The making of a No. 1 pick: Adley Rutschman's journey to pro ball

The making of a No. 1 pick: Adley Rutschman's journey to pro ball

So somebody told Sherwood High School baseball coach Jon Strohmaier several years ago that he should go watch this little kid play ball. “You’ve got to see this kid,” he was told.

Prep coaches get that kind of thing a lot, but Strohmaier, who has won a couple of state championships at the school and is considered one of the best at his craft in Oregon, decided he wanted a look at the youngster.

“It was the first time I saw him,” Strohmaier said. “He was about eight or nine years old. I think he drew a four-pitch walk. And then on the first pitch, he stole second. On the second pitch, he stole third. And then on the next pitch he came about halfway down the third-base line, the catcher threw to third and then he walked home.

“And that was my first Adley Rutschman impression.”

The professional baseball world is about to get its first impression of Rutschman very soon. For now, the switch-hitting Oregon State catcher whom the Baltimore Orioles took with the No.1 pick in the first-year player draft, is just trying to get a million things done so he can sign a contract with the Orioles and get on with a career that will likely start in the low minors.

“I’ve been involved in sports all my life and had multiple kids sign and play pro baseball but when it’s your own kid, it’s kind of overwhelming,” said Adley’s father, Randy, who has been a high school and college coach. “The texts and phone calls – and for Adley, it’s 10 times more.

“It’s been a whirlwind. And trying to manage everything. He’s going to be back in Omaha for the Dick Howser and the Golden Spikes (awards, for which he’s a finalist), that ceremony, and moving out of his house in Corvallis. So trying to figure out how to get school finished, sign a contract with Baltimore – and he has to move out of his house. The baseball part is probably the least overwhelming.”

Adley Rutschman is a switch-hitter who throws right-handed, writes left-handed, famously kicks a football with his left foot. And his father says he never encouraged the whole switch-hitting thing.

“First of all,” Randy said, “I can’t remember ever saying, 'Adley let’s go out and hit.' He was a self-generated type. If I ever have to have Tommy John surgery, it’s because of him. I have a bucket of balls sitting down here right now.

“When he got back from the (College World Series) I knew it would be just a matter of 12 hours before he’d want to go hit. I had the balls sitting there. Twelve hours and he was going to go hit.

“And if he happens to make his way up here this weekend, I know he’s going to say, let’s go out and hit.

“When he was young he would hit right-handed, but he’d turn around once in a while and hit left-handed and it was really a good-looking swing. The first time he hit left-handed in a game he was a third grader and he asked me if it would be OK to hit left-handed. And I said, ‘Heck yeah.’ He went out there and just about tore the pitcher’s head off with a line drive.

“Every year he would hit a couple of times left-handed. His freshman year in high school he hurt his elbow and it hurt to hit right-handed, so the whole freshman year he hit lefty. That really moved him out of his comfort zone. He became very comfortable hitting lefty. I don’t think he would have been a switch-hitter today if he wouldn’t have had that fracture in his elbow. It forced him to become comfortable left-handed.”

Strohmaier utilized Rutschman all over the diamond at Sherwood.

“He played JV his freshman year, we were pretty good,” said the high school coach. “He had some arm issues his sophomore year and I used him at third base. His junior year, if I remember correctly, he did a lot of DH-ing because his arm was bothering him.

“Towards the end of his junior year, he started throwing a little bit for us and we used him as a closer. His senior year he caught a lot. We kind of put him all over the place -- whatever was best for the team -- and we moved him up to leadoff hitter because we wanted him to get as many plate appearances as he could.”

To his everlasting credit, Strohmaier knew how much money Rutschman’s throwing arm might be worth someday and didn’t abuse it. And it’s turned out that one of the catcher’s biggest attributes is his throwing ability from behind the plate.

“I guess what I would consider my claim to fame with him is that I kind of babied his arm in high school,” Strohmaier said. “I realized there were bigger and better things to come and he had some arm issues in high school.”

That said, there was no way at that point that anyone would forecast the kid from Sherwood High going No. 1 in the draft.

“Not a clue,” Strohmaier said. “I knew during his junior year, especially when he got on the mound and was throwing 94, I knew I had a Division-1 kid, if that’s the route he wanted to go.

“I never expected he might be a No. 1 pick.”

His father credits Oregon State’s coaching staff and former head man Pat Casey with a lot of his son’s personal growth.

“When we sent him off to Oregon State, I really took my hands off Adley,” Randy Rutschman said. “I really had a lot of faith in that coaching staff. And we saw a lot of growth in just the first three months he was there. Adley really grew up in that program. He’s a better kid for having been there.”

Of course, the young man has pretty good genes, as everyone knows by now.

His father is known as a terrific coach with a special talent for working with catchers. His grandfather, Ad, was a coaching and playing legend in Oregon who won national championships coaching football and baseball at Linfield.

Adley is represented by Beverly Hills Sports Council, a firm that has repped the likes of Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Trevor Hoffman, Albert Pujols and many others and they will be negotiating from a position of strength on Rutschman’s first contract. The slot value of the top pick this season has been set at $8,415,300 – so Adley may not be driving that 2014 Honda much longer.

Very soon, the young Rutschman will embark on his professional career. Normally, catchers take longer to get to the big leagues, because of the nuances they must learn in regard to handling a pitching staff and taking the physical abuse of the position while trying to hold their offense together.

But Strohmaier doesn’t think it will be long before he can turn on the TV and watch his former star.

“I think he will be in the big leagues in a couple of years,” Strohmaier said. “He’s just that special. You don’t get that caliber of kid who can hit for average from both sides of the plate, hit for power, he’s got the strong arm, he’s got the defensive ability. I think, barring injury, he’s going to be able to work his way through the system rather quickly.

“I just hope it’s not too quickly. I hope they bring him along at a good pace so he’s successful at whatever level he is. I hope they won’t rush him – which I’m sure they won’t.”

Since he was that little kid Strohmaier watched stealing his way around the bases, he’s almost always been the best player on the field at whatever level he’s played. And now he’ll soon be faced with the same challenge.

But he’s had some pretty good preparation.

A new analytical era begins with Beaver baseball, but the tradition remains

A new analytical era begins with Beaver baseball, but the tradition remains

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It’s a new era of Oregon State baseball. But there is still a lot of the previous era around, too.

Sunday afternoon at Surprise Stadium, the Beavers upped their record to 2-1 with a 5-1 win over Gonzaga under new head coach Mitch Canham, a former OSU catcher and minor-league manager. Canham knows what has worked at OSU through three national championship runs under Coach Pat Casey, because he was there for two of those championships.

But the new coach is mixing in some cutting-edge stuff, too. Or perhaps you haven’t heard about the Dam Analytics Squad, which has become an integral part of the program? Oregon State is compiling statistics that most professional baseball teams are using now, analyzing many parts of the game that can’t be measured without high-tech equipment and the expertise to use it properly.

“Brad Brown currently runs our Dam squad,” Canham said. “We have five other analytics managers as well. They do a great job collecting data and presenting it to us so we can use it and help our guys develop.”

It’s possible, for instance, to measure the spin rate on pitches, launch angle and exit velocity on batted balls and all sorts of other things that can make you dizzy if you don’t know how to use it.

“We measure quite a few things,” Canham said. “It can all be noise. You just have to know how to use it, how to deliver it. But it’s used specifically for helping our pitchers have better stuff and understand their abilities better. And for our offensive guys to understand what they hit really well, (and) command the strike zone.”

Those are the type of stats that have led to the use of more curveballs and more focus on home runs in the major leagues. Can we expect the Beavers to go deep a little more often this season?

“Obviously, you swing at good pitches and you’re on time, it comes off hotter,” Canham said. “So as long as we do a good job at swinging at ‘our’ pitches, and leaving the bad ones alone, those kinds of things will happen more often.”

Canham hasn’t totally sold out to analytics. Like most college coaches, he’ll still call for a sacrifice bunt once in a while. And he isn’t going to generalize about strategy or how his team is going to play.

“There’s a blend,” he said. “You have to understand that analytics can be very useful and it also goes to, do guys know how to deliver it to them? Because you can know all these numbers but unless you know how to communicate them, they don’t do any good. And they can actually create more noise.”

After Sunday’s win, Canham said, “I feel great. We’re constantly getting after it and learning. Guys are getting a chance to get out there and compete and are doing it together.”

The Beavers used outstanding pitching to beat the ‘Zags Sunday. Starter Jake Pfennigs allowed just one run on five hits over the first five innings and then freshman left-hander Cooper Hjerpe picked up a big-time, four-inning save, allowing no hits, one walk and striking out five.

“It’s exciting to see Hjerpe go out as a freshman and pound the zone,” Canham said. “He has great stuff and he’s in the (strike) zone all day.” 

The Beavers are very young, with a pitching rotation that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

But it’s a good bet the program will continue to attract quality players from, well, all over the world.

Freshman Micah McDowell has started and batted leadoff in each of the team’s games this season and has hit safely in all three. And he hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

How in the world does a centerfielder from Nova Scotia end up in Corvallis, Oregon?

Well, it goes back to what went on in the past. This operation has been going on for a while and that doesn't go unnoticed.

“The Beaver family has a large reach and people all around the world are paying attention to our program and to what ‘Case’ (Pat Casey) and everyone has built over the years,” Canham said. “There’s a lot of tradition and people want to be a part of something special -- and that’s what we have here.”

Still.

Tres Tinkle has a knack for scoring in double figures and made history

Tres Tinkle has a knack for scoring in double figures and made history

Tres Tinkle has a knack for scoring, or rather scoring consistently in double figures.

After recording 10 points on Saturday in Oregon State’s loss to No. 16 Colorado, Tinkle now owns the longest streak in Oregon State history for consecutive games scoring in double figures.

The previous holder of the record was Mel Counts, Oregon State basketball 1962-1964, with 89 consecutive games.

In his senior season, the 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 18.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists per game and shooting .353 percent from three-point range. He is third in the Pac-12 conference in scoring, behind Arizona State’s Remy Martin (19.5 ppg) and Oregon’s Payton Pritchard (19.3 ppg), and leads the conference in steals per game (2.0).

What this means for head coach Wayne Tinkle and the Oregon State Beavers is consistency, and that’s something the team needs now and with only five games remaining in Pac-12 conference play. The Beavers (15-10, 5-8 Pac-12) have fallen in the bottom third in the conference standings and need Tinkle to be that senior leader on both ends of the court. When at their best, the Beavs can take down the conference’s top teams in Colorado, Arizona and Oregon, but will play down against teams like Washington and California who sit at the bottom of the Pac.

Every win counts with Pac-12 Tournament seeding starting to take shape, but the Beavs can still make a move with big wins coming up against the Arizona Schools, Oregon and then hosting the Bay Area schools. 

Tinkle’s performance will be key in each of those game and Oregon State will need more of that double figure scoring.

Instant Analysis: Oregon State falls in a physical game to No. 16 Colorado

Instant Analysis: Oregon State falls in a physical game to No. 16 Colorado

Following a 19-point win over Utah on Thursday, the Oregon State men’s basketball team welcomed a tougher opponent in the visiting No. 16 Colorado Buffaloes. This was a physical game from start to finish that ended with the Buffaloes (20-6, 9-4 Pac-12), led by a double-double from Tyler Bey, defeating Oregon State (15-10, 5-8 Pac-12) in Corvallis, Oregon.

Final score: Colorado 69, Oregon State 47.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

1. DIFFERENT SHOOTING NIGHTS

Colorado got out to a quick start, building a 9-point lead by halftime part in due to the efforts of Shane Gatling and Tyler Bey. The two combined for 18 of Colorado’s 31 total points in the first half with Bey finishing with a double-double 21 points and 15 rebounds.

On the other side of the court, Oregon State struggled to find its outside shot, hitting just 1-for-17 from three-point range.

Oregon State outscored Colorado candidly in the paint 26-14, but only five of which came from 7-foot big man Kylor Kelley. The Beavs were getting inside on a night where the outside shots weren’t falling. See point #2.

2. TOUGH SECOND HALF START

The Beavers came out cold in the second half after falling behind 31-22 at halftime, hitting just one of their first seven attempts from the field. Their first half strategy of getting the ball into the paint was met in the second half with multiple defenders down low. Colorado sent tough double teams forcing the Beavs into tough shots or bad passes.

3. PHYSICALITY

Bodies hit the floor, there were bloody noses… this game was physical. A much different style of play than Oregon State was used to after Thursday night’s game vs. Utah. The Beavs were also out-rebounded 45-35 and gave up 10 offensive rebounds.

Ethan Thompson did have one nice dunk though.

The Beavs will have to regroup and refocus with another tough test in front of them with a trip to the desert next weekend. Their remaining schedule includes a trip to the Arizona schools, Civil War part two in Eugene, and then wrapping up the season at home hosting Stanford and California.

UP NEXT: The Beavs face Arizona on Thursday, Feb. 20, tip-off set for 5 p.m. (PT) in Tucson, Arizona.

Injuries taking a toll on the Oregon State Women's hoop team

Injuries taking a toll on the Oregon State Women's hoop team

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:

Kennedy Brown

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

blocker. 

Taya Corosdale

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. 

Jelena Mitrovic 

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.

Andrea Aquino

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.

Instant Analysis: Oregon State WBB goes cold in the L.A. heat; drop one to the USC Trojans

Instant Analysis: Oregon State WBB goes cold in the L.A. heat; drop one to the USC Trojans

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - In the Pac-12 conference, every game is more important than the last, especially with only five games remaining in regular season play. The Oregon State Beavers looked to get back on track after coming off an overtime loss to the Arizona Wildcats last Sunday, but the Beavs had no answer for USC’s star freshman Alissa Pili, a 6-foot forward, who finished leading all scores with 26 points.

The No. 11 Oregon State Beavers (19-6, 7-6 Pac-12 play) drop another conference game and fall 72-66 on the road at unranked USC (13-11, 5-8 Pac-12).

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

1. TAYLOR JONES, MIKAYLA PIVEC

On the inside and the outside, Taylor Jones and Mikayla Pivec were everywhere on the court. The 6-foot-4 freshman forward Jones held it down in the paint finishing with 12 points off 5-for-11 from the field, grabbing seven rebounds and getting one block. Jones needs only two more blocks to have the Oregon State freshman record for blocked shots.

Pivec once again turned it on. She led all Oregon State scores with 16 points (6-for-12 rom the field) and also grabbed seven rebounds, something she does so very well and so very often. 

2. DESTINY SLOCUM

Destiny Slocum’s shooting slump continued in the heat of Los Angeles. Coming off an 11-point performance (4-for-17 from the field) against Arizona last Sunday, the 5-foot-7 redshirt junior took only two shots and was held scoreless in the first half against the Trojans. Slocum finished with 12 points, all coming in the second half. 

The Beavs have another huge test in front of them on Monday night when they face No. 7 UCLA, and a huge part of their success will lie on Slocum’s shoulders.

3. BEAVS NEED TO CLEAN IT UP

This could have been a different game at halftime. The Beavers committed nine turnovers in the first half alone. Slocum was held scoreless. And yet Oregon State out-rebounded USC 18-9 in the first half while the Trojans hit just 4-for-11 from three-point range. USC also stole the ball nine times and forced 20 turnovers in the game.

Oregon State will need to clean up the offense before squaring off with the Bruins on Monday night.

UP NEXT: The Beavs head to Pauley Pavilion to face the No. 7 UCLA Bruins on Monday, tip-off set for 6 p.m. (PT) on ESPN2.

Instant Analysis: First half dominance leads Oregon State past Utah, 70-51

Instant Analysis: First half dominance leads Oregon State past Utah, 70-51

CORVALLIS, Oregon - Completely dominant from start to finish. The Oregon State Beavers got off to an electric start hitting 13-for-30 from the field in the first half and taking a 35-19 lead at halftime. Junior guard Ethan Thompson was key on both ends of the court, finishing with a double-double 13 points and 11 to lead the Beavs (15-9, 5-7 Pac-12) past the Utah Utes (14-10, 5-7 Pac-12) 70-51 in Gill Coliseum.

It was a critical win with six Pac-12 conference games left.

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

1. FIRST HALF DOMINANCE

Oregon State held Utah to a season-low 19 points in the first half. A huge part of that defensive effort was putting pressure on Utah’s Timmy Allen, who leads the conference in free throw attempts, limiting Allen to two points in the first half (1-for-4 from the field).

The Beavs also forced nine first-half turnovers and got 11 points off those turnovers. 

2. REICHLE GETS HOT AGAIN

Coming off an 11-point performance against Oregon last weekend, Zach Reichle picked up where he left off. The junior guard from Wilsonville, Oregon finished with 10 points off 2-for-4 from three-point range.

3. ETHAN THOMPSON

Ethan Thompson continues to impress this season. The junior guard recorded his fourth career double-double with just over six minutes to go in the game. He had the defensive assignment on Oregon guard Payton Pritchard last weekend and continues to be a pest on the perimeter.

UP NEXT: The Beavs host the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday, tip-off set for 7 p.m. (PT) at Gill Coliseum.

No. 11 Beavers look to right the ship amid tumultuous travel schedule

No. 11 Beavers look to right the ship amid tumultuous travel schedule

One could say the Oregon State Beavers women's basketball team is at a crossroads right now.

Six Pac-12 regular season games to go and Oregon State (19-5) finds itself in fifth place in the conference standings. The top-four get a first round bye in the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas March 5th-8th.

The Beavers five losses are all against top-25 teams. Three of their five losses came against teams that were No. 5 or better when the games occurred. So, the competition was brutal. OSU's offense has struggled in those five losses, which have come in their last nine games, averaging 56.8 points per game. In the four wins during that stretch, the Beavs averaged 75.3 points. 

Oregon State's schedule is arguably the toughest in the Pac-12. They play USC (12-11) and No. 7 UCLA (21-2) exclusively on the road in the uneven scheduling of the Pac-12. They also play Washington (11-12) and Washington State (11-13) just once, two teams that have struggled this season.

Yes, the schedule has not been on the Beavers side. OSU plays Friday at USC and then have to wait until Monday night to face UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. Then, they charter back to Corvallis Monday night and are back on a plane Thursday for a game against No. 8 Stanford on Friday the 21st. Head coach Scott Rueck isn't thrilled with the set-up, but says you can't get overwraught....just focus!



"Just one game at a time," Rueck said. "The interesting part of it is the short week. We have the extra day between USC and UCLA but a short week before Stanford. It is definitely a challenge for sure. Everyday we are trying to manage the mental aspects and the physical aspects of not only our players but our staff to be at our best. It is tough to not only have four road games but also against such good competiton."

Adversity is part of every season for every team. The Beavers have had their fair share:

Player injuries
-------------------

A one-two punch for the Beaver roster this season. Taya Corosdale, the talented junior power forward was lost early in the season to a serious hamstring injury and is out for the season.

Then, last Friday, in the dramatic 64-62 win over 19th-ranked Arizona State, freshman standout Kennedy Brown suffered a torn left ACL and is done for the season. Rueck says it's heartbreaking to lose Kennedy and to have her robbed of the remainder of the season. She is currenly second in blocked shots in the Pac-12. 

Off court tragedies
------------------------

In December, a huge Beaver supporter and friend to the program, Chad Finn, was on his way to the Maui Jim Maui Classic with his family. They stopped on Oahu on their way. Chad was killed in a swimming accident at the age of 58. This rocked the team.

Then in January, Ken Johnson, a longtime supporter of the Beavers and a legendary Corvallis dentist passed away. Another huge blow to the team. Ken was also a magician and the year prior while the team was in Hawaii, Johnson put on a magic show.

The Beavers are missing two of their inside standouts. What is next for Oregon State as their quest for a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament and hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament continues. 

Coach Rueck says its time for everyone on the roster to step up and he says he loves "small ball", and you could see a lot of it moving forward.



"It is a dynamic team. To be able to put four guards on the floor, three of which have played the point guard position (Destiny Slocum, Aleah Goodman, Mikayla Pivec) in their career."

"That's a hard thing to defend since they all have also played off the bounce. All of them , they are attacking guards. This past weekend, I thought we really showed growth defensively with that group because they had to rise. I thought we rebounded better than we had previously with that lineup. We will continue to look for progress but I like that look at least in spurts."

USC Friday night at the Galen Center. The Beavers want that 20th win and then will have a huge game Monday night at Pauley Pavilion vs. UCLA on national TV. It's reasonable to believe that the Beavers will win five of their last six games to ensure a first-round bye in the conference tournament and host those first two games in the big dance.

They'll have a chance to get their 20th win of the season Friday night against the Trojans.

The Beavers need to embrace small ball with Brown, Corosdale out for the year

The Beavers need to embrace small ball with Brown, Corosdale out for the year

The season doesn't stop, not even for injuries.

After the unfortunate season-ending ACL tear to starting power forward Kennedy Brown, the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers (19-5, 7-5 Pac-12) will need to move on without her.

The 6-foot-5 Brown had started all 23 games of her freshman season before tearing her ACL in the first quarter against then-No. 19 Arizona State. She'll end a promising freshman season averaging 6.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in 27.7 minutes. She was also second in the Pac-12 Conference in blocks at the time of her injury.

She's the second Beavers forward to be done for the year following the loss of junior forward Taya Corosdale with a hamstring injury in the WNIT. 

"Whenever someone goes down it's really hard and to hear that [Kennedy Brown] is out for the rest of the season was honestly heartbreaking. ...We've been through a lot this year and it's really crazy to think about but to see someone else go down and is out, it was really tough to hear," said junior guard Aleah Goodman.

That's a lot of production and size to replace for Oregon State, which means her teammates will need to step up.

"Obviously when someone else goes down everyone else's minutes go up and rise a little bit," Goodman said. "And it's on us to rise and play better to try and fill that role. ...We just have to be better."

Goodman has stated that rolling out a small ball lineup will be in the plans in the wake of Brown's injury since it'll mean getting their best players on the floor and will increase their scoring. Her coach Scott Rueck agrees:

That's a dynamic offensive team to be able to put out four guards out there, three of which have played the point in their career around any of our post players, that's a hard thing to defend.  Especially since they can all play off the bounce as well, all of them they're attacking guards.

The small ball lineup of Destiny Slocum, Mikayla Pivec, Aleah Goodman, Kat Tudor and Taylor Jones will close most games, and that lineup will have four players at 6-feet tall or lower. They may need to blitz teams with three-point shooting or Jones exploiting the open space in the paint to stay afloat, however, Rueck thinks that group is improving on defense.

"I think we really showed growth defensively with that group because they had to rise. I thought we rebounded better than we had previously with that lineup. ...But I like that look from us, at least in spurts."

Another player that will need to step up is senior Maddy Washington, who found herself out of the rotation with the arrival of freshman bigs Brown and Taylor Jones. Now she'll return to the rotation including an addition to the starting lineup on Sunday against No. 12 Arizona. She performed well in the overtime loss playing 28 minutes, grabbing 11 rebounds and scoring six points.

"She's so smart so she's someone that's capable of rising to roles, the four or the five. Maddy's a senior, I think we're feeling that senior presence. We have all year but especially this weekend she really played well and she'll continue to," said Rueck. "You know she's going to have the opportunity."

Look for her and Jones to play the five position while Rueck plays mostly guards around them. Against Arizona, despite both starting Jones played 27 minutes and Washington had 28. That may change going forward as Rueck said he's still tinkering with the rotations at both postgame press conferences this past weekend.

The small ball lineup may mean being a little undersized, but it helps when they have senior Mikayla Pivec, who's one of the nation's best rebounding guards at 9.7 per game.

Pivec played a little bit of the four this weekend when needed, and the Beavs may rely on a zone defense more than in the past to mask their size. 

Other players that will step up include senior forward Janese Thropay, who has played the four many times in her career and freshman guard Jasmine Simmons, who played 15 minutes against Arizona hitting her only three-point attempt. 

Kennedy Brown to miss remainder of season with a torn ACL

Kennedy Brown to miss remainder of season with a torn ACL

The No. 11 Oregon State Beavers will need to make a run without their starting power forward.

Freshman Kennedy Brown will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in her left knee the team announced Monday. She'll undergo surgery in the near future.

Brown had started each game before injuring her knee in the first quarter against Arizona State trying to close out on a shooter. She left the floor with assistance from her teammates and returned to the bench with ice on her knee later in the half.  She appeared at Gill Coliseum on Sunday against the No. 12 Arizona Wildcats on crutches and her left knee in a brace.

The freshman finishes the season averaging 6.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in 27.7 minutes. She was also second in the Pac-12 conference in blocks at the time of her injury. 

The team did not specify a timetable for her return to basketball activity. She's the second Beavers forward to be done for the year following the loss of junior forward Taya Corosdale with a hamstring injury in the WNIT. 

Days after suffering the season-ending injury, Brown still took part in the Oregon State tradition of someone donating their hair following the annual Dam Cancer game, which head coach Scott Rueck tweeted how proud he is of his player.