Corvallis, Ore. -- Following their third straight loss in Pac-12 play, Oregon State women's basketball coach Scott Rueck knew it was only a matter of time until his team bounced back. Since entering the conference slate undefeated and ranked in the top 3 in the country, the Beavers had struggled. First it was an upset loss to no. 19 Arizona State on the road, followed by a heartbreaker home loss to no. 6 Stanford, and then a duo of losses to no. 3 Oregon. But with those losses came motivation, and with the extra work came the results the Beavs have coveted: dominating wins like their victories over Colorado and Utah.
"I knew it was coming," says junior guard Aleah Goodman. "My teammates really made it easy to shoot the ball. But I just knew I had to step up. They were getting me wide open looks. It was my responsibility to knock it down. There's just a shift in everyone's mind. It's time to go to work and do what we can do."
Goodman, in particular, registered some of her best performances of the year. In Boulder, she went 7-9 from 3 point range and 9-14 from the field, leading the Beavers with 26 points in their 79-52 win. While the numbers weren't as gaudy against Utah (11 points on 3-7 shooting) it was again Goodman's efforts from three, where she went 3-5 in the Hunstman Center, that were encouraging and a sign that the shooting slump may be over.
"I think for us, it really starts on defense," freshman forward Kennedy Brown explains. "Getting those defensive stops translates into offense and I think that's how we get flowing in the game. It's just a chain reaction after that."
The Beavers now host the Arizona schools this week, hoping to stave off the Wildcats once again but aiming for some revenge against the Sun Devils. In the reverse fixture, Oregon State defeated Arizona 63-61 before falling to Arizona State 55-47. Over the past few years, the OSU-ASU game has become something of a rivalry, with the Beavs losing the last three matchups dating back to the 2018-2019 season, and also falling to Arizona State in the 2017-2018 Pac-12 women's basketball tournament. But there is a newfound confidence with Oregon State after their mountain trip.
"I just think we're playing a completely different game right now," says Goodman. "Our confidence is back and we're playing like we know we can and are playing like ourselves. Loose, relaxed and just playing Oregon State basketball."
"I like the way they've responded to both wins and losses," mentions head coach Scott Rueck. "We're in the picture and we've got a great opportunity ahead to gain ground on teams that are currently ahead of us. We got two teams we're competing with in the standings coming in this weekend. You've got an opportunity to position yourself this weekend and we can control how we play this weekend and that's where our focus will be."
Oregon State takes on Arizona State at home on Friday at 8:00 p.m. and then Arizona at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday.