The Oregon State Women’s Basketball season ended in March with an NCAA Tournament run to the Elite Eight, and since then star forward/center Marie Gülich has been drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in the first round of the WNBA Draft. Despite the loss of Gülich, the team will largely remain intact, plus some notable additions. Let’s take a peak at next year’s team.
- Marie Gülich - Now that “Das Hammer” has now moved on to the WNBA, the two-time All-Pac-12 team member and 2018 All-American leaves quite a hole in the front-court. Gülich was a force to be reckoned with as she led the team in points (17.5 per game), rebounds (9.1 per game), blocks (91), field goal percentage (65.2%), and free-throws made-attempted (93-125).
- Mikayla Pivec - After filling in at point guard this year (and flirting with the triple-double a few times), Pivec will be able to switch back to her natural shooting guard position. This will likely lead to her having fresher legs for finishing at the basket more consistently and leading all conference guards in rebounding again.
- Kat Tudor - Tudor made a nice jump in her sophomore year to make herself more than a one dimensional three-point shooter. She developed a nice touch when driving to the basket as defenders respected her shot from downtown. Eight times she led the team in scoring this past year.
- Katie McWilliams - Katie “Clutch” hit some big shots this year, most notable are the three-point daggers against top ten teams such as Oregon and Baylor. She logged the most court time this past season (32.7 minutes per game) while also helping fill out the point guard role. Expect McWilliams to have a big senior year.
- Taya Corosdale - As a freshman, Corosdale broke into the starting lineup by the ninth game of the season. She could stretch the floor as teams had to not only respect her size inside, but also her three point shot. Her future is promising and Beaver Nation should be excited after her solid showing in the NCAA Tournament where she averaged 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.
- Aleah Goodman - The former Oregon State High School Player of the Year established herself early as one of the best three point shooters in the conference, and eventually came out on top with a 46.2% connection rate from beyond the arc. She was more than a three-point shooter though, as she contributed to the point guard rotation as well.
- Taylor Kalmer - The speedy Kalmer often gave the starting guards a breather as she came off the bench. While averaging just over 17 minutes a game (sixth on the team), she ranked fourth for three point percentage and assists.
- Joanna Grymek - While Grymek played sparingly, averaging just over nine minutes per game, she will be the team’s most experienced center next year with the departure of Gülich. She may not have collected significant number of stats, but if you watched her play, you could see how her size (6’7’’) allowed her to disrupt many shots. Expect her to be more of a impact next year after more coaching and conditioning.
- Madison Washington - A starter for the first eight games this year, Washington eventually had her place taken by Corosdale. She still was able to contribute with her flexibility to play guard or forward. Next year, expect her to crack the forward rotation early on in the season while the freshman adjust to college play.
- Janessa Thropay - While mostly a reserve forward, Thropay saw the court quite a bit more this year (121 minutes) compared to last year (21 minutes). Like Washingtion, Thropay will have an opportunity early on in the season to build up her playing time in the front-court.
Oregon State will be reloading with this year’s stellar class that’s ranked 16th according to ESPN (which does not include the first player mentioned in this category). Every one of these newcomers has a chance to contribute this year.
- Destiny Slocum - Though technically she was on the team this year while taking her red-shirt year due to NCAA transfer rules, Slocum will make her court debut next year. The former WBCA National Freshman of the Year will step right into the point guard role.
- Andrea Aquino - The gem of the 2018 class, Aquino ranks 21st in the ESPNW Top 100 recruits. At 6’9’’, expect her to rotate into the front-court quite frequently.
- Patricia Morris - Morris will need a bit more polishing than Aquino, but that doesn’t mean she won’t see playing time in her first year. Expect her to contribute with her 6’8’’ frame.
- Jasmine Simmons - One of the top international players in this years class, Simmons appears to the be the most game ready of the incoming freshman. The guard led her U-17 Australian Team to a FIBA World Title in 2016.
- Who settles into the starting lineup? - With the addition of Slocum, Pivec will move away from the point guard role. I’m curious as to what this does to the rest of the lineup. Will Rueck’s team utilize a four guard lineup with a single center or forward? Or will one of last year’s starting guards (Pivec, Tudor, or McWilliams) move to the bench to allow for multiple players in the front-court? It will be interesting to see how this shakes out over the course of the year and it may vary week to week depending on the opponent.
- How will the front-court rotation work out? - We know Corosdale will be featured quite heavily in the front-court after starting 26 games as a freshman, but how will the rest of the rotation look? Grymek has great size to disrupt shots and made more than half her baskets, but only played about nine minutes a game; will she demonstrate the stamina to garner more minutes in her final year? Washington split her time at forward and guard while Thropay recorded the fewest minutes on the team. It feels like the current layout of the front-court will allow the two freshmen posts an opportunity to get adjusted to the college game early in the season.
- Does Mikayla Pivec finally get a triple-double? - There were four or five games that you could argue that she flirted with the statistic and it felt like only a matter of time she would get one. With the addition of Slocum, Pivec won’t be playing the point as often, but it will allow her to play with more freedom as she won’t be getting hounded every time she touches the ball.
- Which freshmen will make the biggest impact? - Aquino and Morris have size, but you can argue that Simmons is the more college-ready player with her international experience. The back-court is already fairly deep going into the bench, so that will likely make it difficult for Simmons to get on the court. Due to the need in the front-court, look for Aquino to be a contributor early in her Beaver career.
What to Expect
I expect next season’s conference champion to come from the state of Oregon. The team down south will look to defend their title with most of it’s nucleus intact, while Oregon State will return nearly everyone from an Elite Eight squad in what was suppose to be a rebuilding year. Stanford will reload, but they will have to replace Brittany McPhee who powered the Cardinal on an impressive mid-season turnaround after she returned from injury. UCLA will be looking for new leaders as well after Jordin Canada and Monique Billings finished their college careers and take on the WNBA. Look for the Civil War to become a regular season championship series!