So close. The Oregon State Women's basketball team had the nation's #1 ranking in their sights. They played a tremendous game last Friday in Tucson fending off the upstart Arizona Wildcats 63-61 improving their record to 15-0. The two teams above them, Connecticut and Oregon had both suffered losses. Now all they needed was a win Sunday at Arizona State and a number one ranking was a definite possibility.
However, Arizona State, the team that had knocked off the Ducks were ready.
Tremendous defense and a physicality that the Beavers hadn't seen this season paid off. Oregon State tied the game at 45-45 with 2:30 to go but then the Sun Devils score ten of the game's last twelve points and hand the Beavers a 55-47 loss. The perfect season is no more. But not making the nation's top spot and having a conference loss isn't the end of the world. Sometimes a loss can make you better, especially in the Pac-12, a conference that has so many talented teams.
The Beavers took a tumble in the rankings and in Bracketology. From #3 to #8 in the AP Poll and dropping to a #2 seed in the college basketball post-season projections.
I spent some time in Corvallis and talked junior Guard Aleah Goodman who is proud of her teammates and is positive despite the loss at ASU:
Goodman and her teammates like Destiny Slocum. Kat Tudor, Mikayla Pivec, and Kennedy Brown want to improve from one of the toughest games ever from 3-point range in Tempe shooting just 2 for 20 from behind the line.
Head Coach Scott Rueck isn't used to watching his team struggle like they did in Tempe:
But even though the Beavers struggled, Rueck's team showed him something in that second half against ASU even though they came up short:
Now it will be fascinating to see how they respond Friday night at Gill when the Cal Bears come to Corvallis. Cal is 0-4 in conference play.and will be hungry to end that streak. After Cal the Beavers may be facing their toughest stretch of the season. #3 Stanford is Sunday and then next weekend the two epic Civil War games will be a huge Women's basketball story nationally. Goodman and the Beavers know every game in the Pac-12 is tough no matter if its Oregon for Friday's opponent Cal: