on campus she suffered a knee injury. She is on the mend continuing her rehab but there is no word
on her status although she has warmed up with the team before the last four games.
Also 6'9", she could be a force inside. She hasn't been cleared to play.
So right now the roster has three so-called bigs: Taylor Jones, the outstanding 6'4" Freshman, Maddie Washington, the Senior who can play power forward or center but is undersized at 6'1', and Patricia Morris, a 6'7" sophomore with a ton of potential but lacks experience.
USC took advantage of the lack of size. Their Freshman sensation from Anchorage, Alaska, Alissa Pili had 26 points and 13 rebounds. She was the difference-maker for the Trojans. The Beavers could have folded up their tent down 63-52 with 4:23 left in the game. Destiny Slocum led that 9-0 run in the next two minutes and all of a sudden the Beavers had a chance to tie it down 63-61 with 2:32 to go but one of those 21 turnovers led to USC free throws and the rest is history. The Beavers at one time were 16-0 on the season and now are 19-6.
Coach Scott Rueck was impressed with the comeback. He talked about it in the post-game radio interview:
Yeah, I was pleased. We are a very competitive team and they fought back to try and win it. The problem was Pili inside and they also hit key three-pointers. We also made too many mistakes and it cost us.
Coach Rueck knows he has to make adjustments moving forward with a depleted roster and also knowing UCLA on Monday night has a talented center in Michaela Onyenwere who scored 23 points in their loss to Oregon Friday night:
"Every night is a battle in this conference. So we regroup and get ready for Monday."
Scott is no excuse maker. He knows that the coaching staff must make adjustments without Kennedy Brown and Taya Corosdale. I believe they can get back on track. With two of the top 25 players in College Basketball in Mikayla Pivec and Destiny Slocum, they have the talent to do it.
A first-round bye at the Pac-12 tournament is now in real jeopardy and they could be on the outside looking in at hosting the First and Second round games in Corvallis. That makes the game at Pauley Pavilion huge Monday Night at 6:00 p.m.