If I would have said back in January that the Oregon State women’s basketball team would make it to the NCAA Sweet 16, would you have been surprised? Maybe or maybe not, but here we are in March where the madness continues to turn heads and pull at heartstrings, and the Beavers found themselves in Albany, New York vying to play one more day in black and orange.
This season has been quite the test for Oregon State after losing their star shooter Kat Tudor to a season-ending knee injury in the first half of their Pac-12 conference opener. Tudor brought so much offensive firepower and leadership to this squad, that she now had to do so from the bench the rest of the way. That meant senior Katie McWilliams and junior Mikayla Pivec had to step up and fill the void.
These two, along with star guard Destiny Slocum, were the backbone of the Beavers that once held a No. 7 national ranking during the regular season. Come postseason, Oregon State gritted out two tough wins over Boise State and Gonzaga before running into Louisville.
Cardinal seniors Sam Fuehring and Asia Durr, who both nearly recorded double-doubles in the meeting, carried Louisville over Oregon State 61-44 on Friday evening: Fuehring with 17 points and nine rebounds and Durr with 17 points and eight rebounds. The Cardinals came out firing in the first quarter shooting 50% from the field and from three-point range. Coming into the game, Louisville was averaging 7.9 three pointers per game, and hit six alone in the first half.
Unfortunately, it was the opposite story on the other end of the court. Oregon State would finish the game hitting 2-of-22 from three-point range and scoring just 13 total points in the second and third quarters combined.
Pivec, who head coach Scott Rueck calls one of the more underrated players in the country, lead the Beavers with 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and dished three assists.
It was not the way the Beavers wanted to finish their remarkable season, but the way the team overcame adversity just minutes into their conference season, is something to look back on and be proud of.
“Just really proud of this team and what we were able to accomplish this year,” said senior Katie McWilliams in her last game as a Beaver. “They always have us an underdogs and we always exceed expectations. I’m happy with what happened this year and even though we don’t want to end like this, making it to a Sweet 16 is quite the accomplishment.”