Women’s Basketball 101

Pictured is forward Taylor Jones catching the ball and going to make the shot! They played against Florida State this year during the time of pandemic sports.

When someone asks how the Beavers did in basketball this season, you’d probably mention their first place finish in the Pac-12 and their unexpected Elite Eight run in March Madness, right? What if they then clarified that they were asking about women’s basketball? Would you have an answer?

I didn’t. Men’s sports have long overshadowed women’s, which is a shame. The average male NBA player makes upwards of $8 million a season while the average WNBA player makes $75,000. The same goes for coverage, women’s sports make up only 4% of sports media coverage. With stats like that, it makes sense that we usually default to talking about men’s sports. 

The Beavs have seen some of their players continue on to the WNBA as well. In 2016 Ruth Hamblin and Jamie Weisner went to play for the Dallas Wings and the Connecticut Sun, respectively. In 2017 Sydney Weise went to play for the Los Angeles Sparks, in 2018 Marie Guilich went to play for the Phoenix Mercury and in 2019 Mikayla Pivec went to play for the Atlanta Dream. This year, Aleah Goodman was drafted by the Connecticut Sun for the 2021-2022 season. 

In their most recent season, the Beavers finished 12-8. OSU’s Athletic Department recommends keeping an eye on sophomore Taylor Jones, sophomore Kennedy Brown, who unfortunately tore her ACL in February, and freshman Talia Von Oelhoffen, who joined the team mid-season. 

Since 2010, OSU alum Scott Rueck has been coaching the women’s team. Before that, he served as head coach for the women’s basketball team at George Fox University. Rueck holds several Coach of the Year nominations from Naismith, the Associated Press and the Pac-12. 

2021 marks the first ever Pac-12 championship for the OSU men’s team, which is extraordinary and should absolutely be celebrated. But I’ll bet you didn’t know the women’s team won the Pac-12 three years in a row from 2015-2017. Or that they’ve made the NCAA tournament every year since 2014, finishing twice in the Sweet Sixteen, twice in the Elite Eight and finished in the Final Four in 2016. Conversely, the men’s team has only gone twice in the last 30 years: this year, and in 2016. Their last appearance before that was in 1990.

It’s been a weird year for sports fans around the world, but with more COVID-19 vaccines rolling out every day, players and fans alike are hopeful that the upcoming season will look a little more normal. With games opening back up to the student body, perhaps it will be the perfect time to give our women’s teams more of the spotlight. To learn more about women’s basketball at OSU, please visit https://osubeavers.com/sports/womens-basketball.

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