The Oregon State women’s basketball team tips off its season on Friday night at the Gill Coliseum, and the team is coming off its first-ever Pac-12 championship season. Thus, the Beavers are ranked No. 9 in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 10 in the Associated Press Preseason Poll. Oregon State also was picked by the coaches and the media as the favorites to win the Pac-12 conference again this season.
That’s a lot of expectation to put on the Beavers, but if last season is any indication, the women’s basketball team will be ready for that pressure. They were 27-5 last season and earned a No. 3 seed in the women’s NCAA Tournament—including host honors for the first two rounds at Gill. Led by three-time Pac-12 Head Coach of the Year Scott Rueck, Oregon State is loaded and ready to push deep into March Madness in 2016.
The Beavers finished the season ranked No. 10 by the AP last year, and perhaps nothing short of the Final Four will suffice for this experienced roster. Senior center Ruth Hamblin is the defending Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. The back court returns two all-conference guards in senior Jamie Weisner and junior Sydney Wiese. Meanwhile, senior forward Deven Hunter has a 68-game starting streak coming into this season, providing plenty of experience and grit.
Sophomore center Marie Gülich was good enough last season to earn All-Freshman honorable mention for the Pac-12, and Oregon State also returns three other upperclassmen that add to its tremendous depth: junior guard Gabriella Hanson, senior guard Jen’Von’Ta Hill and senior forward Samantha Siegner. An eight-deep rotation goes a long way in women’s basketball, and the Beavers are loaded. The three new freshman on the roster—center Tarea Green, guard Taylor Kalmer and guard Katie McWilliams—may not see the court much, but they will learn from the best.
Friday night’s season opener against Longwood starts at 7 p.m., but a pregame ceremony will feature the raising of the 2014-15 Pac-12 title banner. According to the Oregon State athletic department, the Beavers led the Pac-12 in attendance with an average of 4,167 fans per game last season, including 4,785 in conference play. The team’s second game will be Monday night in Portland against Portland University at 7 p.m.
One of the highlights of the home schedule is a visit from Tennessee on December 19. The Volunteers are ranked No. 4 in the AP preseason poll, and that will be a game no fan wants to miss. The Beavers also travel to No. 3 Notre Dame on December 28, so by the time the Pac-12 Conference schedule begins in January, the Oregon State women will know where they stand nationally.
It could be a magical season for the Beavers, and season tickets are still available for a low as $68. Get them today at BeaverTickets.com or by calling 800-GOBEAVS. The Oregon State schedule features 15 home games, including marquee matchups against Tennessee, Stanford and Arizona State.