The Oregon State women’s basketball team was given the Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award this week, based on their actions and demeanor during the 2019-2020 season. One event, prior to their January 26th meeting with rival Oregon sealed the deal for the accolade, as noted below in a release from Oregon State’s athletic department.
“The Beavers earned the award for reaching out to the Oregon women’s basketball team prior to the teams’ Civil War matchup at Gill Coliseum on Jan. 26, when the two squads learned of the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and eight others, including Bryant’s daughter Gianna.
Over an hour prior to game time, as both teams were warming up, the news of Bryant’s death began to circulate within the two teams. Oregon State’s Madison Washington and Aleah Goodman stopped their pregame routines, and walked across half court to talk to the Oregon players. Moments later, the two squads were locked arms in a circle at center court for a few emotional moments of reflection and prayer.
As the huddle broke and the two teams returned to their pre-game warm-ups, Oregon State’s student section, the only fans allowed into the arena to that point, applauded respectfully.” - per Oregon State Athletic Department
The award is given out annually “based on good sportsmanship and ethical behavior in participation of intercollegiate athletics, as well as a demonstration of good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Nominees must have demonstrated the values of respect and integrity through a specific action, ideally directed toward an opponent”. The winner of the honor can be a team or individual athlete. Last year’s winner was the UCLA women’s soccer team.
The Beavers women’s basketball team finished this past season with a 23-9 overall record, that ended in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the Beavers were projected to make the field. The program has averaged 27.5 victories per campaign over the past six seasons, highlighted by a trip to the Final Four in 2016.