OSU building depth as season progresses
CORVALLIS — Scott Rueck has had the opportunity the past couple games to experiment with his rotation.
Because of that, the coach of the No. 7 Oregon State women’s basketball team has seen his bench players continue to grow, helping to make the Beavers an even more dangerous team.
The Beavers (8-0) hope that improved depth will play a key role this Saturday when they host No. 14 Tennessee at 6 p.m. in Gill Coliseum.
“I thought our depth grew up a lot today,” Rueck said after the Beavers knocked off Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday. The Beavers played 11 players at least seven minutes and each scored at least three points in a 75-51 win.
At one point in the fourth quarter, four reserves were on the floor as the Roadrunners cut a 30-point deficit to 18 with just under 4 minutes to play.
“They had to get their own traction. They had to battle a little,” Rueck said. “It was neat to see that group just say hey, enough of this and everyone elevated their game.”
Jamie Weisner played the most minutes at 27 and only six players saw more than 20 minutes of action.
That has made it harder on the opposition and has allowed for plenty of rest for the starters early in the season.
“I think it’s just a strength that we have, like one through 12 any night anyone can score and it’s just awesome to be able to have all five people on the floor as a threat,” said senior center Ruth Hamblin. “It keeps the defense on their heels and we can just be really deep and cycle through so we never get tired because everyone is just going 100 percent when they are on the floor.”
Senior starting forward Deven Hunter had been held under double figures for six games before scoring 11 points in only 11 minutes on Tuesday. She hit 4 of 6 shots, including both 3-point attempts to match her season high for points.
Hunter, who averaged 7.3 points per game her first three seasons, entered Tuesday’s game at just 4.7 this season.
Rueck said he loved what he saw out of Hunter on Tuesday.
“There are so many people who can shoot the ball and do things on this team sometimes it’s easy to defer,” he said. “It’s easy to keep the ball moving and say, well, there’s a better shot over there than maybe mine.
“That’s been the case so far for Dev. She hasn’t shot it from the perimeter quite like normal. She’s done a little more inside, however, which I’ve enjoyed seeing. I’ve been waiting for that for four years, let’s get that inside going and get comfortable with your back to the basket but not at the expense of her face-up and her 3-point shot. It was great to see that 3-point shot go down and she played really energized, good minutes for us (Tuesday).”
Freshmen Taylor Kalmer and Katie McWilliams are steadily getting an increased roll for the Beavers.
McWilliams came up big by hitting two crucial 3-pointers in the second half at Marquette on Dec. 3 to help the Beavers really for a road win.
Then it was Kalmer scoring 10 points off the bench in 13 minutes against Idaho this past Saturday.
Both had solid outings again in Tuesday’s win.
McWilliams played 25 minutes and saw action at the point guard and wing positions and scored six points with three assists, three rebounds and a blocked shot.
Kalmer played 17 minutes, and while she scored just four points, she added two rebounds, three assists and a steal.
“I like what they are doing,” Rueck said. “… You know you’re going to get a great effort from both of them.”