Jamie Weisner. Ruth Hamblin. Sydney Wiese. A second consecutive Pac-12 title. The first-ever Final Four trip for Oregon State women's basketball.
We all remember the magic that was 2015-16, in which the Oregon State women's basketball team finished the regular season with a 28-4 record and a Pac-12 title. That squad then advanced to the Final Four for the first time in school history, only falling once they took on a UConn squad that went 38-0 en route to winning the national title. As great as that season was, when the Beavers then lost Jamie Weisner and Ruth Hamblin to the WNBA Draft, many thought that the program would fall back to earth the following season.
Sydney Wiese (again). Another Pac-12 title, the program's third in a row. The third-ever Sweet Sixteen trip for Oregon State women's basketball.
Perhaps those doubters forgot that Sydney Wiese, who was a key part of that Final Four run, was not gone. 2016-17 was Wiese's year to put the team on her back, and she did just that as the Beavers compiled a 29-4 regular season record, good enough for a third-consecutive Pac-12 title. The ladies weren't done though, as they then advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for only the third time in program history. Sydney Wiese then became the latest Beaver great to be drafted into the WNBA.
It's been a fun couple of years for head coach Scott Rueck and his Oregon State women's basketball teams. But after sending three players to the WNBA in the past two seasons, there are questions surrounding the team. The ones that might be heard the most as the season approaches are: Who will be the player that steps in to fill Wiese's shoes and continue the recent success of the program? and What will this team look like without the star power of recent years?
Beaver fans, I have your answer. Let's take a look at the 2017-18 Oregon State women's basketball team.
Taya Corosdale freshman - A 6'3" forward, ESPN ranked Corosdale No. 6 among forwards and the #26 overall recruit in the nation. While she lacks experience at the collegiate level, she earned numerous accolades in the state of Washington and was a Jordan Brand All-American.
Aleah Goodman freshman - A 5'9" guard, Goodman was ranked No. 12 among point guards and the #63 overall recruit in the nation. Goodman starred at La Salle high school in Milwaukie, Oregon, where she was voted Oregon 5A Player of the Year in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Joanna Grymek junior - A 6'8" center, Grymek spent her first two collegiate seasons at Seward County Community College. Last season, she posted per-game averages of 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks. She was also voted an NJCAA All-American.
Marie Gulich senior - A 6'5" center, Gulich is one of the few players on Oregon State's roster with significant Division 1 experience. Last season, she started all 36 games and had per-game averages of 9.9 points and 8.1 rebounds. Gulich was rewarded for her efforts by being selected to the All-Pac-12 team.
Taylor Kalmer junior - A 5'8" guard, Kalmer has been primarily a bench option for the Beavers in her first two seasons at Oregon State. While she averaged only 9.0 minutes per game last season, I'd expect coach Rueck to get her on the floor more often now that the backcourt minutes aren't being taken up by Sydney Wiese (WNBA) and Gabriella Hansen (graduated).
Katie McWilliams junior - A 6'2" guard out of Salem, OR, McWilliams played in 33 games for the Beavers last season and averaged 4.8 points per game and 2.5 rebounds per game. While she came off the bench in the majority of games, this coming season should see her develop into a leader on the court as she is one of the few Beavers with significant experience at this level of play.
Mikayla Pivec sophomore - A 5'10" guard, Pivec arrived in Corvallis as one of the highest-rated recruits in program history. Out of high school, ESPN ranked her as the 24th-best recruit in the country, and Pivec—as a freshman—jumped right in and had 27 starts last season. Often it's the juniors and seniors that are looked to for their experience but Pivec has an opportunity to be a leader in only her sophomore year.
Destiny Slocum sophomore - A 5'7" guard, Slocum spent her freshman year playing for Maryland. While there, she racked up a list of accolades in her first collegiate season. After averaging 11.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game, she was named the WBCA National Freshman of the Year as well as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. While she must sit out the upcoming 2017-18 season per NCAA transfer requirements—forcing the Beavers to find a one-year stop-gap for the void left by Sydney Wiese's departure—look for Slocum to step into the role of floor general in 2018-19.
Janessa Thropay sophomore - A 6'2" forward, Thropay played only 21 minutes in her freshman season. She will look to contribute off the bench more in the 2017-18 season.
Kat Tudor sophomore - A 6'0" guard, Tudor came to Oregon State from national power St. Mary's high school in California. While there, she became only the fourth player ever to start all four years of her high school career, and led the team in scoring during her senior year. Once in Corvallis, Tudor played in every game as a freshman. She will certainly be called on to produce in this upcoming season.
Oregon State Women's Basketball #22 pic.twitter.com/SasgrMq4Cu— kat tudor (@kat_tudor) September 20, 2016
Madison Washington sophomore - A 6'1" guard/forward combo player, Washington didn't see the court much during her freshman season. However, with her versatility (she's the only player listed at multiple positions on the roster) she may find a greater opportunity to contribute in her sophomore campaign.
There you have it, Beaver fans. Your 2017-18 women's basketball squad.
They will kick off the season in Corvallis—on November 10th—by welcoming North Dakota to Gill Coliseum.