The Oregon State Beavers are going dancing again.
The Women's team ended up earning an eight-seed in the NCAA Tournament after beginning the season 3-5. What was the turning point for Oregon State?
The arrival of five-star freshman Talia Von Oelhoffen.
The nation's No. 10 player in the 2022 class as rated by espnW reclassified to the 2021 class and joined the Beavers midway through her senior year of high school. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, any time played this season will not count against her eligibility and she figured why not go to college early rather than attend high school online.
The Beavers are glad she did.
Heading into the NCAA Tournament matchup against Florida State, head coach Scott Rueck raved about how Talia has adapted to the college atmosphere and that he is not worried she will do the same on the stage of the big dance.
"If we've learned anything about Talia it's that no environment really seems to shake her a whole lot," said Rueck.
"Just from day one, coming into our gym and practicing didn't phase her as if she had been preparing or had prepared for it her entire life. First time she touches the ball in a Pac-12 game after two practices, she hits an NBA three and there's just no looking back."
On the season, Von Oelhoffen averages 12.5 points and 3.1 assists per game coming off the bench. In 11 career college games, the Beavers are 8-3 with three ranked wins (at UCLA, at Oregon, vs. Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament) and two of those losses came to No. 1 seed Stanford.
"I think people can say, 'Well, she didn't play too well against Stanford,' well, nor did anyone on our team," explained Rueck while laughing. "They're really good."
The Cardinal held Von Oelhoffen to just five points on 2-6 shooting in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals but in the two prior games, Von Oelhoffen had scored 20 and 19 points against Cal and Oregon.
Given her exceptional play over the last few months, Rueck has full confidence in his freshman as she makes her NCAA Tournament debut.
"This environment, I think she's been preparing for and I see her just being Talia, the basketball player, in another game."
Oregon State takes on Florida State on Sunday, March 21st at 4:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2.