Oregon State finds nuggets of gold in 73-59 PK Legacy loss to No. 9 Iowa: ‘Main takeaway is hope’

Scott Rueck says he thinks every game is a win, put in proper perspective.

The Oregon State women’s basketball coach didn’t have to dig deep to find the positives from Friday’s 73-59 loss to No. 9 Iowa in the PK Legacy semifinals at Chiles Center.

The Beavers have some possibilities this season, but the roster is loaded with new faces. Oregon State blasted off to a 4-0 start this season, but it hadn’t faced an opponent near the quality of Iowa.

The Big Ten preseason favorites boast one of the country’s best players in wing Caitlin Clark, as well as a prolific offense. It was a test the Beavers needed to take, to see where they’re at, and how much they need to improve.

“The main takeaway is hope, because we saw flashes of great things,” Rueck said.

Iowa had plenty of moments, particularly in the first half when Clark and forward Monika Czinano combined to torch OSU for 31 points. It was the second half that Rueck thought was uplifting. Though Iowa eventually pulled away for a 14-point win, there was a lengthy sequence where the Hawkeyes couldn’t score.

For more than a nine-minute stretch, Iowa’s lone basket was a three-pointer by McKenna Warnock. The Beavers defense made it difficult on Clark and the Hawkeyes, who went 1 of 10 shooting with four turnovers during that stretch.

Rueck said he counted 12 consecutive possessions where Iowa didn’t score.

“We played without fouling. They shot six free throws in this game. I thought those were great signs going forward,” Rueck said.

Rueck also thought Jelena Mitrovic’s 14 rebounds was a positive. As was the season’s first extended play from senior guard Bendu Yeaney, idled for much of November with an unspecified injury. Plus the play of junior guard Shalexxus Aaron, whose 17 points was her OSU high.

“We got so much better. I thought it was a very positive experience for our team. It’s something we can build on,” Rueck said. “We had so many good things tonight to go along with obviously mistakes.”

Yes, that. Particularly on offense. It was limited to Talia von Oelhoffen and Aaron, who combined for 39 of the Beavers’ 59 points. As the game wore on, von Oelhoffen had a tougher time getting up quality shots, as Iowa focused on the sophomore guard. Yeaney will have better days, and has, as a key player on Arizona’s NCAA runner-up in 2021. In her first extended action of the season, Yeaney shot 4 of 16 and scored nine points. The 6-foot-9 Mitrovic had trouble scoring inside, making only 2 of 8 shots.

“It’s a work in progress for sure. As coaches, we’re learning our team as we’re going,” Rueck said.

Next up for Oregon State in the PK Legacy third-place game against Duke, which Rueck admits “is kind of weird.” The Blue Devils’ roster includes two former prominent Oregon Staters of a year ago in forwards Kennedy Brown and Taya Corosdale, in addition to Aleah Goodman, Duke’s director of recruiting and player personnel.

“In this world, I guess we all get used to it. This is what it’s going to be, where you’re going to play against people who used to be part of your thing,” Rueck said.

The OSU coach insists he has no ill will toward former players now with another program.

“I love those guys. We’ve been through a lot together. I believe in them. I recruited them. We took care of them,” Rueck said. “Now they’re on the other side. That’s OK.”

–Nick Daschel | ndaschel@oregonian.com | @nickdaschel

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Lazy Cork
Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart